A day prior to the election, a heating and air conditioning technician arrived to perform ‘the scheduled Fall furnace inspection,’ a preparation for winter. I always engage these technicians during the inspection process, often learning of who they are and obtaining perspectives of life one rarely gets. “If Nancy Pelosi were to show up here, I would immediately hang her for treason.” He blurted. “And Biden should be shot.” The technician’s stunning admission was brutally honest, ‘summary execution.’ Neither Biden nor Pelosi deserves trials, just termination. The conversation still haunts me post-election and reminds us just how fractured America has become.
Blue-collar workers (like him) were left behind. It is one reason the ‘blue wave’ frittered like a mild earthquake. The tsunami didn’t occur. Democrats entered the U.S. election hoping for a GOP repudiation, certain to be swept back into power. Instead, close to 50% of the electorate denied the “blue wave” and steadfast in fear and hatred. GOP rhetoric permeated America’s soul and what emerged is an underlying desire to kill anything opposing the President’s view. If you’re not with the president, then you must be terminated. Enemies must die. All naysayers must be excoriated.
GOP success is especially amazing given that their entire platform for the next four years was ‘Trump. Whatever he wants.’ As such, half the electorate drank from the cup of venality, vulgarity, and racism. Mirroring Gordon Gekko, one might say, “Hatred is good.” Of course, the Senatorial GOP lied, cheated, and stole a Supreme Court nominee. They copied their strategy straight from hell and told their minions, “God calls us to lie, defame, and cheat.” Glen Cook noted that more evil gets done in the name of righteousness than any other way. Do we expect politicians (whether GOP or Democratic) to proclaim they perform evil deeds in the name of Satan? Of course not.
Any attempt to politically embrace America, both racially and ethnically, in an increasingly divided society is misplaced, viewed with suspicion. My heating and air conditioning technician heard the line “we’re all Americans message,” and saw his America had evaporated and rather than accept change, he prefers to destroy all he sees, even if that hatred destroys himself. Given the permission to hate, half of America’s electorate chose a kingdom of ‘swill’ and its scraps of waste for pig feed. America’s new reality will chain Democrats from lofty horizons. Subtly, Democrats failed to understand that their party no longer looks like white America.
Unlike Democratic party delegates, Americans of the ‘rust belt’ and ‘Bible belt’ are not too thin, too rich, and too sophisticated to care about the fate of Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, or the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. They align themselves to the Republican thunder that reverberates a repeated mantra, “We are tougher, meaner, stronger, better Americans than Democrats!” Clinton’s fabulous ‘Deplorables’ slur and subsequent approach to statesmanship, “Strength and wisdom are not opposing values,” was a hit among the like-minded, but it was never Texas bumper sticker material. We simply refuse to trust.
Trust leads to some form of expectation. Wherein, that leads to the presumption that some things remain static. The disappointment is that at some point, everything changes. The question both GOP and Democrats must answer is difficult. Can we really trust politicians to not act only in ways that please those who think like them when they ought to find middle ground solutions that unify the multiple threads of our country? I’d argue no. But we can trust in ourselves.
“To have confidence in ourselves is to have confidence we can control our response. This is trust. No matter what we can possibly do in this short and fleeting life, without trust we are stuck being the traffic cop, trying to make everything go our way, according to our one-sided and self-deluded views.”
~ Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi ~