Wednesday, November 8, 2017

One Year Ago


How to mark a year like this?

Has it, in fact, been a year? Time seems as slippery as everything else.

A year ago, I woke up to the knowledge that we were about to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States. I was happy for the historical significance of the milestone, though I was not as excited as I was in 2008, when Barack Obama ascended to that office. The campaign had been too ugly, the divide in the country too troubling, and for as much as I hated Donald Trump, I did not love Hillary. I did, however, believe she'd make a good president, though I doubted she'd be given the chance to succeed by the opposition party in power. Still, when placed next to her competitor, I didn't see how a rational person wouldn't prefer her by a hundred million squintillion to one.

But anyway, that morning I was high on anticipation, filled with the sweet, near-relief of it all being done. In 24 hours, I would never have to think about that man ever again: or not as an existential threat, at any rate. Early in the morning, I went out to fill the bird feeder at the top of our hill which faces a steep, wooded ravine behind our backyard. As I approached the feeder, I stopped short.

There was a stag standing beyond the chainlink fence.

He looked at me. I returned the gaze. In the space between breaths, I counted ten or twelve points on his rack. He was imperious. Imposing. Magnificently wild. I'd never seen a buck so near before. They're notorious loners: people-shy.

In the film of my memory, he snorts and stamps his hoof a little. In reality, I think he simply walked on, crunching the fall leaves as he went.

A little thrilled, I chose to see this encounter as a sign. I'd never seen a stag so close! Our country had never elected a female President! It was meant to be, wasn't it.

That night, as it began to dawn on us that the impossible was fast becoming the nightmarishly probable, I fell off a cliff, like so many of us did.

Today, I'm still down here, struggling. Horrified. Disgusted. Mourning what we've lost and almost despairing of what's to come.

I still don't feel like I understand what happened. Nor do I know how we reclaim our footing and place in the world.*

I know this, though: I've stopped believing in signs.


*I wrote this before the Tuesday elections, and the subsequent wave of Democratic victories in Virginia, New Jersey, Maine and elsewhere. Citizens came out in high numbers for an off-year election and rejected Trumpism full-throatedly. A startlingly high percentage of the new Virginia officeholders are women—including the first transgender person ever elected to a state legislature—spurred to action by their love of country and hatred for what Trump and the Trump-enabling GOP have wrought. 

I am buoyed by these results. I am heartened. They are a chink in the side of that cliff. Now let's all grab hold and climb. 


strugglingwriter said...

Yeah, I can't look at anything I posted from that day or the few days following it.

I remember walking to the polls last year with my wife and kids, discussing how we would now be rid of Drumpf and how cool it would be to have a woman as President. And I remember watching all those videos of people making the pilgrimage to Susan B. Anthony's grave, so hopeful that a lady would be President. It breaks my heart.

I have almost no hope nowadays (as far as politics are concerned), but if I did last night would give me a tiny amount more.

Sarah Hina said...

I'd forgotten the stickers on Susan B. Anthony's grave. That was rough.

I don't know why I feel the need to look back. I wrote this piece almost reluctantly, because really, what's the point? And yet I think there are so few moments in my own recorded history where I can say: from that point on, everything changed.

the walking man said...

It was a clothes pin on the nose election for me. I had/have many reservations about Clinton but even more loathing for a man who never rose higher in public consciousness than through division, lies, vitriol, and television ratings.

I was somewhat aware of his life before president and never saw any public act that did not advantage himself or his pile of gold. God what an awful decorating scheme gold makes and how it reflects the one making the choices.

It is what it is though--America is no longer a destination to live country, the world has become wary of us. We (politically) want to continue to be able to dump more CO2 into the atmosphere that is already overwhelmed, the Chump has only appointed cabinet officials and underlings who have a single mandate--dismantle all government except the military industrial complex.

But he has done good--his policies have exposed the "behind closed doors" divisions in the GOP, especially the senate. He has exacerbated them. Senators are not falling down to align with him. That's a good thing. It stalls him. slows down the destruction.

My wife and I voted, a useless exercise in this area, in a neighborhood of 8000 people less than 800 voted. It is just a given that the D will win. And now that they have a true enemy at the gates--they still do not care.

For me I am looking to the SCOTUS decision on the Wisconsin Gerrymandering case--depending how Kennedy falls that could have a huge effect at returning balance to the process nation wide.

The one thing I do NOT want is his impeachment--Pence would be much worse, he would be able to herd the congressional majorities into his pen.

No matter what happens life will move, forward or backwards, hope is not the right emotion at the moment but neither is dread. Determination of #resist works for me.

Be well my dear friend--work to make life shine for your immediate area, live well and love even better.


Sarah Hina said...

I'll do my best, dear Mark.

What worries me more than Trump himself is our heinous descent into tribalism vis a vis the kind of media we consume, and what lies now pass for truth. I'm afraid we can't find our way back from that--it pays too well, it goes down too easy.

I still want his impeachment. I believe he's that unstable and dangerous. But yeah, Pence inspires a different kind of nausea.

We're in a terrible place. I just hope we can run out the clock.

the walking man said...

Research is good--to be able to research is hard--it is a time consuming effort just to winnow out the facts then to have the ability to stop the spin. It is a mess of our own making. Pride goeth before the fall and all that...I hope that one day soon that normalcy strikes again and the sleeping wake.