"Love Is Not A Victory March" in The Town of Llareggub

  • Nov. 17, 2016, 4:22 a.m.
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  • Public

I woke up after only being able to sleep three hours with a racing heart, panic all over, and no memory of any dreams or nightmares or anything like that. Couldn’t go back to sleep, couldn’t shake or calm the anxiety at all, so I got up eventually and had some oatmeal and a slice of toast. I think I’m finally a lot calmer now. Feeling fine, really, just somehow sad. Maybe the sadness was what lay underneath all along. Sadness not knowing how to make itself known.

I usually don’t have things like this happen to me. The waking up that panicked, particularly. It’s been a very stressful week, and that’s probably behind all of this raw emotion.

Last night, William and I had dinner at the restaurant we’d most previously visited on Halloween night in our costumes. William knew for ages he was going as Donald Trump. It’s kind of crazy that at any given moment, he can put on his Trump wig that I gave him for Christmas, along with his suit and tie from court, and sometimes, his red Make America Great Again hat, and pretend to be Donald Trump. Don’t think he hasn’t randomly burst out of the closet like this several times this year! I’ve taken several photos of him dressed like this flaunting stacks of cash he’s been given by various clients as payment. On Halloween Monday, he dressed in this attire and stuffed large fake $100 bills in his shirt pocket. Outside the restaurant, I coated his face with the most intensely orange blush I own, a shade called “blushing tresor” from Lancome, and it turned out to just look like a very light bronze tan on his skin. I guess my makeup’s more subtle than I think. On me, it’s like a golden peach. The shimmery effect looked funny on him, but it made him orange enough for a slightly enhanced effect. People were either in stitches at the sight of him or just plain glaring. Most were in stitches.

I wasn’t going to dress up as anything for Halloween, but at the last minute, on Sunday night, the night before Halloween, William suggested I dress as Hillary Clinton in a prisoner outfit, and I thought that was so funny I just had to do it. Every Party City was out of Hillary masks, Donald masks too, so I just bought the shortest blonde wig I could find, which was still kind of long, an orange prisoner outfit that said “inmate” on the front, and some black plastic shackles. Painted my nails orange to match. Right before we left for dinner the next day, I cut the wig to be shorter and left it a little messy on purpose. Since stores had been out of masks, I printed one out from forbes.com, that had Hillary’s face looking angry and crazy with the eyes whited out so eyeholes could be cut. I left the whites in because it looked funnier. In the car, I cut out the mask, glued it to part of a beige file folder with some rubber cement, cut the folder around the mask, and glued a popsicle stick from a Dove bar in the back. Easy and fun and pretty inexpensive. Again, like with William’s, a lot of people laughed at the sight of me, and a few glared very hard. When we went back to the same restaurant last night, William was given some joking congratulations for his win, and I was given some joking condolences for not winning the presidential race.

On election night, I sat watching the results with William. I was all curled up shaking, not enjoying any second of the anticipation and the uncertainty. A year ago, I felt very certain Trump would win the whole thing, but in recent weeks, looking at all the shitty polls and such, I had lost a lot of faith. To be honest, the thought of Trump being the president put me at about a 30-35% panic level, but the thought of Mrs. Clinton winning put me at about an 80% level of unease, so I went with Trump. I’ve never been one to take his hyperbolic off the cuff statements seriously, though I didn’t like him at first because I didn’t think he was serious about the race and his personality in general took some getting used to.

At the beginning of the primaries, I was for Rand Paul, of course. But I noticed he just wasn’t projecting enough strength when standing alongside all of the other potential candidates. I also don’t think he was branding himself appropriately or in a way that had appeal to a wide variety of people. For me, deciding which candidate to back meant trying to find the median between what I believe in and who I could see having mass appeal. I switched my tentative support to Scott Walker, because he was the one I heard suggested by people talking amongst themselves in the grocery store. “That Scott Walker, he’s been through a lot and come out on top. We need someone strong like that!” Rumors around C-PAC in 2015, I remember, suggested Walker would be the candidate. Well, they said it would be between Walker and Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush, I did not like at all. Thinking it would be between them, I picked Walker, loosely. I was losing faith, though, because when I’d hear him speak, he just didn’t seem together enough with his presentation for that high of a level of political campaigning. He didn’t seem bold enough or direct enough. Perhaps a little bit shy and stiff. Then, he dropped out.

I didn’t take Trump seriously at first, but then a little more than a year ago, I heard him talking about lowering taxes, being very pro-2nd amendment, and wanting to open up health insurance across state lines. To my surprise, he met my criteria of being against regime change and against a no-fly zone over Syria, and I was impressed when he said he’d been against the war and thought that George W. Bush had been a terrible president. I’d been waiting for a Republican to say that latter part for years. It’s no wonder the Bushes refused to support him! When I found out he was pro-gay rights and thought transsexuals should go into any bathroom they feel most comfortable in, I was absolutely shocked to find myself slowly but surely backing Donald Trump as president. At least, out of the candidates offering their services. He was the one almost all of my blue collar friends and acquaintances were talking about too. He had a way of being very relatable to a lot of people, and EVERYBODY knew a few of his platforms, whether they agreed with them or not. I remember four years ago, the main problem I had with Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate was that I kept waiting and waiting to hear a loud and clear message of what he was about. Something more than generally conservative. I waited until election day itself, even past it. Still nothing. It was easy to foretell his loss.

So I became a Trump supporter alongside William, who had loved him from the day he announced his run in June of 2015. It took me about five more months than him, and I wasn’t as bombastically in support of Trump as he was. I just thought that behind all of the loud statements and seat-of-his-pants remarks, he had the most raw potential to be a good leader. I sensed in him the most ability to command respect and the most dynamic of personalities, the latter of which I thought could help him adjust to the requirements of the presidency pretty easily. I did not agree with every little thing he said, but just found he met my median the most out of all the Republican candidates running.

