The Rough Beast Slouching Towards the White House

I’m at the table, among those eating crow and it’s not an appetizer portion. I was wrong. I was wrong that the POTUS would be Hillary Clinton. And I was wrong, maybe, about something else. Later, for that “something else.”

In this very Blue enclave of North Carolina where I live, the mood is funereal. The Blues have the blues. During my run this morning, I passed the mourning, forlorn “Liberals” and “Progressives,” and I thought of Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming”— especially the closing lines: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

Donald Trump has slouched his way into the White House.

According to a relative in Kentucky, the Deplorables “piled into their pickups”—jubilant for an opportunity to determine their future. They’d been muted too long, scorned by establishment politicians who’d treated them like dung stuck to a shoe sole. They’d heard new words, words that made them feel significant, and they voted for the rough beast, an antihero/ savior, Reality Show star, someone unlike the smug, shitting-higher-than-their-ass Clintons and those Hollywood actors who’d appeared in videos, telling you to vote. Telling you to vote and not saying for whom, but you knew. You could have muted the sound, observing only their body language, and still have recognized they were Clintonians. The Deplorables wouldn’t have watched two seconds of this arrogance.

Every “Liberal” and “Progressive” I know acknowledged Clinton’s egregious foreign and domestic policies, but they followed with, “Trump’s a racist, misogynist nutcase, unfit for the presidency.” When I’d respond that I didn’t know with certainty who’d be worse, Clinton or Trump, they defended Clinton. “She’s an inspiration to women and to little girls.” Just not women and little girls who are collateral damage during regime change in the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Asia.

Okay, now it’s later. Back to my being maybe wrong about something else: I’ve maintained that our voices don’t count, our votes are meaningless, yet I’ve witnessed democracy in action.

Run-on-sentence alert: I have a visual of those pickup trucks crammed with angry men and women who want to make America great again by voting for someone they believe can do just that, implementing it by creating jobs here at home for the unemployed and underemployed, but then I think about the promises Obama made while campaigning in 2008 and 2012, the campaign promises of past contenders who ascended, and know that pledges spoken during these races are bullshit mixed with fairy dust to boost voter turnout and, whoa, this last cycle was effective in accomplishing an increase, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and that beast slouching towards the White House may be a fucking, mutant Butterball turkey, full of GMO corn stuffing, so we wait and see what it unleashes or doesn’t, and while we’re waiting, we’re active, organizing like there’s no good tomorrow.

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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