Like the majority of Americans, I didn’t vote for George W. Bush. I was bitter that the Supreme Court made him president by stopping the Florida recount. I thought Al Gore had actually won, as he did win the popular vote. Truth be told, I enjoyed laughing at W’s gaffs and enjoyed Will Ferrell’s impersonations on Saturday Night Live. To me he will always be “Dubya,” reading The Pet Goat to second graders when disaster struck.
Our country’s response of togetherness and patriotism in the immediate aftermath of the terrorists bring down the Twin Towers with airplanes was the last time I remembered feeling a sense of unity in our country.
Our country’s response of togetherness and patriotism in the immediate aftermath of the terrorists bringing down the Twin Towers with airplanes was the last time I remembered feeling a sense of unity in our country. I have written many times about how we managed to get through that day at the preschool I directed. How we went outside at lunch time and sang, joined by the workers next door and random passersby. Our music teacher taught the children God Bless America. I joined patriotic vigils, waved American flags, and felt a sense of unity in my community and our country.
I don’t remember how long that lasted, but disillusionment followed, as we launched a war against Iraq, tortured/water-boarded prisoners, and created the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison. By then, we were back in our red/blue, conservative/liberal corners.
Now, that even divisiveness looks pretty quaint. Fifteen years ago, we elected Barak Obama and joyous crowds celebrated hope and change in Chicago’s Grant Park. I thought this was it, the moment when newer voters spoke and the popular vote actually matched the Electoral College. Things would be different going forward. What I didn’t see in my euphoria was the bigotry, hatred, and division simmering under the surface. I thought the Trump campaign to find Obama’s birth real certificate, proving he was not a native born American, was a joke rather than anger that a Black man was our President. I thought that Trump was a joke, bully, and an attention seeking fraud. And I still do.
But as 2016’s election revealed, enough people in the right states saw Trump as a savior. All of the anger and crawled out from its hiding place and made this awful man President. And he was even a worse President than I feared he would be. Yet, this twice-impeached, four times indicted man, a convicted rapist in civil court, is likely to be the Republican nominee next year. His MAGA faction has a huge, faithful following. All manner of prejudice has emerged, and we live in a very divided country.
While I cling to the hope that he will be soundly defeated and perhaps even convicted of a serious crime before the election, images of Charlottesville and January 6 run through my head. The election deniers from 2000 refuse to be denied again. No matter the result of the 2024 election, I’m sure I will never see people of both parties, as well as independents, waving American flags in unity.
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.