I agreed with some of the things Mrs. Clinton said too, especially fixing immigration law from the inside so that it doesn’t seem so impossible and discourage so many from pursuing citizenship. But I couldn’t vote for someone who wanted to raise taxes, enact more authoritarian practices on businesses, and made me feel so in danger of losing my right to protect myself. Plus, I, like a lot of people, couldn’t look past her Richard Nixon-like behavior. I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. And the ways in which the mainstream media was so in line with her campaign, calling her campaign to ask if it was okay to publish certain things about her, the tv networks asking the DNC for questions to give her opponents, giving her ahead of time the questions she was going to be asked in the debates, etc., didn’t sit right with me. I’m not looking to argue with anyone on here about Hillary Clinton, I should note. If you voted for Hillary Clinton, I have zero problem with that or with you. It’s a non-issue. You should vote for whoever you want to vote for. You’re not anything negative in my eyes for that.

So, as I was saying somewhere in this, I watched the election results extremely nervously last Tuesday night. Much more nervous than I’d been for any other election, as I’m sure a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum were. Based on polling and an overwhelming number of mass media outlets, and things like that Newsweek magazine all about Hillary’s win that was reported to have already been shipped to stores, I was feeling kind of hopeless. I clutched my knees to my chest and tried to stop shaking at various points. William was a wreck too. After an hour or two, a part of me was cautiously optimistic, though I tried to suppress that optimism as best as I could, in fear of having it suddenly taken away. When it looked like he would win Florida, I actually began crying with hope, but still tried to suppress the optimism. William was on the phone with a war veteran friend of ours who was making us feel a bit calmer. I talked to him too, for a while, and it was comforting. This man is the most humble intellectual I have ever met. Those are generally the intellectuals I like to be friends with– the ones who are humble and sweet and not full of themselves, pedantic, or nitpicky. An extremely rare phenomenon to encounter, hahaha.

Well, we all know how the election turned out. Even when Trump was one state away from winning, I didn’t allow myself to think it would happen– until finally, it did. As I saw the number suddenly jump up to 274 and a tiny check-mark appear next to Trump’s name, even before the announcers drew attention to it, I began pointing at the tv and gasping, trying to form words. William saw what I was pointing at and then began to scream victoriously. He went outside a few minutes later and lit off a bottle rocket in front of the apartment. It was like 3 a.m. I heard the sound of the rocket launching and then William yelling out “Trump!!! Trump!!! Trump!!!”, and hoped he wouldn’t be arrested. He dashed back inside just as I heard the old man who lives above us raising a fuss and his dogs going to pieces howling and running around. I keep imagining him screaming, “Dag-nabit!!! Lousy kids!!!” William and I hugged and kissed a bit more, and that’s the only celebrating over the election results we’ve been able to engage in at all.

The next day, I decided to try to help my democrat friends feel better. I knew most of them would be feeling pretty hopeless and depressed. In the few days leading up to the election, I was bracing to feel that way myself, to feel the warm light of hope just totally die out for a time. I didn’t want the nice people I knew who voted for Hillary to feel that way. I thought, since circumstances found me not needing the emotional survival and recovery tactics I’d planned, I’d share them with them, and in general, I’d try to empathize with Hillary supporters and be extra nice to them. At first, it went well, but then things kept turning nasty. Online, on the phone, and in person, people’s gratitude and well wishes quickly turned into very loaded and accusation-filled questions. I endured them to try to help the askers gently understand my reasons for my vote, since it seemed surprisingly important to them. After a while, I seemed to soothe them enough and help them understand enough to dissolve some of the prejudice toward me they seemed to have. But then, the next day or the day after, it would be the same accusation-filled questions I’d already patiently tried to answer before. The rude comments kept coming, while I was still trying to be nice. I’ve been getting so exhausted from trying to empathize so much with people who refuse to try to empathize with me. Many of them even say that they are trying, and that they value what I have to say, but then really prove those statements wrong not too long after. William’s been going through the same thing with his friends. He keeps having nightmares that anti-Trump protesters are coming after him with baseball bats and crowbars. He’s been waking up in a panic too. Neither of us can continue to tolerate being judged so harshly, especially in response to us really trying to free our minds and hearts of any judgment of any other person. I just have no more energy left. I feel depleted and stressed out and hated, and I am at my limit. I even told a couple of people hounding me that I just had no more energy left, and they kept hounding me. I find it totally disrespectful. My grandmother’s even been really nasty to me, and I didn’t expect it. I expected it from my mom, and received it in abundance, but not from my grandma. I didn’t give the nastiness back to either of them, but that took a lot of self-control, control I don’t think I’ll have for much longer.

As I’ve said before, I think being obsessed with hating someone can make one just as hateful as one perceives the object of their hatred to be. Maybe even worse.

I was also upset by Leonard Cohen passing away, of course. More things to be sad about. I had “Hallelujah” stuck in my head all week, as it’s one of my favorite songs. Relating to what I’ve been dealing with, particularly the lyric “Love is not a victory march…” Because I willingly sacrificed my own celebration time to try to help people I care about get through their sadness. Overall, I guess it wasn’t worth it. I don’t know. Had the results been the opposite, I don’t think people would have been so nice to me.

Some people said that the SNL cover stunt with the song “Hallelujah” provided them with a much needed cry, but I think the cover would have been a lot more powerful had they not left out about half the population. Post-elections are times to bring people together. A lot of people from both sides are hurting. Some from the loss, some from having so much hatred thrown at them, and some from just witnessing all of the hatred between both sides. I think almost all of us could have used a good cry.

Last updated November 17, 2016

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