Baby and Politics
This election has upset me more than I thought it would. Blame it on pregnancy hormones, but I’ve been glued to MSNBC, CNN, and various Twitter hashtag feeds discussing all the angst, anger, and downright fear that many people are feeling about the election results.
I think I need to put it all down, though, because now I’m dreaming about it, along with all the other weird pregnancy dreams I’m having. Case in point: last night consisted of dreams where I didn’t have enough clothes for the baby and needed to go shopping IMMEDIATELY and then couldn’t find any, which is not the case at all; he has more clothes at this point than his father. The night before, the night of the election that will probably go down in history as the biggest media upset (look at this orange clown, he’s not going to get the nomination, well he’s not going to get the presidency, oh look he’s been elected), I dreamed that Mr. Trump had horses that were lost, and I had to go and find these horses, or someone did, and then I was watching the news from a helicopter view and watching hundreds of wild horses galloping across green fields (obviously these horses were not lost in southern California). I have no idea if the horses stand for some deeper, metaphorical trope.
Those dreams happened while I was asleep, which was off and on for about twelve hours. The rest of the time I was trying not to absolutely freak out about when I was going to go into labor. Of course I woke the husband up, and I was crying and just really, really emotional.
So take this election, take my 9-month-pregnant self, and take all the unknowns of baby and politics and futures, and I’m a hot mess. Oh! And add onto that my 90-year-old grandmother probably close to her end, and my 71-year-old father who doesn’t even seem like my father thanks to Alzheimer’s eating away his brain, and wow. I have a ton of pent-up stress. My body is itching like mad, and not even the areas stretched out by the baby. I think it’s a reaction to everything going on around and inside me.
These are the things making me really angry about this election (and I have to write about them so they can leave my brain and stop washing me away):
No, I didn’t vote for Trump. Most of my state didn’t. So now there’s a #Calexit discussion. Yeah right, people. Like we’re going to break from the Union. You know why we aren’t breaking? We don’t have any water. And sure, we could be the 7th or 6th country with the highest GDP (Silicon Valley! San Fernando Valley Porn Capital of the Universe!). But what pride. Who the hell do we think we are? I am really getting tired of the blueness of the state pointing to the redness of other states and declaring how stupid the red ones are and how smart and perfect we the blue ones are. It’s Dr. Seuss and his Sneetches in adult form. So no, my friends. California will not be leaving America. And if it ever decided to do so, I would want to take my family and leave California.
The desire to abolish the electoral college. I tweeted about the irrationality of the electoral college several hours before Trump was elected. I wasn’t expecting action to actually take place on that, though. And now that Trump has won because of the electoral college, people want it gone and say that Clinton was the true winner because she received the popular vote. However, we can’t change the rules when we don’t like the results. We set the rules in place before the election, and now the rules have been applied and the result has been achieved. It’s like being in a classroom where the teacher passes out the grading rubric the first day of class, grades the first set of papers, and then the students want to do away with the rubric because they didn’t receive the grade they wanted. Life doesn’t work that way, my friends. If you want to abolish the electoral college, by all means work on that, but work on it knowing that it is not going to cause Trump to be removed from office so Clinton can take his place.
Democrats blaming people who voted for third-party candidates for stealing the election from Clinton. God forbid we actually have other options! God forbid we have the right to truly choose who we want as a president. This one hits me personally because I did vote for a third-party candidate. I voted on the principle of wanting more choice; I didn’t want to decide between two people I didn’t trust or want as a president. But guess what? I didn’t cost Clinton the election because I wasn’t going to vote for her anyway! And, if you look back at your history, third-party candidates always “cost” the election for one of the two major parties; some years it helps Democrats, and some years it helps Republicans, like it did this year. (If Democrats want people to blame, they should blame the bullying tactics done by their own party to force Sanders to leave the running so the pre-chosen candidate could be nominated. Sanders connected with more voters overall, and I could have seen him beating Trump.) (If they don’t want to blame their own party, then they need to blame the media for all the free air-time given to Trump. Celebrities love being in the news, even if it’s for salacious and unscrupulous reasons. Why? Because it means people are thinking about them, and if people are thinking about them, then these celebrities generate more revenue and gain more popularity. )
The protests. And the hashtag #NotMyPresident.
