I never quite know when it is okay to be angry. Which seems kind of silly. Silly, but true. Sometimes I am angry because it is easier than being sad. Sometimes I'm not sad at all, just angry. It can be confusing. Donald Trump makes me angry. His supporters make me angry. I used to kind of laugh at them, laugh at him. It could never happen, it could never be, so he was a joke. I am not laughing any more. I still do not believe that Trump could carry the national election. I am still convinced that he will lose by a landslide come the fall. But that doesn't matter. I am angry because people vote for him. I am angry at the people who still genuinely believe he is the best man for the job. I am angry that such people exist in my country, that these people hold positions of power, that these people drive the direction our nation is going in. I am angry. I am angry because I see how easily people can become disconnected from other people's reality. I see it in my own life with friends who make more money than I do, who simply cannot understand my life, my world. I see it in the draconian policies of my library, which levies exorbitant fines against children with overdue items, children who don't have money, who have parents who don't have money, who now do not use the library because of fear, because of money. I see it in the attitudes of some of my colleagues who view our homeless patrons as a nuisance rather than an opportunity. I see it all around me. And I am angry.
A few days ago my daughter asked me, "Why was Hamen bad? Why did he want to hurt the Jews?" Later she asked a similar question, "Why did Kylo Ren kill Han Solo? Why did he turn to the Dark Side?" The question was a weighted one, because behind the question she really wanted to know "Why are people bad? Why do people do bad things?" I have no answer for her. Sure I could talk about how they were raised but then she will ask me, "But why were their parents that way?" Why? How far back does it go? Who was the one who started it all? Where did it begin? How did it happen? Why? Children ask a lot of questions. Because she asks questions I have started to ask questions, questions that a child would ask. Why? My answer before, my answer to myself before she started asking, was simple: "Some people are just shitty. The world is just kind of bullshit." I can't really give this answer to a child, can I? Or maybe I can, maybe I should. Maybe she should know that some people are just shitty. But will she be as angry as I am? Maybe she will. Maybe the anger is good. I would hate for her to live her life angry, but what else can you feel but anger when people are so shitty to each other. What else can you feel? Sadness, resignation, acceptance. I can't accept. Accept the things you cannot change? Bullshit. I won't accept it. But the truth is they won't change, they won't. Some people are just shitty. I know that my attitude should be to just let other people be shitty and do what I can do, but when their shittiness impedes on my ability to do good then I am pissed. I am angry. I am fucking angry.
Life isn't fair. My mom used to tell this to me all the time. And I know it, I've internalized it, I understand it. Life isn't fair. It isn't. But it still makes me angry that it isn't. No matter how many times I hear it, now matter how many times I tell myself the simple truth "life isn't fair" I still get angry. Angry at the unfairness. There are people who surrender themselves to God or whatever it is, who have a sense of peace and understanding because they really do accept, they really do give in, who believe that there genuinely is a plan and a path and a hope. I'm not talking about the people who say the believe but do shitty things, I mean the people who really believe, who have a faith in God that is beautiful, that gives them peace. And it isn't just Christians or Jews or Muslims either. Buddhists, Hindus. Giving up of self, acceptance. The truly faithful have this piece of themselves they have just surrendered to their faith and they find peace. That is beautiful. I feel that it is beautiful. I am envious of their serenity. I also think it is complete and utter bullshit. These are very conflicted feelings.
When I was a teen, I never really had a rebellious faze. I don't know why. Actually I do know why. First of all, my parents never made me feel shitty, so I never really felt I needed to break away. My parents introduced me to music, my parents took me to concerts, my parents let my friends come over and didn't complain about us being loud. My parents' house was where my friends wanted to come. My parents were kind of cool. I mean not cool cool, but cool for parents. My dad listened to punk in the car when he drove my friends and I to the movies. Which is not to say that we didn't argue, we certainly did, especially my mom and I because we are so similar. But because we are so similar I never felt I needed to rebel. I felt loved and supported. I didn't need to do stupid shit to fight back against them. I wasn't all that angry. Secondly, I internalized everything. When people were shitty to me, they made me feel bad about myself instead of making me feel angry at them. I was sad a lot, I was depressed. I thought there was something wrong with me and that was why people were mean to me. I have mentioned before that this feeling extended even into my marriage, where I thought there must be some reason my ex said hurtful things to me, that I was at fault. I don't feel bad about myself anymore. I don't hurt the way I did when kids in school called me names or excluded me, or when my ex withheld affection. I am pissed. I am angry. I am angry because now I know there isn't anything wrong with me, there is something wrong with them: they are assholes.
