Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Brink of Uncertainty


A few months ago, I had a conversation with the young man who helps me do my barn chores. He’s a polite, well meaning neighbor kid whom I’ve know since he was six years old.  While I was mucking out one stall and he was mucking the other, he told me that he was looking forward to watching the first Presidential debate.  I admit that I was surprised since he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in anything outside his small, isolated world.  When I asked why, he eagerly announced that he was planning to vote for Donald Trump.  Startled, I stopped mucking.  I tentatively asked why, and he told me that he liked Trump’s economic and health care plans.  I bit my tongue. I said that I don’t discuss politics. I didn’t blurt out, “But he’s a racist and he’s a bully and he’s disrespectful to women!” I was afraid that the young man would decide that he didn’t want to help me anymore and quit working for us.

 It was the first of many instances where I didn’t speak up when people in my community said things – often hateful and bigoted – against Hillary Clinton and in praise of Donald Trump.   I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to make them mad at me since I had to live with them long after the election would be over.  At the same time, I felt my mother looking down on me, scolding me for not calling a spade a spade and defending my beliefs.  I was ashamed of myself for being silent.

There was a terrible dichotomy because some of these people, who were clearly not concerned about the racism and the misogyny being spewed by Trump and his surrogates,  were at the same time, good folks, good neighbors whom I genuinely liked.  It would all be fine unless we dug a bit deeper and uncovered this really ugly truth.  I felt that they didn’t give a shit about what happened to people who were different than they were.  They didn’t want to be connected to everyone else on the planet. They wanted to protect their little corner of the earth and justify their own beliefs, and they appeared to truly hate anyone who thought the way that I did.  I began to feel their anger and frustration radiating all around me. It scared me.

Yesterday was my birthday.  It did not go as I expected it would. I thought that I would be celebrating the first woman President’s hard fought victory.  I really wanted us to have a Mom-in-Chief so badly. Our country needs nurturing and healing and an end to the bullying, mean culture that has mushroomed like a nuclear bomb during this election season.  Instead, there is terrible fear that we will fall back into the dark days before civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, environmental rights, human rights were given to those of us who had been previously trampled and abused. 


Over the years, I can see that my young friend, who reliably and cheerfully comes to help me with my barn chores, has also grown to love my horses.  He had never spent any time around big animals before, but it’s clear that he enjoys being with them.  It is also obvious that he loves trees, plants and nature.  This morning, when he comes to muck the stalls with me, I will try to start a new conversation with him.  I have no idea what I will say, but I will attempt to find common ground, listen carefully and keep an open heart. I believe that we all need to do that starting right now.

10 comments:

Raining Iguanas said...

I too have struggled with this. Somewhere recently I heard the old adage if you can't say anything good about someone don't say anything. For the moment I feel this is the best route for me. Wonderful post and sentiment.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, John!

Susan Crosby said...

We are all in this together and I hope that we can support each other as we move forward. Doing for others as we would like them to do for us.

Victoria Cummings said...

I agree, Susan! Thanks

Lori Skoog said...

Great post. Thanks for all those words that I agree with. I don't think we have heard the end of the story. The people have spoken and like it or not, we have to live with this new president. Let's see if the future holds grace, integrity, respect and compassion. I worry about all those who will be impacted by the threats that have been made. With one party holding all the reins, what kind of progress will there be? And will it be good for all? When asked if they agreed with some of the rash statements made by DT, many said no, but they want a shake up in Washington. The lack of forward movement by congress did not help the situation. Guess it could have been the long term plan to get where we are today. I wonder what impact time will have on all those who were disappointed on election day.

emilylee19 said...

My thought is that we should work on this getting along with one another steadily, as you are doing, because in the future if things get seriously mucked up at the government level, we the people are all we've got. Divide and conquer is not a good paradigm for living...

Annette Mickelson said...

I struggle with the same situation as you. I think when we live in a rural, white area there are many people who have not experienced living with people who look or act differently. It was very hard for us when we first moved here, away from Los Angeles where whites were a minority and ethnic everything was absolutely wonderful. I've kept my peace because these are neighbors and friends, and I value those friendships. Sometimes, I will say something fairly vanilla -- and then make a "no politics" statement. My hope is that the younger generation -- who "gets" diversity thanks to social media -- will bring acceptance as they age and replace the old time white folks. My son (who is 24) told me last night that he just got a new manager at work (he works in SF) -- he laughed, "my first manager was Spanish, my second manager was from Bugaria and my new manager is Norwegian." He laughed. He thought it was great. I think there is hope.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Emily, Lori and Annette - time will tell where this all ends up, but I refuse to continue the negativity. There's no mileage in that.

Mrs Shoes said...

I am a proud Candian - never in my life have I literally FEARED for the outcome of a US election, but I am deeply afraid of what will happen now.
I am afraid for my US neighbours, as individuals & as a collective, and more, I am afraid of what will be the fallout for the rest of the free world.

How could this even happen? Trump has not hidden his bigotry, but made it a call to arms. I just cannot understand how he & his like-minded crew could get the vote...
Was it absentee voters?
Was the idea of a woman in power more offensive than a Madman?
I am afraid.

Linda said...

Very well expressed. Hatred and racism never solved any of the world's (or people's) problems, and it never will. Love is what we all need. You have a lovely blog, thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.