Friday, December 02, 2016

Surviving in the Post-Trump World

I have gained approximately 100 pounds since Trump won the election and I feel like I've aged ten years. I have to get my act together and come up with a plan for staying sane for the next four years before I end up in an Oreo coma or a straightjacket. These are the options:

  1. Retreat entirely into a fantasy world of knitting and comfort lit.
  2. Embark on four years of rage, activism, and civil disobedience.
  3. Absent myself from Facebook and Twitter and rely on one trusted news source, to be checked no more frequently than once a week. Regularly donate to groups that can effectively fight the Trumps. Engage in periodic acts of activism, but don't try to fight everything.
  4. Move to a different country and watch our destruction from a safe distance.
Obviously, option three is the most sensible, but I really needed to write it out for myself. Option four has possibilities too, but is considerably more difficult. Given that Jon and I work in high-demand professions, with diligence, we might be able to find jobs overseas. The main problem is that I'm not willing to abandon my children here and since three of them are adults and one will be going off to a university, taking them with me might be tricky. The other problem is that Jon doesn't want to leave the US but I think life here will become intolerable. Jon himself has experienced a hate crime of sorts. He was at the grocery store, wearing a scarf that a friend bought him in Turkey. The scarf's print is recognizably Middle Eastern. Anyway, a random white man, for no reason whatsoever, came barreling toward Jon and forcibly elbowed him out of the way. The store wasn't crowded and there was plenty of room to get by, so we concluded that it was an act of aggression. It was certainly acknowledged, long before the election, that the United States is a racist country, but the fact that so many people now feel empowered to aggressively demonstrate their hatred is deeply disturbing. I think that all of us - truly ALL of us - harbor some amount of prejudice. However, decent and thoughtful people have the ability to detach from their prejudice, to examine it, and to work to overcome it. Since the election, some people have completely dispensed with decency.

Since long before the election, I've been in a constant state of outrage over the way that sexual assault victims are treated in the criminal justice system, particularly the odious case over the summer in which a rapist was given a light sentence because he's a college athlete. I wasn't the most enthusiastic Hilary Clinton supporter (I preferred Bernie) but I was optimistic that a woman president would be a huge blow to out hateful patriarchal culture. My vote for Hilary Clinton wasn't just a vote against Trump, but a vote for women. So you can imagine what a crushing disappointment it was that we elected a sexual predator instead. Now, every loathsome creeper who ever leered at me or made comments or tried to grope me on the bus is legitimized. Jon and I had a massive screaming/yelling fight the day after the election because he just doesn't get what it means to be a woman in the United States. I am still so fucking angry. This is the main reason I'd like to get the hell out of the US and take my children with me.

On the other hand, what would the US look like if everyone who had the means and education to leave did so? If an opportunity presented itself to you, would you consider leaving the United States?

16 comments:

  1. My feelings mirror yours 100%. The thing that bothers me most about Trump's win is we elected and sexual predator. It confounds me that so many women voted for him..and my husband doesn't get it either. I'm older than you and have two very young granddaughters and fear for their future. I really haven't been able to sleep or lead a normal life since the election. I'm inclined to go with your #3. I also do not want to have anything to do with anyone who voted for him, this includes my male sibling. Haven't spoken to him since the election and don't know when I can. I consider anyone who voted for Trump someone who thinks it is ok for women, including my daughter and granddaughters to be abused, so for me it's personal.

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    1. It makes no sense, and it just shows how women are valued in this country.

