Thoughts while vacuuming

Thoughts while vacuuming, one week after the election of a misogynist xenophobe to the presidency

Cleaning things is how I deal.  So, today, while I ran the machine over the carpets and wriggled the hose past a puppy who thinks everything in the house belongs to him, I wondered why I’m feeling sad.

I really am sad, that pain in the chest, burning in the stomach feeling that comes when something awful has happened. I unfollowed someone who posted a meme laughing at those of us who are grieving the result of this election. That was cathartic, in its way, but I still needed to identify the source of this sorrow.

It’s not just that I wanted a woman president, though I did. It’s not just that I think the president-elect is utterly unsuitable to lead or represent our country, though I do. It goes deeper. And while my humming machine sucked up bits of broken dog toys and stray autumn leaves from the floor, it came to me.

I’m grieving the loss of my belief that a standard of civilization in the United States would prevent this disaster. I was certain the majority of us were too well-informed, too historically aware, too good-hearted to vote in favor of misogyny and xenophobia and racism and prejudice, to say nothing of rampant vulgarity. I’m in pain because a tenet of my faith in my fellow citizens has been proven invalid.

No one laughing at young, passionate people weeping at this loss remains my friend. No one perpetuating this misogynistic culture or these racist views, can be on my list.

When I posted the picture of the 1920s suffragettes in their white dresses, one of my commenters said, “I wouldn’t grab one of them.” Is that vulgarity going to be the new norm? I won’t stand for it.  I can’t avert my gaze and pretend it’s not happening.

I wish I could vacuum up the rage and resentment and fear that drives the people who voted for that man. I wish I could come close to understanding it.  Instead, it fills me with despair.

Four years of this? Wow. I’ll have the cleanest house in the country.

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