Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Week In Foreign Lands.

I'm better now. But it was a rough few days.

WEDNESDAY
It took me nearly a full day to identify what I was feeling.

It wasn't anger. It wasn't fear. It was sheer astonishment. I got stuck in a state of disbelief, of not fully accepting the data, of saying at some level, "This can't be."

Once I identified that astonishment, I asked myself why I was astonished. And my answer lay in the confidence which I had developed that Hillary Clinton would simply win - a confidence largely engendered by a single newspaper column that I had read months ago.

Sorry, I don't remember the author (I gotta get better at recording stuff like this), but it was an op-ed piece written by a woman, which essentially said, "There's no way that the women of America will let this misogynistic clown become president."

That column made so much sense to me that I relaxed. I still wrote a little about Trump, and I still voted on Tuesday. But mostly, I took it for granted that women acting in their own interests, and simply asserting their own dignity, would save the day for America.

In retrospect, I see that I held on to that assumption only by not paying attention to what was in front of my face: namely, that every photo, every video that I saw of Trump rallies included lots of women.

The biggest wake-up call that I did not take seriously enough was a photo that appeared in my Facebook newsfeed not long after the Access Hollywood video came to light. It was tweeted by The Guardian's Ben Jacobs:


I found that photo the saddest and most disturbing thing that I saw during the entire campaign. But I did not let it undermine my assumption. I treated it as an anomaly, and did not let myself ask, "How many women might actually vote for this man?"

****************
THURSDAY
I find out that in fact, a lot of women voted for this man; more specifically, a lot of white women.

Mind you, Black women rejected Trump soundly: 94% of them voted for Clinton, according to CNN's exit polls.

But 53% of white women voted for Trump: a large enough number that they, all by themselves, could take credit for his win.

Realizing that triggers an intense desire to understand. I find myself wanting to speak with some of those white women. Or rather, to listen to them. I still want that. I want some white women to tell me in their own words why they not only did not vote for another white woman, but why they voted for a man who speaks about and treats women the way this man does.

In the midst of all this, I have a thought that I have never had before in my life.

"I want comfort food."

I'm not kidding. I wanted food that would make me feel better. I wanted to self-medicate with a big plate of spaghetti, covered with thick meat sauce, and with some nice big slices of garlic bread on the side.

In the absence of comfort food, I let myself experience the sadness evoked by the certainty that we're going to see a lot of suffering in America over the next few years; that America has laid herself down in a bed of thorns.

***************
FRIDAY
I think about specific groups of people for whom things might go badly - especially gay people. I think about how the Supreme Court's pass on same-sex marriage may have made many of them feel that they could fully be for the first time in their lives. And about how now a reconfigured Supreme Court could change that.

Sadness.

Hey, you know who voted for Trump in an even larger percentage than white women? White evangelical Christians. How about 81 percent?

EIGHTY-ONE PERCENT.

God don't like ugly. My fear for America is outstripped by my dread for the church: this is going to be very bad. My best hope for the church of Jesus Christ is that the next few years will drive the final nail into the coffin for cultural Christianity - the idea that to be American is to be Christian. America's Christians just elected a known adulterer, a known liar, a dishonest businessman - who doesn't believe in asking God's forgiveness - to the highest office in the land.

John Pavlovitz says it better than I can. READ THIS.

Friday night, I get together with some Christian brothers for dinner. I share that I have never had such deep and extended emotional responses to an election outcome, and say I want therapy.

I have spaghetti with meat sauce, and garlic bread.

****************
SATURDAY
It was a rough few days. But I'm better now. How are you?

POSTSCRIPT: The transition. Holy crap. Racism? Nepotism? A president-elect who needs tutoring?

Can we return to Earth now?
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