The Cross House
Has there ever been such a year?
The year grabbed me, snatched away countless hours of my time, and, in the end, spit on me.
In my previous post I detailed much of the work done on the Cross House in 2016. And a great much did happen.
A great much also happened to me.
AN UNEXPECTED YEAR
In December, 2015, I did a year-end post. It was kinda grim, and detailed how 2015 was one of the worst years of my life. The year was filled to the brim with tension, in stark contrast to 2014 which was one of the best ever years. Indeed, I think 2014 was my best-ever year. I had a ball.
I was determined to have a better year in 2016.
But as these words are typed I am in a state of shock and gripped by a profound horror.
The year started out OK and it was a THRILL to see so much work happen at the Cross House. Gutters were relined, roofs redone, rot repaired, and many many many stained-glass windows restored. Each new project completed made my heart soar.
Many other projects ensued and the Cross House became incrementally better every month in 2016.
All this work buoyed me.
And, boy, did I need this.
While being shadowed by grief, I was also astounded by an incredible new reality. I have lost 26 pounds and now weigh 174 pounds. I think the last time I was so thin was over 15 years ago. I also pretty much stopped drinking. And pretty much stopped drinking Diet Coke.
These miraculous changes began on October 2nd, when I woke with a deep knowing: I had to start treating myself better. I can’t explain such a knowing but I have received them before in my life and have learned to accept them. They come with a powerful sense of rightness, and this makes what would normally be a very difficult process relatively easy. The knowing is so profound that I just, well, accept the message. Resistance really is futile.
I need to remind myself of this good news because my emotional state is otherwise…very poor. I just feel shattered by the events of 11/8/2016.
This election grabbed me like no other. Indeed, it kidnapped me. There is one popular political blog that I began to look at many many times a day, and in 18 months I left 4,128 comments, and received an incredible 16,335 up votes. Some of my comments were just quickie things, but most were researched and included links to credible sources. I spent an extraordinary amount of time doing battle with trolls. They would post absurd lies and I would leap in with a detailed response again linking to credible sources.
Other readers seemed to greatly appreciate these efforts.
But it was exhausting.
This last fall I had to ask myself: WHAT was I doing?
It took a while but an answer was forthcoming.
I had a really bad childhood. There was physical abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse. What got me through it was a deep knowing that, eventually, good would prevail over evil. I felt that if I could hang on until adulthood I could flee my home and find a new life. And at eighteen I did, in fact, flee. And life did get better.
My childhood though made me hyper-sensitive to abuse, as often happens. Even when others are abused.
So, my radar was highly tuned in the 1990s to Hillary Clinton. I watched her opposition and the mainstream media just beat up Mrs. Clinton. And this abuse was non-stop through the ensuing decades.
This long campaign to discredit Hillary has had its effect.
In the last eighteen months I have talked with many Republicans, and each despises Hillary, and they 100% know that she is despicable.
The surreal thing is that not one such person has ever fact-checked anything about Hillary. They just accept everything they hear/read as absolute gospel.
In talking with these individuals I point out that my opinion of Hillary is the polar opposite of theirs. “How can we both be right?” I ask. They agree that we both cannot.
I then point out that their opinions are never fact-checked. While my opinions about Hillary are based on fact-checking.
This usually causes some pause, but then: “I know I am right about her. She is horrible!”
When I point out that their absolute conviction that Hillary is a liar is not supported by the facts, and I show them this on Politifact (a nonpartisan fact-checker), they just stare at the results and say: “I know I am right about her. She is a liar!” When I then show them Trump’s truth score (he is lying almost 70% of the time), they again just ignore this and exclaim: “But she is worse!” (She is provably not. We all lie. And all politicians lie. Hillary lies about 25% of the time. Poltifact has stated that, as politicians go, Hillary and Obama have the highest truthy scores, about 75%, while Trump earned their Liar of the Year award).
