Last week, I worried that support for Donald Trump was much greater than anyone imagined, and that he might actually win the election. People attempted to assuage my concerns, and assured me that Hillary had this election nailed down. I’d respond, “I hope you’re right.” But the niggly, jumbly churning in my stomach remained.
Well, we all know how it played out. The niggly jumblies are now full-on nausea. Whenever I consider that a sociopathic megalomaniac has been elected president, I can taste the vomit rising. It’s surreal. I sometimes wonder if it’s all a bizarre nightmare, and surely I’ll wake up soon. But no. This is our new reality. A New World Reordered. The rubber band of social progress is stretched to capacity, trembling and poised to snap backwards five decades — back to when America was great because racism, sexism, and wanton destruction of the environment were normal and acceptable.
Gloom and doom? You bet. Worse. I’m in a state of actual grief, complete with middle-of-the-night waking… that moment of disorientation when you slowly remember someone has died and nothing will ever be the same; the dull ache in my chest, the sudden lack of interest in most everything; the urge to cocoon alone with familiar things… pets and books.
If you’ve ever grieved, you know that grief controls you, not vice versa, and there’s not much you can do but surf the waves of despair, hour by hour, and try to keep from crashing. Mundane activities like clearing out junk drawers or matching up all your socks can distract, but they cannot heal. Only time heals. You also know that those well-meaning but clueless numbskulls who pat us on the head and glibly point out that “Oh, she’s in a better place now!” deserve to be punched in the neck.
She is not in a better place.
The slickest con man in American history just grabbed Lady Liberty by the p—- — not merely because he’s a celebrity and he can, but because half the country just endorsed it. There’s the heart of my grief — not President Trump, per se, but the recognition that half the country is aligned with his values and not the ones I cherish: equality, compassion, tolerance, and embracing diversity. These American values will be systematically dismantled.
Too dramatic, you say? Well, let’s consider what happened the last time a Democrat won the popular vote but lost to a Republican (thanks to the infuriatingly unfair and antiquated Electoral College), and that Republican was gifted with a Republican congressional majority: an unprovoked war with Iraq that still hasn’t ended, the explosion of enmity with the Middle East, the collapse of the financial industry that triggered a horrific recession, loss of jobs and homes across the nation, and the near-death of the American auto industry. That’s what President Obama inherited, and now that we’ve nearly recovered, we’re poised to hand the whole Congressional henhouse back to the Republican fox. But this time, it’s not a fox. It’s a wolf.
Now, I was no fan of George W. Bush, who wasn’t brightest crayon in the box. Despite being in way over his head, he seemed to be a basically compassionate and decent person. Donald Trump is not. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and those who believe otherwise, well, your gullibility pains me. Oh, your shock and dismay when the big ticket items Trump promised never come to pass:
* There will never be a wall built between the U.S. and Mexico, let alone one paid for by Mexico. The entire notion is preposterous.
* There will never be a rounding up and categorization of Muslim Americans, because our Constitution forbids it.
* Hillary Clinton will not go to jail. She won’t be arrested, let alone convicted of a crime, and in our democracy, you still can’t be imprisoned without a fair trial.
That said, here’s what Trump — with a blank check from a Republican majority — can do:
* Appoint conservative Supreme Court justices that can overturn Roe v. Wade and gay marriage rights. Three Supreme Court justices are of retirement age. If a second or third opening on the court emerges, it will cement a radically right-leaning Supreme Court. Kiss social progress goodbye.
* Abandon the Paris Accord agreement, which seeks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and slow the effects of climate change. Without the U.S. on board, the Accord collapses. We are the biggest polluters, and if we’re not part of the change, there will be no change. Pack it up and go home.
* Dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, which puts protections in place to prevent another Wall Street collapse like the one in 2008. That act aims to prevent the domino effect of financial catastrophe that rocked our nation and the world, and caused the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
* Crush Obamacare. While all the righties dance on the grave of the Affordable Care Act, might they take a break from their celebrating long enough to yank the IV out of a working class cancer patient’s arm, toss him/her out the hospital door, and throw some change at him/her for a cab to the nearest mortuary. There are people who are alive right now because of Obamacare who will die if it’s taken away.
So, yes, I’m grieving, but I’m bitter, too. Very, very bitter.
To those who say, “Oh, it’s time to put it all behind us and come together as one” — screw you. I’m entitled to my grieving process. I’ll move past it when I’m damn well ready. And when I am, I will not lend my voice to cheer for President Trump or sing “Kumbaya” with those who helped elect him. I will instead shout in unison with everyone else who refuses to stand idly by as the wolf chows down on our Constitution, our democracy and our nation.
But first, I grieve.
— Email Debra DeAngelo at email@example.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com