“Every nation gets the government it deserves.” – Joseph de Maistre
I came home from work last night to a placid, “Trump is winning.”, from my girlfriend. Her face was a mask of nervous incredulity that she normally only brings out on special occasions – when something is too wrong to process in real time.
Me, being the accidental Buddhist that I have become (evidently due to a lifelong detachment to material objects, and a premature hallucinogen-induced acceptance of mortality) did my best to make sense of the situation and quell any of her pervading fears.
In my own paranoid mind’s eye that I still harbor from spending formulative years in an America under a cloak-and-dagger regime that left us all with a lot of unanswered questions, insurmountable debt, and a crippled reputation, I was under the impression that the election was scripted as a means to plant Hillary Clinton in the White House. After all, who in their right mind could vote for somebody so outwardly misogynistic? So over-the-top? So buffoonish? There was no way for him to be considered a legitimate candidate. There was no way for him to be taken seriously as front runner. There was supposed to be no way for him to win.
And that’s what I thought. I honestly believed that the “shadowy overlords” and “the powers that be” wrote this election out in a way that was to make everyone squirm to the very end, until, lo and behold, the final count brought out Mrs. Clinton as the new leader of the Free World, sabotaging her most-contested Democratic rival in the process. And if that is the case, what does it say about those tactics? The DNC downplayed and possibly bought off the one person in the Democratic Party who had an easy chance of beating Donald Trump and in the process, sabotaged their own party. And look where it’s landed us. The worm has turned and jumped the shark. Many a good men are rolling over in their graves.
I woke up this morning one minute before my alarm to the news that things didn’t turn out as I had predicted. Life is not a movie. Things happen when people take action. And I find comfort and purpose in that.
There really isn’t a whole lot for me to accept. I voted with what I felt and thought were the right choices. I didn’t vote for any of the presidential front runners. Not because I don’t understand what it means to vote against somebody (my more politically involved friends have been telling me for months that the ball is already rolling in the direction of a more Social Democracy, and a Clinton White House would only cater to the sway of the popular tide). But when I stopped to think about her involvement in Libya, and her desire to further interfere in Syria, the idea of having to explain to a small child in Aleppo, who just had his home blown up and family taken away from him due to collateral damage, that I put my name down somewhere saying that I thought the person responsible was the right person for the job? It was enough to make me feel like John Proctor, refusing to sign his dignity away on an admission of baseless guilt and instead embracing his own demise. I may have tossed the misconception that this is a free country, but I will slam dance in as much wiggle room as I can find. I scrolled down to the “Write In” option. I turned the wheel until I wrote the only name I felt comfortable putting my own name behind, double-checked my spelling, and hit the Enter button. And there it was, printed in black in white: Bernard Sanders.
Some may say that I threw my vote away. And you have every right to. That’s how Democracy works.
And I have to admit, I’m not really all that surprised. The more you know about the history of this country, the more you’ll understand that racism, exclusion, xenophobia, greed, and misogyny have more often been the rule than the exception. And you have to remember that the majority of people in this country don’t live in big cities. Most people in this country don’t leave their hometowns, or they don’t venture far from them. They stay in areas that are familiar to them, with people they’ve known their entire lives. The idea of interfacing daily with people from different walks of life, with different orientations, beliefs, values and views doesn’t play into their modus operandi.
What does appeal to them is maintenance and tradition: “Don’t take my job, don’t take my stuff, and don’t tell me how to be.” And in that, we might see that we are more alike than those from who we have been convinced of our difference. When you spend your entire life in relative peace and seclusion, secure in your idea of “God and Country”, but suddenly there’s a bombastic man, who is your very idea of success, telling you that strange people are coming from a dirty place to take what is yours, and suddenly there’s “girls-who-think-they-are-boys” and “boys-who-think-they-are-girls”, and they want to sit on the same public toilet as you? Meanwhile there are Bolsheviks bayoneting infants straight out of their mother’s drug-addled wombs. It’s the same as saying that when I went grocery shopping this morning, I should have expected to see Neo-Nazis curb-stomping mixed race children, firing anti-aircraft weapons in the parking lot, whilst Toby Keith blared from a frighteningly large diesel pickup truck with a live whooping crane chained to the exhaust. But there wasn’t any of that. Just the usual mixed bag of humanity that I’m used to encountering in the aisles of the Allandale H.E.B.
It’s just more of the same “Us Against Us” rhetoric that I have been warned about my entire life. And now it’s led us to a place we would have thought of as unthinkable 24 years ago. Like it or not, we share this country with people who do not share the same values. And the more we belittle and ostracize one another, the longer we will remain in a state of schizophrenic divisiveness.
We have now become the weird, unpopular kid in our middle school, who puts on a crazy outfit or styles their hair into some wacky, abstract thing as a means to garner attention. At first, some of the kids in the cafeteria look over and say, “What did you do?!” And we allow ourselves to sit back and bask in some long-sought validation.
That never comes. At least, not to the degree that you were hoping.
Sure, some of the other kids might stop and compliment you, and more kids will just look at you like what you are: desperate and confused, grasping for meaning and acceptance.
The rest will do what they’ve always done: ignore you. A couple of cursory glances due to the change in scenery, but other than that, they don’t have time for you. They have shit to do.
And until we get cracking and start sorting out our own affairs like the rest of those kids, our collective identity crisis is not going to end anytime soon.
Be nice to each other, hold on tight and keep your eyes peeled.
Namaste, mother fuckers.