I am feeling human again today, barely, after surviving an absolutely cataclysmic hangover. I say this as someone who once drank most of a bottle of Gran Marnier and had a four day hangover while LIVING ON A BOAT. You think you’ve had a hangover? Try having on while being on a rocking, lapping, creaking boat and see if you don’t want to die.
Like a lot of Americans living abroad I went to bed the other night worried because the election was so very close, but still hopeful that sanity would prevail. It seemed impossible that this huge sociopathic orange festering monster could sway enough people to actually get in. I mean, I know people are horrible, but surely they’re not that suicidally stupid, right?
As it turned out the next morning, they were.
I’d woken at 4:00 am and gone downstairs as I had a feeling and couldn’t go back to sleep. Turned on the TV, and while it wasn’t all over it was obvious which way it was going to go. I felt as though the whole world had been knocked offkilter during the night, that impossible things had happened – I actually don’t know how to say it except that it felt inconceivable. But you know what they say about that word. Figuring that the whole world was ending in flames, I started drinking scotch and continued to do so throughout the entire ugly day.
Anyway, I’m back, the headache has ebbed and I might be able to eat something today. Yaay me. The world has gone on, it didn’t actually end, and we must all somehow find a way to live in it. People are starting to fight back (a bit late after the fucking fact, I might add), all of the racists and misogynists are celebrating and we’ll all go on somehow. Some of us less well than others, but hey…what’s a back alley abortion or a hanging or two?
While I was sloshed to the very brim with scotch I made the decision to cut a lot of people out of my life that I’d cut a lot of slack previously. I grew up in a small town and left two weeks after graduation. My sisters all stayed, got married, became stay-at-home moms. Their politics are very, very different than mine. Their world is very different than mine, which is something that I can’t blame them for – when you live in a small town with a destroyed economy, when you basically don’t know a single black person personally, when the only Muslims you see are on the TV, carrying black flags and beheading people, you have a certain world view. When you’ve never gone out into the world and worked, you don’t know how hard it is for women. When getting pregnant is just a prelude to getting married and settling down, you don’t understand about girls bleeding to death in the back of back-alley abortioner’s filthy vans. This is a very slight exaggeration, I know that most of them have seen a black person on the street now and then. The point is, they are a product of the place they’ve grown up in, one very small sliver of the world.
The next day I reconsidered (or as much as I could with a brain that had turned to grey mush). I have very little family left and what I have is precious to me. And in the end I thought no, I did the right thing. We all overlook the racist memes that certain members of our families post on Facebook, we chide them when we see them reposting shitposts about Obama and Hillary and Muslims wanting to do away with Christmas. Hey, most of us grew up with that uncle or grandfather that said racist things at Thanksgiving, you roll your eyes behind their back and love them anyway. It’s just what we do.
For a long time conservatives have been making snarky comments about how Muslims should be policing their own communities, it is their responsibility to stamp out extremism first. And while I generally despise the people saying those things, there is a certain amount of truth in that these beliefs are overlooked by the people who love them. We forgive our brothers and sons because we love them, and then they plant a bomb or go join Daesh. It is the same thing here. People feel justified in their misogyny and racism, they feel that since no one says anything against them it is okay. They feel that the majority of the US are with them. I don’t want to let things slide anymore, because it’s really NOT okay, it is wrong and I will stand up and fight against this no matter who you are. Even if you are someone whom I will always love very, very much. And that is an extremely hard thing.
I’ll close by saying that I do understand. I’ve lived in cow towns, I was in 4H as a kid, my dad was with the Sherrif’s Department, my mom with the church, the County Fair was the high point of the entire year, and Walmart coming to our town was the best/worst thing that happened to it. But still…but still.
These two posts say it so much better than I could, they’re worth reading to understand (if not forgive): Rural America and How Half of America Lost Its F**king Mind