A Dark Day

“The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.” Hitler

image

A new day always dawns, even when your heart is heavy. And so the relentless march of time has carried us to this day, a day when a great deal will be lost. We are losing a president who, with his family, occupied the office with quiet dignity. He will be replaced by a man who belittles others, disregards longstanding ethical standards, ignores the law, and promotes values that are contrary to the very fabric of our constitution. A man whose primary motivation appears to be self-aggrandizement at any cost.

This is what we’ve come to; this is where we are.

What troubles me most is that so many people do not recognize the danger here. It goes even further. DT’s supporters have chosen to turn a blind eye to his OUTRAGEOUS behaviors: His lies, followed by denial of the lies even when faced with concrete proof. His flagrant treatment of women as sex objects. His derogatory comments toward minorities and the disabled. His refusal to follow the most basic guidelines of courtesy and civility. His tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.

In a society that has over recent years had its consciousness raised about bullying, we have elected ourselves a bully.

What does it look like to have a bully run a country? You don’t have to look far into the past to see a similar progression of events in neighboring Europe. Like DT, Adolf Hitler was voted into power at a time when the citizens of his country were disillusioned by the status quo. They were living with economic hardship and their hopes were diminished. They were ready to embrace someone who made grand promises, and to ignore the hollowness behind those promises. They were ready (and willing) to find someone to blame for their predicament, and to direct their anger there. And that anger grew into hatred, and that hatred became a murderous rage. Such a rage that 6 million were demeaned, abused beyond belief, and ultimately killed.
Don’t be mistaken! This was possible because the masses believed in a man who, like DT, convinced them that he would use the power with which they endowed him to improve their lives. A man, who like DT, had no regard for the truth, and equal disregard for humanitarian values. And whose popularity thrived despite those facts.

This frightens me, and what frightens me even more is the fact that so many people are not frightened of the damage this man can do.

I know that fear was, in fact, a significant element in this election. Fear of the changes that have taken place in our lifetime, that culminated in having a black president, gay marriage, and an overall diminishment of white privilege. Funny, the very changes that brought me the most joy in recent years are the things that our electorate masses fear. We truly live in a country divided.

After the election, it was very tempting to run away for good. We have a community of friends on Isla Mujeres. We are fortunate enough to have the means to make that happen. But in a big way, this would feel like jumping ship. I don’t want to be like a rat. Our children have to live with this, and it would feel like turning my back on them.

One of the most jarring realizations the election brought me was that the misogyny in our country is even more entrenched than the racism. If ten years ago you had asked me to predict what we would have first, a black president or a woman president, I would have guessed wrong. As a white woman, I resided in that cloud of privilege as well, though I hate to admit it.

I have had to rethink some assumptions. Watching how Hillary was demonized was sobering, and seeing DT’s behavior toward women normalized is sickening. I refuse to normalize what is happening before my eyes. Tomorrow I will attend the Women’s March in Boston with my gay son and my lesbian daughter. This is a small thing I can do. Writing this is another.

And – who knows? – maybe we will live on Isla for just part of the year, to bolster morale for the fight.©

Advertisements