I ignored the news last night and binge-watched West Wing until bedtime. Got up this morning and avoided going on line for as long as possible. I puttered around, made coffee, let the dogs out and gave them their breakfast, got the dishwasher loaded, filled the bird feeders. I was in no hurry. The election results would wait until I was ready to address them.
When I sat down with my laptop and a fresh cup of coffee, I checked our local news source to see if the results were posted. There was a race for State Rep I was particularly interested in. Disappointing news. A pity. And of course I could not avoid seeing the results of the Presidential election.
Well, it looks like the DNC backed the wrong horse.
I remember back in primary season how the polls showed that voters had a marked preference for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton to beat Trump. And in fact, Clinton lost to Trump by a margin eerily similar to the one predicted by that very early poll. If the DNC and the media had treated both Clinton and Sanders as equally viable candidates, and given equal coverage to both instead of pushing Clinton, the news might be very different this morning.
But that’s neither here nor further. It is what it is, a reality we must accept.
I went onto Facebook, and my eyes watered from all the heat and venom spewing out. HRC supporters pointing the finger at third party supporters. Third party supporters shouting back. Everybody wringing their hands and rending their garments. Never have I seen so much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Which gives you an idea of the general political persuasion of most of my FB friends.) I suggested that this might be just the kick in the pants that the country needs, to get out of its complacency and start paying attention. We need to work to get a Congress elected that can put a collar on this monkey.
A few people “liked” my comment; the rest shouted me off the stage.
Okay, I get it. The nation (at least the sane, progressive, and moderate segments of it) is in shock. This is their worst nightmare. They need to process it by having a meltdown and pounding the pillow in futile protest. They need to scream and find scapegoats. They need to indulge in emotional hysterics for awhile before they can settle down and think rationally again. I get it. I felt that way when Sanders lost the nomination to HRC. I’ve already had my period of despair, hopelessness and grief. This development is just the logical next step in our march towards disaster.
I even think this might be a good thing. If HRC had been elected, Trump supporters would have had a tantrum, and then crawled back under their rock to plot their next attack. The rest of the country would have sighed with relief and settled into the status quo, accepting without a squawk our continued slide to the right into never-ending-war and ever-growing-income inequality. The frog would sit complacently in the gradually heating pot until it scalds to death. Oh, and yay, feminist victory, a vagina will be sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. Totally worth it.
Trump’s victory is like the temperature of the water in the pot suddenly soaring upwards, and the frog reacting by jumping out. Holy shit, people, we have to do something!
Yes, the flying monkeys have landed in D.C. There will be havok. They will lob their foul droppings around the White House. It will be a gawdawful mess to clean up. People will get hurt and fear will run rampant. Thugs will consider this the green light to enforce their ignorant prejudices with violence. It will be ugly, no argument.
But we can’t just fall back on our fainting couch and resign ourselves to being ravaged. We need to fight back. Big time. We need to trade our lattes for strong black coffee and take a good long sniff. No more complacency. No more grumbling over the news and then changing the channel and reaching for another nacho. We need to pay attention to who is running for congress, including the local races that “don’t matter.” Because now they do. We have to strengthen local government by electing people of conscience and dedication, because these folks will move up the political ladder and start challenging the fat cats in the big offices. We need to support them when they do that. Unite behind moderate and sane candidates at all levels. Vote every two years, not every four. Spend less time on entertainment and celebrity intrigue and educate ourselves in the way government and politics work so we can effectively push our own agenda of tolerance, equal rights, peace and compassion.
We need to fight for the principles we believe in with the same monomaniacal, quasi-religious fervor as the other guys. That is how a democracy is supposed to work. It is participatory. That means citizens have to participate. Not sit back and let somebody else do the heavy lifting.
And if it shocks us into action, galvanizes good people of conscience and ethics into participating in politics again, then maybe a Trump victory isn’t such a bad thing after all.