Perhaps you are familiar with Margaret Atwood's novel A Handmaid's Tale. If you are not, I strongly advise you read it. Consider as you do so that it was written in 1985, a little over thirty years ago. Also, consider how closely those themes run to that which is espoused by the supporters of Donald Trump. The parallels are fundamentally disturbing. I could devote a whole post to this, an analysis of the book, and how it seems that people have taken it as an instruction manual. (I feel as though similar arguments can be made regarding George Orwell's 1984.) This, however, is not the purpose of my post this evening.
I have spent my day attempting to make sense of the apparent madness that is unfurling. Yes, some would argue that I am presenting a hysterical (in a decidedly unfunny sense) picture of things. Many who would decry my position as hysteria would have declared a woman who was of a mind to exercise her rights as suffering from hysteria back when it was considered a legitimate diagnosis. I pay them little heed but I do give them a small bit of time in my thoughts, to consider them scornfully and with great loathing. Given a casual assessment of what has been reported via social media alone, there has been a stark uptick in violence in both word and deed on the basis of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. I have not seen much in the way of reports of such things against people who are disabled but I would not be surprised by this.
This behavior does not behoove us as the descendants of statesmen such as the ones who ironed out the principles that lead to the development of the Consitution of the United States. Or does it? Thomas Jefferson, famed for penning the cherished Declaration of Independence, argued that a white man was of greater value than a black man, specifically slaves. It was known as the 3/5ths compromise. It is a shameful chapter in the history of this nation, among many. Just because our ancestors (both ideological and literal) behaved in a manner that denied the humanity of their fellow people and promoted hatred against them, it does not mean that we can do so as well.
We are supposed to improve upon what was done by they who came before us. The Civil Rights act of 1866 was supposed to rectify the gross errors of our government and people. The Civil Rights act of 1964 was supposed to rectify yet more of those gross errors. This is but one example of how we were supposed to improve and propel our nation towards a more just place wherein all citizens enjoy the protections and liberties explicit and implicit that came by virtue of being part of this nation. And yet, what have we done in electing Donald Trump? We have taken a step backwards.
Still, perhaps we were not as forward thinking as we wished to tell ourselves and present ourselves to the world at large. Donald Trump tapped into a deep vein of hatred that runs through this nation. I can not say this is a great nation. I have not been able to say that for over a decade now. And I think that when I said it when I was younger, it was out of ignorance and believing the pretty stories we told ourselves about how good we are. I suppose one good thing to come out of the horrendous train wreck that has been this election cycle is that the seething, putrid wash of hatred that was fermenting beneath the surface has been revealed.
It has revealed how brother has turned against brother and the way that people wish ill upon others for merely existing. Some are concerned that we are a heartbeat away from a civil war. Others are afraid that the country is headed to ruin, with the likelihood of greater warfare happening within months of Donald Trump being sworn into office. In the meantime, no less than eleven people committed suicide within the last 24 hours with fear that they would have been murdered because of their status as part of the LGBT+ community. And this is only what I am aware of through my relatively small social circle. Gods only know what the final tally will be when sunrise comes tomorrow. I have lost count of how many people relating how they have been harassed and threatened with violence on the basis of their beliefs, their apparent racial background, and their gender presentation. This is but the tip of the iceberg that the good ship America has run into.
I will not attempt auguries to divine what manner of disaster awaits us. My heart can not stand that. I have spent my day feeling sick and horrified. I have been afraid for friends of mine who have moved from being in an abstract position of danger to one of real danger because Donald Trump's ascension has emboldened the people who threaten them. I sit here and question what I can do to oppose this rising tide of fascism. Do not let anyone tell you that this mess is something different. It is perhaps by the perversity of the Divine's humor that the election was decided upon the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
I don't know if I will need to make plans to hide friends from some manner of governmental oppression. I don't know if I should carefully consider how to present as something I am not to ensure the safety of my children. I don't know where this leads. I only know that nothing good comes of this. I know this in my bones. I fear for the future. People who are dear to me have tried to assure me that the apathy that has run rampant through this country will insulate us from the greater dangers that lie about us. I question this assertion. When not even a full day after this man has won the race people are having their very lives threatened with impunity, I suspect that apathy will not save us. If anything, it will be further damnation.
I do know this, I will find away to stand against this. I will find away to resist the hatred. And, when the day is done, I will do my best to ensure that my children and the generations that come after them live in a nation that is closer to being more just and humane. Or at least die trying. Because sometimes, the war that is fought is in our hearts and minds, not with guns and forces of might. I will not be silenced.
So, save me a sunny spot on the wall. And I am sure we will have good company to hang in chains with if all things truly go to hell.