I thought I was in the majority…
Not according to race, or religion or gender or anything unimportant like that. In the one way that matters. Common sense.
I grew up in a country that used to make sense. People grew up from children into adults who – while never perfect – at least never went so far against their own common sense as to be dangerous to themselves (and others). Not until November 8, 2016.
The United States used to be a leader. Yes, that’s the correct wording – it used to be. No matter your level of patriotism and pride, you can’t deny that the U.S. has fallen behind numerous other countries in education, healthcare, equality, infant mortality rates, etc. The list where we’re not first (or even top 10 or top 20 anymore) has become staggering.
Now we’re like the big brother who was cool in high school but then, when his “music career” never took off, got hooked on meth, made a lot of incredibly poor decisions, embarrassed his family and now is but a shadow of his former self. The other countries have grown up, found success and made a name for themselves, while we just took a massive hit of our latest drug of choice, flopped down on the couch, turned the tv to something pointless that may or may not be a comedy – something that we won’t even watch – and settled in for a four year nap. And the world will grow and develop around us while we’re snoring and drooling into our sleeve, occasionally moving enough to shove a handful of junk food into our craw and think back to the days when we were really something. When we were cool.
We’re a shell of our former self and we’re not going to get better until we admit we have a problem. And on November 8th, when everyone came over for the party and we were so wasted that we wandered into the living room telling sexist jokes and soiling the backside of our last clean pair of ripped up jeans as everyone awkwardly watched and felt completely mortified and humiliated for us….? Yeah, that should be our wake up moment. Our “I’ve completely shamed myself and need to make changes before it’s too late” moment. We’ve hit rock bottom.
Now here I am living in Fayette County – a county that voted over 64% for ignorance and hate. And I’ve never felt so alone. But I was kind of prepared for that. After all, I voted behind a guy who had a Trump sticker covering one half of his truck’s rear window and a confederate flag sticker covering the other half (both not-so-subtle racism and complete driving ignorance wrapped up together in one 99-cent purchase).
I know someone who voted for ‘that guy’ because he was scared the democrats were coming to take away all of his guns (regardless of any rational attempt to explain the fallacy of that logic). And his wife used her individual vote to choose the same guy because her husband was scared that the democrats were coming to take away all of his guns. And there’s the woman who voted for him because “he’ll get rid of partial birth abortion” even though that was something banned in a previous decade and doesn’t actually exist. Or the person who made their decision based on Benghazi without knowing either A) what happened in Benghazi or B) what continent Benghazi is located on. Ahh, democracy in action…
And please don’t get me started on the “Christians” who simply voted straight down the Republican ticket because that’s the party of “Christian” morals and values… When did “Christians” lose the ability to think (and read, and research and reason…?) And, most importantly, when did they lose the ability to feel love and compassion for anyone the slightest bit different than themselves…?
So sure…I knew I wasn’t living in an intellectual Mecca around here (pun intended – if you get it, you probably voted on my side). But I thought I could temporarily escape from my little county of crazy whenever I wanted to, simply by going out into the rest of the United States occasionally once the election was over. Someplace that wasn’t fueled by rage and fear and complete and total ignorant self-interest. But apparently not. It obviously stretches far beyond the borders of what I thought it would.
So who wants to get in the car with me, or hop on that train, or board a plane with me and take off to someplace better? At least for the next four years or so. By then, maybe the majority of people will have learned their lesson, grown up and shown that they can once again be entrusted with making intelligent adult decisions.
It’s either that or I’ll have to see if it’s too late to volunteer for a mission to Mars. At least we haven’t had the opportunity to mess that place up. Yet…