Saturday, December 10, 2016

Navigating this new reality...

What's the use?
photo by Mary-Lynn via Flickr

Here's the thing: I don't know how to exist anymore.

I haven't felt like blogging lately. Nothing has really struck me as necessary. I think I heard that coconuts are heading for scarcity. My Magic Cookie Bars could suffer, but beyond that, who cares? This is existential depression, folks.

I made a nice top that I actually wore once and might wear again. But who wants to see pictures of my sewing projects? Writing has been a pain in the ass lately; I could whine about that. But nobody wants to hear losers talk about losing.

Still. I think I'm coming around. I have these moments of brightness and during those I think, maybe everything is going to be okay. And then...

Then I remember.

There's something very wrong going on but I'm not allowed to feel it, or fear it. Most people are acting like everything's okay. Nothing's changed. All the same shows are on television with all the same dumb commercials. There's still football. The radio DJs still gab about stupid stuff and play songs. They're still doing the celebrity awards shows. Everybody's going to work and eating out and doing chores. On Facebook, people are still posting their stupid platitudes about strength and positive thinking and happiness and peace--like nothing's happened. Ricky Gervais still makes silly faces. Robert Downey Jr. still makes Iron Man jokes.There are still plenty of cat pics and videos. The stores are open and it's Christmas time. Amazon looks exactly the same.

Me, too. I've got the Christmas tree up and I turn on the lights every morning. I shopped more this year and bought and wrapped presents that nobody will appreciate. I've got the cookie schedule set and plans are made for a family to-do. And I try every day to be a writer and fail.

Everything is normal.

But it's not.

I'm not stupid, but maybe I'm naive. I mean, I always knew there were people who were racist. I'm even related to some of them. And I've known that there are white nationalist militias out there. And I've always known that a lot of people were uneducated and gullible.

And I get that Hillary Clinton actually won the election, by a very large margin. I get that Donald Trump isn't all that popular with, perhaps, a majority of Americans. And yes, there are other people out there as outraged as I am.

But that doesn't help.

Because, as it turns out, the racists and the white nationalists and the stupid people aren't just a fringe element. There are a lot more of them than I thought. (It seems I went to school with a bunch of them back in the day.) And even if they're still a minority, they've been given a voice and signals to act out their racism and belligerent ignorance.

Sure, the comedians are making biting jokes at Trump's expense. There are some op-eds voicing concern. A few journalists are trying to sound alarms. But it all reeks of normalization. It's all done so casually, as if we've been here before. But we haven't.

It used to be that I could exist in this world with the idea that most people are decent and good. I used to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I can't live like that anymore. And I can't do it because most people are just going on about their lives acting like everything is okay and I'm muddling through wondering why nobody is doing something about this. This tells me that they either like what's going on, or they don't care, or they're stupid. None of those things are honorable.

I used to think Republicans were okay, they just have different views than I do, about politics, religion, finance. But now I see that they're not okay. Not at all. They're awful people--people who didn't see the horror of what they were letting happen. The people who voted for Donald Trump, or voted for a third party candidate, or didn't vote at all are shameful, careless fools at best, and at worst, despicable. People who voted their "conscience," instead of doing what was necessary to keep Trump out of the White House...well, their consciences are deplorable.

I can't go on smiling and pretending that the vast majority of people around me are good and decent, because if they were, they'd be outraged. No. If they were, we wouldn't be here right now. They'd have stopped this from happening. But as it is, we are here. And if they were good people, they'd be doing something and I'd join them. But we're doing nothing. Nobody is doing anything to stop this.

The Republicans in power are chuckling and shrugging and defending the most stunningly vile man ever elected President. Paul Ryan is giddy. And where are the Democrats? Wandering around stunned and bloodied?

I'd abandon my middle road status and join the Democratic Party if I thought they had a plan--if I thought they were worthy. But they're not.

Nobody is.

On the one side there are the sick people who like what's going on. They tell me that if I'm not happy about it, I should leave the country. Well, you know what? If I could afford to leave the country, I would. On the other side are people telling me that we have to figure out a way to get along with white nationalists. That's insanity.

It's as if most people don't see it. When they look at Donald Trump, they see something completely different than I do. They're gullible. They love celebrity and hubris. They want a savior. They looked past his misogyny, his racism, his cruelty, his pettiness and lies. I can't fathom what's wrong in their heads that lets them do it. Whatever it is, it disgusts me.

Everybody is telling me to get off Facebook. Like, if I just pretend it isn't happening, it'll all go away. I'll be able to ignore it and act like there's nothing wrong, maybe even enjoy life, like they're doing. I'm told this doesn't affect me. What goes on in Washington has no bearing on my life. I'm told there's nothing I can do, so stop worrying about it. I'm supposed to just go on as if everything is okay.

Here's the thing: This has changed me. It has seriously fucked me up.

I can't respect the people I once respected. I can't trust anybody to be decent and kind. I've lost what little faith I had in people. I'm trying to see the humor in it. I'm trying to appreciate the people who are as outraged as I am.

But I still walk around knowing that this world is truly as awful as I ever imagined it could be.

And I don't know how to live with that.