Peace At Home
It is raining here today. The tapestry of leaves on the ground sodden and untidy. There were no teabags left in the copper pot on the counter. Only a trickle of the skimmed milk I favor lingering in the fridge. My feet have turned an unusual shade of purpley-blue because I have not yet made it back upstairs to tuck them in to pompom slippers. Finley came downstairs fully dressed! And Donald Trump is on stage: a confusing mix of humility and gloating shaping his now softly spoken words. That circle he makes with his fingers slightly less pronounced now he is no longer raging against a country that just yesterday seem unwilling to bend to his manic will.
Not so long ago I used to to tell my Mum that the world scared me. And she would say that the world had always been a scary place. That in her lifetime there had always been terrorism, the threat of war, crazy men, religious lunacy. That we have learn to live with a certain level of potential fright or else we might as well retreat under our patchwork quilts and whither away.
Today the women on my Facebook stream, my sister, my friends, my readers have declared themselves scared of Trump. For the world. For their children. There is a lot of pain. Disappointment. Confusion. And anger. There is also too much rage. Too much venom directed by those who consider themselves to be intellectually superior towards whom they consider to be “the great unwashed” – on whom they are firmly placing the blame, forgetting that among that majority there are Mothers scared for their babies too. The world feels broken and they want to have someone to blame so they look to those they consider less than them. An ugly truth if ever there was one.
I am no more political than I am religious. I find any kind of division between human beings to be distasteful. I am also stupid. I want people to be kind in an unkind world. I remain bewildered by angry men and warmongering women, and care only for the politics of my my own household. The politics of step-parenting. The politics of who takes the bins out. Who gets to choose what’s for dinner. And I am telling you this not because I want to publicly declare my own ignorance, but because I suppose, I want to appeal for calm among those of us who want to live a life less ordinary. Because I understand that politics is a necessary evil and we cannot always swing a vote the way we want it to swing. Because I want us all to feel safe within our own four walls despite what goes on beyond them.
We fear change don’t we? We understand career politicians but cannot (do not want to) begin to fathom a maverick, sexist business man standing at the head of one of the most important countries in the world. We confuse personality with politics and forget that in even the smallest of businesses liking or even respecting he in charge is not necessarily key to our own success. We cringe at the toupee, feel our skin crawl at the idea of hopping in to bed with such a vile creature, allow our own instinctive, female revulsion to dictate our feelings, wonder what the heckity-pie could be wrong with that wooden, soulless Melania woman and fail in the midst of our revulsion to understand that Trump will not stand alone. That there will be some good men and women standing behind him, guiding him, reigning in his arrogance, advising him and hopefully taping up his mouth. That a person does not get to be Donald Trump without possessing some nous. Some wisdom. Despite how utterly ludicrous he strikes us. How little we yet understand about who he will be as a President. For we do not know yet whether he will be the dictatorial oaf we imagine he will be. Or whether he truly will rule the world with one hand permanently hovering over the dreaded red button. Or more, whether we will all suffer the kind of catastrophe The Simpsons predicted should this have ever come to pass. We do not yet know and that is I suppose terrifying in itself.
We fear change even when we cannot prevent change itself and must instead, if not embrace it, then at least accept it. If only so that our children are not spooked by our own terror of something that has not yet come to pass. So that our little girls are not forced to see this as the vote for women’s oppression that it so blatantly is and are not immediately reduced by it. Our boys not kept awake at night by fear of war fueled by an impetuous, impulsive man. So that they are not weeping tears for something that has no impact on what we decide to pack in their lunchboxes today. We must therefore refuse to wrap their sandwiches in anxiety. Keep appalled conversation to a minimum in front of them. So that they do not sense our fear and are instead reassured that all remains well. For that it does. For today at least, for our children all remains well. That is our job and it remains our job whoever ends up living in the White House – to make our children feel safe despite whoever walks the long corridors of power.
It could have course have been different. We could have had a woman I have certainly never related to standing in Trump’s place and perhaps we would have rejoiced anyway for it may have seemed like a triumph for sanity. For more of the same. For the safety of better the devil we know. But we haven’t. Something has happened this morning none of us could have predicted and all the wringing of our collective hands will not, in the immediate future, make any difference. We have to be at peace with that for now. Or else we allow something we cannot immediately change to trouble our own four walls. To bring a sense of dis-harmony indoors at a time when we would be better served strengthening the minds of our little ones so that the politics of the future does not stink quite so badly.
Here, there are no teabags and I am sipping coffee instead: my taste buds already recovering from the shock of Booth’s Italian Blend where there should have only been Tetleys. Finley is joking about all the builders in the world lining up for a lifetimes work building Trump’s Godforsaken wall and calling the house in our garden New Mexico as the joiner finally staples up the fence between us and them. Dad is in the shower and Ste, nonplussed by the whole affair, preparing a Powerpoint presentation for an interview.
And I am here. Typing out words that may make no sense to me in the future when we better understand the impact Trump will have on all our tomorrows. Tutting at the fingerprints on the glass on the doors into the conservatory and about to splash my way down to the crazy Post Office for a pint of skimmed. Refusing to be scared.