It Did Happen Here

We took down our Clinton sign yesterday.

I accept what is. I’m beyond denial and bargaining. No Fairy Unicorn is going to swoop in and alter the Electoral College. No White Knight from the FBI is going to clap irons on the Trump cabal for back channel dealing with Russia. There is no miracle in the wings.

President Trump. Get used to it.

But even with acceptance, the anger and depression remain.

I’m angry at those who voted for an obvious fraud, a man of low morals and boundless greed, a man who plays footsie with racists and bigots.

I’m angry with a press corps that enabled this two-bit grifter in their quest for ratings, that spent more time and ink on Clinton’s email server than on every other policy issue combined. And today I am infuriated by exhortations that I should reach out to Trump supporters, to try to understand and respect their reasons for voting the way they did.

Well, I’m trying to understand. The respect part will have to wait for someone to articulate a reason that is not bound up in abject falsehood, logical fallacies, or outright racial animus. So far, not a single Trump voter I’ve listened to has even come close.

I am angry that such a simple choice was shrouded in overthinking and fantasy. It really should not have mattered who the Democratic nominee was. Decent people vote against a racist, misogynist, lying fear monger. Period. How goddam hard is that?

Back in 1991, when David Duke first took off his pointy white cap and ran for governor of Louisiana, convicted felon Edwin Edwards ran against him. The bumper stickers read: “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.” The voters understood. Anything was better than a Klansman. Edwards won.

This year, David Duke crawled out from his rock and ran for Senate. And endorsed Trump. And crowed that “Trump’s agenda is our agenda”. Trump winked and nodded and claimed to not know who David Duke was. The Klan endorsed Trump. The neo-Nazis, the alt-right, they endorsed Trump. Trump was Taking America Back, just like they have been trying to do all these years.

And the KKK is holding a Trump victory parade this weekend in North Carolina. In 2016. Welcome to Trumpland.

All this country needed to do was vote against the racist and his enthusiastic followers. That was apparently too much to ask. No matter the rationale, this is who the Trump voter endorsed:

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And these folks:

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I am angry because people I know, and people in my family, voted for these people. The rationale may be gussied up in talk about values, or economic insecurity, or because Obama was coming for their guns. Maybe people just don’t “trust” Hillary Clinton because emails something Benghazi. But that’s all noise masking the real signal: these voters, including many of my friends and family, have given the hate crowd a resounding thumbs up.

Worse: these knuckle draggers know it, and they are ready to act on their long-held and cherished beliefs about their “heritage”. The mask is off. The meanest among us need no longer fear the jackbooted thugs of political correctness, a term that seems to really just mean “don’t be such a dick to people”, but which the throwback crowd finds an intolerable intrusion on their God-given right to “say what they really mean”.

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Already, the first glimmers of life in Trumpland are coming into focus. It ain’t pretty. A rough beast has been set loose. School children are chanting “build that wall” in class. Children of color are being told to “start packing [their] bags” to “go back where you came from”. It’s happening right here, in my little island of liberal sanity. It’s happening all over the country.

My anger is impotent. Nothing about it feels empowering or productive. “We” are outnumbered and the balance of power is exaggeratedly against the values we hold dear. It just feels depressing. Their anger has been given license. A savage darkness is upon the land.

“Time” executed its annual “fall back” maneuver over the weekend. Not yet 5 p.m. and dusk is creeping in. The days are shorter. Trees are going bare, plants browning and withdrawing. The weather here in the Panhandle has turned decidedly brisk, dry and dusty with predominant cloudiness.

We are deep into the autumn, the season aka Fall, and there is a heartless winter close on its heels. It is the twilight of a year that has been filled with capricious cruelty from the start, laying low a parade of heroes and legends, a reaper’s roll call that framed this election with an appropriately morbid echo. This week, hope died for millions of people. It is the greatest loss yet.

Today is Veteran’s Day, a day where we thank those who have served for all they have sacrificed for this Nation. It’s a day to remind us that we have, collectively and historically, faced many dark hours and survived – some of us – to tell the tale.

It is also a day to recall that many did not survive, that some events are so benighted that we can be sure people will suffer and die. The calendar will cycle round, but I fear that the political climate is going to get much worse before it gets better. Coming off of eight years of actual progress, this is a bitter damn pill.

I hope I’m just being a drama king here. I hope that some spark of inclusiveness, tolerance, and kindness emerges in the nation’s Trumpian soul, but we know none of that is coming.

Wednesday evening we went out for a bite and found ourselves among friends (and not the Trump-voting kind). It reminded us that we are a part a very fine community, that we are not alone where we are. This is a comfort, not at all small. But it’s not enough to cocoon in our safe zones. Too many people out there do not have this luxury.

It falls upon us to expand our notion of community, to ensure that people who need a safe harbor know where to find one. To do what we can at the local level to work for social justice, to help protect our neighbors from cruelty. To call the powerful to account, and to put ourselves on the line in solidarity with people whose lives are on the line because 49 million people put them there.

This is our call.

I’m pissed.

I’m depressed.

But I am not beaten, motherfuckers. Who’s with me?

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