Ed.: 123117 – Words: 1731 – Audio: N/A
Likely you are already aware, the whole country is walking on eggshells, and what happens when that happens? Breaking it all down, that means we are afraid… and that in turn means we are afraid of each other. We are afraid to talk to each other, we are afraid to recognize the proverbial elephant in the room when we engage socially much less when we attempt to share political and religious thought. For that matter we are even fearing our respective genders; the fear of offending or being offensive. We fear our roles in public, we fear the fragility of what makes us take offense. We fear the way we speak to each other, we fear the way we behave with each other, we fear how we look at each other, and in some strange whacked out way that only Americans can do… we actually fear how we individually racially look toward others. It seems right about now the entire country is about as socially, politically, and morally insecure as it can get. When we stand in front of our mirrors as we begin our day many of us are subliminally wondering, “Well.. let’s see who I can piss off today by my mere existence.”
The nation is high strung; I walk down the street, engage in typical social frivolities, and you can sense just under the surface that itch that needs to be scratched; the veneer of civil society is so thin right now. The sad part is that there are so many issues that demand the attention of all Americans right now, especially internationally, where some level of public discourse is necessary.. and we are too afraid of offending the next guy. The new fashionable buzzword that describes it all that’s used everywhere… vitriolic.
It gets old screaming at the TV set… yet of late the TV set has been my closest confidant. My job is dealing with the public and by nature I tend to do well in understanding behaviors, spoken or not. Once in a while someone in passing will make that subtle slip, or use a particular phrase that tips off their particular social and political proclivities. One of my own comfort areas has been to casually let slip my disgruntle-ness with Trump to folks of more obvious racial backgrounds… well, because Trump is not overly fond of other races.. nor is his base, so it’s fair to assume minority races are not overly enthusiastic Trump supporters.
There’s an African-American young man who works part time at the local convenience store I patronize when working. He’s struggling, trying to make ends meet and going to the local college. Late in the evening when the store is empty we chat a bit about his schooling and more civil subjects. Now, I have very good reason to suspect that this young man likely has no love for Trump. Why do I think that? Well, he’s African-American… and Trump has expressed some racial bias. So.. once in a while when I come in to the store and I am particularly agitated by some current “Trump-ness”… I’ll mumble under my breath, “F***ing Trump.”.. which then sends the kid into guffaws of laughter. Honestly.. I do it more to lighten his day; after all, there’s nothing like some cynical old white guy bitching about life to a young kid full of optimism. But the young man is smart… and keeps his politics to himself. Yet he enjoys my short commentaries. So.. yes.. I guess when it comes to finding anti-Trump sentiment like my own I can find it with the racial minorities, if I feel a need to release a little pressure.
Speaking of pressure, my GF recently had a short hospital stay for a pesky malady and while in the ER getting hooked up to the various devices she commented how her blood pressure might be up due to Trump (she has the rare but occasional tendency to make a passing public anti-Trump/anti-Republican “casual” remark to which I caution her… especially when one doesn’t know the political affiliations of those hooking life saving devices up to you in the ER). Anyway… one of the technicians said that they actually clinically recognize a “Trump effect” when it comes to a spike in blood pressure with some patients watching TV.
I just mentioned my GF having a seemingly “loud” opinion on all things Trump these days. This is yet another facet of the current divisiveness.. people not normally with a political opinion one way or another are… having opinions these days. I have posted more than once that the current President has raised my ire more than any other president in my lifetime, which then has spawned this blog. My GF historically has never had much to contribute toward anything encompassing political thought… until now. Many Americans are getting involved that would normally just ignore political events. In a sense this is a good thing as current events have gotten to a point that… well… appalls and offends (on both sides of the fence) and is getting people involved in the process… in spite of the fact we are generally reluctant to publicly share them. Having a blog allows some of us to “scream” at the public without fear of retribution in whatever form. In my rural desert community in California, if I stood in front of the local grocery store and starting reading aloud what I post in here I’d likely be, by the end of the day, resting in an unmarked grave here in the same desert.
Levity at Trump’s expense aside, here’s an example of families being torn over the current divide in the country. This last weekend I escorted my GF to the wedding and reception of one of her grandchildren; a simple affair with many guests. As the evening’s reception program began, the father of the groom spoke some words, along with a toast. It just so happens that the groom’s father had been in law enforcement for over 30 years and in fact chose the wedding day as the date of his official retirement. He had supportive words for the new couple then went on to encourage their respect of God… making the observation that God has fallen from grace with the country as a whole, that respect for the Almighty has brought the nation to its knees, etc. There was a little more, but you get the picture. It was obvious the gentleman.. the now retired 30 year veteran of the police force, was echoing the Conservative thoughts regarding religion and politics. I really had no issue with it other than I was a bit surprised he was this revealing regarding his “non-political” opinion. He got healthy applause, but no standing ovation… if that means anything.
But there’s more. We were matched to sit at a table with my GF’s daughter and her husband. In over hearing past phone conversations I got the drift that daughter was a Trump supporter. Fair assumption to presume that her hubby was also the same. Mattered not to me.. it’s GF’s family, her business. I don’t get involved. Now, the son-in-law, a smart guy normally, has about the social skills of a gnat. He seldom mixes within family events.. and doesn’t bother with me at all, in spite of me trying. This is nothing political; family thing for years even before I showed up on the scene. He just doesn’t mix well with people.
So here we are at the table.. all chatting except son-in-law. My GF was a bit loosened up from wine and Champaign and I caught peripherally into my right ear her saying something like, “…just like republicans.”. Oh, dear… I thought to myself. The son-in-law perks up. “What did you say about Republicans?” he retorts out of the blue to his mother-in-law. So I told GF.. “No politics, babe.” Then he aims back at me, “Yeah, you better reign that in.” Uh-oh. Mentally I am thinking… “Whoa there, gnat-man… careful how far you go with this. I am not her keeper and you don’t tell her or me to reign anything in.” But.. it was not the place, he was not anyone I respected all that much anyway, he was not worth drawing some macho line in the sand, it was a wedding, not my family… I just let it go. Life still goes on. Point being.. he ignores everyone into the evening until a political nerve perks him up… for his guttural response. This is the eggshells we are dealing with these days… even among family.
So then we are left with the main questions… how is all this going to play out?
No.. no civil war. If Trump gets impeached, that could spark some civil unrest, but by and large I think what will happen will be simply the passage of time. The baby boomers, who represent a large chunk of Trump supporters (and what’s left of white entitlement), are getting older. Many are gravitating out of the workforce and retiring. Many will simply age. Many will die off. Yes, there’s the Millennials… but even they will reach a point of moving on in their own changing lives… raising families, moving onward in their careers. The economy is going great right now and they are the one’s benefiting. Of course there is a wealth disparity within the middle class.. but time will also “fix” that as people (Millennials mostly) re-align careers and education adjusts to the changing technologies.
Look, I’m no economist, politician, or brain surgeon. I am simply gauging the future with what I’ve observed from the past. I have no answer how we can get along together other than living past it to make it to “the other side”.. whatever form that takes. My personal concern is all the damage being done to our nation’s dignity and respect as a world leader as being THE main anchor for world peace and international stability. We are not alone as a nation.. nor is any other nation on this planet. We exist together.