I will join Boston Women's March tomorrow, but I feel the need to do something on this Friday as well. Not watching anything live on TV–I couldn't stand it. So I am posting a flash fiction piece I wrote right after Election Day, 2016. I did not post it then, because I was held back by my outrage, disbelief, sorrow, anger, loathing, disappointment, anguish, disgust, trepidation, yet clinging to the constant wishful thought that something would happen to stop the catastrophe, to settle into a resolution.
But settle it never did. I don't know how we, Americans, got into this muddle. It has started to feel like 1966, in China. That was also a regime with broad, in fact much broader, popular support.
It doesn't take a sophisticated mind to see how wrong it is to let Trump get into the White House. The following story is not one of reason or morality; it simply reflects the emotions of an ordinary mother, emotions many of my friends experienced.
How to Be a Good Parent in 2016
You have told your 8-year-old son not to watch TV, but you are intent on seeing the first presidential debate, so you allow him to sit by you on the couch for an hour and a half before going to bed.
You have taught your son not to interrupt when others are speaking; on the TV screen the red-faced man cuts off his opponent at will, or otherwise hovers around to intimidate her.
You have again told your son not to watch TV, but you are anxious to see the second presidential debate, so you allow him to sit by you for 60 minutes.
You have taught your son that America is a democratic country which, unlike China, doesn't hold citizens as political prisoners; on the screen the red-faced man is threatening to send his opponent to jail.
You know you can't tell your son not to watch TV again when the third presidential debate begins, so you allow him to sit by you for 30 minutes.
You have taught your son that people in America, regardless of their ethnicity, race or gender, are all equal; on the screen the red-faced man calls immigrants "bad hombres" and, a while later, squeezes two fierce words out of his fat lips to the other candidate, "Nasty woman."
After that you can no longer be noncommittal in your comments, so you tell your son this man is unfit to be the American President, and he nods hard. "This man will not be elected," you say, and he replies, "FR."
The evening of November 8th, you don't turn on the TV until your son falls asleep. You turn off the TV at midnight. Then you stay awake through the long dark night, having no idea what to say to your son in the morning. #