Procyon (procyonid) wrote,
Procyon
procyonid

Disillusionment

This election has left me in a rough state. Just showing up at work on Wednesday felt like running a gauntlet, with everyone looking at me as if expecting me to explain what had just happened. For two days in a row I've more or less just sat at my desk in despair unable to work on simple tasks for more than a few minutes before fleeing to some chat room for comfort/release, or go reading some article trying to understand what the hell just happened or what was going to happen next. Doing anything productive feels empty and hollow and I can't concentrate.

Part of it is that I'm not even sure what to be most upset about. There is the political angle, which I've already remarked upon: issues I care about are about to be bulldozed by an anti-fact party. There is the fear angle: so much is unknown and so much can go catastrophically wrong. There is the personal angle, in that my hopes of returning home to a secure professional career are in question, and the perception of Americans abroad is posed to swing right back to where it was in the Bush area and worse (hint: they didn't like us then and they're really not going to like us now).

And then there is the issue that has shaken me to my core, which is that I feel my own country is now incomprehensible and a much darker place than I ever imagined. Trump's innumerable disqualifications were abundantly obvious and well-publicised, and many of his actions completely breached the line of acceptability: embracing racists and racist language, using his power to get away with sexually assaulting women (and bragging about it), mocking the disabled, threatening journalists, threatening to bar Muslims from America. He lied about literally everything and made up "facts" on the fly (and refused to disavow them when called out.)

It shouldn't have mattered what Clinton's weaknesses were, it shouldn't have mattered what happened in the primary, it shouldn't have mattered that Russia and a political enemy conspired to swing the election (with the FBI joining the pile-on), it shouldn't have mattered that she "had trouble connecting" or was the victim of sexism, it shouldn't have mattered that the upper Midwest was mistakenly neglected. Trump's actions are beyond the pale. Anyone reasonable - beyond his racist core supporters, who are not reasonable - should have voted for Clinton, voted for a third party, or not voted at all. To do otherwise is to normalize and validate every one of the above offenses.

I have believed my whole life that while America is a country that has made many mistakes, over the past century in particular it is a place where the culture is fundamentally good and striving to do better. The Bush years and their aggressive religiosity and militarism challenged this assumption but it was more of a question of being misguided, driven by a misinterpreted worldview than a straight-up embrace of concepts fundamentally alien to mine. But of course that all went away and in the last few years it really did seem like we were a nation on the upswing: Obama (the candidate of hope) was not just elected in a wave of discontent with previous guy but re-elected four years later, and even the other guy (despite some pandering) wasn't so bad. Public opinion swung in favor of gay marriage, and the country celebrated when it was legalized. That happened the week I moved abroad.

And now this. THIS. There are people out there with dark hearts, but everyone else? I can't believe it. I still don't understand it. I more-or-less live in a bubble world but I do know a few conservatives - every one of them (who would admit it) went for a third party. A reasonable result for this election might have been something like: Clinton with ~50%, Johnson with 15%, Trump with 15% (the racists and idiots), and the rest "other".

No, the candidate of "grab her by the pussy" and "I alone can fix it" and "they're rapists" (while on trial for child rape) and "build a wall" (while married to an illegal immigrant) and "no Muslims", never apologizing for any of it, and so many other things apparently does not repel a near-majority of my fellow compatriots. And every excuse I can come up with is nullified by his own spectacular character weaknesses. You're protesting your economic disenfranchisement by voting for a billionaire who literally ran a scam university that ruined people's livelihoods? Are you fucking kidding me? I don't buy it. I don't. Something is deeply morally wrong with our national fabric.

I have defended America (even in the face of difficult times like Iraq) and believed in it for my whole life. It's an optimistic place of self-improvement always looking to make things better and aim for a better tomorrow. Now I am shell-shocked. That isn't true. If that was true this would not have happened. America - much of it, anyway - is hateful (racist and sexist), hypocritical, stupid, or even all of them.

I don't know. Getting a Canadian passport and taking a job overseas as a "Trump backup plan" was supposed to be a joke. It doesn't feel like it anymore. My country feels alien to me, having betrayed my values and destroyed my positive image.

Maybe I will recover from this later. But I suspect the damage is permanent. I take solace only in the fact that "my" parts of the country (California and even New Mexico) rejected hatred strongly, if not as strongly as I would have liked. But I do know that for a long time in the future, when someone asks me where I'm from, whatever I tell them is going to hurt deeply inside.
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