Living abroad with a xenophobic sexual predator as our president-elect poses two immediate challenges. As an American I have to deal with disgust from people who have even more reason now to retch at the thought of our country, The United States of White Male Privilege. Secondly, I have to tend to my own heartbreak and grieving process.
I responded to an e-mail from a Canadian acquaintance last night who felt the need to lecture Americans about our reaction to the election and tell us we were no better than children. This is the same astute guy who corrected my usage of feminist as an adjective, telling me the correct word is “feministic.” [Ah, I see. And all this time I’ve been incorrectly referring to the feminist movement and feminist literature. Silly me.]
Hate speech and harassment of minorities are on the rise because people with unenlightened minds are feeling emboldened by this creep who sets an ugly tone for our country. I don’t even want to say his name. People who write racial homophobic slurs on their receipts or who vandalize public restrooms may be emboldened, but they’re still cowards, and despite what anyone may think these days, there’s no pride in being mean. There’s no glory in having an obnoxious bigot as your white knight.
On Wednesday I was disconsolate. I wept openly in front of my students and they kept telling me I’m beautiful. I found out later this is a Turkish response to someone crying. I’m still heartbroken, but I’m not giving up. I know I need to get more involved the next time there is a critical election. In the meantime, I need to be positive and work on being an ally to some of my fellow Americans who are more vulnerable and heavily impacted by this catastrophe than I am.
If life were a musical, this moment in time would be “Little Shop of Horrors.” In that movie, we have a self-obsessed, malicious dentist with a passion for cruelty and abusing women. There’s just one masochist, played by Bill Murray, who enjoys going to this dentist. In real life, Bill Murray’s character represents nearly half of the population of America. But at least there is a satisfying ending, thanks to a giant, man-eating plant.
There has to be some kind of karmic upside to all this. Hatred, cruelty, and fear are not winning qualities. I’m holding out hope for my own version of a knight in shining armor. If it turns out to be a giant, man-eating plant, so be it.