Our suburban neighborhood is dotted and bedecked with Christmas lights and holiday decorations, all festive signs that life has moved on since the presidential election. As I walk-jog in the dark past my neighbors’ homes, these figures and lights evoke comfort and reflection.
As the holidays steam ever-closer, these in-between days feel as precious as they are numbered. Most vested and voting Americans are anticipating the inauguration of Donald Trump with denial and trepidation or excitement. There does not seem to be much in-between when it comes to Trump and his pending Trumpdom. Many either love or hate him, or are perhaps mysteriously asleep, descendants of Rip Van Winkle, who plan to wake in 20 years to a different reality. (If there is any chance of joining this clan, I may be interested, as Canadian immigration seems unlikely, crashed website and all.)
The air cools my cheeks despite the effort to jog and only the twinkling lights, bright Santas, reindeer, and the occasional glowing windows dispel the dark. I want to sink into the familiar, return to something past that feels safe, more trustworthy, illusory or not. As others have said, some voters believe they woke up post-election day to another America and feel displaced, even if the dusty decorations drawn from neighbors’ basements and closets are the same as last year’s.
Honestly and sadly, America didn’t change. It is just newly visible. As if a portion of We the People had been sitting in a 3D movie without the glasses, filling in around the fuzziness based on our individual demographics, ideals, and delusions; then someone said, “From now on wear these…Things will start coming toward you like beasts and crashing buildings, (credit to J.K. Rowling), but at least you will have a clear perspective.” Whether Trump is an Obscurus, (an evil, destructive force emerging from repressed inner forces), or something more benign or inane will be the reveal of the next four years. The only predictable thing is his trademark unpredictability.
In the midst of wondering what will be, it is difficult to settle into what is. Never much of a shopper and ambivalent about calendar driven consumption, I feel even less inclined to participate with the weight of the unknown occasionally swamping me with angst. Scratching down my shopping list and checking it twice feels evermore irrelevant and selfish.
While questions of unequal import, what are the opportunities in this holiday season or pending administrative run? By nature and habit, I am an optimist. That said, never in my adult life have I felt such dread about the ascendant presidential leadership. Never. And I’ve been voting since Reagan’s first term and lived through a couple of Bushes, the second “a comedy piñata,” according to the late and great Robin Williams. However, piñata or not, even G.W. with his infamous record of war and torture publicly declined to vote for Trump. Imagine.
Returning home, I gathered the trellis that supports morning glories in the summer and the blue lights that live year round on our thriving ficus tree. In these days of confusion about what’s sacred and what’s for sale, (including elections,) and the ever-pressing wonderment about life beyond Trump’s inauguration, I was inspired to fashion a blue heart, a gesture of love and sadness wrapped in one.
For all that is unknown, 2017 promises to challenge love and invoke sadness, of this we can be sure. The rest will have to be revealed.