RELIEVED...is how I am feeling since the presidential inauguration. Over the past four years there have been multitudes of Facebook memes, cartoons and skits about the Trump era. Bernie Sanders …
RELIEVED...is how I am feeling since the presidential inauguration. Over the past four years there have been multitudes of Facebook memes, cartoons and skits about the Trump era. Bernie Sanders sitting at the inauguration with his homemade mittens has become a meme that went viral. The cartoon that best illustrated how I felt, was the view over the steering wheel of a car with the caption, “The Trump presidency is like riding in a car with a toddler behind the wheel!” I know I started slinking down onto the floor with my hands over my head after the first few rotations of the tires.
There was some real bad sh#t that went down during Trump’s four years, such as: his inciting an insurrection, the migrant children separated from their parents, a president’s brazen abuse of power, the run-a-way pandemic, and a smattering of impeachment trials. It’s a long list. The backdrop of our lives as Americans isn’t supposed to closely resemble apocalyptic movies or make you wish you could somehow go back to the 80s or leave the country. In childhood we begin drawing conclusions about how things “shake-down” and we predict outcomes....but then there are those times when things take a destructive turn. Those are...“It shouldn’t, it couldn’t, it wouldn’t, it DID” happenings. I felt that way when the baby robin my brother and I tried to keep alive with bugs and worms suddenly died. I cried for the bird. When a lying, power-hungry insurrectionist rose up out of TV-land and became President of these United States... I cried for our country. There’s been nothing like this in my entire life and I hope we can keep it from ever happening again. Picture me...and you were there too, hunkered down on the back floor of the four-year car ride from hell, bouncing down the rough road yelling...“It couldn’t, it wouldn’t, it shouldn’t, it did.” And it DID.
This presidency brought me more stress than my bout with shingles in the late 80s, irritable bowel syndrome in the 90s, and my gallbladder issues just three years ago. I’m just glad I had an armful of kitties, a well-stocked refrigerator, and a soft coach to sink into on so many days when I needed comfort. At least I could afford food to eat. Periodically I would fluff myself onto the bathroom scale and to my amazement weighed the same as I did prior to holding my refrigerator for ransom....give or take three pounds. I did my “life-stuff”...I worked...did my dishes-eventually...my laundry too, but I could not stop watching the news.
I became obsessed for fear the world would end in a pandemic, a hostile take-over, or we’d get nuked. It didn’t ease my anxiety to see the fear in seasoned TV journalists’ eyes, especially in the final stretch, and hear them acknowledge that a deranged leader had the nuclear codes at his fingertips. Geez....don’t tell us that...and don’t suggest it to him! On one semi-terrorized occasion, when I should have been on a walk in the twinkly snow, I watched a YouTube video to seek reassurance there were many steps involved in a nuclear launch. I’d hear the phrase start in my head....”It shouldn’t, it couldn’t, it wouldn’t”......or would it? “Go have a Hershey bar and calm yourself dear,” I would say to myself.
My imagination flew across the ocean, too. Would a foreign country somehow disable our power grid? I Googled how many power plants there are in the state and stopped myself before I called Minnesota Power with my seemingly insane questions. Next, I thought about heat source backup for my fuel furnace and I ordered a small propane heater to put in my basement so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. I went to get a propane tank and the guy said I needed to supply my own tank. I replied, “I thought you’d sell me a tank?” “No, I don’t sell tanks,” he said, looking at me like I should just know this stuff. I studied the small tank and knew it wouldn’t last very long. A big tank would need to be delivered, jiggled into a garage corner with a long propane hose attached. I went home to think about it, eat some chips, and watch the news.
One good thing that came out of the four-year ride with Trump...is that I learned more about politics than I have ever known. Women with younger children don’t have the luxury of time for their gears to grind like this. Someone has to make the sandwich. Now that the lunchmeat and fruit snack era is over, I can reserve my energies for torturing my soul, being a good citizen, and keeping up on my politics. Truth be told, one could barely keep up with the constant string of bad decisions and drama unfolding. It was nearly a full-time job.
I bought a vinyl cutter and a heat transfer press earlier in the fall for my screen printing business, but I haven’t used them. There was always more “Breaking News” to watch. Creativity was stifled, energy usurped in plotting out a life in a country at war instead. I thought, “Maybe I should return the press and cutter because I may need the cash?” Then part of that verse...“It shouldn’t come to that” dashed through my mind. Donald Trump’s words and deeds did this to millions of people...not just me. He brought fear, sickness, hunger, stress, death and he nearly brought down our democracy. Still, a person must hang on to hope and faith. We do that in America.
There were days that I sat in my pajamas until well after lunch, and I felt guilty about it...yes, of course I did. I could hear my mother, back in time, saying... “Why are you still in your pajamas...are you SICK?” So, with ghosts of parents-past in your head, it’s really hard to wear pajamas anywhere close to the lunch hour. I doubt I will become one of those ne’er-do-wells you see in Walmart wearing their pajamas and shuffling through the store in bedroom slippers.
Have I mentioned, I still have my Christmas tree in the living room, and a smaller one in my kitchen? No brisk New Year’s Day tear-downs happened here in my asylum. The lights and memories of Christmastime did not need to be shoved in a box in the basement after the holidays ended. I needed cheerful props to help lift my spirits, and I am going to keep lifting them. Seasonal decorations will adorn both trees.
On Jan. 20, 2021, the Trump era ended like a big steam release from a pressure cooker. A functional, experienced, compassionate and responsible President was sworn in. During the inauguration I was in my recliner in front of the TV crying intermittently, with my clumsy roll of Charmin tumbling across my lap, followed by a kitty and another kitty. Our beautiful United States Capitol was still standing strong...dressed in miles of stars-n-stripes bunting, restoring faith for the majority of us. Lady Gaga came sashaying down the royal carpet in her red-ball-gown-skirt; with vocal passion unleashed and sweeping arm gestures she sent shivers through my core. Twenty-two-year-old youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, vibrant and showstopping in her yellow coat and scarlet red headband, became larger than life when she spoke words with a performance that came from somewhere divine. She is our new Maya Angelou I reckoned...and we need her. The 2021 presidential inauguration was “deep and rich” from start to finish.
Since then, it has become very evident to me that there are great chasms in America that I did not know existed. I did not think that I was sharing my country with people who would attack our Capitol and murder fellow citizens at our own President’s urging. That was the biggest “It shouldn’t, it couldn’t, it wouldn’t, it DID” event in my life. An awakening has occurred, and insights to not let it happen again. We hope. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
In summary...the car stopped, a capable driver is at the wheel, and I have eased myself up off the floor while offering a hand to you. I put on calming music and admire my every-season tree as I try to come to terms with the world that we live in. I’ve kicked 2020 to the curb....the drama, the divorce, the viral fear, and Donald Trump. I have a sore foot from doing so, but there is one last Hershey bar waiting in the kitchen drawer.