Friday, November 11, 2016

Shocked



“Last night she said
Oh, baby, I feel so down
Oh it turns me off
When I feel left out
So I, I turn 'round
Oh, baby, don't care no more
I know this for sure
I'm walkin' out that door”

Last Night – The Strokes
“Haters mad for whatever reason.”
Rae Sremmurd - Black Beatles ft. Gucci Mane

This week one of the most significant events in American history occurred: Donald Trump was elected as our 45th President. This is, for many, a major shock. The word “shock” is not used lightly. People are genuinely shocked. For many, including me, it feels like a death. The night he won, I did not fall asleep until 2:00 a.m. When I woke up I felt like crying. I couldn’t even summon the motivation to go to the store and get some groceries. I just wanted to cry. My 10-year-old daughter did cry. My 13-year old, normally easygoing and concerned only for the moment, would not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. My 19-year-old said, “This is most significant thing that’s ever happened in my life. More significant than Obama’s election. More significant than Hillary’s nomination. More significant than my coming out.” All over the country people her age are rioting over the decision. I have mixed feelings about that, but it should be noted that there have been many riots in American history, but never one over the results of an election.
As I said, I was shocked. This morning I started to feel a little better until I saw Trump in the White House speaking with President Obama. Then I felt all the pain return.
Why is this so painful? Why are people so angry that they are rioting in the streets before Trump has begun Day One? Why is there so much division in this country?
It’s painful because of who Donald Trump has presented himself to be. He has declared his intention to build a wall to stem illegal immigration. He has directly insulted the following groups or members of the following groups: Blacks, Mexicans, the disabled, women, veterans, and Muslims. (By association, he has most likely alienated the LGBT community, as has his choice for a running mate, Mike Pence, who recommends “conversion therapy” for gays.) Consider these comments made on June 15, 2015 about Mexicans:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people who have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing crime. They’re bring drugs. They’re rapists.” (Then, almost as an afterthought:) And some, I assume, are good people.

In other speeches, he hinted about the size of his penis. He was discovered saying that he would grab a woman by her private parts. Of John McCain, a fellow Republican and a former Prisoner of War, Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” (Italics mine.) He alienated his own party before he had even won. He threatened to jail his opponent Hillary Clinton and said he might not accept the results of the election if he had lost. In every election since John Adams against Thomas Jefferson in 1800, the mudslinging and rhetoric have horrible. The word “unprecedented” is often used, but Trump’s words truly are unprecedented. Often candidates will say anything to rally their constituency, so a lot of Trump’s comments may (or may not) be bluster. But it gets worse.
The worst part, the part that has me shaking my head, the fact that everyone has seemed to ignore is that Trump has no political experience. None. He has never served in office or in the military. He does seem to manage well financially. He is a billionaire. He has gone bankrupt and some of his business dealings are suspect, but he is still extremely wealthy. But that’s it. He’s a businessman. He’s never served in an office and he’s not even a lawyer (the chosen profession for most Presidents). He seems to have displayed a lack of understanding of how the three-party system work by making promises like building a wall between the US and Mexico.
Yet, still he was elected President of the United States of America.
The final irony of all of this is that we have gone from eight years of relative peace and prosperity but it was not enough for many. Trump claimed we needed to “make America great again.” Perhaps no one remembers where we were as a country before Obama took office, with gas prices at about $5.00 a gallon, unemployment at about 11%, and in two wars. I’m not saying Obama made America perfect or that he has been the perfect President. But I don’t think the country is in as bad a shape as it was eight years ago.
Yet, still he was elected President of the United States of America.
Today, while walking down the street I saw an “I Voted” sticker on the ground. I felt a sense of sadness and a sense of irony. But when I picked it up (I hate litter) I felt a sense of hope. I voted and though I didn’t get what I wanted, I voted. I took part in the great democratic exercise. And during the next four years and in 2020, I can continue to do so. Perhaps we will be okay or perhaps things will go from bad to worse. But I won’t give up. I will Get Started and Keep Going for myself, my Muse, my daughters, and my country even though I am shocked.