Update 5/16/17: My hope has grown dim. I look back at this post and wonder how much of it was fueled by delusion or hedging my bets in the event of a future purge of all who opposed him online. My hope was about as wishful as thinking ice cream is a slimming food. It reminds me of the time my sister grasped at straws and tried using a vacuum to inflate a sagging blow up pool. The resulting implosion made my nephew inconsolable, kind of like a protest of one. Conclusion of the foregoing.
I’ve been quiet lately online, wondering if I should even acknowledge an outcome which managed the rare feat of being both surprising and inevitable at the same time. The tail end of this campaign echoed the very early days of my unplanned pregnancy, that span when you know you are pregnant but it cannot yet be medically confirmed. Against all polls to the contrary, I felt in my heart that Trump was going to win the election. I literally dreamt of its reality while I slept. I share this YouTube clip because it captures the exact reason I’m not in a panic about a Donald Trump presidency (and my apologies in advance to the faint of heart):
I first saw this Mel Brooks film at a critical age, and this scene forever after influenced how I see politics. I cannot stomach an agenda that capitalizes on hatred of the poor. The poor will always be with us. I can handle a Trump presidency because he was not a “f**k the poor” candidate. He acknowledged that large segments of Americans are poor or live with the threat of poverty. He offered to work on poverty through measures like job creation rather than hating the poor on principal. He recognized that poverty is rampant here in the Rust Belt because of crappy job opportunities for people lacking a college education. He didn’t take the right wing stance of making necessity the mother of invention or the left wing stance of dangling a college education that saddles the previously poor with such mind-boggling debt that they think they may have been better off just staying with that one pot to piss in.
I wish him the best of luck and hope that his economic policies help uplift the poor. I’m willing to give him the chance to help revitalize communities like the one in which I live. My city is so poor that it met the criteria for all city public school students to receive a free lunch, even during the summer months. We have crumbling homes stuffed with mulitple generations of family living together. If they are lucky, two generations at once will find temp, restaurant, or retail work. Or there could be three generations in one home panicked at the possibility of the main aging breadwinner dying, the one person who has held onto a good job. Or there are adults who still live at home and have found skilled work, but they have so much medical or student loan debt they can’t afford to move out.
This desperation is not confined to the Rust Belt. I think of the heartbreaking story of my late sister-in-law Genie, who worked two full time service jobs for 18 years in Kentucky until she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Her first stage of medical “leave” was quitting one of her jobs. She continued to work full time for 20 months while being treated for advanced cancer. She kept working to keep her health insurance and have some hope of leaving something behind for her family besides medical bills. She didn’t leave her job until she was certain that she had just 12 weeks or less to live. A month before she died, she confided in me that she was afraid she might live long enough to lose both her health and life insurance. Such worries should not exist in a country as prosperous as the U.S.!
We desperately need more good jobs in towns like Lima and all over this country. I hope that Donald Trump can help us. This may seem impossible, but so did his election.
I will close with something I heard that captured the Bill Clinton years with great wit, “The economy is booming. I can find all three jobs I need to make ends meet.”