It’s Too Late, Baby

You probably saw the Facebook meme before the election that compared Hillary and Donald to feuding divorcing parents, and the voters to the kids that just wanted to go live with Grandma.

Actually, I’ve decided, it’s the voters that need to get divorced. “Can This Country Be Saved?” No, I no longer think so. We’ve been trying to make it work. We’ve been talking about compromising forever. Lately, the blue states have been begging the red states to go to couples therapy, but the red states aren’t trying to hear it.

No, after 200-plus years, it’s time to call up the attorneys and hash out the split. Really, things have never quite been the same since we had that trial separation back in the 1860s. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so ugly this time.

We’ll have the Blue Federation and the Red Federation. States will have to choose which to join, and there may be some applying involved. We’ll have to hash out some rules about taxes and traveling and passports. But it’s doable. Won’t it be healthier for everyone to grow up without all this fighting? I know it’s hard now, but it’s not our fault and someday we’ll look back and realize it was the right thing to do.

Some might say that this marital discord is temporary. Ride it out, and everything will calm down as we get older. I saw that map showing that young voters were overwhelmingly blue, and some people were saying that this means that eventually the whole country will be more blue. But people change as they get older. Who’s to say they won’t get more conservative? Isn’t that the norm? (Unless you’re me.) Not to mention that everyone’s ability to predict the future kind of sucks, as we learned.

Compromise is possible with some issues. Immigration. Health care. Trade deals. But some of these divides are harder to bridge. Pro-life vs. pro-choice. People who care about the environment vs. people who have it way further down on their priorities list, if it’s there at all. Pro-gun control vs. anti-gun control.

There are two Americas. What do we have in common anymore, besides wanting our kids to be happy and healthy, and maybe liking bacon? That’s not enough to get you through a first date, let alone a marriage.

***

Now that I’ve got that little fantasy out of my system…

So Donald Trump is the president-elect. While some people I know are angry, many depressed, some happy, some fired up, some doing a news/media blackout, I am just… obsessed. Reading every news story, every opinion piece, every post and tweet. I can’t wait til Real Time comes on in 15 minutes so I can finally get Bill Maher’s take. My emotions range from depressed to excited to disgusted and back again. But, and this is easy for a white straight person to say right now, I don’t exactly feel personally affected, with one exception that I’ll get to in a minute. I feel like the 12-year-old news junkie I used to be. I feel like I’m reading a good novel. How everything played out, and how everything got turned on its head so fast, is simply fascinating, and I’m just dying to see what happens next. Does Trump keep defying the script, and succeed? Does he get enmeshed in legal troubles, or feuds with other Republicans? Could he possibly deliver the change that his supporters wanted — mainly, I think, economic gains and security?

I didn’t vote for Hillary or Trump. If I lived in a swing state, I suppose I would have voted for Hillary. I voted for Bernie in the primary. I would have settled for Hillary, for creeping social change and the dim possibility of real economic change, and looked to 2020.

As I settled in to watch Election Night, I expected that it would be close, but that Hillary would win. As the story started to change before our eyes, I felt — dare I say? — a little exhilarated. Anxious, but definitely weirdly excited. They were doing it. They were blowing up our little world.

And so, as depressing as it is to have such a disgusting person heading to the White House, I’m glad that people are angry and paying attention. I’m glad that the Democrats got a wake-up call. I thought that the flashy rally that Hillary had the night before the election with Jon Bon Jovi and Springsteen was pretty off-key, no pun intended. The next day, someone in my newsfeed posted a picture of the mess left behind and asked something like “who’s going to clean this up?” I don’t remember if they were Democrat or a Republican, but it doesn’t matter. The point is that so many people are tired of getting stuck with the mess.

I don’t feel bad that a man was elected instead of a woman. A woman will be elected president in the near future. It didn’t have to be Hillary. There’s few things more ridiculous than expecting women to vote for her because she’s a woman.

The depressing part for me, and the part where I start to feel more personally involved, is dealing with people I know who voted for Trump. Especially people who actively promoted him. Because although I’m willing to give economically desperate people in faraway states a pass on voting for him, I feel unable to give people that I know locally the same pass. If they didn’t like Hillary, they could have voted for no one, like me. This is New Jersey, it doesn’t matter. But they actively supported Trump, and I can’t look at them quite the same way. This gives me anxiety.

But even as I write this, things are changing. Now it seems like Trump is bowing to the Republicans, and appointing insiders instead of outsiders. Which would be bad for me and the things I believe in, but good in that his supporters who wanted him to “drain the swamp” might turn on him. I don’t know. It gets confusing, and I have not followed politics that closely for many years. Right this second, Trump in the White House is bad for a liberal progressive agenda, especially if he just bows to the Republicans. But if people keep paying attention and keep a spotlight on Trump — then, if he fails to live up to his promises, it could be that the 99%, the Trump supporters and the Bernie supporters, will combine and create something truly great.

Like many people I know, I feel compelled to get more involved now. What form this will take, I’m still deciding. I have limited time and energy so I want to use it in the best possible way.

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