Fear itself

The past few days have been quite the shit show in so many ways. My candidate didn’t win the election and that has gutted me for many many reasons. And like some kind of sick sadomasochistic puppy I’ve been haunting my Facebook page to look at posts and news stories for some resolution. There’s a lot of people calling for calmer cooler heads to prevail and for acceptance and a national healing – and all that is great. I just need one more day and I will be there. This post is definitely a much-needed catharsis.

Yesterday one of my friends shared a post from the oh-so-calm-and-rational Mr B who suggested a comprehensive and fool proof 4 point plan to navigate the stages of grief. The plan is reproduced in parts so I can take the time and energy to give really focused answers to each of these. The quoted sections are Mr B’s words verbatim. Deep breath in and here goes.

Fear of Trump? I heard this from some people around me. My suggestions are as follows:
1. Write down your fears. Write what you think he will do. This allows you to verbalize what you fear and judge the truth of them over time.

This is actually not a bad idea. So I’m going to try and verbalize what I think he will do:

Best case scenario – Nothing.

Being totally unqualified for the job – he won’t govern, he won’t make decisions, he won’t fight for any of his policies, he won’t make the policies, and he’s not going to drain the swamp. That last one’s a joke considering he’s appointing Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, and Sarah Palin to his cabinet. If that’s draining the swamp – I’ll take the bloody swamp!

Of course the plus side of all his incompetency is he’s not going to be able to build the wall, he won’t be able to repeal Obamacare, he’s not going to be able to get the world to fall in line with his vision.

Worst case scenario: He will be found guilty of fraud for Trump University and impeached as soon as he becomes an embarrassment to Congressional Republicans who already hate him and having no friends on either side of the aisle he will be replaced by his more mainstream VP Mike wont-sell-Indianas-shitty-pizzas-at-gay-weddings Pence. And THAT is the true policy nightmare for Democrats.

Of medium concern – a Trump presidency may also set back scientific progress a decade, get rid of consumer financial protections, remove bank regulations and allow risky banking practices, restrict reproductive choices for women, roll back progress on LGBTQ+ rights, defund Medicare and Medicaid, allow millions of Americans to be uninsured again, and gut education funding.

Of course the world doesn’t stop so scientific innovation may be slowed in this country but other countries can and will take up the slack – Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Denmark, Sweden – all have top notch innovation and scientific research programs and a more science savvy government. They will be the drivers of future growth and opportunity in health care, climate science, alternative energies – the world won’t wait for the US to get it’s shit together. As innovation is slowed here so is new industry to serve changing technology, and as education is gutted we won’t be able to keep up the demand for qualified expertise to fuel more innovation. Because believe it or not, behind every college dropout Steve Jobs, there is actually a Steve Wozniak who invented the Apple and did graduate from UC Berkeley. And both are kids of immigrants!

But I survived an 8 year Bush presidency so while this is all worrying, and we will have a lot of catching up to do, it’s not the stuff of nightmares yet. Read on for that.

2. If your media outlets have been preaching fear of Trump, that may be the source of your fear. We often fear a caricature of the person, and not the real person. We also fear what we don’t know. Get to know Trump. Listen to him speak, not the pundits speak about him speaking.

So, yes I have heard him speak. I watched each of the debates where it was just him for close to 4 hours with no pundits or spokespeople or “nonsense” translators.

I heard him threaten his opponent with jail, I heard him call her a “nasty” woman, I heard him admit to sexual assault – in his own words. I heard him threaten the press and freedom of speech, I heard him mock a disabled reporter, I heard him call most Mexicans rapists – again IN HIS OWN WORDS.

And my question to you Mr B is – have YOU heard him speak??! And you heard him say all these things but you still voted for him??!

Maybe you voted for him because he also made tremendously erudite and nuanced policy statements. So I read his 100 day plan. And I gotta tell you – I’m on board with at least two of his  ideas- the other 28 are abhorrent to me. But 2 I can get behind – congressional term limits and prohibiting foreign lobbyists to raise money for US elections. The first will be thwarted by congress and the second – well he broke that himself just during this election when Russia admitted that they have been “in contact with” his campaign all along.

