Dystopia Now

I’m in shock. I woke this morning up to find my familiar home adrift in an alligator-filled swamp. Where do I go from here?

Those of you who’ve been divorced will understand this feeling, that hollow thunk as the heavy realization lands on your guts. Someone I trusted, felt safe with, has just done something so out of character, so unforgiveable, that the marriage is irreparably rent.

Only it’s not my spouse, it’s my country. People I believed were smart, sturdy, good-hearted—they’ve voted like a pack of jeering twelve-year-olds, and they’ve elected the playground bully. My country is not what I thought it was. It no longer feels like home.

And the clown they’ve elected is abominably unqualified for the job. I pray that he gathers around him advisors with experience, education, and good will. So far, it’s not looking good.

When the smoke clears and we sweep up the debris, I’ll probably be OK. Even though the resultant stock market plunge will chew up large chunks of our safety net, my family won’t be out on the street. But I fear for my country.

Throughout my career as a teacher, I’ve promised kids that education was the key to a life with choices, opportunities, security. But now the reins have been grabbed by the kids who scoffed at school, who sneer at smart people, who think their white skin entitles them to stomp on anyone who doesn’t resemble them or toe their toxic line.

These are not my people.

And I have it easy: I’m white and, if not prosperous, at least in no immediate danger of losing my home or going hungry. Rabid packs of neo-Nazis aren’t likely to burn any crosses on my lawn. I can avoid the high-crime parts of town—I have that luxury. What about the people who are stuck there?

I’m an action-oriented person. I recover best from a dizzying blow when I can do something. It’s not in my nature to hunker down and wait. As disgusted as I am by the Trump voters, I recognize that they have some legitimate outrage. I don’t know how to fix meth-riddled Kansas, reality-TV-addled Louisiana, rusted-out Michigan—but I can reach out a hand in Tacoma. Divorce isn’t the answer here. Connection, dialogue, compassion—that’s our challenge during the next four years.

Right now, as I stare dumfounded at my computer screen, connecting Trump voters is the last thing I want to do. But there must be Republicans out there who still cherish the ideals of democracy, of opportunity, of respect for our fellow humans—even those who don’t look and act just like we do.

Please, God, let there be Republicans like that

5 thoughts on “Dystopia Now

  1. Roxy Turner

    Rhonda,

    I don’t think I’ve ever been more confused or disheartened. I have found myself unfriending or avoiding people that I have previously liked and respected, but that I had a strong suspicion (or hard evidence) of being Trump voters. I unfriended people not because they are overtly racist or mysogynist, but because I didn’t feel comfortable expressing how deeply awful this feels to me in front of them. They don’t get it.

    They (and I use “they” deliberately) may have been financially damaged due to changing technologies – not government policies. They voted selfishly with their pocketbooks, and not with compassion for the even lesser advantaged.

    They may have voted out of a misguided religious belief that restricting access to women’s health services will reduce the abortion rate. It won’t.

    They may have voted believing that the sexual predations of “he who should not be named” are cancelled out by the spouse of his opponent. Everyone should be judged by their own behavior. If Hillary chose to stay with her unfaithful husband, it’s nobody’s business but her own.

    They voted against the affordable care act, not realizing that someday they or a family member will have a pre-existing condition and be denied coverage.

    They voted with the idea in mind that by keeping others down and out, they will rise above. They won’t. Not in ways that matter.

    They are wrong and they infuriate me.

    I haven’t figured out how to channel the rage yet, but I will.

    Reply
  2. The Widow Badass

    As a Canadian who has also been speaking with folks in Europe, please be assured that we join you in your shock and dismay. You are not alone in this, as Americans. We can’t let hate triumph over love. Hang in there.

    Reply
  3. Stephanie Faris

    I’m right there with you. The same expert who predicted he’d win a few months ago just predicted he won’t last four years–he’ll be impeached, that guy said. I can also see him resigning once he realizes the job doesn’t let him run everything. (President has to do a LOT of cooperating and listening to others…not things Trump is so good at!) So there’s that. But it IS very scary. His volatile personality and Nationalist stance has me worried we’re going to make enemies of the rest of the world and end up at war…or worse. We haven’t been in fear of a nuclear threat for quite a while…

    Reply

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