Week before last, I was sound asleep, and suddenly jolted awake, shredded with anxiety. Those of you who don’t have an intimate personal relationship with anxiety may need some explanation: It’s one hyperventilated breath short of a full-blown panic attack. Your heart pounds, your breathing goes quick and shallow, your eyes flash open wide, and every muscle in your body is locked and loaded for fight or flight.
In the wee hours of that dark night, I lurched awake with a gasp and saw an apparition: Donald Trump’s face in a brightly colored square, floating across my visual field like a shimmering, sheer flag.
Was it really an apparition? The residual of a dream? I’m not sure, but I can tell you this: My trepidation over the concept of a Trump presidency is just that intense. But maybe my anxiety is out of control (again). It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
When I’m unsure if anxiety has taken over my brain’s reins, I do a reality check: I ask others if they’re feeling the same way. So, I made a Facebook post about my nightmare apparition, asking others if they were having nightmares too, or was just me.
It wasn’t just me.
A flurry of people “liked” the post and even more commented, nearly each one saying they’ve been plagued by nightmares and anxiety since Nov. 9. There’s some comfort in knowing I have plenty of anxious company, but on the other hand, if so many people are having the same experience on the astral plane of our dreams, together, in the heart of our collective unconscious … this can’t be good. It’s prescient, and it’s foreboding.
A few more days passed without any more nightmares, but this week, my anxiety started bubbling again. But I was fully awake this time, so I know exactly what triggered it: the report that Trump feels it’s unnecessary for him to participate in daily national security briefings. Yup, that did it. Our lives are in the hands of an individual who doesn’t have an attention span longer than a tweet, and if that doesn’t set your heart pounding and your brain spinning … what the hell is the matter with you?
So, I did a reality check on my first reality check, and posted, “Who else had screaming anxiety this morning?” That post got even more likes and comments than the first, and some were truly striking: “My heart feels flat.” “I am still in WTF disbelief.” “Numb and sickened… no sleep for weeks.” And so on, and so on, and so on.
In other words … our collective dread and horror over the impending Trump presidency isn’t decreasing, it’s escalating. And, the real issue isn’t that so many are feeling this way, it’s that we have no power to do anything about it. Sure, we can post on social media, we can march and protest, but barring a Christmas miracle in the Electoral College on Monday, the train we’re all on is hurtling full speed at the sheer rock of a looming mountainside. We all know what’s happening, and where we’re going, and as Inauguration Day approaches, we’re in that weird phase of a crash where everything goes into slow motion until just before impact, and then time snaps into hyperspeed, and boom … nothing but carnage and wreckage and… fade to black.
That’s one of my analogies for our current collective experience — the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. But, as opposed to We the People, I have a different analogy for what’s happening to our country itself: This ring of outrageously inappropriate people Trump is picking for his cabinet posts, people uniquely qualified to destroy the very departments they’re being placed in charge of — I imagine them encircling a woman. They’re leering, they’re taunting, they’re aroused, and there’s no question what sort of gang activity is about to happen.
The woman wears a long, flowing, toga-like robe and a crown of rays, and clings desperately to a torch and a tablet, as if like they’ll protect her.
The rapists will have their way with her, over and over and over, until she is nothing but a sobbing, broken, bloody pulp. Meanwhile, We the People are powerless to do anything but watch in horror. But here’s the thing: When the rapists are done with her, they’ll turn on us next. Not just the women, but the men too. And the children. The elderly. All of us. We’ll only exist for the pleasure of that small ring of brutes in power.
Only two things could prevent this scenario. One is a burst of integrity in the Electoral College on Monday — for enough electors to realize that Trump is not only spectacularly unqualified for the presidency, but also so enmeshed in his business dealings that he cannot legally hold office. The other is providence — for this impending situation to be so universally unacceptable, so catastrophic for the greater good of humanity, that God or Nature intervenes.
Will either happen? Will the so-called “faithless electors” do what’s morally and ethically right?
Will God and/or Mother Nature flip a switch on the track and turn the train away just in the nick of time? I’m hopeful … but also, not so much.
My perception of people is that the vast majority (including electors) do what benefits them personally. Those potential “faithless electors” know that if Trump is denied the presidency, it will trigger a Right Wing revolt, and those people fight with guns. The rest of us fight with poems and platitudes.
There will be blood.
And those electors don’t want to deal with it.
As for God and Mother Nature, well, I’ve observed that both tend to let happen what happens, for reasons of higher order than mere human minds can grasp.
So, barring that Christmas miracle, whether by humans or the universal forces, we’d better brace for impact, people… and say a prayer for that poor lady in the flowing robe.
— Email Debra DeAngelo at firstname.lastname@example.org; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com