As an advance warning - I am delving into politics again. I am not registered with either party, but have been staunchly in the the Never Trump camp. What follows is a bit of a rant against the man. If that is not your thing, avoiding this column will not hurt my feelings and may preserve yours.
Here's some good advice - always start with a joke. So, if anyone needs a good grief counselor I know a few (too soon?).
It's now 11:30p MST on what feels the one of the last nights of the country I felt like I once knew. The election is still too close to call, but the odds makers are giving him an 80% chance of winning. This, despite so many statements and actions that would have killed most political careers before they ever began.
If the predictions hold, a little over 50% of the country voted for him. That's a lot of people I don't know, but some that I do. People that I respect, that I consider family, that may actually be family, have potentially handed our country over to an openly racist, narcissistic, terrorist. I have no right to say this as a white middle-class male, but I feel incredibly alienated. I am so disappointed and ashamed right now.
Look, I get it, she's not a great ideal either. But a minor policy difference within a bicameral and split two-party system is not the end of the world. You can get past it. More than likely nothing of substance would have ever gotten done.
Instead, divisive politics may have given a truly scary and inexperienced man, driven by vengeance, a molotof cocktail in the form of the White House and a match in the form of the House and Senate.
I write often about the feeling of utter aloneness that grief thrusts upon you. I have been watching this train wreck of election, without many outlets to discuss it. Watching the results tonight has reinforced that feeling. This is a big night, a history making night (yes, even bad history is history). I can tell you where I was for every election night since 1988. I have been on the couch with Melly for the past three, this would have been number four.
I made a comment to a few friends tonight that this night reminds me the most of 1988. Not because of the tightness of the races, nor the vitriol. No, it reminds me of 1988 because earlier that day in '88 I had fallen off my bike and likely gave myself a concussion. I remember sitting on the couch that night with my parents, watching the red and blue states get called, marveling at the advanced computer graphics, and feeling an overwhelming nausea and fear of going to sleep. That is how 1988 is like 2016.
I know how Melly would have taken tonight. It would not have been well. If life had not changed, she would be 8 1/2 months pregnant tonight. She would have been worried out of her mind about what this would mean for our son. That his earliest impressions of "leadership" would be of a man hellbent on embarrassing all of us. My earliest memories of the Presidency are of Reagan talking eloquently about the Challenger disaster. Matthew's earliest memories could just as likely have been an orange faced man in a clown wig giving a deposition about grabbing some woman by the crotch while he simultaneously fights off a defamation suit brought on by the Tic Tac corporation.
There is a scene from The Dark Knight that has been playing in my head the past week. In it Alfred is telling Bruce Wayne a story about an insane tribal leader who could not be reasoned with. To paraphrase the moral, "some men cannot be reasoned with, some men just want to watch the world burn". If I were still a praying man, I would pray that is not the case, but I am terrified that it is - that we've just given a crazy man a mandate to light the match.