I left the nightmare by falling asleep.
The CNN adrenaline was wearing off and so was the Caesar I sipped to help conquer my growing fears of a Donald Trump victory. I thought the soupy cocktail was the perfect accompaniment, not because I am Canadian, but because I was witnessing an American tragedy of Shakespearean proportions unfold: the dawn of a Roman-style slow fall. The ill-fated empire didn’t fall in a day. And America won’t, either. And the truth is that the only Caesar in this story is a drink but I can’t unsee the poor white Plebeians of the Rust Belt who championed a popular Tribune who hate talked like them over an arrogant Patrician who did not.
On election night, I watched a spud state, a corn state, and a peach state all turn into the same tomato red shade as my Caesar. I became paralyzed by election coverage, sitting dead still like a marble statue with only my broken beating heart and blinking eyes reminding me that I was awake and firmly grounded in reality.
When I went to bed after midnight, I saw red. I comforted myself by saying all of those pollsters and predictions and dreamy hashtags would come true. #LoveTrumpsHate #ImWithHer #ShesWithUs #StrongerTogether
I did not have a dream.
And then I woke up and learned the things that go Trump in the night: Namely Wisconsin. When I read the results, I wept. Then raged. And wept some more. No doubt about it. I was suffering from Post Trumpatic Stress Disorder. I studied the US map that looked like it had been hoisted on its own petard - and was slowly bleeding out. I wondered if Hillary Clinton felt betrayed.
Et tu, Florida? Et tu, North Carolina? Et tu, Michigan? Et tu, Pennsylvania? Et tu, white men? Et tu, white women? Et tu, 46.9% of the people who didn’t vote?
The morning after felt more surreal than sobering. And this result didn’t come to fruition overnight while I slept. The anger had already been stewing in the hearts, and the hate speech already spewing from the mouths, of white working class voters for generations. Poor and ignored, the Rust Belt kept tightening its loose trousers, dropping weight, grasping at straws. The beer belly of America was not just hungry, it was hangry.
Obviously, a menu that only offers two options lacks choice. Like choosing between a Big Mac or a hamburger that made claims of being organic and free-range. The sad truth of it all is that a hamburger is still a dead cow, no matter how you serve it.
Instead of letting everyone sit at the big table, the elites served the working class a racialized scapegoat on a gold platter. Consume this instead of us! And the hungry gobbled the scapegoat up and drank the haterade until they became drunk in the worst kind of way. With power.
I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the smug, dismissive satisfaction that voters felt when they checked Trump. Pulling a power-trip-Trump-move-trigger. Because the hiring of Trump is the lining up of Muslims, women, Black, POC and Indigenous, LGBTQ2SIA, immigrants, disabled, survivors, the illegal, the land, and everyone who can’t tick off the white male boxes, and firing (at) them.
Even though I didn’t dream, I can tell you that my night terror came true. And this kind of terror isn’t new...
There were once two towers. One ivory, the other gold. And on 11/9, we all watched the ivory tower come crashing down.