Still Not Ready to Make Nice

“…And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another—that is surely the basic instinct…”  Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tuscon

General apathy around politics is my norm. I do my civic duty, voted in every election since of age. Win or lose I get behind my country. I support my government; work hard, pay taxes, and suffer the ever-changing consequences of our healthcare system.

“Have hope” I’m instructed. I don’t. I had it, in my country, in “We the People”. It got Trumped.

“How many of my smart, educated, and competent (dare I say more qualified) female friends feel this election is eerily familiar to our daily lives in corporate America?!” posited a friend. “Hells Yes” reply rose from my gut. There’s an accepted level of sexism in this election. I grieve ground lost. Less change has elapsed than I’d disillusioned. My complacency complicit, lost in our incremental progress.

Before you react with…Don’t. You may not, but I work in a male dominated field. Finance one of the few bastions of the old world. In a country that made Martha Stewart an example for insider trading. When with frequency male counterparts walk.

Young females I know announce they didn’t vote for Hilary because she’s a woman. They voted solely on her qualifications, the better of two candidates. Young hopefuls fighting for utter equality inside a perceived sameness. I applaud their world of gender neutral language.

I’m a hybrid feminist, somewhere between my bra burning mother and the younger hopefuls, fighting for equanimity because and despite our differences. Men and women are not the same. We should however be treated as equals with the same opportunities. The lack of a female commander-in-chief is shameful.

We can argue Hilary’s emails, in whose pockets she lives, whether she is a criminal, agree she represents the old guard, the status quo. We can argue corruption of both sides till breathless, neither of us budged. But at the end of the day, Hilary is immensely qualified, more so than most preceding candidates and far above Trump.

As a friend proclaimed, “for God’s sake we chose a reality TV star.” She voted third party. Many of you will attest again and again he’s a “businessman. If he can run a corporation, he can run a country”. And I agree his lack of political ties was a huge asset. But I still say we elected a bigoted, racist, extremist, chauvinistic reality TV Star and businessman with questionable scruples and a history of bad dealings.

Hilary wasn’t ideal. Like many tough women she lacks tangible warmth, a fallible humanity, vulnerability. I’d argue she was “too” prepared. Then again this is the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t double edge sword powerful women climbing the ladder bear. Ambition and drive are often penalized in women seeking power.

Nor was she my selection as the first female president; give me a Condoleezza Rice to vote for. Here’s why, I’d prefer a woman not already tied to the white house through a man; a woman never subject to the disgusting implications of getting there any way but on the coattails of her own elbow grease. Oh yes I’ve heard this said more than once, that she “slept her way to the top”. I yearn for a woman not asked to answer for her husband’s actions. I yearn for a country where it isn’t even an issue. But she was the democratic candidate put forward.

Many are in the Bernie-would-have-won- Camp. I believe a 75-year-old with socialist leanings, woven of strong moral fiber and integrity, would have been slaughtered. This feeling intensified following election results. I’ve lost the faith I had in humanity going in. The divide between us is far greater than I’d feared.

Nor will I blame those, on both sides of the divide, that voted their third-party conscience and god help the abstainers. I believe it’s careless. Whether you like it or not we’re a two-party system. If you were forced to choose only one of two candidates the numbers would be shifted. That goes for those that did not turn out to the polls.

Staunch Republicans I know voted 3rd party with a cavalier belief that their vote was irrelevant, a truth perhaps in this Blue Nation state. They were shocked by the outcome, but awake to the possibility that this become a reality-call to the Fed-up masses. I do not hold their optimism.

We as a nation deserved better choices. No one disputes that. I would argue it’s time to change our voting system. Abolish the Electoral College people proclaim. Is it still relevant in our nation with such contested elections? Better yet I say keep the electoral and allow for multiple candidates from the same parties on the ballot. Take the top 4 candidates of the primaries. Because the Electoral College in a two-party system demands triangulation, any psychologist can counsel of that destruction. If anything, this outcome decries a need for systemic change. This divide not easily remedied.

This is a country divided by racism and sexism. 94% of Black women voted for Hillary. For them she was the obvious choice. They stand at a unique “misogynoir-istic” intersection of racism and sexism. Crushed between the two most ferocious pillars of national hate, underappreciated for their contributions, while equally ignored for the challenges that oppress them, they stood their ground.” ¹ I stand with them.

Our nation’s Political Correctness has become a type of evangelicalism, even to someone working to respect others, actively listen and learn. Trump in all his vitriol spoke to a repressed nation. One that no longer wants to be careful around what they say. That despite the nature of Trumps’ words felt a spark of identity or sadly outright think the same way. This scares me.

I see the fulcrum’s tipping point. This invitation has giving rise to the hatred lurking under the veneer of civility of far too many citizens. As Neal Gabler put it, an electorate voting for a man “who legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power” ². Now how will we coexist? When decorum, respect and civility seem lost.