SOME DEEPER BACKGROUND
During that last few months I read the massive biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, both by Ron Chernow. What blew my mind away is that EXACTLY what was happening in 2016 was also happening in the 1790s. People just believed what they wanted, the facts be damned. And the media was just as bad in the 1790s as it it today (I have a passionate loathing of the media).
For example, Thomas Jefferson despised Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury. With zero evidence, Jefferson deeply believe that Hamilton was a crook and was stealing the treasury blind. He even organized a Congressional witch hunt (Benghazi!) with the fervent hope that it would expose Hamilton for his supposed crimes.
But Congress, after an exhaustive inquiry, fully exonerated Hamilton. And this enraged Jefferson. So, when he became president, he instructed the new Sectreary of the Treasury (who also despised Hamilton), to do a forensic accounting of the department to prove once and for all the treachery and crimes of Hamilton.
But the new Secretaty, to his great surprise, found zero evidence implicating Hamilton. Indeed, he found a stellar record of honesty and integrity. When he reported his unexpected findings Jefferson was enraged yet again and refused to accept them.
Jefferson also deeply believed that Washington was a secret monarchist and was plotting to make himself King. Again, with no evidence to support this, and all the while ignoring the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Jefferson persisted in his beliefs and went so far as to secretly fund a newspaper damning Washington. When President Washington told Jefferson (his Secretary of State) of his profound hurt and horror in reading these untruths, Jefferson never acknowledged that he was behind the terrible stories.
For twenty-five years I have watched Hillary Clinton be vilified by her opponents. And this has caused me a great deal of pain because all my fact-checking into Clinton proves that she is a remarkable person who has spent a lifetime working to make life better for people.
This vilification does not come from people who know Hillary and/or have worked for her. Such people rave about Hillary. There are consistent reports of how smart she is, warm, engaging, and funny. People love working with her.
The vilification comes from her opponents. And why? Because she is damn good, so they have to do anything they can to take her down.
This long campaign of destruction is, to me, pure evil. And I have long had a desperate desire to know that good can prevail over evil.
I repeat, I have long had a desperate desire to know that good can prevail over evil. And this is why I became obsessed with the election.
With a Hillary victory, what I endured as a child would, somehow, be just a bit better. For, a Hillary victory would prove that good WAS stronger than evil.
And I have needed to believe this my whole life.
But as these words are written I now know a shattering new truth: Evil is more powerful than goodness.
And I don’t know how to live with such a reality.
How do I live when sexual abuse is now celebrated?
How do I live when misogyny is now celebrated?
How do I live when homophobia, xenophobia, and racism are all now celebrated?
How do I live when lies are now celebrated?
How do I live when a complete lack of qualifications is now celebrated?
I feel shattered.
80% WHO DID NOT
A lot of people are not paying attention to the fact that 80% of Americans did not vote for Trump.
And I know that there are Trump voters who read this blog.
The Trump voters I have met, some of whom are people I know and care about, have told me basically four things:
- Trump will create jobs.
- They like that Trump is an outsider and will shake things up.
- They nonetheless dislike Trump but,
- They despise Hillary with a passion.
Regarding the first, I have asked: “How will Trump create jobs?” The response I receive is always basically because he said he would.
Regarding the second, I have asked: “Would you hire a mechanic to work on your car with zero experience? Would you let a doctor operate on you with zero experience? Would you hire a house painter with zero experience? Or a hairstylist or caterer or anybody?”
They answer no to each question. But, surreally, putting something with zero experience into THE hardest job on Earth is apparently OK.
This baffles me. This horrifies me.
To their third/fourth reasons I have learned that nothing I can say, or can show them, will make the slightest difference. They know what they know and they will never be open to anything contrary. This is summed up by a quote:
Republicans believe every lie about Hillary.
And ignore every truth about Trump.
A STRANGER IN MY OWN LAND
As 2016 ends, never before I have looked to the future with such despair. Never.
Had, for example, Romney won rather than Trump, I would be just a bit unhappy. No one likes “their” person to lose but I would not fear for my country with a President Romney.
But a Trump win is something never seen in American history.
God help us all.