The only similar feeling of horror and sadness and disbelief that I feel this morning was when Ronald Reagan won in 1980.
ReaganÂ was an actor, a pretenderÂ and an environmental despot who vowed to turn back a decade of gains since the first Earth Day–hard-won victories brought about largely by America’s young people,Â Â to ensure the health of the planet’s air and water, forest and fisheries that would sustain humankind into the next millennium. Much of whatÂ I believed in and hoped for was repudiated and set into reverse with that election victory. I was physically sick, as I am this morning.
I know an American president cannot act alone; at least that was true until Donald Trump. I know that the people from the gonzo world we’ll call the “reality community” can still exert influence on policy. But the majority that elected this man are people with whom I share far less with Â than I had thought when it comes to an understanding of the perilous state of the planet or of the poor-who-is-not-white with a red cap. The willful ignorance and indifference to anything beyond the personal here and now of this voting block has made me want to burn my homo sapiens membership card.
Welcome to the bizarro world of ME HERE NOW–though I think those who think they’ve won the ultimate victory for unenlightened self-interest will come to have serious questions about the promised “greatness” of their lives in four years.
This haughty indifference from high places towards the health of the planet is even worse now than in the early 80s. while the threats are vastly more serious today than then. And I have even less hope in my lifetime of a return to reason and compassion and dedication to informed stewardship–which is not to suggest that a Hillary win would have insured this end. Far from it.
I left teaching biology in 1987, in no small measure because I could not bear to watch the world unravel when the fox was inaugurated to guard the hen house–an abode whose jubilant feathered residents this new fox pretends to know and represent. We will see how that works out for the red-capped masses.
My life didn’t end then, but I made a serious course correction to steer toward a different destination. Today, IÂ have no compass and the maps have proven inaccurate.
But I can’t imagine morningsÂ at my desk with this utter lack of purpose and hope. I also can’t imagine being able or willing to stomach consumption ofÂ current events for the next four years. If I were a younger man, I might have the fight in meÂ to push back against the retrogressive tide of the next four years. I am not a young man and I don’t have the energy or heart for it. I’ve seen enough.
So my Internet habits will change. My writing habits will change. My view of the world–as it really must have been all along,Â hiding in my blind spot–has already changed profoundly this morning. I have been living in denial of that truth. So now: what?