A TIME OF DARKNESS
It's been a long time since this blog has been active. Since 2010, in fact. A lot has happened since then, and few would dispute the fact that we live in a very different world today than we did a mere six years ago. So now we've come to a point at which I feel the need to speak up, and this is my forum. I'm under no illusions about the effect, if any, that this blog will likely have - I know I'm likely ranting to myself and five of my friends - but I truly believe this is a time to stand up and speak out. My doing so is insignificant, but if hundreds or thousands or millions of us all stand up and make our voices heard, maybe we really can effect positive change.
So it’s been several days since the Election of 2016, and I still feel like I’ve woken up in a Twilight Zone episode. I’m convinced that the next corner I come around, I’m going to see Rod Serling standing there saying, “Picture, if you will…” I’ll admit that this hasn't brought out my “best self,” as my wife has pointed out, in my Facebook dealings recently, so I’m hoping that posting my thoughts this way will allow me to make the points I feel I need to make in a more calm and rational manner.
But the sad and brutal truth is that our nation has fundamentally changed. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, enough Americans voted against unity, against tolerance, and against human decency to put Donald J. Trump, perhaps the most unqualified, fact-challenged individual ever to throw his hat (the one that was made in China) into the ring, into the Oval Office. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that these are dark days, indeed.
I understand what the Trump-supporting electorate voted against - I get it that they were scared of a black man who they believed was going to take their guns away - but what’s truly disheartening is what they voted for.
They voted for the ability to break up families over immigration status. Imagine you’re an American-born woman who married an undocumented worker from Mexico and had several kids with him. For years you’ve both worked, paying into the system via sales tax, property tax, toll roads, gasoline taxes, and more. Now, all of a sudden, President Trump has your husband deported. You don’t know if you’ll ever see him again. Without his income, you can’t make ends meet. Because the Republican Party has gleefully cut SNAP benefits over the past few years, you’re not sure how you’re going to feed your children. But there’s an upside to this, right, because America? The people who voted for Trump must be sleeping better because this dangerous murderer/rapist/thief (in Trump’s words), with no criminal record and a history of working hard, has been jettisoned from the country. This is making America great exactly how?
They voted for the freedom to invalidate same-sex marriages because… what? Because they don’t like them? Because they’re “icky?” So now, those couples that simply want to bind themselves together monogamously (which is good, right?) and enjoy the exact same rights and privileges their straight friends enjoy (as is guaranteed in the Constitution, a document Conservatives claim to love and support) are going to be legally reduced to the status of second class citizen. Now America has told them that because they’ve fallen in love with someone that has the same plumbing as they do, that they aren’t entitled to all the rights that other citizens enjoy. And for what reason? Nothing compelling that I’ve ever heard. And creating a legally-mandated class of inferior citizens makes America great how?
They voted for the right to see women as nothing but sex toys and breeders, good for allowing men to satiate their desires and nothing else. Women exist so that they can be grabbed by their genitalia or humiliated on national television or, in the case of Kelleyanne Conway, clean up the mess a man makes. They voted to extend this legacy to their daughters and granddaughters, insuring that misogyny and sexual assault (protected by the “boys will be boys” defense) will survive, and college athletes will be free to attack and defile innocent women for years to come. Make America Rapey Again?
They voted for a man who openly mocks disabled people, some of the weakest and most poorly represented among us. As many of you know, my wife is disabled and in a wheelchair. For those of you that know Judy, would you allow someone to behave towards her the way Trump did against Serge Kovaleski, the reporter for the New York Times who suffers from arthrogrypopis, a congenital condition that affects the joints, and who called Trump out on his claim that he had seen "thousands and thousands" of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after 9/11? I’d hope not, but those of you that voted for Trump voted to support this kind of behavior, and this attitude that the disabled are fair game for mockery. Someone once said that the truest test of character comes in watching how someone treats the weakest among us. If that’s the case, what does Trump’s behavior say about him? But half the country voted for him anyway.
They voted to normalize the views of the Klan and the American Nazi Party and have now brought racism, homophobia, xenophobia, andintolerance out of the closet and into the mainstream, unleashing a tidal waveof hate speech – and action – across the nation. Yes, the First Amendment tells us that these groups get to have their say, and I fully agree with that, but now it’s become okay to take actions against others, emboldened by their presidential candidate who encouraged and supported violence against minorities at every turn.
They voted to roll back any progress made on climate change, to dismantle Medicare, and to bring back HUAC, because witchhunts and blacklists were so much fun in the 1950s. And if Trump has his way, the First Amendment will be rewritten, so that blogs like this are subject to prosecution. The latter isn't likely to happen, true, but that the President of the United States sees the media as something to be litigated against makes my blood run cold.
My wife is a better person than I am. Where I want to strike out and inflict that same pain and unpleasantness against Trump supporters that I feel they’ve inflicted on this nation, she feels we should accept the fact that Trump is our president, and should all rally behind him, just as we wanted Republicans and Conservatives to do over the last eight years. I’d like to be able to do that, I really would. She has a big heart, and although I know she’s not the least bit happy with our new reality, she’s counseling a course of peace and compromise. I’d like to think that we can get there, but I still have so much anger in my heart, I know I’m not going to be able to get there anytime soon. Perhaps keeping up with this blog will help.