The election of Donald Trump can be traced directly back to one thing: bad parenting.
If this election proves nothing else, it's that fully half the country lost sight of the absolute necessity for role-modeling for current and successive generations, or how else could they have willingly gotten behind a candidate who bullies and demeans women, gropes them and mocks the disabled, seeks out revenge and belittles those who disagree with him?
After much consideration, I have to assume that they must have been raised by wolves rather than by mindful parents aware of how their actions - public, private and political - would be read by young minds as an endorsement of an abominable man.
In these times of diminishing attention spans, fear of missing out and complete self-absorption, our new reality is that few have the desire or energy to worry about how their actions as a parent will resonate in the decades to come with the children who witnessed them.
Let's face it, the major challenge of being a parent is that it's a 24/7 role for a minimum of 18 years. Apparently we're no longer a culture that makes that kind of commitment to anything, even future generations.
Because it's 18 years of always crossing the street at the corner with the traffic light so that kids learn that it's not acceptable to break the rules simply because no one's looking. It's 18 years of not using foul language in front of children lest they think it's an acceptable form of expression. Eighteen years of always considering how what you do and say will mark the people you're raising.
Bottom line? Parenting is inconvenient and requires an inordinate amount of selflessness and who's got that to spare anymore?
That this has become the norm is the true crime here.
I can not believe that any parent who voted for Trump took into consideration the damaging message they were sending to their children by choosing this man, by treating him as worthy to run, much less lead or represent this country to the rest of the world.
We've shown future generations that a sociopath with no more credentials than a string of failed businesses, half a dozen bankruptcies and a reality show is good enough.
The bar has been lowered so far that it becomes inevitable that future candidates will also climb out of some primordial ooze with an entitled attitude and misogynist bent while no one bats an eye.
I thought yesterday was difficult because of the tension and worry of election day, but in retrospect, yesterday was a walk in Byrd Park compared to the reality of today's headlines. No one I know seems to have a handle on how to process it.
From my best friend in Texas who I'm trying to lure to Richmond...
WTF!!! How did this happen??? The morons who elected this egomaniacal ass wipe just did a grave disservice to our country and the world. It may be Canada instead of VA.
From my Mom, who's voted Democratic in every election since Adlai Stevenson...
I am past worried. I am stunned, appalled and every negative thing you can think of. Can you imagine him at state dinner or a meeting of world leaders where he can't just lay down the law as he did as a CEO? And what is going to happen to his supporters when he can't deliver the pie in the sky things he promised? Utter chaos.
From a smart musician friend looking for answers...
What a morning. Oh, I should probably check out your blog for enlightenment. Oh, nothing new yet. Understandable.
From Coalition Comedy Thetaer...
Free shows all this weekend. It's the very, very least we could do. We woke up to a bizarre reality this morning. We're offering the people of RVA a consolation; a much-needed distraction from the weird times we're trudging through. Let's take a break this weekend and just laugh, OK?
Given the state of the day, I felt grateful to already have plans to laugh with like-minded friends - three good people bound to be as dazed about this outcome as I felt - first for a killer dinner at L'Opossum (the foie gras! the oysters in absinthe fog! the hot black bottom!) and then with an inscrutable film noir, "The Big Sleep," ("She's a real sad tomato") at the Byrd.
In fact, all day long, I kept reassuring myself that friends and community will help us all get through whatever lies ahead. Part of the favorite couple who'd picked me up said he'd experienced much the same feeling of reassurance earlier.
There are denial, grieving and acceptance phases to navigate still, sure, but like sailors tossed overboard, all we can do is cling to something, even if it's just others who also grasp how deep the water is.
After being joined by our easy-going fourth, the mood lightened once we'd finished the post-mortem on the election results and the dinner plates were cleared. Or perhaps that was just the delirium of four desserts, more wine and a need to laugh so we didn't cry.
The Bogart and Bacall film also provided chuckles with the kind of witty, rapid-fire dialog that smart characters in '40-era films had while wearing pin-striped suits and satin dressing gowns.
Vivian: You go too far, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he's walking out of your bedroom.
Two of us had never seen the movie before and the other two knew it well. The classic film managed to provide a fine distraction and even a dash of relevance.
Vivian: I don't like your manners
Marlowe: And I'm not crazy about yours. I didn't ask to see you. I don't mind if you don't like my manners. I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings.
In a related note, I don't like what happened on election day. I didn't ask for this. I don't mind if you don't like my reaction. I don't know how to feel any other way. Things may get pretty bad.
And I know with complete certainty that we will grieve over this bizarre reality for many a long winter evening to come.
I am eternally grateful for fellow sad tomato friends who help me forget that for a while.