Not all the friends I have who voted for Trump are not uneducated, entitled, nor mindless bigots. Many would argue they chose what they saw as the lesser of two evils. Others reasons personal to their lives. I would respectfully disagree.

There is a backlash of liberals, pushing at “whitelash”, demanding Trump voters justify their actions, make apologies to their LGBT+, Black, Latino/a, Muslim and female friends. I will do no such thing. This is the freedom of the country under whose flag we live. I don’t always like it. Our freedom of speech is, in my opinion being abused. There is little very consequence for what we say. But like it or not even hate is protected speech.

I’m mortified that this is our electorate’s choice, that we as a nation wanted to see hate speech at the helm. Personally, I detest needing to explain this man’s vomit to the world and to our children. We as a Melting Pot deserve better. We as one Nation must embrace all our citizens, none of us are the same.

Many of the unheard felt the media sought to tell us how to think. So many were afraid to admit they were voting for Trump as evidenced by the polls. The media flamed this, fed the media monster mogul. The backlash made him the underdog, rebellious free choice, the voice of the electorate.

That’s a tragedy. Since we as a nation, voted in a man who attacks people based on their racial and religious heritage, a man who denigrates woman, a man who espouses violence. This is a man whose bigotry fed pernicious stereotypes: biased Mexican judges, silenced Muslim wives, poor black-tenant-trouble-makers, well-meaning white supremacists, and foreign-born presidents, while seeking office.

And to my dismay the number of people that identify in our country is substantial. And even worse, are those willing to get behind him just to force change. I believe he was the wrong choice. If only we collectively said, “You’re fired!”

I clearly see a disenfranchised populace. The people have spoken with a giant middle finger to the establishment, choosing change at any cost. A large portion of our country having felt marginalized, left out and let down by their leaders by a system that’s remained unchanged. They saw a way out and made their voices heard. And here we stand with an all Republican helm. To me, that is a resounding message beyond Trump’s election to the highest office in our nation. The next four years could be constitutionally affected.

Unlike the Speaker of the House would like to claim, there was no mandate here. We are a country very divided. You may not have elected Obama. Or felt he represented your politics for the last 8 years. Luckily for you he was hand-tied by the other branches of office, own feet dug in, shame on our governmentally elected leaders. This was a dereliction of duty. Luckily for you he is not a megalomaniac malefactor.

A young Hispanic man during the election shared he felt the Latino vote went to Trump due to his leaning towards the pro-life platform, fearing Hilary’s rulings on abortion and her appointments to the Supreme court. His vote representative. I sickened to old rumblings.

Following the election, a woman’s fears ignited in needing an IUD. Finding a method of birth control before her pill coverage is revoked. Planned Parenthood was always my safe zone for affordable options and care back when my government deemed it an out of pocket expense. She is anti-abortion yet pro-choice, unconcerned if our nation’s laws reversed. She will never have an abortion, so it matters to her not.

Roe versus Wade will never be overthrown I hear regularly from my Republican friends. That’s about as assuring as hearing Trump would never be President. Perhaps your stance is overturn is long overdue, it is murder after all. I’m oft told voting, this issue in mind, is reckless, a vote wasted. To me it is personal, an issue for which I’d die fighting, one worth revolt. Even sans uterus, my body will never be legislated.

I’ve lived in this country when Republicans ruled, abortion clinics were bombed. In the late 80s, early 90s people I know were murdered and the overturn of Roe V Wade a looming possibility, acts of domestic terrorism a consistency. The young woman that marched on Washington back then cringes at a world that believes pussy grabbing misogyny and discrimination of any sort should reign.

This morning I feel her waking up. A fire reignited deep within, one I haven’t felt in nearly 30 years. “The world will not be destroyed by those who do no evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”. Mr. Einstein, I am ready to fight if needed. The memory of a world to which I will never return is prescient.

As always I will get behind my country and work to create the world in which I want to live. I have been reawakened devoid of my apathy. I stand ready, bow taunt, prepared to act in full alignment of my personal core values.

I can only hope our government will do the same. I can only hope that Trump doesn’t enter office and begin building walls and repealing the ACA and Dodd-Frank. I can only hope he sees the opportunities for change in the systems we’ve begun to build and seeks to improve upon them, to create better models. And that our checks and balances do their damn jobs.

2 thoughts on “Still Not Ready to Make Nice

  1. “Roe versus Wade will never be overthrown I hear regularly from my Republican friends. That’s about as assuring as hearing Trump would never be President.” Being someone who has enjoyed the benefits of Roe v Wade (taking my choice to reproduce or not reproduce for granted), this scares me above all else. I don’t think Trump actually cares, but Mike Pence does. He would love to turn this country into a theocratic patriarchy. Trump won the presidency (providing all the electors vote as expected) but I don’t believe he ever really wanted to BE president. He just wanted to win. That in and of itself is pathetic: that anyone could have so little respect for the office to just see it as a prize, nothing more. Anyway, I’m rambling. This old gal is rallying herself to fight the fight again, once I get over the shock of having to fight it again.

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