I am going to tell you a hard truth so get ready…
Nobody, I mean, NOBODY is interested in hearing about your dream last night.
Let me elaborate.
If I was somehow forced to join an armed service branch, let’s say the Army because I get seasick in a hottub and require a glass of Pinot Grigio or four to fly, and I was then captured behind enemy lines, somehow managed to bear the strain of being deprived of a clean comfortable bed and a soy latte without breaking in the first hour, repeating my name, rank and serial number day after day, allowing no physical abuse or psychological conditioning to sway me into giving up top secret information and then suddenly one day my captor walked in and said, “I had the craziest dream last night…here’s what happened”, I’d spill the beans in a New York minute.
I feel so strongly about this, having suffered throughout my entire childhood and adolescence trapped on the bus seat between the window and my best friend every morning who was never-endingly fascinated with what she dreamed every night and assumed I was too, that I’ve actually thought of having this printed on a tee-shirt:
Tell Me Anything about Yourself Except your Dream Last Night.
Or this one,
For the Love of God, Stay Right Except to Pass!
This drives me crazy. Are they not teaching this in driver’s ed anymore?
So, if you were under the delusion that your dreams are fascinating to anyone other than yourself, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, they are not.
Which puts me in an awkward position because…I had the craziest dream last night….
Abraham Lincoln was running against FDR for President. And there I was in the ballot booth at my local Senior Center, voting. Or trying to anyway. But I couldn’t decide what hole to punch. (In my dream, you had to punch a hole like with chads aka the Bush/Gore debacle. By the way, this is just the sort of annoying detail my best friend would add. Just want you to get the full effect.)
Anyway…. I just couldn’t decide. Both were such great candidates. Such great men. How to choose? In my dream, I was in that booth for hours and hours and still couldn’t decide. I was starting to sweat, I had to pee, I was getting faint from hunger and thirst. Finally, after what seemed like days in dream time, an old man who was volunteering came over and said,
“Just decide already! I have to go! Bingo starts in 5 minutes!!”
And then I woke up and felt that old familiar feeling of despair and outrage recalling the first Presidential Debate last night.
And then I thought, maybe I’ll just stay in bed all day and eat myself to death.
But after a second cup of coffee I realized I couldn’t kill myself this morning because I had lunch with a friend and a eyelash tint on the schedule for the day and I didn’t want to die without gorgeous lashes. Plus, there was no food in the house. My two teenagers eat like it is the Last Supper every night and I had only gone to the grocery store 90 times this week and I don’t think you can eat yourself to death with steel cut gluten-free oatmeal.
So I roused myself out of bed with my usual mix of joy and profound anxiety about life and got into the shower.
These are such rich, ripe times for paranoia and sorrow. Police killing unarmed young men, men killing police, men shooting other men over and over again. Apparently corporate greed, racism and sexism haven’t died like we hoped and if this rotten stench fermenting just below our 21st century society wasn’t enough, we, and by we I mean people I hope I don’t know, have nominated a presidential candidate who seriously sat for the family portrait above and says he understands the working, middle class.
Many of us want to pull the covers over our heads and pray he goes away fast, wake up from the nightmare of this election. Most everyone I know is scratching their heads, not quite sure what to make of things or how we got into this mess. (Perhaps the mixed grill of our society’s obsession with celebrity and wealth, our compliant brainwashing toward anything fanatical and negative and our propensity for fast and easy answers?)
Just a guess.
Be that as it may, when doing our best thinking, I truly believe most of us just want to see some dignity and sanity be restored to the political field. That a smidge of virtue and character be required as the least common denominator for our presidential candidates. Or at the bare minimum, some maturity where the best rebuttal one candidate can make is not in line with,”Liar, liar pants on fire!”
Can we just start there? Aim for that?
But when I hear more and more people mutter, especially democrats, “I know Donald Trump is a narcissistic toddler and arguably the most reckless political figure to emerge since Senator McCarthy, but I just can’t bring myself to vote for Hilary either because I can’t stand her! So I am abstaining in protest. It is just too hard to choose. The choices are just too awful.” , this is what I am secretly thinking because I am way too chicken to say it to your face:
Too hard a choice? I know which data plan to go with or whether to splurge for the navigation package for your new car can be tough but this is the sort of thing that gives Americans a bad name. This and Ryan Lochte.
