Image courtesy of hillaryclinton.com
It is, as I type this column, days before what has turned out to be the most traumatizing election campaign I've ever experienced. Who knew I'd long for a candidate Romney or even a George W. Bush? When I'm stressed, I pick the skin on my chapped upper lip, often without even realizing it, and let me just say here: What lip? I have no lip left.
Donald Trump, with his vile schoolboy invective, rolled out the red carpet and threw open the door to the Ghost of Assaults Past for so many women, myself included. And that was just one of the 10 million paper cuts that his lies, his bloviating, his imperiousness, his idiocy, his racism, his xenophobia, his ethnocentrism and his mocking of the disabled have wrought. It's been a physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional bludgeoning that I couldn't ever have imagined. The GOP built this Frankenstein, but the "media" (whatever that is these days) finished putting the last bolt in its forehead.
If Hillary Rodham Clinton is our president-elect today—and since I viewed the Chicago Cubs' epic and historic World Series victory as foreshadowing that of Dame Clinton's, she is —I exhaled a big, if temporary, sigh of relief. It is my hope as I write this that HRC won in a landslide of proportions not predicted by revered seer Nate Silver because overwhelmingly we, as an evolving society, reject and repudiate all that Donald Trump stands for.
My relief and momentary lip-healing brings only a slight reprieve from the election angst because: A) Hillary Clinton is our first woman president; B) Hillary Clinton is a woman: C) Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton; and D) Donald Trump is not going quietly.
Taking each point alone, we can already predict that this happy "ending" with Hillary's election is actually the beginning of four more years of what this election wrought.
A) There are those who can't handle the truth: That a woman can be anything she wants to be, including leader of the "free" world (ain't nobody free until all of us are free. Here's looking at you, indigenous peoples fighting for our water, your water, your land, your lives. Solidarity, my friends). But it's raining down glass in the Oval Office and that is going to make some folks—most especially those white ones with testicles—very uncomfortable.
B) The sexism unveiled in this election cycle has been nothing short of stunning and there is no reason to believe it will end because we aren't in Equalandia. HRC has endured for 50-plus years of misogyny with amazing resilience and she can certainly handle four more. But let's all be real. This is probably going to be the worst four years of her life. Or at least it will be on par with whatever the worst has been. And the bar she will have to meet just to be considered half as good as all the 44 boy prezies before her is way above where that glass used to be.
C) Hillary Clinton. Just the name has some people apoplectic and irrationally so, I might add. Fifty-plus years of smears and lies have become "truth," and trying to have conversations with the anti-HRCers is like arguing with a drunk person. Yes, she's worth critiquing and is not beyond reproach. But saying you don't like her husband or her clothes or her face or what about the emails or, well, there's just something about her I don't like (code for: she has a vagina, see item B above), all of that is not valid. But these obtuse assessments will continue with the volume set at 11.
D) The Donald is going to have a temper tantrum, pound his fists on the ground, kick his feet in the dirt and look for every hanging chad he can find. Even if he doesn't do this, his impact will be felt for decades. For he has signed a permission slip with his trademark illiterate scribbles that allows racist troglodytes hiding on the fringes of society to be racist troglodytes right out in the open wherever and whenever they want.
Pandora's box has been blown apart and the innards and giblets have exploded into our society with ferocity and morphed into what look like normal human beings but are actually deranged freaks with underdeveloped frontal lobes. These guys (and women, too) have slithered out from the obscurity of Internet chat rooms into the wide-open streets of American cities and towns. They have infiltrated our police departments and other institutions of power.
Trump has unleashed and emboldened a raw evil in our country that is not going to go away. One need only read Luke O'Brien's investigative piece, "My Journey to the Center of the Alt-Right," to understand exactly what fetid poison is seeping into modern-day America.
"Thanks to Trump, ethno-nationalism is poised to be a force in American politics for the first time in decades," O'Brien writes in his disturbing exposé. According to him, we are witnessing "the biggest uptick in white power activity in American politics since the Ku Klux Klan's invisible empire in the 1920s." And that's the lighthearted information in that essay. Read it and weep. And shudder.
Of course, I could be wrong about all of this. Maybe Trump did win. In which case, I'll be screaming from the hole in my face where my lips used to be as frogs rain down from the sky.