So, it’s been a couple of days. I’m still reeling, but the shock has begun to wear off. I’ve begun to develop my strategy. What strategy you say? The one that takes my new awareness of society and warps it onto my hopes, dreams, and goals while trying to protect myself from the serpents who surround me with smiles.
Before I tell this story, let me say first, that I’m the lone voice of reason within my family and most of my profession. By that I mean, I’m not guided by false facts and usually prefer to deal with reality independent of other beliefs and prejudices. If my beliefs don’t hold up under scrutiny, then I tend to abandon those beliefs. If they are worthy beliefs, I don’t have to lie to myself to keep them.
So a few day before the election, one relative recently sent me a incorrect fact about Hillary Clinton, implying that she lost her license to practice law. Well, I knew that it wasn’t true, that’s called being disbarred and when you are disbarred its a really big deal. No, no, I was told, its different. I sent her back the Wikipedia article, asking for her to show me where this was true. She pointed not to an encyclopedia, but to a fear mongering conspiracy hate site. The actual situation was that Hillary had not renewed her license, probably because she had gone in to politics and wasn’t going to be practicing law in that state. (this happens often, and I’ve dropped certifications that were expensive to keep up for the same reason)
Talk about your ‘oh, wow’ moments.
That my nearest relatives got their information from shady sites produced by shady people which twisted facts to suit their purposes, and not an authoritative source. Sad to say, it wouldn’t have mattered or changed their vote. The crux of the matter is that this boiled down to not liking someone personally. In plain terms, it was a personality conflict that went back decades.
That personality conflict (Not liking Hillary) overwhelmed all other rational, sane reasoning. It was too much to ask, that they treat this like hiring a bureaucrat to run government instead of a football game. It was too much to ask for those women to hold their noses and vote for someone who would help their causes, make sure the social safety-net programs (Medicare, social security, etc) they depend on stay funded, men would not be slapped on the hands for using sexual intimidation in the work place, and that trade/jobs stayed steady. If that idiot Sarah Palin had run (because she is a female Trump), those same women would have put her in charge of everything. It’s shameful we can’t look forward to a competent first woman president someday, it will have to be a populist idiot to get past the voter stupidity.
So our mothers, grandmothers and saddest of all, some of their daughters (because we have to smear that hate on the children too so we don’t lose it) voted not just to put their boot on the neck of women in leadership positions everywhere, but at the same time, to elevate someone who would be all too happy to reduce our value to blonde hair dye, breast implants and a willingness to suck up to rich powerful men. Those of us who would lead were told, ‘don’t you worry your pretty little head about leadership’. Our middle-aged and elderly women loved every damn word Trump said, and all that he did, because it resonated with what they had believed was proper all their lives, validated the fact that women shouldn’t be trying to do those jobs, because they themselves were taught that they shouldn’t. They loved this archaic rhetoric so much that they they said “me too” and checked that box -and with that check-mark reinforced the boundary lines that keep us from becoming equals.
The Horrifying Reality? Not Trump (although horrifying). Nope, the horror is those women (and men) can still outnumber us at the polls. We will get rid of this repulsive jerk in a few years, but I’ll have to wait a few decades to see the people I love, the people who said ‘me too!’ die off before we can achieve true social equity (much sooner if with the repeal of The Affordable Care Act and its preexisting conditions clause for conditions like cancer). I’m not getting any younger, and now I don’t think it will happen before I die. I’ll be denied jobs I should have, and the white male establishment will feel vindicated in putting me back in my place. After all, the nation said that was okay again, so they don’t they don’t even have to keep up appearances and pretend I can lead.
The true result of Tuesdays election? I’ve lost any hope that I have anything at all with which to find common ground with my family and well-to-do colleagues. They are beyond help, and I’ve grown to be too different from them to relate to their small world view. We only make each other mad when we try to talk. They believe they are making a ‘Christian’ choice. Well, I just cannot believe that God would say that my feelings about fairness, equality and kindness are wrong. Ironically, those same relatives worry about my soul but don’t see the massive stain on their own. If confronted, they will simply say ‘oh, no, that’s not what that really means’ all the while knowing it really is true. They comfort themselves with the lie that their actions are not evil or intended to hurt anyone. For one, it hurt me and women like me. In ways those other women who don’t identify with us will never understand.
Another thing that hurts? I’m a lot like Hillary Clinton, and now I know they don’t just want to limit me professionally, they actually don’t like me personally either. I’m a strong, outspoken, professional woman. I’ve had success, but also made some mistakes in my career. That tends to happen when you do things and have an impact. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve been called a bitch by men I worked with. That happens a lot too when your not soft-spoken, have an opinion, or just plain know what your talking about. That the people who claim to love me truly do not wish me success, think I’m getting above myself and trying to do a man’s job in a man’s world. That they think its okay to ‘spank me’ when I’m trying to get out of line, purse their lips and imply ‘I told you so’. That’s not love, its not encouragement, and its certainly not an endorsement of my potential. As clear as day, on Tuesday, they all told me that they actually don’t like women like me. Well, I heard you. Loud and clear. I can say I don’t like you very much anymore either.
Of course, I’m going to pour every ounce of this betrayal into my art because it will help me heal. But that’s not all I’m going to do. It’s not enough to merely cry and mourn over the true opinions of those people. I’m going to take action too. I’ve decided to dramatically change how I deal with the world after this election.
First, if you voted to keep women down because you didn’t like her? I’m going to accept that you probably don’t like me that much either and quit pretending that you do.
Second? I’m not going to fund a single thing where the people involved could have been helped by making a different choice on Tuesday. Especially those who need government aid but voted for Republicans who will slash that funding while restoring the shameful tax cuts of the Bush era (because let’s face it, you can never be too rich). That’s going to be mainly white, rural America, but a few others too. I won’t waste my pity or sympathy on those who suffer joblessness from the tanked economy that is now almost certainly in our future. You asked to suffer, begged for it. Said you’d rather suffer like that than see a woman you didn’t think was enough like you do a frankly thankless job, so who am I do deny you your suffrage? Relieve your pain in any way? I’m starting to believe that the pain level must increase to see people change how they vote.
Third? I’ve been in the midst of a job hunt. I’m going to do everything I can to not work for the slimy bigots who made this happen. No longer will they make a profit off my talents, they do not deserve me or other brilliant people like me. That means I’ll be working for women, minorities, and probably a younger company, which means I’ll make less money. That’s okay. That’s my sacrifice for my principals that I’m willing to make. Maybe its not such a huge sacrifice at all, when I won’t be allowed past the glass ceiling anyway.
I’m going to pull my checkbook back in a dramatic way, and I hope young professional women everywhere do. It may be hard in some industries to find women owned/lead companies, but I’m determined that if I can’t hire one, I’ll learn to do a whole lot myself rather than hire a man, or a middle aged woman who are about as UN-Godly as they come.
Jesus would never have preached hate and would have helped the poor, the sick, the elderly, and so on. Jesus would have been washing their feet. So those who told themselves they were voting the Christian choice? Yeah, they are either idiots or they have some version of the bible I’ve never seen. What those people really did? Show the world that they are so full of hate and fear that they would rather try to keep others down than adapt to a fairer future for all.