To be fair, I get you. Kind of.
There was a time when I didn’t enjoy her so much either. When I wanted to pluck that headband she donned when her husband ran for President off her head and tell her she was way passed the age for wearing headbands. That age, by the way, is 11. I’m still not always her biggest fan. She has faults (gasp!). She has lied (gasp!). She is a powerful, confident, super ambitious woman (double gasp!) which is threatening to many men and sadly, many women too but let’s keep things in perspective. This is not a hard choice.
Here are some hard choices,
-Deciding whether to give your child an experimental life saving cancer treatment where there is a 50/50 chance it might work but would kill her faster if it doesn’t.
-Deciding to leave your friends, family members and your home to flee a war torn country with only what you can carry on your back or stay and possibly be blown up in your home while you sleep tonight.
-Deciding between buying food for your children or paying the electricity bill.
I am trying to be understanding. I am trying to acknowledge that everybody gets to come to the table but honestly, I don’t think I have the right personality for it.
Righteous indignation? Now you’re talking.
Call me crazy but I just don’t feel your pain when you tell me you find it impossible to vote for either candidate because it is too hard when one has dedicated her life to public service and is arguably the most qualified candidate in history and the other is a narcissistic, opportunistic demagogue seeking power through a message of fear and hate and literally lives in a gilded penthouse with taxidermied lions for his son to sit on for photo ops.
This is not Sophie’s Choice.
Also, it is entirely possible that you seemed to have conveniently forgotten that freedom is not actually free. That the luxury of democracy requires sacrifice. That millions of American men and women have sacrificed their lives for your right to sip your over-priced iced vanilla macchiato’s and say whatever the hell you want without ending up in Siberia. Isn’t it only fair that we are required to sacrifice also? (I just threw up a little in my throat referring to voting as a sacrifice.)
Sometimes we are asked to make shitty choices between things we don’t like. I hear we grown-ups must do this from time to time. Tolerate a little discomfort, be willing to compromise, give up some of your desires and accept that things don’t always go your way for the sake of a safe and healthy community. For society at large. Because here’s the thing about democracy, it only works when people actually participate.
Democracy equals participation. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I fear what we’re seeing now is a loss of any ability to handle discomfort and dissatisfaction leak into our political system. As Pema Chodron said, “Never underestimate our low tolerance for discomfort.”
I fear we are seeing a lazy entitlement wash over us where everyone feels as though they deserve a leader/candidate whose views agree with their own on all issues. Who makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who magically appears on the scene without any previous involvement on their part in the process of democracy. Of having to go to all that trouble of actually educating ourselves and participating in local elections and primaries, the place where presidential candidates are born. Democracy can be so annoying and inconvenient like that.
And if you are a woman and can’t seem to march yourself down to your local polling center this November in some attempt to seem radical and protest vote, remember this: almost a century ago, women petitioned, marched, were arrested, went on hunger strikes, boycotted censuses and even died because they believed in the fundamental importance of their right to vote.
Now that was radical.
It is not radical to do the easy thing, to squander your right that those women fought so hard for you to have. Showing up is radical. Mothers know this all too well.
I also think it is important to note to the young women voting for the first time out there that one of the candidates is actually a woman for the 1st time ever in case no one mentioned this on your Facebook or Instagram feed and one of them would just as soon call you a fat pig if your dress size happens to slip from a size 0. And you know what? It will. I hate to break this to you but things will get jiggly. Gravity and time will do a number on your youthful firm skin and thighs. Tick tock. But fear not, because one day you will be thrilled to discover that it is 159th on the list of things that matter about women.
So there’s that.
As Bernie Sanders said recently,”This is not the time for a protest vote.” I would take this one step further and argue that there is never a time for a protest vote. Unless, of course, there is a Trump vs. any Kardashian election in our future because then we will clearly be citizens of the Land of the Fucked and we should all meet at The Golden Corral’s buffet line and kill ourselves the good old American way. Slowly and with plenty of trans fats.
Peace and democracy, maeve