I would love to know why these people are protesting. What end goal do you hope to achieve? I can guarantee you Trump will not look outside his high-rise window and go, “Oh look, they don’t like me. I think I will surrender my status as president-elect and give it over to Clinton.”
It’s the bandwagon fallacy. You have people who are generally afraid, right? They’ve listened to this man say some crazy things. (I think we should see all of that, ultimately, like a reality television show. I think Trump might have actually been taking his clues of how to act from, oh I don’t know, Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Or how about The Real Housewives of Orange County?) And now they have to do something with their fear, so they rush into the streets, they burn trash cans and smash windows, and they block the 101 freeway downtown. They graffiti expletives against Trump on the walls of City Hall. They join the movement because it feels good, it brings the blood to a boil, and it helps them to feel like they aren’t alone in their grief.
But then it ends. And the protestors get tired and hungry. And they have to go to their jobs in the morning. So they pack up and go home.
And Trump is still president. And Obama meets with Trump, shakes hands with him, and begins working on a two-month transition into the White House.
Beyond exercising the right to gather and protest, I don’t see what ultimate, long-lasting good this does for anyone.
But my biggest concern? People claiming that Trump is not THEIR president.
Okay then. So who is your president? Sure, Obama is everyone’s president for a few more months. Then what? Are you going rogue? Are you declaring yourself to be an anarchist? Are you going to move off the grid, grow your own food, and form a nudist colony out in the desert with your closest friends and wait until 2020 when you can vote for a candidate you like? I’m of the belief that just because you didn’t vote for the person who became president doesn’t mean you have the option to say that this person isn’t your president.
Finally, look at the pronoun use in #NotMyPresident. Individuality at its finest. Do we get individual presidents? Of course not. Well, Trump doesn’t represent me and my wants and desires. Sure; I get that. He doesn’t represent mine either. Clinton doesn’t as well. Even the third-party candidate I voted for isn’t 100% in line with my beliefs. Shoot, my husband and I aren’t always in complete alignment and we’re totally crazy for each other.
Maybe this isn’t about you as an individual.
Maybe this is about a country exercising a democratic privilege that many other countries don’t get to do. Maybe it’s about a country (or half a country; when only half of the citizens of a country turn out to vote, we’d be wise to be concerned) casting votes for a person who will become a part of an intricate checks and balances system. Maybe it’s about America choosing its president.
So it doesn’t even make logical sense to say Trump is not your president. Unless you’re leaving America for another country. Then that makes sense. Otherwise, guess what? Like it or not, Donald Trump is OUR president. We are a mixed bag of odds and ends, and we don’t always feel represented in the ways we want, but this is our country. This is where we’ve chosen to live.
Rather than stick your fingers in your ear and sing, “La la la, I don’t hear you, you aren’t my president,” let’s listen. Let’s open our eyes and try to see the bigger picture of all of this.
Maybe that’s easier for me to do because of my faith. I know that yes, I am an American, and yes, Trump is my president come January 20, 2017. But my ultimate source of peace, provision, solace, and hope is found in my position as a child of God. In four or eight years, someone new will be my president. And I’ll have to sort through all the political rhetoric again (hopefully with more stable emotions). But I will never have to watch my God leave his position of authority. I will never have to feel him abandon me. I will never be left alone.
I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I’m a person who prays for this country and all the people in positions of authority within it. I’m a person who prays about what needs to be done and does what is necessary. But ultimately, when things don’t go the way I want, I trust God’s sovereignty. I must. Otherwise, I will be making my own signs of protest, crowding my own freeways, and throwing my own rocks.
I promise I’m not a Jason Upton fanatic. It’s just that I’m so in tune with how my body is connecting to my spirit that all of his songs come into my head at different times. This morning, while processing the election madness and what I might need to write about it, the song was “When The Time Comes”. A quick google search revealed that he wrote this song on the eve of one of his daughters’ births. And that made me cry, because here I was connecting my baby and my country’s politics through a song, and it was all congealing in a giant circle, and it was helping my heart to let go of the anxiety rushing through me.
This little, powerful song speaks to me in layers: the election, America’s future, my future, my baby’s future, labor and delivery, childhood and growth.
I don’t need to be afraid of what I can’t see yet.