Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Mortem Day 2

It is finished and America has spoken.

Well, at least 47.5 % of eligible voters who decided to vote have spoken. 47.7% of them also spoke, for the other gal.

Those of you who "held your nose" and voted for Donald Trump? I have one question: how do we define whether or not he has succeeded? And if all of the things we fear come to pass, what will you do?

Alas, I’m hearing from folks now, and I truly appreciate the private messages, texts and emails asking me how I’m doing. I really do. Thank you.

Here’s how I’m doing. I’m vacillating. Yesterday was tough and at the oddest moments I would find myself starting to cry. A few times I had to bend over, feeling as if I would be sick. It reminded me of the early days after losing my parents. No, I’m not trying to be melodramatic. For those of you who can’t seem to understand how the “other side” feels, I can only say that when it comes to civil rights and the constitution some of us feel pretty strongly. The “crying binges” would occur when I would consider various aspects of our domestic and international laws and relationships that are going to be forever impacted by this man.

Today, though, I’m feeling two things. Apathy and anger.

Anger at the dozens of people we reached out to who did nothing but, today, are freaking out. Shades of 2012 and 2014 Kansas elections loom, when so many of us spoke out, yelled, shouted, wrote, begged and predicted the dismantling of the State of Kansas by Sam Brownback and his ultra-right minions in the Statehouse. Only roughly 64% of Kansans voted in the 2012 election and only 51% voted in 2014. That means only half of registered voters put Sam Brownback back into the Governor’s mansion. C’est la vie….

That was the year I decided to step back from Kansas politics. My patience for apathy, particularly when those complaining the loudest don’t step up, is slim.

The same thing is happening now. Many of those gnashing their teeth and lashing out on social media did nothing. In fact, some of the Kansas Democratic Party’s top leaders blatantly kept quiet on the Presidential race. You know who you are.

So now you want to know what to do. You are worried. You are terrified for the future of our children.

So am I. So WAS I. So were the thousands who made phone calls, canvassed, donated and spoke out.

It does little good to cry after the fact. The work has to happen BEFORE the election.

Which leads to my own apathy.

Donald Trump told us what he is going to do. He shouted it from the rooftops.

He will dismantle the EPA.

He will appoint justices like William Pryor, who believes Roe V. Wade is the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” and who opposes Miranda warnings. Scalia’s open seat is just the beginning. The court’s two oldest justices are liberal and I highly doubt Justice Ginsberg lasts until she’s 91. That’s when the real changes will occur to civil rights, labor, environmental regulations, commerce, the First Amendment and, frankly, a checks and balances of the Executive Branch of the government.

Think Donald Trump won’t be able to do all of the things he says he wants to do, like require a religious litmus test to get into the country, build a massive wall, grab ‘em by the pussy, bomb the shit out of ‘em, and deport 11 million people? With Heritage Foundation picks from Trump sailing through confirmation hearings we may get exactly what he says he wants.

He will repeal the Affordable Care Act, immediately leaving over 20 million people without healthcare. I know, I know, you wanted that. I get it; the ACA is flawed but there are aspects of it which are vital to children and families in this country and the blame for flawed reform lies directly at the feet of our Congress for caring more about obstruction than getting it right the first time.

He will require generals to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS in 30 days. Because they’ve been just sitting back eating bon bons for the past ten years, I suppose? I’m wondering if it only took thirty days to plan the Normandy invasion. These things are so simple, you see.

He will pull support from international allies and disband trusted coalitions while withdrawing from all of our trade deals. What could go wrong?

I’m most excited, though, because he alone will fix the VA immediately, give China the “what for”, punish companies who outsource work (except for his own, I assume, not wanting to lose money on those “Make America Great Again” hats that are made in China) and construct an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.”

Oh, yeah, he’s also going to lock up his last political opponent.

Here’s the thing – 47.5% of eligible voters want these things. All of those voters somehow believe that we are worse off than we were when Barack Obama had a massive economic crisis dropped in his lap back in 2008. I REMEMBER those early years. Things are so vastly better now. It’s fascinating to me when today I hear people say Obama made things worse, many of whom just got back from vacation. Many of whom updated their homes recently or started a new business or bought a new automobile within the past few years. I raise my eyebrows when I see people on Facebook blast the President in one post and then, in the next, post photos of their recent social outing laughing and spending money. I spoke with a business owner last night who indicated he had to vote for his business best interest because he is buckling under taxes. Ironically, we were standing in his new store with Mexican immigrants doing the labor.

So today my attitude is, you wanted it so now you’ve got it.

And when only about 60% of eligible voters in this nation cast a vote….and when only a tiny minority of activists take any action to help national and local candidates….well, you get what you get.

White women, white men, fear, a love of authoritarianism, apathy for the bigger picture, ignorance of the layers and domino effects involved in governing, and a mind-boggling and irrationally visceral and rabid hatred of an individual who has dedicated her entire life to public service along with laziness decided this election. What’s funny is that those same white men and women may be able to survive a Trump administration and a Trump Supreme Court. It’s the others I worry about. It’s the others who leave that gut punch feeling in my stomach.

What will be, will be. Today I am not hopeful. I am tired and resigned. Maybe tomorrow will bring a change of heart.

For now, though, American hit “drive” on this roller coaster. We’ve peaked that first hill and can’t get off. How the ride ends God only knows.