WARNING: UNCHARACTERISTICALLY PERSONAL POST!!!
I don’t know about you, but Trump’s victory was kinda traumatic for me. Alternating between anger, sadness, numbness, and anxiety, it was by far the worst night I’ve had in a while. Trump and I agree on nothing that I consider important. Now, a candidate that doesn’t represent me in the slightest is not usually a problem for me. It has happened with Bush, Senator McCain, Newt, and the like. It’s not personal, says I, they’re just out-of-touch dudes playing the game. I just make sure to vote like a mofo and call it a day. No big whoop. However, a Trump victory made me downright sick. The level of hate from his more vocal supporters and the Libertarian camp made me hurl in my mouth a little. Seriously, the man has a talent for bringing out the worst in people. One side chanting “lock her up” and the other side responding with equal vigor. Friends who used to tolerate the fact that I’m practically a commie now spat nasty comments at me online. They weren’t talking to me like I was supporting Hilary, but rather like I was Hilary and I needed to take her beating by proxy. It was like We the People had this itching, subcutaneous hate simmering inside of us and Trump was our pressure valve. What Unfollow button or option to not read the post? Being a troll was the new black. (Fuck you people, by the way. I’ve read the famous studies on compliance and social pressure to play a role, but the Nuremberg defense can only take you so far. Using someone you claim to care about as a punching bag because you have pent-up political frustrations makes you an asshole, not some anti-political correctness warrior for truth. It is not the other person’s problem that you decided to go off about something they posted. Your lack of impulse control says more about your mental and emotional state than your actual connection to the issue. Nobody pulled your strings. You decided to prioritize your need to be nasty over your friendship at that moment. You made the choice to act like that, so own it.) The apparent vitriol creating an anti-Hilary blind spot was often more than I could take and it was freakin’ everywhere!!! There were several questions to be answered, such as:
How did this happen?
If David Duke got disqualified for being, well, David Duke, then how did someone who’s pals-y wals-y with him not get weeded out?
Anyone else remember the time when a rape charge, questionable endorsements from dictators, and nasty comments that alienate much of a candidate’s potential constituency would take one out of the running?
If this man appears to mock and discredit a lot of things I am and/or find important, what’s my world going to be like?
Doesn’t Trump’s key fan base know he’s going to get rid of the government programs they use everyday, if he has his way?
How will this affect my female, GLBTQ, non-Christian, disabled, on Medicare, etc. friends and family?
…And then, in a particularly masochistic moment, I get on Facebook, only to read several versions of the same post. These posts were pretty much written by several versions of the same person–sheltered, middle class women who sheepishly admitted to voting for Trump. The gist was always:
“We need to come together. Love, light, and unity. Maybe Trump won’t be that bad and we’ll all be happy again.”
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! Lady (for the most part), I have spent the last 18 months of my life feeling spit on by supposed friends and loved ones to the point where I don’t want to express myself or socialize. It happened to the point where I started to question whether having a diverse friend group really was good for me anymore, then I started to feel guarded and unwilling to go around my Trump-supporting friends. It was too draining. Outwardly, I was becoming a person I didn’t like just to protect myself… and that was before the man won the election. I got kinda pissed after the third or fourth such post and responded with something like: “Yes. And I can visit my non-Christian, nonwhite, and non-cis gendered friends at their respective concentration camps. We can all have lemonade and cookies and pretend we aren’t waiting for him to completely lose his shit on the world stage. The majority fucked up. Stop this gibberish.”
Okay, that was a little mean. Or a lot mean. I feel bad, but was totally blocked when I went to apologize. Sorry. I think they meant well, but what those benevolent Republican women didn’t get was how badly not being a star-bellied Sneech (see the Dr. Seuss book on social pressure) could have affected the rest of us. Yeah, it was tone deaf and waaaayyyy too soon. After I calmed down a little, I considered joining the unity camp because they’re basically okay. I’d like to remember the things I had in common with my friends someday, but I think today’s not that day. I know coming together is the eventual goal, but honestly each of us needs a little time. Maybe we need that time to be angry. Maybe we need it to sob. Or maybe we need to do the technicolor yawn after a really bad night at the buffet (or bar). But we each need to do it in our own way and it needs to involve self-reflection. Telling us all to come together right now is more about you needing to avoid conflict, rather than making an observation about what’s best for everyone. I’ll get there, just on my time. In the meantime, I have to ask myself the following (perhaps y’all should do the same):
What about me has changed during this process? Am I okay with it?
What about me do I want to change back or into something else entirely?
What was my part in creating this?
What is the worst part of this for me?
What did Trump come to represent to me?
What am I willing to do to make this situation more livable?
Is this new direction compatible with my old friends and beliefs?
After I get that right, then maybe I can deal with helping you bridging the great divide. Till then, please give the rest of us a moment of silence.
Okay. I’ll go back to reading tarot cards now. I’ll try not to do this again.