Amazon Prime has an intriguing series called, The Man in the High Castle. If you haven’t seen it, the show is set in a fictional dystopian world where Germany won World War 2. Everything in America is different, of course, shadowy and dark, and appears like time and much of our cultural evolution stopped in the 1940s.
It’s a show that’s come to mind for me repeatedly in light of this year’s election. I have sometimes tried to imagine a world where Donald Trump is elected our president, and it’s not (for me) a happy scenario. Soon I will find out if my imaginings come true. Tomorrow is the day of all days.
Where I live is beautiful, pastoral, and unfortunately a haven of Trump supporters. Sadly, almost everywhere I drive along the backroads of Washington County, New York, I see far more signs for Trump and Pence than I do for Clinton and Kaine. I find it hard to imagine what my rural, country-loving neighbors see in a candidate like Trump. Coming from a wealthy, white-collar, silver-spoon-in-his-mouth-from-birth upbringing, and living high on the hog in New York City getting rich through real estate, casinos and golf-courses, I do not understand how anyone believes he can or ever will truly represent them and their interests in any way, shape or form. Or cares, for that matter.
It must be that he was on television, I think, that his supporters have a kind of misguided Reagan-esque belief that his fame, wealth, stardom, and super-model wife will somehow save us all (it certainly won’t be his hair).
On a serious note, the thought of a Trump nation truly terrifies me. I fear what it would mean for the environment, for religious and cultural freedom, and that it would drag women’s rights back into the Dark Ages, among other things. I worry that it would promote the value of money and guns over life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But mostly I fear it would signal the end of basic human decency in our country and among us citizens.
Say what you will about the likely corruption of Hillary Clinton, Washington and our politicians, in my eyes they are nothing compared to what Donald Trump represents. I found myself, as an American, as a human being and a woman, increasingly offended and angered on behalf of myself and everyone else who was bullied or degraded almost daily by him this year. The seeming acceptance of it by his supporters also offended me deeply, and shocked me into realizing how many people in this country (men and women) secretly, silently, have felt exactly like he does, for years.
Trump’s awful, unstoppable authenticity was allowing them to finally, frighteningly, admit their own. And somehow making that all seem okay, fine, just fucking funny.
The thought of how many people are as angry, racist, misogynistic, and downright mean human beings as he is, and who either condone his behavior or choose to ignore it enough to elect him president is equally as frightening to me as the thought of his being the leader of us all, the face our country shows to the world.
Oddly enough (or maybe not, considering where I live) I actually have a few friends who are Trump supporters. They are good, kind, intelligent people. And so I go out of my way not to discuss the election with them for fear of losing those relationships, which I value more than being right. I just try to imagine how angry, upset and forgotten they must feel. I try to cultivate compassion and imagine they feel just like I do, not comprehending how anyone else could possibly feel differently.
And most of the time, it helps. It keeps me from flying off the handle, at least.
I will also confess to being kind of nervous about going to the polls tomorrow. Not because I’m fearful of a terrorist attack in my far-away town or of being bullied (let them just try to come at me, I say), but because I might encounter those same friends and neighbors. I worry about what I will say if asked who I’m going to vote for, about getting into a confrontation where harsh words and even harsher feelings (on my part, at least) will come out.
Though I haven’t sought out a discussion with Trump supporters, I’ve never been afraid to say what I think about the election to anyone who asks. And I’m not afraid to discuss the pros and cons (which I know she has) of Hillary Clinton. I am afraid, however, to tell my friends how ashamed of their choice I am. Such divisiveness among friends and family and feelings of suppression smack an awful lot of a weird, dystopian America to me. And any leader who would foster such sentiment (like North Korea, for another example) is truly a thing to be despised.
And I do fear for the safety of other people out voting in more populous places, both from Trump-loving bullies and potential ISIL supporters. Both of them seem to be threatening to wage a war on American voters this year, and their tactics of intimidation and fear seem frighteningly similar.
I also worry about recriminations from the Trump supporters should he (hopefully) lose the election tomorrow. There is an almost damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t feeling for Hillary Clinton hanging in the air. It’s enough to make me bite my nails and mix up a dark-and-stormy (rum and ginger ale) or two to pass the next 48 hours in some semblance of sanity.
But in my heart of hearts I believe in striving toward respect, compassion and kindness over fear, hate and anger, no matter what, no matter how the election turns out. A place where such beliefs are honored, even revered, is the kind of country I want to live in (good thing Canada isn’t too far away).
So I’m going to try and get a lot of sleep tonight because I think I will be up very late tomorrow, watching the election results roll in into the wee hours of the morning. Frankly, I do not think I could fall asleep tomorrow night not knowing if I will be waking up in a Trump nation. Tonight I may just have to watch more of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon, and pray to whatever higher powers are listening that a Trump-sized version of such a nightmare never, ever comes true.