Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Despondent

So I’ve been sitting here staring at an empty screen for a disconcertingly long time, trying to figure out what to write tonight. It seems I’m still speechless over yesterday’s US election results, but I can’t possibly write about anything else. I don’t usually write about serious things here1, but I’m just despondent over this.

de·spond·ent /dɪˈspɒnd(ə)nt
adjective
in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.

“Despondent” is the word that I kept thinking (and feeling), from the time that the election returns started to show that Donald Trump was on his way to victory last night and all through the day today. And when I just looked it up to see what its precise meaning is, I see why. Loss of hope and courage. Being a Canadian, I’ve watched this election campaign with a feeling of helplessness – I can’t vote there, but I knew that the outcome of the election will profoundly affect many good people, both in the US and around the world. And now that what I feared has come to fruition2, I do feel hopeless. I feel hopeless, I think, for two main reasons. First, I’m afraid of the things he will do – his appointing of a Supreme Court justice is one of the first things that comes to mind. Same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to have an abortion are Supreme Court decisions that could be overturned. Not to mention deportation of immigrants, banning Muslims, suggestions of nuclear proliferation being a good thing, climate change denial, etc., etc. etc. It makes me very sad to think about the very real consequences of these things on real people’s lives. The second thing that makes me feel hopeless is that there were so many people who were feeling so disenfranchised that they were willing to sign off on misogyny and racism and hate as they voted for someone who they felt heard their voice3. And it baffles me why people who feel like the economic and/or political system has failed them thinks that a rich, white, straight man who is not good to his workers, who has off-shored the manufacturing of lots of the stuff his companies make, and who uses shady loopholes to avoid paying taxes (which, by the way, are needed to run the government that this guy campaigned to run) is the guy that’s going to fix that for them. What makes me feel even more hopeless than that is that for some people, it was more than just being willing to turn a blind eye to that hate, but that they actually believe those hateful things themselves.

Anyway, here’s some stuff that other people have written that I’ve found particularly interesting:

  1. Usually because it takes me time to ponder and process what I think about serious things and by the time I’ve decided what I think about it, the rest of the world, with its 24-new-cycle/140-character commentary, has long since moved on from the topic. []
  2. I usually like being right, but today I kept thinking of all the times that I said I was afraid that Donald Trump would win and then someone would say “He’s not going to win! He’s a joke! It’s too ridiculous” and I would say “But he totally could win.” This is one situation where I really, really wish I had been wrong. []
  3. Or at least that seems to be the prevailing theory of why so many people voted for Trump, despite what the pre-election polls said. []

2 Responses to Despondent

  1. Stacy says:

    You’re worried? I live on a military base that has multiple North Korean missiles pointed at it. All Trump has to do is call someone fat/ugly or grab someone’s p***** and me and my family are dead! But, although I think it’s horrible, I do think some good will come out of it. First, it shows that there is a real anger in the US and the Democrats haven’t addressed that adequately. Now, maybe they will. Second, I think primaries are going to change. And Finally, and most important to me, I think many Christians are re-evaluating how they vote. Many Christians I know feel that they have to vote Republican, but they hated Trump. I’m personally engaged in dialogue with two people who want to know why I no longer vote Republican, yet remain a Christian. And I know there are many other Christians who are looking at this as well. So, I weep and grieve, but I’m also praying (and looking into moving to Canada).

  2. Kalev Hunt says:

    Super well-written.

    I know the feeling.

    I think michael thought for a long time that Trump was an impossible joke candidate who couldn’t make it, which is interesting to me because we have this thing where, whenever the latest atrocity comes out of that country (be it a terrible court decision, another mass shooting, another innocent black person dead at the hands of a white person who will no doubt face little to zero consequences, etc etc etc), we turn to each other and say, “Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse…”

    And what’s sad about that is that, so far, there is always something worse out of that country. And this election result definitely didn’t break the cycle.

    I was scared from Day One… because I have learned never to underestimate the hatred, bigotry, and especially stupidity of people (which gave him a mobilizable base), nor their greed for power (which leads politicians—but especially US Republicans, it seems—to engage in voter suppression and which led the media to single-handedly make Trump a viable candidate). And while these negative qualities are present in all nations to some degree, nowhere do they seem to accrue with such alacrity as in the so-far-from-being-a-democracy “greatest democracy on Earth” United States of America. So maybe at this point I’m just really pessimistic, and for sure in the last few days I let myself be cautiously hopeful that Hillary would win, but Trump never seemed like an impossibility to me.

    That second link you included—I only scanned it but yeah, ugh. It echoes what has been going through my head, though, which was drilled into me by Battlestar Galactica: all this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

    Not exactly comforting words… but maybe a call to action to stop acting like crazy bad things just can’t happen. They can happen, and they definitely will happen if we treat them like they’re unthinkable and don’t act to make sure they don’t happen.

    Or in summation, 1920s Berlin. Things don’t always get better. They certainly don’t get better if we throw up our hands and say, “Well how did this happen?”

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