Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Worried.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very tense and upset and a bit depressed. Of course, we’ve gone through so much over the past two to three years. I suppose I have every right to feel the way I do. But here’s the thing, I’m not depressed about our lives here. Yes, we aren’t in the best of health, but we are living in a country that helps us and in a community where we have friends who honest to God care about us. And that is a wonderful, wonderful thing. My life, here in Aultbea, with the husband I love more than anything, and close enough to my daughter and granddaughter, with phone calls to my stepkids and my mother-in-law, it’s all pretty much good. Pain is horrible, but I’ve gotten used to it and Chris’ meds are finally balancing out so he’s feeling a little less horrible (although the residual dizziness and other complications from the strokes can be, shall we say, challenging).

What has me sad and angry and worried is what is happening back in the States. Today we got the news of yet another unarmed black man being gunned down and killed by police officers who, no doubt, will go on paid leave until they can cook up some sort of excuse.  Today I read of yet another occasion of Trump rallying his “basket of deplorables” to keep up the blind hatred and aggression. Today, I am just tired of it. Tired of trying to make sense out of a situation that makes no sense at all – never can and never will. And I find myself actually contemplating the change in my life that I’ve thought about over the years – voluntarily severing my ties with the US and becoming a British citizen. No dual citizenship, just British. No more identifying myself as American. Why? Because I am ashamed. Ashamed of what my country is becoming. Ashamed of the unfulfilled greatness that the country could be. I am sick and tired of the bigotry and ignorance of what is real and what is being spoonfed to the vacuous by media outlets who lie, spin, and happily depart from reality in order to drive their own agenda. How the hell did this happen? Seriously, how did it happen?

When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I couldn’t have been prouder of my country. To have witnessed, during my lifetime, a country go from its own institutionalized apartheid to having an African American president was something for which I felt Americans could justifiably claim to be the most progressive, tolerant people in the world. But that wasn’t to be. Too many small-minded closeted bigots collectively lost their shit when President Obama took his oath of office. They festered until the hate brimmed over the edge – filling “patriotic” forums with garbage about the first family, about Democrats, about progressives, about liberals. The few and far between trolls of the internet appeared to become the rule rather the exception. And people I knew who I thought were bright and kind and fair showed signs of intolerance that surprised me and ultimately broke my heart.

Soon it will be time for Americans to vote in another presidential election. This time, we have the option of creating history once more by electing the first woman president of the United States. It should be an easy win – but it won’t be. The reason I say it should be an easy win is because we have a candidate for president who is possibly more qualified for the position than anyone who has come before her. Hillary Rodham Clinton has spent her entire life as the champion of working families, of children, of women. She has spent her life trying to find justice and equality for those so often forgotten by big governments and corporate America. But she is a woman and because she is so focused, so determined, so incredibly intelligent, she scares the shit out of most people. And so they have created a witch hunt perpetuated by lies and rumours that can be categorically refuted, desperately trying to hang something on her to make her “unfit” for office. So they can call her a traitor and a liar. And I suppose, we should just shake our heads and realise that this is what modern day politics has become – little substance and just offense, offense, offense. They accuse of her heinous crimes, forgetting that she has been rubbing the Washington old boys' network wrong for years and if they could have pinned anything on her, they would have! Non-partisan think tanks have named her as one of the most honest candidates in this election cycle. But, like all female pioneers before her, she has to be so much more than perfect for anyone to not be critical of her. If it weren't so serious, it would be laughable. Because of who and what her opponent is. This should be an easy win...

But here’s the crazy thing – her opponent is the most unfit, unqualified, most dishonest, horrible excuse for a human being that has drawn breath. And I am completely serious when I say that. Find me ANYTHING about this man that is honourable. He has lied about giving money to charities, he has lied about his own success, he ignores whatever he doesn’t like and engages in something that is so far beyond hyperbole, it is impossible to even try to define him. He has broken laws and regulations, he has bribed and cajoled, he has alleged ties to organised crime and unsavoury world leaders. There is nothing that is exemplary about him. He has been labeled – accurately – as a xenophobe, a homophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a draft dodger, a con man, a liar, a narcissist, etc., etc., etc. And every single one of those labels is absolutely, undeniably true. Donald Trump is the worst of the worst. He is making himself and the US a laughing stock to anyone who sees clearly that the emperor has no clothes. But the media fawn all over him – not sure why, as he says only horrible things about them. But it is shocking. The fact that approximately 40 percent of Americans polled like him distresses me so much. Because, like it or not, it means that deep down inside, those people are all that he is, or at least support all that he is. When has horrible behaviour become respectable? Become tolerable? Become acceptable?

A rapist is given a short sentence because he was a great swimmer and going to prison might “damage” him. A professional football player convicted of rape is nominated for the Hall of Fame, while another football player who chose the peaceful protest of not standing during the National Anthem is on the receiving end of threats and hatred. White, privileged people are insulted by the term “Black Lives Matter,” not realising that you only say something like that when the opposite is the living truth. “Black Lives Matter” because there is so little indication that they do. And yet, we sit on the sidelines and tsk, tsk and forget the next day that a family somewhere has been robbed of its son, brother, husband, father.

A like-minded friend and I were exchanging our thoughts on Facebook when she posted the line from “Network” – “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” And that’s how I feel. I am so angry, I can hardly begin to put it into words. I’m not sure my words here are even going to make sense to anyone but me. But I know how I feel. I feel cheated and lied to, I feel as if I have to defend my right to call out a liar as a liar, a true human walking and talking piece of excrement for what he is.

The whole world is watching, America. They want to see what you are going to do in November. Do you continue to move forward, or do you take thousands of giant steps backward into a time that was not pleasant for anyone other than rich white men? A time of back-alley abortions, a time of prejudice and segregation, a time of isolationism and exclusive nationalism. Your decision. I pray that my faith in you will prove worthwhile. I know I will be casting my vote from abroad. And instead of saying God bless America, I am going to say God have mercy on America.

Oh, one other thing. I may not live in the US, but I am an American. I have my US passport, I vote in American elections and I fucking well care about what happens back home. So don't for one second tell me I don't know what it is really like back in the States. The things I've referred to here are facts, not opinions. They are undeniable and real...and shameful. And I'm not saying things in Great Britain are perfect. We have our own political freak shows going on, but I know that America is capable of taking a long, honest look at itself and it has the strength to make changes where changes need to be made. It has been said that all great nations rise and fall. Don't let the US fall. Don't allow the world to fall victim to a petulant man-child who could, upon being baited, press the red button and destroy us all. Please don't let that happen...