Last Tuesday I posted on Facebook no matter what happened 50 percent of America would be upset later that night. I think it was an understatement.
People who voted for Hillary Clinton were disappointed (me), some wanted to start a movement for the popular vote to be reinstated for Presidential elections vs. the Electoral College (I don’t think it’s a feasible argument, though Sen. Barbara Boxer filed a bill to scrap the E.C. as I’m writing this), others began peaceful protests (I respect the rights of others to do this), some of those protests turned into riots (which will vilify any cause, good or bad), and others salt-and-peppered their anger with vitriolic Facebook posts. We have the First Amendment. Who am I to judge?
Here is how I see it: He was elected. He won. Those of us who don’t like it need to figure out a way to deal with it that doesn’t involve voodoo curses. My idea of “dealing with it” is to hope for the best and know every election I ever vote in won’t always go my way (many others before this haven’t). No, I haven’t drawn any pictures of rainbows or unicorns to compliment what some might call a childish delusion.
People have labeled Trump voters as racists, misogynists, stupid, etc. etc. etc. Yes, some are, but many more are not. Many people who voted for Trump are smart, well-educated, kind-hearted, good people. They were simply aggravated. They needed a change. He gave them a message; he gave them the hope Hillary Clinton could not. Secretary Clinton has a track record they don’t agree with; they can never trust her. At all. I get it. My philosophy on Presidential candidates is that any politician who makes it through the ranks to run for the Highest Office in the Land must have some dirt on his or her hands and a few bodies buried somewhere (that is a FIGURATIVE statement, by the way). There are many Republicans, so many Republicans who were worthy to run against Secretary Clinton. But Trump is what we got. I most likely would have been HRC all the way, no matter who ran against her. Whatever. Here we are.
Only I’ve been afraid to say everything I said in the previous paragraph out loud because I fear my left-leaning friends will see me as some kind of traitor. I understand their frustration, but I can’t/don’t want to partake, and I guess I wanted to please friends and loved ones on both sides of the aisle. For the record, I’m a registered Independent and don’t consider myself “left” or “right.” Many people I love and care about voted for Trump. They’re not horrible people. But how do you say this to other people without a debate, argument, or a Facebook-blocking taking place? I was encouraged by some of Trump’s 60 Minutes interview, but I dared not say it too loudly. Egads, the horror! I spent a great deal of the past year recoiling in terror at some of the things Trump told America. How dare I be supportive of someone who has the KKK throwing a rally in his honor? (I really, really, really hope he more aggressively addresses the terrible actions of a faction of his supporters…) It would surely mean I condone such behavior (NEVER), or even worse, look like a pushover.
I admit, Mike Pence makes me nervous. I did a Snopes search. Some of the statements he supports conversion therapy for gays are somewhat rooted in fact. Trump’s insistence on 60 Minutes that same-sex marriage is settled and done gave me hope he wasn’t about to pull strings to take freedoms away or make null and void the unions many wonderful people I know have enjoyed since the Supreme Court ruling last year. His statements on Roe v. Wade were a little more unsettling. Let’s be clear. I am pro-life. BUT, I think reversing Roe v. Wade after forty-three years would be trying to close a Pandora’s Box. Not only that, I don’t agree with the government, or any outsider, dictating the healthcare decisions of women and families. If a female friend of mine confided in me she was pregnant and was considering abortion, I would probably give her a list of other alternatives to think about. I wouldn’t dare tell her what she should do. If she chose an abortion, I would still be her friend. I feel Hillary’s comments on late-term abortion in the final Presidential debate were misconstrued by people who wanted to vilify her. Sometimes it is a painful, regrettable thing necessary to save the mother’s life. Who am I, a single male, to make such a decision for a woman I don’t know? I would never want this to go back to the states and have to vote on abortion. As far as I’m concerned, the Supreme Court spoke in 1973, and that’s that.
Obamacare, well, that is something that may need to be fixed. I don’t know. I’ve never had to deal with it first-hand. I have insurance through my work. Others need it, and Obamacare is the only way they can have it. Others who try to support their families are overburdened with the higher premiums it’s brought them. I don’t have an opinion to share on the Affordable Care Act. I’ll be the eternal optimist again and hope something is worked out so everyone is happy.
The only thing I could do without directly partaking in the back-and-forth of the past week is to indirectly partake and sit at my laptop and write a fictitious short story loosely based on true events.
Election Talk: A Short Story takes the basic premise and turns it on its head. I invented a “Strump vs. Clark” mayoral race—without giving a town, state, or region—and put neighbors at odds with one another. There’s the Republican candidate’s right-wing brother Gary and his snooty wife Yvonne; Sam and Steffie Gates, the modern-day wannabe-hippie-left-wing couple who strive to be politically correct and make sure they have the proper number of minorities at their social gatherings. Then I created Will and Vera Dunn, an undecided Jewish couple who are unwittingly sandwiched between the Strump and Gates homes on Normal Street. Of course, the characters are all stereotypes … my attempt at satire. I even threw in gay-couple neighbors and a black family, the Bakers, to shore up the minorities. Had it been a full-length novella, the Bakers would have turned up in the flesh, but it was a short story. I was at character overload with four couples in a five-thousand word tale, so the Bakers are only mentioned but never seen. I opted to have the gay couple ‘enter stage left’ instead.
I made everyone the butt of the joke in Election Talk. It centers around a pool party at the Gates house on “Normal Street” (which is a real street in San Diego, by the way, but this isn’t the same one). Gary and Yvonne Strump are church goers, but they tend to judge when sober—then get wild when they are drunk. They are bad, bad Christians and do things they would never want the other people at church to know about. Sam and Steffie Gates try to accommodate their guests, but it becomes clear by the end of the story they’ve probably only befriended and invited the Jewish Dunns and gay couple Dave/Peter to their party for demographics—so they can validate themselves as the good liberals they claim to be. So they may be bad, bad liberals.
Sam shuns watching football on TV and watches reality shows with his wife. Steffie was an art major in college. Married gay couple Dave and Peter show up in their swim trunks with muscled bods and zero body fat. And one of them turns out to be a Log Cabin Republican! Stereotypes. Like I said, folks, my attempt at satire. In reality it takes all kinds to keep the world turning.
Since political differences can be unbearable enough when people are sober, I threw in A LOT of tequila to get this backyard pool party at the Gates house going!
You’ll never change a politically-opposite friend’s mind, and you’ll certainly never win an argument with a drunk person, so of course I had to combine the two in my story.
Like Vera tells Will at the end of the story when they make their escape from the wild party, I’ll be glad when the leaves finish turning and things get back to some kind of “normal”. Or whatever passes for it these days.
Register to vote. Then use the privilege. Know who your representatives and lawmakers are and stay CLOSE to the elected officials you trust most (I rarely trust any, but that’s just me). Contact your local and state leaders when you fear someone you didn’t vote for might up-end any progress you’ve worked and prayed to see happen. Lobby for the changes you still want to see. Try to be the change. Respect your neighbor. Try to educate any ignorance you see in the world. Some people will be receptive; others won’t. You can’t always bat a thousand.