The Day the Earth Shifted

Did the earth just shift?

earth-shifting

After looking over my  Facebook feed yesterday morning, I could only imagine millions of us Hillary supporters simultaneously reacting in the same way, at the same time,  when we learned that DT had won the electoral college and was now destined to become the next president of the United States.  Collectively, according to the posts I read, it was as if the breath had been knocked out of us. Then, Denial.  Confusion. Disbelief.  It was a similar reaction to  learning someone we loved had accidentally been killed.  Impossible to take in. Universal in its response.

My husband and I, who are in Japan, were at a museum.  He’s the one who, after glancing at his iphone, grimly announced to me, “It’s over.”  Knowing his tendency to seeing the glass half empty, I was sure he meant only that HRC had lost a close race in one of the battleground states.

“You’re kidding.”

“No, it’s over,”  he said flatly.  uh-oh.  He meant it.

Suddenly, we didn’t care about the museum or any other part of the outside world..  We both just wanted to retreat to the inner world of our apartment. We pulled out a bottle of sake and began to drink well before the usual five o’clock starting hour.  It only helped a bit.

This was an event of profound impact.  I know I’ll always remember where I was when I learned that DT had become the president elect.  This is a man whose MO I find despicable. He’s incapable of reflection, if he’s not at the center of it. (I want someone to cut off his colored hair while he’s asleep.)  He’s not able to bother with the distinctions of truth and falsehood.  He’s crass. (He wears bad, shiny suits!) He’s  an object of ridicule. He brings out not our best angels, but stroking and encouraging our angry, nasty, childlike impulses at self defense.  He’s the very definition of a misogynist.  He’s a vicious, snarling attack dog. He’s pathetic, really and truly. ( Melania, after Michelle?!!) How to come to terms with the fact that he and his cronies will now wield so much power for years to come?  How to stand seeing his nasty faced image and listening to him speak nonsense and lies for years to come?  How to watch the upcoming transition of power from one of intelligence and grace to one so out of control and looney tunes?

I don’t have any answers. I’ve read a few analyses of how this happened, but it’s still over my head.  I don’t want to take in the dire implications of a DT reign.  It’s almost as if he became president only by being the deranged first son in line for a dysfunctional monarchy, I still can’t imagine a rational individual from the USA casting a vote for him.

I realize our country is exceedingly complex and divided.  I now realize that large numbers of our citizens live in an alternate reality to mine.  A reality that makes it possible to overlook Trump’s toxic words and toxic behavior  and somehow see him as a savior.

I look forward to regaining my balance in my country of birth, but I am deeply saddened by the choices it has made.  I am uncertain that our democracy and our planet can survive a DT presidency.  I’m struggling to take a long-term view, when at my age, long term is all relative.  Maybe some positive changes will emerge from the coming struggles.  That seems to be the most I can hope for at the moment.

But life does go on.

When we awoke this morning, and my husband looked out the window, he remarked,”Well , the sun came up.”

 

sunrise

For Women Only

Three cheers for women wearing pants and all that signifies!  hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.

Watching Hillary Clinton accept the presidential nomination last week made me truly appreciate how times have changed since my youth!  Beyond her political and policy acumen, she has claimed the right to be Queen of the Pantsuit, demonstrating daily that it can be a colorful, versatile and seemingly indestructible partner in life.

pant suits for hilary

When I was growing up,  it was skirts only for girls at school.  Even in college, at the University of Miami (1958-1962), women were not allowed to wear slacks anywhere on campus.  What was provocative to a  college administrator about young women wearing pants?

Other restrictions for women only  included a rule against wearing sandals on campus (this, in a tropical climate), living off campus, as well as adhering to a nightly curfew.  My feminine consciousness at that time was so underground, that it never occurred to me to organise with other women on campus to protest that regulation.We grumbled about the double standard, but were too ignorant and felt too powerless to do anything about it. I am very grateful for the women who came after me and blazed the trail for the rest of us to wear whatever we damn please.

My generation lived on the cusp of the women’s movement. So near, but yet so far.  In a span of just a few years, the rules came tumbling down. We weren’t happy with the status quo, but hadn’t yet understood how wrong  and damaging the double standards of the day were.

o-FEMININE-MYSTIQUE-facebook

By the time the movement really kicked in, I and most of my contemporaries were married and having children, as we’d been encouraged to do. It had never occurred to most of us to do otherwise.   Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, hit me like a bolt of lightning. Suddenly, everything I’d been taught was suspect.  I understood it was too late for some things, but not too late for others.   I immediately knew that my daughters would be brought up in a changed and less repressive environment.  Of course, wearing pants was just the tip of the iceberg.

The pill was released in 1960, but I wasn’t aware of its existence for several years after that. My mother’s stern message to me, repeated frequently in case I hadn’t paid attention, was “Nice girls DON”T!”  Female sexual liberation was on the horizon, but not close enough to grasp. If I’d been born five years later, my choices would have been dramatically expanded.  I’ve never been sure whether that was a good or bad thing!!

But just to share how far we’ve come in a lifetime, here’s advice to women from a 1939 Vogue magazine:

1939 vogue

‘SLACKS: Whatever else you have, you’ll want—if you weigh under a hundred and fifty—a pair or two of slacks. They’ve come a long way from their early duck-pants beginnings, they’re an accepted part of nearly every wardrobe to-day…Eminently wearable at any hour—and in deluxe versions—on the American Riviera, slacks should be ‘more conservative’ for English country weekends; similarly, while ‘smart women wear them on Palm Beach golf courses’, those belonging to more formal clubs ‘might think twice before playing in them’; and, welcome attire on beaches and small boats, slacks are ‘usually restricted to the sports deck on ocean liners.’