We were halfway through the afternoon on election day when a flock of crows began making a commotion around our house. I was indoors, but could practically feel the thrum of their wings, beating beneath the eaves, as the birds sounded an alarm. I went to the window in time to see a red fox, its long, furry tail like a streak — now you see him, now you don’t — headed round a corner wall and out of sight.
I didn’t think it at the time, but in light of subsequent events, it feels like that fox could have been carrying my country between its teeth.
I am writing this less than 24 hours after Donald Trump has been elected to serve as 45th President of the United States. There is still a weightlessness about this fact. It has not yet come to ground, been fully absorbed.
Tomorrow, Mr. Trump, as even his closest advisors are careful to call him, will visit President Obama at the White House. I imagine the optics of this encounter — posing in the Oval Office, the ceremonial handshaking — will finally bring home the surreal gravity of our altered situation.
A year ago last August, Donald Trump took center stage at the first Republican debate. He made headlines by refusing to say he would promise to support another Republican nominee and, with that, began a months-long process during which he demolished not just numerous Republican rivals, but all previously held understandings about presidential campaigning and party unity.
For one thing, while Trump made many promises (to build a wall, create a “terrific” health care system, clean up crime, wipe out ISIS, bring back high-paying manufacturing jobs, etc.), he said very little about how these things would be accomplished. Instead, he talked about himself. As one of his commercials put it: “Donald Trump will protect you. He is the only one who can.”
Now we find out what this means.
If Trump’s upset comes as a shock, you are not alone. At this writing, Hillary Clinton appears to have won the popular vote. This makes her like another hapless Democrat, Al Gore, who garnered more votes than George W. Bush, but lost the election in 2000. Talk about a “rigged” system.
Indiana’s part in this electoral debacle has been particularly ignominious. Not only have we given the country the unctuous Mike Pence to play the part of Mr. Trump’s earnest factotum, we served as a kind of bellwether on election night, as Hoosier voters made short work of the state’s Democratic slate. Evan Bayh can go back to D.C.; his name is mud in these parts. John Gregg was undone by lumbering party hack Eric Holcomb. As for Glenda Ritz, about all you can say is that Republicans won’t have her to kick around any more.
To all those across the country who are wondering what Trump’s America will be like: Take a look at Indiana. We’re addicted to coal, are bottom feeders in terms of environmental standards and public health, love low wage jobs, religious bigotry and guns. But our budget is balanced.
My son lives in North Carolina — another state that seems hellbent on being like Indiana. I called him when it appeared Hillary’s campaign had run aground there. He sounded desolate, and with reason. His sense of America was shrinking as Trump’s election totals mounted. He, like so many of us, wonders where and how he will fit — if he can fit — in Trumpland.
I wish I had an answer for that. All I can say is reach out. Hold those you love as close as you can. Pay attention when the crows start calling in your neighborhood.
Originally published at Nuvo.net