A couple of days ago I picked up Slaughter-house Five and started reading it again. It has been way too long since I've allowed myself to get lost in Vonnegut's prose, and now, as I sit here at 5:30am after what will likely prove to be one of the most disastrous Presidential elections in US History, it seems an oddly prescient choice. Potentially horrible events loom before us. Be nice if the Tralfamadorians could show up right about now.
I'm not even sure what to say at this moment. Do I yell at the media, who are currently standing there looking at the smoking remains of our future with a burnt-out match and an empty can of gasoline in their hands and saying, "Uh, this might be our bad"? Do I rage at the people who value imposing the tenets of their religion over the rights of other people, even though their religion pretty much tells them not to do that? Do I snarl at those who made their 'protest votes' and ask them if their smug sense of superiority will endure when they're choking on the poisoned air of a renewed - I can't even believe this is going to be a thing - coal initiative?
There's no point in any of that, I suppose. But what I can do is this: worry and work.
Worries are going to be as easy to find as leaves in our yards right about now (well, in the Northeast, anyway). GOP POTUS, GOP Senate, GOP House. Last time that happened was the late 20's and it led to the Great Depression. I'm worried for my LGBTQ friends and their rights, which should be as guaranteed as anyone else's. The EPA has always been a thorn in my side with regard to my business, but a necessary one. I shudder to think of what will happen if they're gone. I have friends with pre-existing medical conditions who were essentially given a new lease on life with the ACA - what happens to them now? Hell, my parents both make use of Medicaid/Medicare. All 'entitlement' programs are in Paul Ryan's sights now. Speaking of which, Planned Parenthood - shit. Can you fathom that being gone? Maybe you're fortunate enough to never needed it. Others have and will continue to do so. Millions of others. Will it be gone in a whirlwind of religious righteousness and the need to build . . . battleships?
Frightening stuff, and only the tip of the iceberg. What to do? Right now, this morning as the dust settles? Despair, a little. Go in and hug my wife for a while. Take comfort in my friends and loved ones, who are often the same people.
And then work.
Not 'earn-a-living' work, although that's going to happen, but work at surviving the nightmare that's on the horizon. Help where I can. Be there with support for those who need it. Never, ever, EVER give up hope. Half the people who voted didn't want him. We're not going to go away, not going to go quietly. We survived eight years of W. and while it kills me to see the accomplishments of Obama likely to be eradicated in a matter of months, we can't give up. We cannot let the nation's future be dictated by racists and haters. They've made their voice heard, won this round. We are made of sterner stuff, of nobler intentions, of greater fortitude and stronger hearts. We will be there for one another, suffer the slings and arrows together, endure. Our children are depending on us.
And we will be worthy of their trust. We have to be.