Building a Door in a Blue State

I’ve always been a little left of center, even politically.

all-over-the-spectrum

I’m a college educated, blue collar, fortysomething, cis-gendered white male. My political leanings could end up . . . pretty much anywhere on the spectrum.

When the election “season” started, I was all over the map. At first, I was convinced I would vote red this year. I liked what Rand Paul had to say, and then he petered out early. I liked what Ben Carson had to say . . . and then he fell asleep at the wheel. And then the red right went hard right, and I retreated to the sweet blue bosom of the Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders emerged out of nowhere and courted the Dems like an old-timey bard. I fell in line with a lot of them. Hillary Clinton just didn’t speak to me. (And, no, not just because she was a woman.) When the primaries rolled around, I felt “the Bern”. As those young kids were calling it.

Within months, it was clear he wasn’t going to win; the math simply wasn’t there. Sure, there were seedy people in the DNC that kept him from being a serious candidate. But not enough people believed in him. Hillary was their choice, and so . . . she became my choice. The alternative on the other side—the one who did take the Republican crown—was much, much worse.

As more months went by, Old and New Media fed us a steady stream of what we wanted to hear. The “Orange One” was a fascist; “The Pantsuited One” was our only hope. It was hardly even a contest.

Allegations emerged about each candidate. Scandal on top of scandal. It got ugly . . . then uglier . . . and then unbearable.

Then came the week of the general election.

voting

I voted the Monday prior to Election Day.

Filled out my ballot and dropped it off at the nearest poll station. (In Oregon, we can do that. Yay, mail-in ballots!) All that I could do now was watch and wait.

On Tuesday, November 8th . . . I sat in the living room with my mother, my niece, and my stepdad. The results started coming in.

election

It was grim.

By 6PM, it was clear that everyone—and I do mean, everyone—had read this wrong.

I retreated to the safety of my tea and my tea blogger group. It was my hobby and my solace.

aged-oolong

But even that didn’t help.

By 8PM, I bid my farewells to them and returned to watching the news. Hoping the whole time that there’d be a last-minute shred of hope. By 10PM, the Rust Belt states fell to the reds. It was over.

I didn’t sleep well that night, managing maybe three hours total. Not three hours straight, however. Thoughts of world wars, post-apocalypses, and even suicide danced maniacally through my head.

The next day at work, I looked shell-shocked. Like many Americans, I existed in a daze. I felt just as I did on 9/11—vulnerable, hopeless.

me-pissed

Half of my coworkers had voted for the Orange One. None of them made eye-contact with me. They knew.

After work, I took my rage out on social media. I un-friended every Trump supporter I knew. Including family members. My own brother, too. If they supported him . . . then they were irreversibly flawed, in my mind. Throughout the night, I continued to express my anger on every platform.

Around 6PM that night, I received a call from my father. My stepmother had told him I was “in pain”. And we proceeded to talk about what had happened for the next three-or-so hours. We discussed politics, religion, faith, and even nerded out on Biblical apocrypha. (It was an interest of mine.) By the end of the conversation, I had calmed down.

By Thursday, news of protests nationwide reached my ears. Portland, my hometown, made national news for having been among the first to turn into a full-blown riot. Anti-Trump demonstrators vandalized property; one even took a skateboard to the back of the head of a Trump supporter. Both sides clashed.

thunderous-applause

News and false news of hate crimes flooded the trending platforms online. Everyone on every side didn’t corroborate sources. Myself included. And as the chaos continued, all I could think about was . . . calling my brother. Someone whose views differed from my own.

During my work shift, I did so. We talked only briefly. But he wondered if I wanted to come over that night. He needed help installing a door. I said I would help.

I went over after the work day was done. My brother wasn’t home, yet.  His wife was there, though, busy tending to my infant niece. I went in to say, “Hi.” The little one beamed a Gizmo-like smile at me.

(Seriously, she smiles exactly like Gizmo.)

nieces-gizmo-smile

She asked if I could hold her, and even offered me a bottle to keep her distracted. My niece practically fell asleep with the bottle in her mouth. Hardly a care in the world.

niece

Shortly after, my brother came in, and we got to work installing that door. Once complete, we had dinner. Politics was only scantly discussed. No more needed to be said.

Throughout the week, we all put up walls. That same week—with someone I did not see eye-to-eye with—I put up a door. I’m nowhere near accepting of the results of the election, my “wall” is still up . . . but I helped put up a door. That has to count for something, right?

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Monday, November 14th, 2016 Musings

5 Comments to Building a Door in a Blue State

  1. You made my eyes water. Keep putting up doors buddy. That’s the idea.

  2. Phil on November 14th, 2016
  3. Ha! That comparison to Gizmo! That is amazing and put a much needed smile on my face. Hang in there!

  4. Erin on November 14th, 2016
  5. I think that is one of the only ways we’re going to get through this – there is clearly a divide in what people want but I think that many voted Trump despite some of the worst parts because of other needs – and we need to find a way to listen to both sides and figure out how to talk to each other instead of writing the other side off. Love the Gizmo comparison too, you always balance in a little humor to get a smile even when being semi serious about the topic at hand.

  6. Pech on November 14th, 2016
  7. Election day here (in Asia) was also my daughter’s birthday, so it really helped put things in perspective, that all that wasn’t even close to the most important thing in my life. I’ve spent the last week sort of stuck on why that happened, but I’m moving past it, onto the horrors of what’s to come. It won’t really be armageddon, so no problem, just a few bad years, maybe 8.

  8. John B on November 14th, 2016
  9. Beautiful post. I go through the various stages of grief each day, and they each involved some sort of crying: sad crying, happy crying, angry crying. I’ve got my own two little Gizmos at home though who rely on me and they keep me going. Trying to continue to focus on building doors instead of walls. Thank you for this.

  10. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife on November 15th, 2016

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