Well, America, I thought you were just curious with those dystopian films and tv shows you loved to watch: zombie plagues, Nazis winning WWII, a post nuclear disaster earth. It wasn’t just curiosity, though. You really wanted to see it all blow up. And so here we are, observing our elected prime snake oil salesman ascending unimpeded to the presidency. These are the dark days of Joffrey Baratheon, let’s not kid ourselves. The man we’ve placed at the helm of the mightiest military industrial machine is megalomaniacal, thin skinned, with no actual, actionable policy to speak of, unless they be disastrous ones. He will react, and he will react horribly, to the smallest slight, to perceived challenges and criticism.
You gave up a chance for Tyrion, America, a pragmatic, political being who chose possibility over idealism and who brokered a deal or two you might not have wanted, but whose record of time in office and platform speak to an awareness of the needs of the world and a willingness to alleviate them. But rather than a charming, cool dwarf, this Tyrion is a woman, and maybe she seemed a bit shrill, and so you checked all her emails and made her do repeated walks of shame while you give a free pass to a policy free, failed salesman who commits treason and rapes you in plain sight.
By every major metric, the Obama years have been years of stability and recovery, in jobs, in good will and standing around the world, in inclusiveness, in progress, even if less than we’d hope for, on slowing down climate change. But this was just too boring, you wanted to be brought back to those years when we had a blundering idiot president splintering the world, plunging us into irrecoverable debt, fracturing the good will we had as an attacked, aggrieved nation.
I suppose I too, am you, America, but it doesn’t feel that way right now. I am gut punched by this decision. I am not a citizen, but the high school green card carrying Vietnamese refugee who was told to “go back to China, chink” in the streets of my beloved city, Boston, so many years ago. And how I feel is a but a small fragment of how those of us who are immigrants to this country feel right now.
I’d imagine, too, that some Republicans, the real Republicans, the ones that are reasoning beings, that are not sexist or racist demagogues, are also aggrieved at what this election has wrought, even if they got their man. I hope so. If I were they, I’d be terrified. The center has not held. The party has fully disconnected with reason; it has become the house of the screaming, ranting, misogynistic, xenophobic, lunatic mob, the gleefully uneducated. The party of Lincoln is now the party of Trump, an inconceivable distance to have plummeted.
The political pendulum seems to swing regardless of apparent inertia, direction, or momentum. No pollster or political operative fully saw this one coming, or can predict what’s ahead. That’s perhaps one hard lesson I’ve learned from this election.
I don’t know the trajectory of the pendulum’s motion either, but from my perhaps sheltered, limited perception, this was a violent snap reaction against a greater tide and narrative arc of progressiveness, inclusiveness, diversity. The demographics in America support this tectonic shift, even if in every shift there are violent reversions back the other way. Let’s not forget the only election the Republican party has won the popular vote in the last twenty four years has been the 2004 one, including this 2016 election. Hillary won the popular vote, America overall was ready for a woman president. If this had been decided as Brexit was, through sheer numbers, Hillary would be in that office. Thus this should not be the end of the hopes for a more inclusive, reasonable America. Far from it, the return back can occur much sooner than we think. I see you, Elizabeth Warren 2020.
My grief is eased somewhat with the messages of love and care from the facebook feeds of my friends, who encourage others to reach out, to support, love, and protect those who feel threatened by this presidency. I’m with them, as I was with her, and with Bernie, with Warren, even with the Republicans who voted against Trump because their moral compass wouldn’t let them do the unthinkable.
I do wish, though, that we would not just motivate through love. Let anger be our catalyst, too. We have a president elect who has played on hatred towards our Muslim and immigrant brothers and sisters. Let’s be angry about that. We have a vice president who has played on hatred towards our LGBT brothers and sisters. Let’s be angry about that. 50% of voting America is apparently ok with all that Trump has said and done, and the rest accepts it through silence. I am angry about that. Let the spectrum of all that we currently feel, our grief, love, fear, anger, move us to fight for those things we hold even more dearly to our hearts, knowing now how easily they can be lost. Unlike many other places in the world, we get another crack at it. In two years, we can politically check his power. In four, regardless of whatever sad state the world will be in, we can, and will, get rid of this orange buffoon for good.