So, now we’ve done it. We’ve elected an individual who reminds Germans (and a whole lot of other people) of Hitler. I lived in Germany for 2 years, quite some time ago. I’ve had conversations about the American brand of fascism with Germans who were young during WWII. No matter how adamant I was, in the past, that America was latently fascist, I never heard a word of enthusiastic agreement from any German I talked to.
Now, Germans are comparing Trump to Hitler. When that happens, it tells me something has shifted. And that “something” is serious.
Make no mistake, I’ve been leery of this country, since I’ve been able to think for myself. I’ve lived in areas that were steeped in racist bigotry and burned (literally) by race riots. I’ve also lived in rural areas where there were almost no people of color. At all. I had one African-American classmate in my high school. He was in my graduating class. There were no others in any of the other classes. There was one Jewish girl, and she graduated early — got the hell out of Dodge — good choice. There were no other people of color. At all. No Asians. No Hispanics. No Native Americans. Just European-American kids.
So, I spent the latter half of my childhood surrounded by people who put a demagogue in power, this time around. And I’m still in touch with some of them. Members of my family voted for the demagogue, too, which makes the prospect of sharing Thanksgiving dinner with them that much less appealing. It’s not that we have a difference of opinion. It feels to me like they just handed over the keys to the kingdom to a wild-card authoritarian, trusting the care of the proverbial henhouse to a fox who’s told everyone he’s a fox, time and time again.
And that hurts.
What hurts most, though, is not just the results of this election. Everything about it has done a number on me. The lack of civil discourse. The lack of clarity. The constant smoke-and-mirror activity of the media, the lies, the distortions, the propaganda. Nobody watches news anymore. There is no more news. There is only propaganda — slanting stories in one direction or the other, to trigger an emotional response and get you aligned with the interests of whoever is telling the stories. And no one in the audience is able — or willing — to listen to what others have to say, consider it carefully, and then make up their minds about what they really think.
Nope. It’s all snap judgments, knee-jerk reactions, and a lot of spiteful name-calling. It’s embarrassing.
And it hasn’t just been on one side. It’s been on ALL sides. That’s the worst thing of all. The dehumanization of others — the complete and total lack of empathy for anyone who is different from you or dares to have a different opinion. That’s been dished out from every direction, towards every other direction. It’s crushing. Absolutely crushing. And the NT world says autistics have no empathy…
I differ with that view. I’m not begging to differ with anyone. Begging makes me subordinate, and I’m not that. I simply differ. Because that poxious (cross between “pox” and “obnoxious”) empathy-deficit point of view has ensured the suffering of countless autistic folks at the hands of those who themselves show precious little sign of empathy — for anyone even slightly different from themselves.
My empathic self is fried — especially after the last week.
Just fried. On every conceivable level.
My heart hurts. My head has been throbbing for days, now. I ache with a flu-like feeling that’s not accompanied by any respiratory issues or fever. And I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’ve stooped this low… that we’ve just handed our country over to an incompetent, aggressively ignorant con-man who hasn’t successfully run anything for decades — he’s just licensed his bogus brand to the highest bidders.
Meanwhile, people either make light of this “democratic” travesty and try to normalize it, or they pick up pitchforks and start mud-slinging. Anderson Cooper (of all people) is trying to normalize this fascist coup. Well, he should have just voted for the incoming team, if he’s that eager to deal with them. Then again, maybe he did… The Washington Post is publishing stomach-churning vitriol against the winning side (under the guise of satire or commentary or whatever), as though they have any right to denigrate anyone that way from their position of considerable authority… as though that it’s going to do anything besides increase the resolve of the target of their attack to continue as they have been — plus, now, with the rocket fuel of righteous indignation behind them.
Meanwhile, folks on the “winning” side are chortling about “butt-hurt liberal LOSERS”, proclaiming far and wide that “their man” is going to fix everything. Keep us safe. Make us great again. Kick ISIS’s ass. And so forth.
The lack of insight and self-critique on all sides is devastating — figuratively (for me) and literally (for this nation). And meanwhile, as we’re all squabbling in the streets and on social media, well-equipped forces which transcend any political parties are systematically dismantling the world around us.
It’s crushing. Simply crushing. This is what hurts my whole autistic system most:
- Lack of logic – no, wait, the refusal to apply logic to any thought at all
- Lack of insight into what’s causing all this behind the scenes
- Refusing to consider all sides of all subjects, especially if the analysis doesn’t favor you
- Name-calling, mockery, derision, catty snarking from the podium and in the press (from all sides)
- Denial of the humanity of others
- Oversimplification of complex issues, boiling the two sides down to red vs. blue, fascists/sexists/racists vs. socialist spoiled brats (the oversimplification has been the worst)
- Blame-shame games
- Propaganda passing as “news” — and people repeating it, like it’s gospel
- People thinking all about themselves (and their fell “team members”) and not frankly giving a shit about anybody else who isn’t on their team.
- A rancorous winner-take-all mentality.
- And Most Of All, the fanciful belief that we can continue in this way, steeped and marinating in our mindless, partisan vitriol, and ever manage to effect the changes we need to see in the world.
As long as we continue this way, down this thorny, mucky path, there is no chance we’re going to see any change at all. I feel that in my bones. We have to change how we think, change how we talk to each other, change how we engage, in order to steer ourselves in a productive direction. Knowing that is no solace. Because it seems that nobody else frankly gives a damn. They’re too busy trying to WIN. They can’t be bothered to pay attention to what’s really going on under the surface.
Holy fuck, this feels absolutely apocalyptic.
Then again, it’s felt like this before. I have to remember that. I’m not sure what makes this any different, but it feels different. Like we’ve lost something crucial, and by the time things truly normalize, we’ll have forgotten that ever existed.
In lieu of despairing, I’m going to the office to work. Plus, I’ve got a cool project of my own that brightens my day and actually gives me hope. I’ll share more of that in the coming days and weeks. But right here, right now, it’s time to get showered and dressed for work.
We’ll see what happens.