The Mother of All Elections

veruca_saltI 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.

willy-wonka-augustus-gloop

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.

violet_keeps_growing_redux___5_by_faridae-d8cuqstAny parent will tell you that logic doesn’t work in the face of pure emotion. Sometimes the only thing you can do is let the thing play out and hope it doesn’t do any lasting damage.

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.

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21 thoughts on “The Mother of All Elections

  1. ragtimecyclist October 25, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    Excellent piece! I’ve never looked at the US election as a parenting issue, but the parallels are there.

    Over here in the UK we don’t know whether to laugh cry, or just look away. A bit like when the kids are in front of the TV kicking each other over who gets to sit in the comfy spot – as long as everything eventually goes quiet, how bad can things be!?

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 25, 2016 / 7:31 pm

      I’ve done all three of those things, repeatedly over the course of the last excruciatingly long 18 months! My mother is famous for telling my sister and I ‘if you two want to kill each other, go ahead, but don’t come crying to me”—there is a bit of that going on as well, but someone’s got to woman up this time. 🙂

      Like

  2. Elyse October 25, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    Let’s just send the GOP to their room and not let them come out until they’ve learned how to behave.

    Like

  3. stephen hall October 25, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    Another cracker Dina, really well written. Your writing just gets better and the parenting metaphor continued from Nerf aisle to parking lot …. Love it. Stephen Hall http://www.stephenhallart.com 55 Bethune Street, Suite C320 New York, NY 10014 646-963-3306

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 25, 2016 / 7:15 pm

      Thanks, Steve. It’s been nice to tap into a rich mine of material here–not sure how I’m going to feel when it’s all over–other than extreme relief of course.

      Like

  4. aviets October 25, 2016 / 6:50 pm

    I think you’re really onto something here. Dems have tried to be the adults in this shit-show all these years, and the whiny, childish, selfish Tea Party-ers and now Trumpers can do nothing but shout “NO!”, stomp their feet, and put their hands over their ears while screaming “BLAH BLAH BLAH I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” So…following that theory to its logical conclusion, at some point the nation will grow up and realize that we Dems have been right along and we’re not as stupid as they believed in their childhood?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour October 25, 2016 / 7:24 pm

      One could hope, though I think by that point the progressive left will have taken over the Democratic party and the moderate Dems will be the conservatives. It’s important to have a spectrum, but man, the last 8 years have truly been something else. I’d like to say it wasn’t all about delegitimizing the administration of the nation’s first black president, but…well, I think that’s exactly what it was–conscious or not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • aviets October 25, 2016 / 7:27 pm

        I totally agree that’s what it was. The right simply refuses to acknowledge it because they know they’re against the grain of decent society.

        Like

      • Dina Honour October 25, 2016 / 7:34 pm

        And you can see the same thing coming if there is a Clinton administration. I understand it’s difficult to feel like the life you knew/know/want is being eroded, but the fact of the matter is, the United States is no longer a white, Christian nation (and it was never meant to be). I think what we are seeing now is a coalition of minorities (and I include women and atheists in there) who, sooner rather than later, will be the majority. Not any individual race or religion, but as a group, they will outnumber white, Christian identifying Americans. I think that’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful thing. I think it will bring diversity and force all sides to focus on what is good for the whole and not just the ‘some’. A woman can dream, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie McNeil October 25, 2016 / 11:21 pm

        that’s what it was, all about that

        Like

  5. Alice October 25, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    The analogy that has come up for me again and again and again (and oh, did I mention, AGAIN??) is not so much parenting a toddler as it is living with an abusive spouse. Many of whom, just fyi, get away with it by gaslighting their victim into thinking of them as being like young children — that they don’t behave better because they CAN”T behave better. Your language of “as if one side has been expected to manage, dissuade, and calm the anger of the other” is an exact description of intimate partner dynamics in cases of abuse, too.

    I found this article a persuasive corrective to all the sympathizing/empathizing approach we libs have been taking. Maybe you’ll find it interesting too?
    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/15/13286498/donald-trump-voters-race-economic-anxiety

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour October 25, 2016 / 10:12 pm

      I have noticed. The blame shifting, the bait and switch. I think when it became most notable to me was when he blamed Hillary for not closing the loophole which allowed him to potentially avoid paying taxes. It was classic “I would’t have had to hit you if you didn’t make me angry” language.

      The managing emotions of the ‘other side’ has been a big topic of mine for the last year or so, and it actually started with a conversation about two children, one of whom was being picked on and received the classic “just ignore it, don’t let it bother you advice”, and again, shifts the burden to the victim, rather than the perpetrator, in this case, two seven year olds. Then I noticed it with the Bernie Bros. movement, how we were supposed to manage their anger and frustration over not having a ‘viable’ candidate. And on and on. Now we’ll have to ‘manage’ the emotions of the GOP if they lose.

      It’s never ending and it’s fucking exhausting.

      Thanks for the link, will def. check it out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Alice October 25, 2016 / 10:29 pm

        Emotional labor — still the responsibility of the LADIEEZ apparently! GUH.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. John October 26, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    Analogy: Spot. On.

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 26, 2016 / 7:01 pm

      Maybe there’s a book? How to talk so Republicans will listen and how to listen so Republicans will…stop throwing tantrums? Whatever the reason, I’m freaking exhausted.

      Like

      • John October 27, 2016 / 3:48 pm

        Apparently this is already a book that many Republicans consistently claim grabs their attention. It’s called the Bible, although it remains a very open question how many of these folks actually follow its tenets.

        Isn’t life so exciting?

        Like

      • Dina Honour October 27, 2016 / 8:49 pm

        I long for the day when we treat the Bible the same way we treat Greek mythology, stories meant to impart knowledge and advice, wisdom for time gone by, but just that, stories. Nothing more. Nothing less.

        Like

      • John October 28, 2016 / 3:33 pm

        Like Poe’s “Tales of Mystery and Imagination!”

        Liked by 1 person

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