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  2. I had a few screaming fights with my husband about it. Even though he tries to save the world for a living, he keeps telling me they're not going to screw that much up. He's all like, "I love a good battle, so bring it, I'm going to be battling them for the next four years". But then, he got the news that one of his comrades in arms, his best lawyer, is taking a break from saving the world due to some family matters. Suddenly, he's become far more understanding of my feeling of 'we're fucked' although he has asked if I could please refrain from saying that in front of the girl or even so often. So I'm trying to not walk around muttering that.
    In addition, I'm attempting a mix of your first three options - lots of knitting, rage, civil disobedience with breaks from the news and social media. I bought two bus tickets to the march in DC in January, although Edie now doesn't want to go. (It's her dad's birthday and she thinks it's awful I'm not going to be home for it.) I'm also considering getting involved locally in ousting our town's vice mayor, who I think is completely despicable.
    I found out yesterday my NY Time subscription is increasing as of 1/2/17, which is understandable, but slightly upsetting to the budget. I thought about cancelling for a split second, but there is no other paper I like nearly as much as the times, so I'll just suck it up, as I feel supporting the press is one thing that is important for us to do.
    We have talked about leaving the country, but can't decide on where we'd go. Edie votes somewhere where Pat & I can understand the language, Pat votes warm and I vote somewhere far away, like Africa or New Zealand. The dog declined a vote, so there's no tie breaker.

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    1. I think the New York Times will be my one trusted news source, although I'm pissed at them for predicting so confidently that Clinton would win.

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  3. I'm baffled that we would elected someone who assaults women. And that other women think this is okay. And that we, as a nation AND as individuals have sent a message to our children that his behavior is condoned and even supported. Not everyone, of course. I have a few co-works who sent mass emails after the election on "behalf of their conservative colleagues" reminding us that people who voted for Trump are still our co-workers, still kind, and still meriting respect. I had a panic attack and unsubscribed from that list. Because no. No, I don't have to respect that. And yes, it does change my opinion of you, as a person. You sent a signed letter to my child supporting rape. You're an asshole. I'm going with option 3 myself and everyone's Christmas present is a donation this year.

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    1. Yeah, I am NOT down with extending anything to colleagues who voted for Trump. I have to be civil in the workplace, but I'm judging like crazy.

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  4. And now I'm literally having chest pain after reading Margaret Sullivan's WAPO article about how Trump's mouthpieces are claiming that facts don't exist, or that any action performed by a president is presidential. We're fucked.

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  5. To clarify, it is large-scale emotional abuse when people close to Trump tell us that facts don't exist or that we can't criticize Trump's gross behavior as unpresidential because the fact that someone is PEOTUS means all his actions are presidential. I believe this is what is known as gaslighting.

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  6. I am so stressed and anxious about the election and the next four years that I am for the first time ever considering therapy to help me cope. As for leaving the country, New Zealand is our choice because we absolutely love it there and we know Pete could get a job in his field, but we're in the same boat as you, in that the timing isn't good because of our offspring. My husband as a white male, has never experienced sexist or been groped by a stranger on a subway. He made a joke about his middle aged white guy privilege yesterday and was immediately met with loud screeching outrage from the three females who live with him.

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    1. My therapist said she has been working crazy overtime hours because so many people need her help since the election.

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  7. We (the rest of the civilized on this benighted planet) feel for you.
    Come on down to NZ, you will have nothing to fear except the odd earthquake.

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  8. Trump-despair-induced weight gain has to be a genuine medical condition. I don't know what to do. Every potential cabinet appointee seems worse than the last. My inclination is to hibernate and ignore all of the bad news. I'm not saying that's the best thing to do but it's a lifelong pattern. If I could move I'd leave the country tomorrow.

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    1. There will probably be a DSM-IV developed for it.

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  9. In the first two weeks following the election, I lost five pounds. (Then came Thanksgiving, so I gained some of it back). Usually I deal with stress by overeating, except in times of extreme grief. Which this was. I'm now a little more stable emotionally, but alternate between outrage, resignation, and disbelief. I am not inclined to leave the country, because my (adult and nearly adult) children are here and they can't leave easily. Also, it's my country. Trump can't have my country unless he pries it from my cold, dead hands.

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  10. I would leave in a heartbeat. I, too, have contemplated all of these options. When the daily pledge gets recited at Happyland High I remain seated at my desk now. I'm struggling. I don't know how to fight back or whether I really want to fight, I'm in a position where I can just lay low and ignore the rest of the world and please myself, dagnabbit. But that's not terribly charitable, is it?
    So, yeah, I get it. I feel your struggle.

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