There is no point dwelling on the past, on the people that were shitty to me before, that at least I understand. But it is hard for me to let go of my anger at the people who are shitty now. It is hard for me to even watch the news because every time I see Donald Trump there is a part of me that wants very earnestly, very seriously, to beat his motherfucking face in. That can't be healthy. But it's true. People say that Ted Cruz has a punchable face and I guess that's kind of true. He reminds me of those smarmy assholes I knew in college who would correct my grammar or those dicks online who mansplain everything or call women SJWs. Ted Cruz is a prick. But I don't really feel like I want to hurt Ted Cruz in any way. Donald Trump I want to hurt. I want to go Inglorious Basterds on Donald Trump. I mean I wouldn't. I wouldn't actually. ::Looks around warily for government spies lurking on my blog:: I mean I guess I wouldn't because I don't actually know how to hurt people physically, because I am not particularly strong, because I don't have, as they say, a certain set of skills. But I want to. I mean, not that I would go out and learn martial arts from some master in the mountains so that I could exact righteous vengeance on people. I'm not Batman. That would be silly. But I want to. Wanting isn't the same as doing.
Yoda says that anger leads to hate and hate leads to the Dark Side. So maybe that's it. Maybe that is the answer. People are shitty because they are angry, because everyone is angry: angry because the world isn't fair, angry because they have been slighted in some way, angry because someone did something to them and now they blame everyone who looks like them for that hurt. I am angry at the people who hate. I hate the haters. I am full of so much hate I can hardly stand it. I hate their hypocrisy, I hate their words, I hate the laws they pass that are unjust. I hate them. I just can't accept, I just can't relax, I just can't let go. I wish I could. So I don't quite know what to do, what to do with all this anger. What difference can I make when the system is so rigged, when there is so much money in politics, when change cannot happen as long as assholes and shitty people have all the power? What can I do? I know that what I'm feeling must be what they are feeling too. They must feel this same kind of anger at a world they can't control, at these things happening, these changes happening that go against everything they believe in. I know that. Intellectually I know that our feelings, if not our ideas, are probably the same. I don't want to be like them. But I feel that pull of anger and I don't know what to do. What is there but anger or sadness? I am either sad that the world is the way that it is or I am angry. I don't know any other way to feel yet. I'm still learning, I guess.
Here is what I do know: I am not so angry, so self-righteous, that I am not going to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. What I know is that anger needs to be used. Not voting because I don't agree with some of her politics, not voting because I like Bernie Sanders more, not voting because I see the system is rigged will not help anyone but the people I hate more: the haters, the people who wish that all of the progress we have made in the past 8 years went away. I am also voting for her for selfish reasons: I don't want to end up in prison. If Donald Trump becomes president I don't know what I would do, I don't know what I would be capable of, and it scares me. It probably scares you reading this. I'm sorry. If you truly, genuinely, believe that Donald Trump would be a better president than Hillary Clinton then please go ahead and unfriend yourself from my Facebook page, stop reading my blog, stop contacting me all together. I have no patience or tolerance for you or people like you. This is not a matter of political preference or economics, this is a question of the very soul, the very fabric of our nation. If you feel so strongly about Hillary Clinton that you would rather not vote at all? Well, I don't know what to say. I am disappointed. I understand your anger, but removing yourself from the process does nothing. If you feel so strongly about Hillary Clinton that you would vote for a 3rd party candidate? Good for you. You are participating in our democracy. Don't let anyone tell you that your vote doesn't matter or that you are effectively voting for Trump or that you are wrong for doing so. You are doing important work. I don't agree with you, but I am not dismissing you either. Someday, hopefully someday soon, we will have many parties that are viable and our elections will be different. You are important.
Donald Trump is a terrible person. He is objectively terrible. It is a scientific fact. This isn't like Bush where I disagreed with his politics and protested the wars he started. Trump isn't Bush. Trump is so much worse than Bush. Bush at least represented something. Something I disagree with to be sure, but I do believe for all his faults that Bush has a soul. Trump doesn't. Trump is the culmination of everything wrong with our society. His rise to prominence represents all the most reprehensible qualities of our nation. It makes me sad, it makes me angry, to see the truth: that there are millions of people in this country who think like he does, who have such hate, such anger, such disregard for the feelings of others. I am angry. Perhaps the anger is just a part of me now the way the sadness was before. Maybe someday I can move past both feelings and truly feel calm and at peace, but right now I can't. Right now I'm angry. And at the moment, at this very moment, there is not a lot I can do with my anger. But I can do one thing, one important thing, one essential thing: I can vote.