3. You know many decent people who voted for and hope the best for trump. Perhaps these are people you have trusted a long time. You might consider the possibility they are right that he will make a good President. Or even that he should be given the right to present his priorities.

Let’s start with his priorities. He’s appointed his kids – who are also his business associates – to his transition team. Since he thinks we don’t know what a “blind” trust is, they will work to advance his business interests and his policy interests – apparently with no conflict of interest here whatsoever. Yeah, if you believe that then I have some real estate property on the Florida coast you may be interested in.

He’s never released his tax returns and he never will because he hasn’t paid taxes in years. His tax returns will prove that he sold you a bill of goods regarding his abilities as a business man and his concern about you – NONE of that is true. He’s a failed business man and his priorities today are what his priorities have ALWAYS been –  himself. That’s it.

And now, the one that’s been haunting me the most. The number of decent people, friends and family members, who voted for him. I’m not going to lie – this has been the hardest to come to terms with. But I agree – these are decent people who voted for him because of many many reasons – didn’t like the alternative vision presented, conservative Supreme Court justices, and of course – did NOT like Hillary Clinton.

But here’s my problem – what about the intentions of the others who voted for him? Not close family and friends but casual acquaintances who live in my neighborhood and shop in my grocery store and whose kids go to the same school as mine. How can I be sure who the “decent”, “good” Trump voters were and who the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic ones were?

People who are next to me at the gas station – are these the same people whose kids are chanting in school about building the wall. Or who are in the bank with me – are these the same people who posted video of themselves harassing women students at Wellesley College? Are the people at the booth next to me in the restaurant the same people who spray painted swastikas on the wall?  Or attacked a gay man? Are any of the people I work with under these hoods? Will the “bad” Trump voters always identify themselves – wear hoods or swastikas on their arm bands as they chant about white power?

I suppose the question that is going to keep me up for a lot of nights is – how did good, decent people given the choice between a racist misogynist and an allegedly corrupt politician say – I’ll take the racist misogynist to represent me in the highest public office. That’s my guy! I’m worried that the reason was that racism and misogyny didn’t affect them – so they don’t hate people of color or women, they just don’t particularly care too much about them.

4. It takes a big person to admit they were wrong. I don’t ask this lightly of you. If you do end up being incorrect or having been duped by the media over their caricature of President Trump, learn from that. Humility and withholding judgment are the mark of a wise and trustworthy American and Christian.
Thanks and good luck President Trump,

You want me to admit I was wrong about Hillary Clinton – I will. I thought she genuinely had a great chance to win and be the first woman president. I would put her resume up against any candidate and it would stand. Senator, Secretary of State, 30 year public servant. She had been investigated to within an inch of her life and never been charged – but she was called corrupt. After millions of dollars spent, there was no shred of evidence that she acted irresponsibly during Benghazi. The FBI combed through her emails twice and couldn’t find anything to charge her on – and these are people who HATED her. Time and time again she was dragged to hearings by people who absolutely loathed her – and they couldn’t find anything to charge her with.

But Brutus is an honorable man. I’ve copped to my fears and actually putting them down on paper has been tremendous helpful. I hope I’m wrong about the next four years and I do hope that President Trump will make this nation stronger because that benefits all the people.

Sooooo, Mr B – are you magnanimously and bigly (see how I did that) going to do your part as well? Will you pledge to make sure that his Presidency is not marred by hate and violence? Will you and your wise Christian friends pledge to respect the rights of every American to worship or not as they choose to, to marry whom they choose to, to make decisions about their body you may disagree with but they have the legal right to make? Will you and your trustworthy Christian friends stand up against intolerance and bigotry and misogyny?

If you do – you have a friend in me.

And finally, I like peaceful protests for the music so here’s my favorite protest song!




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