Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Tarnished Silver Lining

So.  Philip Roth’s dream has come true.  Lindbergh has been elected president of the United States, and has appointed Henry Ford as his right hand man.  Just in case you haven’t read the book, Roth’s dream is a nightmare.

On Thursday, a week ago, we awoke to gloomy weather.  I attempted the following grief therapy:
- walked with my friend for an hour

- called about our health insurance, to find out if our daughter can remain on our plan after Jan 21st.  Broke down in sobs.  No answer because the health insurance provide does not make policy.

- called my pastor. She mainly listened to me sob, and then said some helpful things, mainly that this is a time to examine what are the values that Jesus espoused, and it’s time to stand up for what is right.   

- finished reupholstering the kitchen chairs, as part of my program of heavy labor. 

Thursday was when I recognized that I had something to be glad about.

I was (and still am) glad that Hillary Clinton did not win the presidency.

Because she did not win the presidency, we have averted civil war for about four years.  We only have our imaginations to go on, but can you imagine what would have happened had she won? I imagine repeats of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge armed occupation, only all throughout the country.  I imagine that the reports of ugly harassment and bigotry would be happening (as they are actually happening).  I imagine a complete breakdown of government, with the Grand Obstructionist Party refusing to confirm even one Supreme Court justice appointment. Even the hitherto respectable John McCain was threatening this.  Because she did not win, the first woman presidency does not have to be sullied by dealing with an opposition party that loves itself and its power more than its country.  But that’s just my imagination, which gets more cynical by the minute.

How many empty seats would there be on the Supreme Court?

Another thing that happened Thursday was that I became completely disgusted with what I had on my reading list.  Just before the election, I raced through Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, by Arlie Russell Hochschild, because I was trying to understand people who are not like me.    I was reading If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, by Carla Power, because I was trying to understand people who are not like me.  I had started The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones, because I was trying to understand people with whom I ostensibly have something in common.

I also had several novels on my reading list.  News of the World, by Paulette Jiles.  Arcadia, by Lauren Groff, about a bunch of hippie communists in upstate New York. Faith by Jennifer Haigh – something about bad priests.  I completely lost interest in all of them.

On Thursday, I said, fuck it.  Why should I spend my time and mental energy trying to understand anybody?  Nobody is very interested in understanding me. It’s every man for himself in this new Escher world.  (It’s now a week later, and I might be revising my view on the issue of trying to understand others.  Maybe.)

A feeling developed that I simply could not trust anyone.   


Patience_Crabstick said...

I did read that Donald Trump says he "likes" the ACA provision that children may stay on their parents' plans until age 26. I hope he wasn't lying, because we have a daughter who recently graduated from college and has a job with no benefits.

I hear you about not trusting anyone. I'm so overwhelmed by the barrage of news and incidents that I'm ready to just shut down entirely.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I'm feeling like we live in a very tarnished country now. How can our fellow citizens vote for this man? How can fellow Christians vote for this man?! And yet they did.
I want to use this frustration for good, but mostly my anger seems to hold me down.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That's one part I'm challenged with right now--"Christians" who support this bloviate blowhard and his hateful spewage. I am this close to making an appointment with the local priest because I perceive him as being more empathetic than my own actual pastor. Coming to terms with your faith getting wrecked is tough. And I'm so sick of people acting like this is "no big deal..." because it really, really is. It's more than just policy or taxation differences. The ignorance is stunning.

Hugs to you. I know the first chance I get I'm moving out of this cowtown where people voted that clown in 2-1. I need to be around people of my mindset and values.

The Crislers said...

I identify so strongly with your phrase "because I was trying to understand people with whom I ostensibly have something in common," and the whole latter part of this post. I felt sick and ashamed election night when I saw that Iowa had gone to Trump. I mean, what? But... but these are my people! I live with these people, and love a great many of them! How could this be happening?! In the days that followed I found myself looking at the people around me with growing suspicion. "Do YOU hate anyone who doesn't look exactly like us? Are YOU one of those who made my Mexican friends cry last night? Are YOU someone who is apparently oblivious to the re-victimization of sexual assault survivors over the past months?"

It's been hard, to use a very lame and lazy but true word. Just hard.