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FACING FASCISM: An apology to my differently-abled daughter

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Dear Angel Eyes,

I spent the day after the election looking at the picture of your brothers standing beside you with firm resolve in their eyes and light sabres in their hands. Because of your limitations, you weren’t able to vote, and you will always need me, or someone, to speak for you and protect you.

First, I apologize for the depth of Hillary hate and pervasiveness of misogyny.  Maybe part of it is America’s love-hate relationship with family dynasties. Clearly, Clinton love is over. Maybe the general misogyny is because more men than I ever imagined are insecure.

It’s not just men. When I canvassed for Hillary the day before the election, one 27-year-old single mother and schoolteacher said she was “undecided” but also said she would vote so that her daughter grew up “safe” in a “truly great” country. Good bet she voted for the president-elect. Another college-age woman said hell would freeze over before she’d vote for godless Hillary. Another middle-aged mom actually said she was praying to get a “real man” back in the White House. Those groups were supposed to prevent the “Orange Id” from becoming the voice of America (as was the youngish black man that told me he holds Obama personally responsible for racism and believes him to be the anti-Christ because of his support of same-sex marriage).

I apologize for the blind tribalism of my Republican family and the arrogant complacency of my Liberal friends and me. Republicans raised the circus tent, publicly disavowed their candidate in droves, then voted for him anyway. Liberals consistently underestimate the power of the “Id” and in their fantasy storyline saw Clinton’s coronation as somehow historically inevitable. Liberals—especially women—also failed to grasp the feelings that Bernie tapped into or pay attention to the data that had Sanders handily beating the Trump. Live by the machine. Die by the machine.  

I apologize that all America combined to elect a fascist to be the face of the nation for the next few years. Fascism is that blend of hyper-nationalism, and an evil marriage of business and government under the banner a charismatic leader. Usually this messiah persuades people he is an “outsider” and the only one that can “fix things.” Eerily familiar. ‘Til now I steered away from saying “fascism” because of its link to dark chapters in our common human history. However, partly because of the Orange Id’s anti-PC “call ‘em as you see ‘em” style I feel calling a fascist a fascist is absolutely essential.

Most Trump voters I’m friends with don’t want to build internment camps for gays, Mexicans, Syrian refugees, or the differently-abled any more than most Germans or Italians actually wanted to build Auschwitz. Most people want food on the table and a prospect for an ever brighter future, and of course the trains to run on time. Most people that voted Trump are decent and kind and forgiving, willing to see his grandiosity, bellicosity, and ineloquence as “leadership,” and are willing to overlook threatening to shoot people on 5th Avenue, bragging about his sexual assaults, and mocking individuals with disabilities as “minor flaws.”

I apologize for our communal blindness. We all should know that turning a blind eye to a snake won’t save you from the venom.

Finally, I apologize for my apparent pessimism. The election results reflect who we are now, not who we are destined to become. I want you to know how much your mother, your brothers, and I love you. We know that like many people you do not have a voice, cannot pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and cannot protect yourself. We are committed to continue to speak for you and to protect you. Should they come for Roe vs. Wade, and your health care, we will fight. Should they come for the poverty level salaries of the kind souls that help us care for you, we will fight. Should they come for your special education teacher’s pay, we will fight. Should they ever come to grab you, they will have to go through us.

I have faith that Trump has the capacity for decency. Resolute, actual Republicans will reign Trump in, and rational, kind people within all political factions will prevent the election of one fascist to high office from becoming the death knell of our democracy. I’m optimistic that a small dose of the disease of Trump-brand fascism may become our vaccine against more lethal maladies.  

Viva la Resistance! Keep smilin’ kid.  Anakin Skywalker did bring balance to The Force … eventually.

Love always, Pops.

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