On The Great Dumpster Fire Of America

(I use BetterHelp for online counselling – which I highly recommend.  This was originally a post to my therapist, hence the inclusion of information some might see as obvious.  It just occurred to me that it would also make a decent post.)

 

I’ve come to realise more and more over the last few months that my mood really started to crash right around election day in the US, when Trump became president and it felt as though the world began to fall apart. That’s overly dramatic. Well….a little bit, at least *laugh*, but I think it stressed me out. I write opinion pieces in my spare time about politics, feminism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, and rape culture (as well as chickens, parenting, and cooking). My friends became more desperate and afraid. I spent a lot of time talking them down and giving them my reasons for why I thought a nuclear apocalypse was highly unlikely and that there was no reason to panic.

 
And it wore at me.
And wore at me.
And wore at me.
 
I went into the hospital for my gallbladder and my roommate insisted on asking me about Trump despite my telling her quite politely (though bluntly, I am very forthright) that I did not vote for him and was not interested in discussing his politics.  I very often am – but not when I’m practically locked in a room with someone.
 

…how do you have an opinion so vile? What possible reason could you give for that to be a good idea?

 
 
Nevertheless she felt the need to tell me that she liked him, approved of his policies, wished Australia’s leader was more like him. Particularly on the matter of asylum seekers and refugees. If you know anything about how Australia treats refugees seeking asylum, that’s absolutely horrifying. We outright reject the vast majority and treat them like they’re trying to steal our lucky charms or something. When they arrive by boat, we turn them back, even if we know they’ll drown. If they do arrive somehow, we hold them off-shore in deeply, perpetual, nearly indefinite detention – including children. Rather unsurprisingly they begin to exhibit stereotypies as a result of being imprisoned. Refugees to Australia quite routinely self-harm in frustration at being locked up for years. Some have committed suicide. Several have died of neglect. The centres are rife with sexual assault. Pregnant women are denied appropriate treatment. More than once, they’ve been described as “concentration camps”. The comparison leaves me a little uneasy, though I understand the sentiment.
 
We don’t treat them like people because, let’s face it, our government doesn’t see them as people. And this lady was sitting there telling me she wished it was even harder on them. I had to ask her why because how do you have an opinion so vile? What possible reason could you give for that to be a good idea?
 
So I asked her what she thought people whose homes were being bombed were supposed to do – they fled because they wanted nothing more than to live. Her answer was…well, deplorable. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this:
 
Her: Go somewhere else.
Me: …-where- else? Why somewhere else? Why are you so special that you shouldn’t have to help those in need?
Her: I got mine. They can work for theirs.
Me: They are literally dying. Children are dying. They didn’t ask for this.
Her: *sets her jaw, looks at me defiantly* Those are the breaks.
 
So tough shit, brown people – you don’t live where I live so you don’t deserve a shot at living. I didn’t even try to hide my disgust from her. I just looked at her, pivoted on my heel (this was the day before my surgery when I was far more mobile), and walked away from her. Whenever she spoke to me after that I refused to make eye contact, responding with little more than hummed assents or dissents.
 
And it wore at me.
And wore at me.
And wore at me.
 
A couple of days later when I was leaving the hospital an orderly pushing my wheelchair to the door told me that he was really excited about the way that Trump was going to build that wall and keep out the dirty, dirty illegal Mexicans (and undocumented immigrants of other origins he was apparently unaware of) (most of whom arrive by, you know, freaking plane, those fly over walls yaknow…).
 
I point out to him that the United States currently has a rate of undocumented immigrants below net zero. More undocumented immigrants are leaving the United States than are attempting to enter it.
 

I feel as though I’m seeing a sliver of a possible future and it scares the shit out of me.

 
He is actually stunned to silence and asks me if that’s true. I tell him it is and that he can look it up. This seems to give him pause. He hadn’t heard of that.
 
Still it wore at me.
And wore at me.
And wore at me.
 
I go to buy lunch from a charity barbecue outside a hardware store (Bunnings sausage sizzles are a very typical Australian thing). An old man points at me and shouts, “She’s one of those Trump supporters.” I’m kind of furious but also kind of scared because that’s not something you want to be in almost literally any other country. It’s not dangerous, not yet, but I worry about a time in which it could be. I remember the times when Bush was president and I was new here and I was constantly told by Australians to go back where I came from. I didn’t blame them. I left the US to get away from him and they were deeply angered by his impact on the world economy – despite Australia mostly avoiding the GFC.  I feel as though I’m seeing a sliver of a possible future and it scares the shit out of me.
 
I think that it’s not a stretch to say that my general mood has deteriorated as a result of what feels like very dark days. As though so much hatred is floating through the air that we can’t catch our breath. I watch the administration constantly gaslight the American people knowing that there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Nothing tangible to change it. Unlike most of my American friends, I’m left helpless to even protest much at all – all the way over here. Many of them go to rallies, protests, town halls – they’re switched on and engaged and I am too – but I think that the tangibility of their efforts give them more hope than I can glean from the process where I am.
 
And so it wears at me.
And wears at me.
And wears at me.