So 2016 is sucking pretty hard. I mean, I’m not super surprised because I basically called it with my first post of the year. Between the election cycle and then both David Bowie AND Prince dying — oh, AND Alan Rickman? Gene Wilder? Gwen Ifill?? Garry Shandling??? That’s not even close to everyone. What in the actual hell.
This year just needs to go home. Hear me, 2016: You are drunk. Just stop it already.
Last week I posted about the lamentations I have because of Trump winning the presidential election. And many readers felt exactly the same way I did. A few vocal readers did not. This put me in a unique position to hear both sides of the story at once and I have news for you that you aren’t going to like: regardless of who got your vote, many of y’all’s votes were motivated by exactly the same thing.
Fear is not a new cultural norm in the US. Fear has been a major marketing tactic for the last decade for sure, but probably even longer than that. But with the presidential election last week, fear finally won. It was going to win either way.
For those who voted for Trump, the fear that prevailed was fear of other countries; fear of the world and how it may affect the US. For those who voted for Clinton, it was fear of the past as well as fear of the unknown.
Fear is winning. Not just elections, but everything. I see this fear even in the grocery store, where my fellow shoppers can’t even look each other in the eye or say “excuse me” when passing on an aisle. We are all just shopping to feed our families — a basic need everyone has — but still confrontation seems like a risk. Why? What’s the worst that can happen? You connect with someone and feel something?
Imagine what would have happened if the two people in this story hadn’t connected at the grocery store:
We don’t all have to agree, but we do all have to move forward. My moving forward may look different than yours. I may be the animated woman rolling down the grocery aisle singing along to the 80s music to try to get through my least favorite chore, and that may not be something you can relate to. But I will look you in the eye as you pass. I will smile. And I hope you see me, because I see you.