American Decency: Not Too Big to Fail
Education does not necessarily make one smarter. I think the most recent election underscores that statement: millions of educated voters decided to spin the wheel, throw the dice, and bet on the candidate with no experience who spent the last year and a half offending nearly everyone but white nationalists.
Some folks chalked it up to stagecraft, gimmick, something to appeal to the low information voter who simply knew he or she was not better off than she or he was eight years ago. Some of us are better off. Much better off. Because we have decent healthcare for our kids until they reach age 26. Or for our parents who are suffering from dementia. Some of us like the fact that gasoline is around $2 per gallon, and that our friends can marry whomever they want, no matter their gender. Some of us believe that the nation truly turned a corner when we elected the first African-American President.
Some of us are pretty sure that the have-nots have nothing because the leaders they elected to govern spent the last 8 years wilfully and negligently refusing to do so. Because these leaders made it their stated goal to do everything they could to deny this President a legacy, and deny his party any credit for getting us out of the worst economic disaster this country had faced since the Great Depression. This is much easier to be sure of when you’re on the “haves” side of the balance sheet. It’s much easier to believe when media we regard are not stoking our fears of terrorism and our anger that someone from another ethnicity, religion or country caused our dilemma.
This is not about Hillary Clinton, even though I am of the opinion that she was more qualified than any man who has run for or served as our President in perhaps the history of our Democratic Republic. I say “man” because let’s face it, all the guys who had a snowball’s chance in hell of even being elected have been men, and all the Presidents have been men.
The most qualified candidate quite often does not get the job. Rather, the candidate who can most accurately mirror the hiring manager’s values, dreams, hopes and goals within the constraints of the hiring system is the person who gets the job. I know this, I have used this, and I have benefited from it both personally and professionally. Telling someone exactly what he or she wants to hear, whether you believe it, or not, will get you the job, every time. Tell people they will make sacrifices, it will be hard work, or give them tons of facts and figures about things that do not directly affect their bottom line and you’re put in the “We’ll keep your resume on file” category.
That is exactly what happened on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
For those of you have never been openly and publicly ridiculed for your looks, or weight or disability; never been openly discriminated against; never feared deportation; never been sexually assaulted; and never been viewed as criminals or rapists or terrorists simply by the way you look, or the way you dress, or the way you worship your God, this was about “Who is telling me they can and will fix what ails me?”
For some of us, while it indeed was about policy, it was more about decency, civility, decorum and respect for all humanity. And it was personal. So bear with me, because if I do not get this “out there” I will continue to sit in my house, in my pajamas, unable to go into the office for fear of having to shut my door because I cannot stop crying.
Why? Because in electing a man who openly bragged about his ability to commit sexual assault due to his celebrity and wealth, to me, you condoned and approved of sexual assault. And not just any hidden and unreported sexual assault, but from a man who appeared proud of his ability to do so. That I find reprehensible.
Women, like me, who have been sexually assaulted (see Bill Cosby, Drinking and Consent), are permanently scarred. Just as if you drove your car into a tree, gashed your head open, and allowed it to go unattended for a time; the visible wound might heal, but not without leaving a scar. It may take years to get through it. Thousands of dollars of therapy. You may stop wearing anything fashionable, you may withdraw and not let anyone know you, for fear of it happening again. You may use alcohol to help you forget. You may turn to food to camouflage your once attractive face and figure, forgetting that sexual assault has nothing to do with love or sex, it has to do with power and bullying and a person thinking he can take anything he wants and no one will stop him.
Now imagine gang rape. A man is in the act of assaulting his victim, and others are there cheering him on. Perhaps they are holding back people who would stop him. Or maybe they are joining in. But they are spectators or fans or supporters of his assault on women, on decency, on humanity. Imagine if your friends, your family, your coworkers are not only doing nothing to stop him, but helping him continue his assault?
When the GOP and the Bush Administration bailed out Wall Street (just to remind you folks who forgot: that happened BEFORE Obama took office) the reason proffered was because the banks, who had played with the housing market, bet against it, and made money gambling away many Americans homes, were “Too Big to Fail.” As it turns out while the banks might be Too Big to Fail, the U.S. itself, is not.
The President elect bragged about sexually assaulting women, incited hatred, encouraged violence, lied with wild abandon, made fun of people with disabilities, claimed a judge was biased because of his ‘Mexican heritage’ and is the defendant in a current civil suit for fraud, as well as assault. And yet people, good people, said ‘Meh, that’s okay by me, let’s give him a chance.”
That is a total and utter failure of decency.
That is the source of my grief.
To understand further, I encourage you to read the very cogent words of John Pavlovitz “an 18-year ministry veteran trying to figure our how to love people well and to live out the red letters of Jesus” as the pastor at the North Raleigh Community Church, who in, “Here’s Why We Grieve Today” blogged:
“And it is not only that these things have been ratified by our nation that grieve us; all this hatred, fear, racism, bigotry, and intolerance—it’s knowing that these things have been amen-ed by our neighbors, our families, our friends, those we work with and worship alongside. That is the most horrific thing of all.”
So bear with me while I take a break from writing about food, wine and travel. I need time to process your ability to ignore what I find hard to forget.