I’m finishing up Laurell K. Hamilton’s latest Anita Blake novel, Crimson Death. I love this series, although I have to adjust my mental pacing when I read her books because Ms. Hamilton is the queen of detail – both interior and exterior. But just as the devil is the details, so too are the angels. And, the Anita Blake books contain a wealth of insight into the human psyche, illuminated through the lens of vampires and were animals, most of which don’t like each other. Unfortunately, Anita’s world is filled with tragic hatred. And while I’d always assumed that these fantasy novels exaggerated reality to make their point, I think the hatred highlighted in these books doesn’t go far enough in reflecting our reality.
In the world of Anita Blake, the humans hate the vampires and the lycanthropes (werewolves and other were creatures), the vampires hate the lycanthropes and the lycanthropes hate each other (there is a great deal of enmity among the various species). It is a divided world where humans try to pass laws that legislate inter species antagonism; it works as well in their world as it has in ours—hardly at all. In the same way that attempts to enact laws to govern morality are largely ineffective; because police have very little purview over thoughts and words permeated by hatred. We’re all entitled to our opinions, no matter how misguided, fear-based or destructive they are, and there is no such thing as the thought police, even though sometimes we might wish there were.
And while one person’s hateful opinion may not have much impact, the collective opinion of a sizable minority of a population most certainly does. I’m not a political person. I’m fairly jaded insofar as I don’t believe that elected officials make much difference in these days of constipated government and spin over substance. Having said that, this election has awakened in me a burning need to follow all the news, read every poll and accompanying analysis, get involved and manage my extreme anxiety over the outcome and its aftermath. I’m a mess. And all of this because of my deep distress over the fissures in our society that this election has exposed.
The deep-seated hatred that has been given a powerful voice during this election scares the shit out of me. I had no idea that so many Americans feel so disenfranchised and hopeless about the future that they are willing to believe in vampires and werewolves. Or the functional equivalent of vampires and werewolves and other fantastical beings, that Donald Trump isn’t a dangerously deluded bigot and misogynist who could easily lead the world into nuclear war, or, on a less global scale, civil war or revolution. I’m horrified. And exhausted from lying awake at night contemplating the apocalypse.
Hillary Clinton is far from the perfect candidate and I’m not suggesting that reasonable people couldn’t disagree about whether she is the best person to run the country. I have no issue with those who believe she is too tarnished to serve or too divisive to be effective (or those whose views are more fiscally or socially conservative). I don’t agree, but I will defend your right to your beliefs and their expression. What is different about this election and the tone and tenor of the debate these days is that fantasy has eclipsed reality as the coin of the realm. It is now acceptable to blatantly disregard irrefutable truth in favor of lies we only wish were true. If this isn’t fantasy in truth, then Donald Trump is a billionaire.
Trump’s entire campaign is built on magical thinking about the cause of all our national woes, causes that are all based on hate—hate of the other; women, African Americans, Muslims, immigrants, people with disabilities, fat people, veterans who have been mentally traumatized and those ‘losers’ who got themselves captured. If it isn’t magical thinking to believe that immigrants and uppity women are the root cause of all societal problems, then I’ll believe that Donald Trump would make an amazing Commander-in-Chief.
Trump reminds me of Homer Simpson, a stupid, small-minded man with a comb-over and opinions he does not want challenged by facts. Instead of saying, “Doh!” Trump says, “Wrong!” Instead of being confined to our television screens using stylized animation, Trump is fully animated and not nearly far enough away from the Oval Office and our nuclear codes for my taste. But just like Homer, Trump doesn’t have a fucking clue and he doesn’t give a shit. He’d be a bad joke—or a caricature on a television cartoon series—except that his message of hatred has resonated so deeply with so many of our fellow Americans.
His supporters don’t care that the New York Times has published a list of Donald’s tweets that demonstrate his tenuous grip on reality or lack of cognitive consistency. He can say the sky is blue one day and swear the next that he never agreed that the sky was blue. He contradicts himself and lies so often the media literally can’t keep up (I wondered why no one followed up on the fact that Donald was 6’2″ his whole life until his medical records were released over the summer and he’d grown an inch—until I realized that if he were one inch taller he would be classified as “overweight” instead of “obese.” Who’s a piggy now, Donald? Oink, oink).
Almost 40% of our population has so much hatred in their hearts that Donald Trump, with his history of bankruptcies, tax evasion, sexual assault and harassment, multiple marriages, ignorance of world events and domestic issues, seems like a viable candidate. He is a hate monger and too many Americans are buying his brand of bile. Which is not a call to hate the haters, but an occasion to ask ourselves what we can do to listen to the legitimate complaints and concerns of those who feel they have no response except hate and vitriol. Those doesn’t work, of course, except to get our attention. Which it’s done. Or, at least, I hope it has. But if we keep going the way we’re headed, The Donald will be able to claim that foreign dragons and unicorns are taking over our zoos to the detriment of our homegrown lizards and horses, and a horrifyingly large portion of the population will believe him. And maybe, just maybe, all of this hatred will somehow get us back to unity, or at least talking to each other again. Hey, if the werewolves and the wereleopards can make peace, surely we can too. Right?