No, I’m not a Republican, a masochist, nor even a pitiable election bet loser. It was kids’ movie night at my cousins’ church, and who better than bulgy-eyed baby Dory and my cousins’ cute kiddos to distract me from the reality that a sexist, racist, xenophobic, fear-mongering, egotistical, impulsive and ignorant reality TV star who believes that climate change is a hoax had been elected leader of the free world?
Despite the impulse you may feel to judge my relatives as mindless white supremacists, they are actually some of the most kindhearted, loyal, intelligent, hardworking, hilarious and loving people I know. But alas, they were born and raised in conservative Nebraska.
A celebratory atmosphere pervaded the conversation which, undeniably, had little to do with Nemo locating Dory; in the minds of my kin, America had, as of noon that day, officially re-embarked on its path to greatness.
Two of my cousins buoyantly exchanged stories about how they educated their children on the day’s “historical significance,” detailing their little ones’ priceless reactions.
Claire* proudly recounted, “I brought Noah over to the television. I pointed to the screen, and I said, ‘Do you see that man, Noah? He’s going to be the next President of the United States! Every four years, Americans vote, and we get a new president.’”
I’m curious as to whether, in two years, Claire will be as eager to plop Noah in front of the TV and explain impeachment proceedings.
Nancy responded by relating how her precocious three-year-old announced, “Mommy, when Trump comes to our house, I think I’ll just hide in my tent.” Thank you for your wisdom, Michaela. We might not all have stuffed animal-littered pink princess tents in which to take refuge, but we could try pulling a Bert the Turtle (Was America “great” during the Cold War?) underneath those flip out desks in Rocky in the event that Trump launches a fiery tweet (at) Kim Jong Un, and the Dear Leader reciprocates by activating that intercontinental ballistic missile he’s been working on for so long.
At another point, Nancy reassured me, “Trump doesn’t want to get rid of all immigrants, just illegal ones.” How comforting! That must be why he issued an executive order banning refugees (refugees!) from all countries, and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
My cousins also believe that Trump’s administration will be “fun.” They’re “so excited!” for these next four years. At what point in the past 20 days has transpired the jolly good merriment? When Trump blatantly lied about the number of inauguration attendees? When he blamed the ballots of undocumented immigrants (classic) for his losing the popular vote?
The low point came when Claire deemed the Women’s March “Lib crap,” prompting the rest of the family to nod sympathetically. But it’s not crap. Nor is it Liberal. The Women’s March transcended political parties, races, religions, social classes, nationalities, sexual orientations and even gender lines.
While we need to resist Trump’s discriminatory decisions and rhetoric, we also need to spend more time understanding the 62,979,879 citizens, including people I love, who voted for him. Many of them were sick of the status quo, craved real change, and viewed Trump as the solution. But bullying, bigotry and deceit are not acceptable avenues through which to effect change, regardless of political party. I hope that’s what my cousins teach their children.
*I used aliases to protect my family members’ identities