I’m not a woman. But I’m still feeling as though I'm under assault. I didn’t realize that’s what it was until Ana Marie Cox on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show on MSNBC spoke of Trump’s assault of women and continued, almost off-handedly, that we’re all feeling assaulted. Because we’re powerless to stop it.
Other pundits have rung in with phrases like “Disruptive anxiety… and a feeling of general depression.” Which describes my own feelings in part. But then it clicked. I am. I am actually being assaulted by having to endure my news throughout my days, in print, on-line, on TV, endure endless coverage about this important election dominated by a man who continues to assault every single thing I hold dear about the democracy in which I live.
I’ve voted in every presidential election since Johnson-Goldwater, when I cast an absentee ballot from my Peace Corps service in Nigeria.
And now I’ve watched for 18 months as statements and actions that would have seriously disqualified any normal person from public service have been accepted by the media and others in power and sent over and over down the pipeline into my home, my psyche, my consciousness. I continue to wait for someone—an adult? the media? anyone out there?—to call out the lies and misrepresentations and send this, uh, personality back to so-called Reality Television where he can rest comfortably with The Real Housewives and Honey Boo-Boo. But that public shaming has never happened. And now he’s threatening to disrupt the fabric of our nation by his false claim of a “rigged” election. My anger and despair are constants now.
I’m as guilty as anyone. I can’t turn away. I am watching the country I know and love spiral down the drain and I feel helpless to stop it. And that feeling of helplessness is where the psychological assault comes in. Where’s the remedy? If there’s an accident on the corner, and I’m not capable of administering first aid, I can at least call 911. But with The Donald, there is no 911. And good old fashioned work? No amount of phone banking (or pamphleteering or knocking on doors) for Hillary is going to stop this assault that has continued unabated for the last year and a half.
I feel powerless. There is, quite simply, nothing I, personally, can do to stop this. Is there? Turn off the news? How do I do that, knowing that Trump is out there, rallying his troops, urging them to rip and tear at the fabric of the democracy I hold dear?
So, I’m left with watchful waiting, with hope dripping from my heart in the face of demagoguery run rampant. My shrink says I’m not the only one. I’m open to all suggestions.