Thoughts on Gardening
Book Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Some Rambling Thoughts on Election Night 2018

Two years ago on election night, I made a scrapbook page. Kendell was watching the election results in the other room, but I couldn’t bear it. I could only witness with one of my senses. So I listened while I stood in my little haven with its blue walls and Van Gogh posters, its abundance of exacto knives and collection of paints. The layout I made was about Jake, who wasn’t talking to me at the time; I didn’t know what was going on and making something with his photos was the only way I had to feel any connection to him.

I fussy cut leaf after leaf, snapped off blade after blade from my knife.

I was already grieving for the mess my personal life had become and as the results came in, it felt the whole world was mirroring my little turmoil.

My turmoil roiled large and national.

Some part of me has never been the same after that experience with Jake, even though things are better now.

And some part of me will never be the same in regards to my country, either. Even if the country changes, if politics shift, if the narrow-minded, fear-mongering hordes see reason instead of hatred, I will never forget how that night felt. My nation electing such a vile man.

Two years ago, I wept and raged.

Today, I read an essay by a historian on Facebook about how we’ve seen this before: in the years before the Civil War, when wealthy white men used fear of black people to try to retain their power. When poor white people went along with it because at least they were on the same side as the wealthy men (even if they never benefitted financially, even if their sons died in war). This clicked some little thing in me, like when you snap your watch band together and it stays put. A click: OK. Understanding doesn’t fix it, but at least understanding can happen.

Today I also read a post on Facebook, this one in a feminist group I belong to, wherein the poster posited that maybe we should cut white, educated women some slack, because they (we) had all been taught—indoctrinated—that Hillary was bad. It wasn’t the fault of white, educated women (my demographic), this person suggested, that they voted for trump over a Clinton, because society had taught them to hate her. Which is probably true; if you only look on the surface, if you only listen to one media voice, another Clinton just couldn’t be trusted. Except: I reject that utterly. As a white educated woman I cannot understand how any white, educated woman could vote for that person simply to cast a vote against. I don’t know where these people were educated, and that is saying a lot because I graduated from BYU, one of the most conservative universities in existence. Yet, my education taught me many things. Critical thinking. The understanding that my perspective is not the only one, that my concerns are seen through a lens made from my environment—a lens I can remove. I know many such women, who believe trump was bad but Hillary was evil, and I cannot understand it.

Unless it is the same thing as those poor white men in the 1860s: white educated women want to just stand in the same place as white wealthy men. The ones with the power.

For the past two years, I have felt like I am living in one of those choose-an-adventure books, in a chapter created by someone choosing wrong.

So many wrong choices.

And those trump voters, two years ago. Saying yes it will be bad, but not that bad. We’ll survive.

But not everyone did survive. Or will.

Personally, my love of Americans has faltered. My patriotism is a little bit shaky. I never knew. I never knew.

That we are still so racist.

That we are still bigots.

That wealth and power are the only things that matter.

That we don’t care for the marginalized and the needy.

That we revile people from other countries (except Scandinavia).

I always knew my rights as a woman were threatened. I never stopped knowing we couldn’t stop fighting.

But I didn’t see the rest.

I thought we were courageous, openhearted, willing to look forward.

I thought we would create a world our grandchildren would thrive in.

I thought we were a country that looked at what we feared and then overcame it, not a country that used fear as tool to blind ourselves with.

For two years, I have resisted, just a little, in my heart. I have thought surely there are still enough people to see the truth.

But as another election passes this night, I find myself—in another wrong chapter. Not back where I was at the 2016 election, but somewhere actually darker and less hopeful.

I had my little personal miracle: Jake is turning around and we are healing.

But in this national darkness, I have stopped having hope for a national miracle.

I don’t know how to believe the voices of the wise, the brave, the calm, the rational will be heard again.

I don’t believe my voice matters.

But…here I am. Writing this. Despite knowing it is a silent, unidentifiable drop in the vast Internet ocean. Despite feeling my voice has been silenced.

Tomorrow we will wake up to election results. Will America have changed?

Comments

Cindy DeRosier

This resonated with me so much:

"For the past two years, I have felt like I am living in one of those choose-an-adventure books, in a chapter created by someone choosing wrong."

I try and try to see why people would vote for something or someone so obviously against their own best interests. It is mind-boggling. Today's results are not nearly as good as I'd hoped, but not nearly as bad as I'd feared. That's progress, I guess.

CarrieH

Amy--love your writing, as always. Take care and cherish the wins. I am cautiously hopeful that our voices and our small actions matter.

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