Election day 2016, started like any other day. I sipped my cardamom tea from my favorite big blue mug I got at Goodwill for $1.50 while performing my usual morning scan of the internet. I entered the keywords Clinton+Trump+polls, checked the headlines on Huffington and New York Times. I found nothing unlike any other day of late — Hillary leading in the polls by a few to several points. I relaxed into my siddhasana yoga position feeling that all was right in the world: my husband is asleep upstairs, his green card is well under way, there’s enough food on the table and Donald Trump is going to suffer a humiliating loss. I savored the idea of watching the tangerine smarmbucket cobble together all the grace he could to deliver a painful concession speech. All would be right in the world and we could go on with our lives. I could turn on NPR again.
The self-absorbed, narcissistic man baby would have been effectively spanked by the voting public. Women could feel that justice was done and the arrogant predator would be publicly neutered and put out to pasture to tend to his gambling fortunes. Latinos would be vindicated. A statement would be made that the highest office in the land should only ever be occupied by someone with dignity and poise.
Lean forward into the microphone and say it again:
Chuan and I invited a few friends over to celebrate election evening. We baked some parsnips, made an Indian dal and set out a cheese platter. We even bought a bottle of champagne to toast the first woman president. Thom brought by some Bulleit bourbon and we made Old Fashioneds with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and then we sat down to watch what my dad used to call “the idiot box.” Indeed.
We watched as the electoral map began lighting up in slow motion with the election night brass jingle each time a state was called. Red. Red. Red. Red. Wait, when is there going to be a blue state? I sipped my drink thinking to myself, have faith, she’ll prevail…it’s early yet. This is when it started to seem like we were all falling under some evil spell as a hush came over the room. The smiles tightened to poker faces. We began leaning forward in disbelief. The the nail biting began. Thom excused himself for a cigarette. This was going to be a close race and not the early evening we had expected.
Clinton was clearly in danger and the words “path to victory” and “striking distance” began coming out of the mouths of the correspondents on the TV. Only they weren’t being used with the feminine pronoun. Time started slowing down like it does when something really crushing is about to happen. My body began to get hot and I felt lightheaded. Rob asked me to open the door for some fresh air. I stepped outside to look at the moon hoping that I could snap out of this nightmare and that I would step back inside and Hillary would have taken a couple key battleground states. It didn’t happen.
The guests began leaving crestfallen as Trump’s numbers climbed dangerously close to winning. Chuan and I sat in the empty living room amid a pile of dirty dishes in sheer disbelief. How could this happen? How could this happen?
You’ve all read the analysis how this could (and did) happen so I don’t need to add my two cents to it. Apathy, blind party loyalty, obsession with celebrity, disillusionment with political elite, latent racism, sexism. It’s all there in one mouthy package with a combover: Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the US.
His election is just one more sign of a nation in decline, an erosion of human values and the ultimate apotheosis of greed, aided and abetted by a dumbed-down, uneducated populace who can’t quite see that a billionaire is the last person they should elect to try to topple the ruling elite. I spent the whole teary day reeling from the shame that half of this country lacks the vision and smarts to have actually elected the very person who will help them dig their own grave. The idiocy is unfathomable.
What about Trump’s barbaric manners borne out in his campaign make us think that he would be a leader with restraint and diplomacy when called to attend to sobering matters such as nuclear war? The real Trump has been scrutinized and revealed for all to see in unruly debates and rally after angry rally. We’ve all seen the child like temper and vindictiveness, the self-absorbed, thin-skinned egomaniac. Who would not be deeply disturbed by the notion of this man being within arm’s reach of the “nuclear football?” Shouldn’t common sense trump party tribalism for that issue alone? It should. But it didn’t. And maybe people think it’s a joke or a far-fetched reality that he could in fact bring on the apocalypse. Well I’m not laughing because he could. And even if he doesn’t use the nuclear arsenal, he certainly intends as a first order to leave tens of millions of people marooned without health care. Is that making America great again?
Now that Chuan and I are married, he could be fast tracked for US citizenship. But he said to me today, “Hubby, I don’t think I really want to apply for citizenship in this country.” There you have it. America’s beacon has gone dim — that someone from a corrupt and broken country like Malaysia would pass up the “opportunity” to become a citizen here. I don’t blame him. Malaysia’s deplorable dictator seems harmless by comparison to Donald Trump with a congress and senate to back him up.
The election of a troglodyte to the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth is a woeful blunder and a low point for the US. The next president of the United States has sent a message to the people that it’s perfectly fine to harass and objectify women and handicapped people, to make racist statements, to lie indiscriminately (well, that’s nothing new to the office), to resort to violence and bullying instead of reason. Oh and let’s not forget that making a general ass of oneself at all times is acceptable behavior and if people don’t like it, hell, you can sue them. I can’t wait to see what sort of mess he will make of international relations.
I hang my head in shame as an American today. I repatriated from Malaysia for this?
Tonight we sat down and began looking at house rentals in Oaxaca, Mexico. Perhaps it’s time to leave again. There’s nothing worse than having a superpower collapse on top of you like a circus tent with the poles kicked out by an elephant.
Well, maybe there is one thing worse: seeing what the Trumps will do with the White House…
Fasten your seat belts folks, we’re in for a bumpy ride. And remember, he isn’t just deplorable, he’s impeachable.