I know I’m not alone in experiencing what’s become known as “election fatigue”. I’m exhausted; head-scratching, rage-inducing, gag-me-with-a-spoon, rant-riddled exhausted. But I think I’ve finally figured out one reason why.
Being a Democrat this election cycle has been like parenting a two-year old.
For eighteen months the GOP has been throwing the mother of all tantrums. Over-tired toddler in the Nerf aisle of Toy-R-Us level meltdown. And while the remnants of a once proud party writhes on the linoleum kicking and screeching, the rest of us have had to draw on every last bit of patience and reserve and the grittiest of true grit just to get the fucker out of the store without drawing too much attention.
Essentially the GOP is all the kids from Willy Wonka rolled up into one glooped out, bad egg mess.
Parenting is all about love, sure. But it’s also managing and soothing and calming, compromise, listening, modeling behavior and when it comes right down to it, making sure everyone gets a cookie.
I do all of that with my own kids. It’s tiring. The Democratic party has been doing it with a good portion of America for the last year. No wonder why so many of us are DefCon 4 exhausted.
There are times as a parent when all I want to do is scream “What the FUCK is wrong with you?” at my kids. I don’t….not out loud anyway. It wouldn’t solve anything and it would do more harm than good. And while it might make me feel better for approximately five seconds, I simply cannot justify the potential fall-out that five seconds worth of pent-up release would bring me. Plus, it’s not exactly the example I want to set for my children.
I imagine there are a lot of blue-voting folks out there who have wanted to scream “What the FUCK is wrong with you?’ to a good number of people, but who realize it won’t actually solve anything. Because if the family fall-out is bad, what’s it going to be like multiplied by a few million? Plus, it’s not exactly the example Democrats want or should want to set.
(Though admittedly, it might make you feel better for approximately five seconds.)
There’s been soothing. Yes, we understand you’re frustrated. There’s been empathy. Yes, we understand you’re angry. There has been redirection, bribery, threats, pleas. And yes, at times, even the kind of full-frontal confrontation that is leaning down and hissing into your kid’s face in a voice low enough that no one else can hear.
You know what? Mommy’s angry too. Mommy’s really, really, fucking angry.
For the past year and a half, it seems as if one side has been expected to manage, dissuade, and calm the anger of the other. They’ve been trying to convince Veruca that no, she can’t have the golden goose just because she wants it. Why? Because no one wants NATO calling child protective services called on our asses and though it may seem tempting at times, no one really wants to go and pick half their country out of a garbage chute either.
I’m not sure I’ve ever read so much about one, single topic in my life. Article upon study upon poll of why the angry, white base (yes, a gross generalization) is voting for or supporting Donald Trump. Of how people distrust the political system, the establishment, the media, women. Loss of jobs, fear, too many ‘isms’ to shake a stick at. What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Nation Divided stuff.
The Democratic party isn’t dumb. We get it. You’re angry.
You’re not alone.
We’re angry too. We’re angry that we can’t just go to the store and leave without a fuss. That we can’t have nice things in our country like health care and equal rights without someone pitching a shit fit. We’re angry that everyone else in the global parking lot is staring and judging and tsk tsk-ing. And a lot of times we are angry that instead of screaming into your face we’re supposed to go high, be the adult and wrangle this mess into the car seat to get it home.
There is an entire political party in the United States which has been playing Mommy/Daddy to a group of whining brats for the last eight years. Some are whining because they didn’t get the biggest piece of cake. Others are whining because the black kid got the slice with the most frosting. And some are whining because the girl is going to get a piece too, though it’s still probably only 79% as big.
When my kids whine like that I want to smash the whole cake so no one can have any. But I’m a parent. I don’t do that, not least of all because I’m going to have to clean the whole mess up.
When I watch and listen to what is being said, how I’m meant to empathize and sympathize and understand? I want to smash the whole thing so the other side can’t have any. But I’m a Democrat. I don’t do that, not least of all because, at the end of the day, it would make me no better than those who are pitching a fit about me having some cake too.
Even if it takes eight years.
With any luck we’ll get a nap in before the next fit starts. Because if you’re a parent….or a Democrat….you know damn well there’s always going to be a next one.