When Your Uncle Says He'd Rather Be a Russian | Tristan Shields

When Your Uncle Says He’d Rather Be a Russian

When the political conversation gets uncomfortable, what I hear most from Trump lovers is: “Shut up and Sing.”  Like the Dixie Chicks said, “freedom of speech is fine as long as you don’t do it in public.” As a singer, I don’t discriminate. I enjoy performing for everyone who comes to my shows or watches my videos. However, I don’t tolerate bullying at a show, a bar or on the internet. And we shouldn’t tolerate it in our political discourse.  Besides, saying “shut up” isn’t a political position. It’s acting like a bully.

I know feelings are extreme with some groups, and logic seems abandoned, but we can’t meet crazy with silence. On the campaign trail last year, most Republicans were very cordial and open-minded. But I did run into other people. People who tore up my business card in front of me, refused to shake my hand, one guy even made a cross with his fingers to ward me off (I explained I wasn’t a vampire so that wouldn’t work).

I firmly believe people NOT participating in our political discussion is how we got into this toxic situation in the first place. It’s how Donald Trump got to be President and how Corey Stewart got the Republican nomination for Senate right here in Virginia.

We can’t be bullied into being quiet about politics just because someone doesn’t like what we’re saying. I’ve heard “shut up and sing” enough in my life.  In the age of discomfort, we all need to be okay with being uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is not a reason to be silent.  Discomfort alerts us to what needs to be changed.

Throughout human history, enduring hardship has been viewed as noble. I think it’s appropriate to say Democrats, especially in rural areas in the past twenty years, have been experiencing political hardship. In the olden days, hardship was just considered part of life. Today, we think the opposite. We always look for the shortcut to comfort. The reality is there is no easy solution to fixing incivility, discrimination, and hate.  The only option is VOTING to put leaders into office who will do the right thing, regardless of ideology.