Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country


Toddlers 4 President!
Democratic Convention 2016: How It Might Have Been
On Matters of the Lie, the War, and Judgment
On Getting What We Deserve
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In the interest of full disclosure: A Donald Trump presidency won’t hurt me much aside from the increase in taxes since I don’t make over $80 million a year or whatever the amount is for those few, those lucky few, whose taxes will go down. On the other hand, I’m on Medicare and can afford good supplemental insurance; I’ve been successfully self-employed since 1988; as a creative artist, I could move to another country if I wished to do so. I have no children in elementary school, high school, or college whose education I must worry about. I have no son or daughter who would be sent into a foreign country to fight a war. I own my own house. I own my own car. I have zero debt. And I am long past child bearing age. Just so we’re clear on what was at stake for me in the presidential election of 2016: practically nada.

On the night of the election, I was in London, and I remained there for eight days afterwards. Every day I received the Guardian newspaper in front of my door, and every day I read it cover to cover. Each issue had between six to ten articles on the election. One day there was a sixteen page pull-out analyzing it. I could see first hand how important the US is to Great Britain. I’d always heard that, but it was illuminating to see it first hand.

What impressed me was the depth of the articles, and the lengths the journalists had gone to in order to analyze and to understand how and why Donald Trump had won. They explained everything to the English reader: from the electoral college right down to the vocabulary and the sentence structure Donald Trump had used to garner and then rouse his supporters.

British television also covered the story in those ensuing days, and I watched their reports. Two in particular struck me. They were made in the first days following the election and both of them consisted of interviews with people in the most stricken of American cities and towns. These were places where people are living without hope, where all they want is their lives back and their jobs back. One man was from a dying town in Texas, where he used to work in the oil fields. One woman was from a Midwest city, where manufacturing no longer exists. They were people who didn’t seem to hate foreigners, who didn’t seem to fear Muslims, who didn’t wish women ill, who didn’t scoff at climate change or evolution or women’s rights or voting rights. They were people who wanted to be able to work again, and they said that they were willing to give Donald Trump a chance because he promised he was going to bring their jobs back. Period.

In those moments, I saw the country as those people saw the country from their ramshackle houses and their single wide trailers, and it was not a place of promise for them nor, probably, had it ever been so. These weren’t people who follow politics. These weren’t people who read the New York Times, the Washington Post, or any political magazine. These weren’t people who watched the GOP stonewall President Obama on every front for eight years. These were people who simply wanted to work in order to buy food, repair their houses, and pay their bills. They hadn’t been able to do that in the eight years of a Democratic presidency, so now they were willing to give the other guy a chance for one reason only: because they believed him when he said he would bring back their jobs. Do I think their situation will be different now? No, I absolutely do not. As Trump appoints his billionaire cronies to positions of power, every day I doubt more that he has at heart the interests of anyone stricken by poverty, joblessness, and lack of education.

But I absolutely forgive those people for how they voted. They voted because of a single issue, and I get that issue in a way I never did before now.

There are, however, people I cannot forgive for what they’ve wrought upon us: those people who decided that THEIR single issue—an issue which does not in any way affect them personally—was the ONLY reason they were going to vote for Trump, no matter what else they learned about him or watched him do or heard him say over the months.

I’m going to give you a few examples:

I know several men who vote for president every four years purely on the single issue of abortion. They don’t care who the candidate is, what the candidate has done, what he stands for, or what he promises. If the candidate says he is against abortion, then the candidate gets their vote. What’s interesting is that the daughter of one of these men had an abortion, but I guess in her case the fetus wasn’t a human being.

I also know several people who voted because “we have to save the Supreme Court.” I have no idea what they meant by this but I assume they meant that they want to “save” the court that decided—in Citizens United—that huge corporations are people and thus they can donate just as much money as they want in order to influence a presidential campaign. Or maybe they voted to “save” the court because they believe the court will overturn Roe v Wade. Or maybe they believe that the LGBTQ community does not have equal rights with others and definitely not the right to marry. Or perhaps they believe that Planned Parenthood should not be allowed to provide contraception to women in poverty and to teenage girls. Who knows? But to them, nothing Donald Trump said, did, or had done in his life was more important than their personal wishes for a President who will make decisions that actually won’t affect them in the least.

I know people who voted for Trump because they couldn’t bring themselves to “vote for that woman.” To them, it was of no interest that Trump had committed sexual assault, that he refused to reveal the state of his health, that he was facing one trial for fraud and another for rape, that he paid no taxes, that during the election season he had told hundreds of provable lies, that he had no experience…anything, really. It made no difference that “that woman” has been investigated every which way to Sunday for forty years without a single thing being turned up against her. All that mattered was keeping “that woman” out of the White House.

My point is this: There are people out there who voted purely out of self interest, and these are the people I can’t forgive. Yes, the people desperate for jobs voted out of self-interest, but they are just that: desperate for jobs. But as for people who voted for Trump because they don’t want to pay higher taxes, because they want an end to estate taxes so that they can pass along more money to their kids, because they want abortion to end and who the hell cares if women are forced to seek abortions from back-alley abortionists (which they will do and which they HAVE done since the creation of sperm and egg, by the way.), I’m simply finished with them because they are people who voted to throw the country into the arms of a man who demonstrated for months on end that he was completely unequal to, unfit for, and unequipped for the job of the Presidency.

And now what I cannot forgive is the effort being made on all sides to normalize what is going on, to say “let’s give him a chance.” To this I say that, for me, what’s going on is not the new normal. So far and at the time of my writing this, Donald Trump has given cabinet positions to two of his billionaire friends, has chosen a Wall Street bigwig from Goldman Sachs to head the Treasury Department, has selected a foe not only of women’s rights to choose but also of insurance supplied contraception as his head of Health and Human Services, has chosen a racist as his attorney general, has chosen a climate-change denying non-scientist to head the EPA, has chosen a woman who sank the educational system in Detroit to be the head of the Department of Education. So far, Donald Trump has met with three Indian businessmen about his new Trump towers in India, and he has not—nor does he apparently intend to – put his business interests into a blind trust. So far Donald Trump has indicated that for the President of the US, there is no conflict of interest even possible. So far Donald Trump has said he can run his business from the White House “perfectly” at the same time as he runs the country “perfectly”. No and no and no and no. I will not make this the new normal.

Here is what I have done about what’s going on in the country right now: I’ve joined the American Civil Liberties Union; I’ve joined the NAACP at the lifetime level; I’ve given money to the Southern Poverty Law Center; I’m giving money to Planned Parenthood. If at some horrible point in the future, Muslims are told that they must register, I intend to register as a Muslim and I encourage everyone else to do the same. I will not ever accept what’s going on right now in the US as the new normal.

Normal is that we’re a nation of laws.
Normal is that we’re a nation of immigrants.
Normal is that we’re a nation that the world can turn to in a crisis.
Normal is that our culture has always consisted of all cultures blending together.
Normal is actually standing for something and drawing a line in the sand across which racial hatred, religious intolerance, sexual aggression, misogyny, fascism, Nazism, white supremacy, Hitler salutes, the Ku Klux Klan, and LGBTQ persecution dare not cross.

That’s the new normal, that’s the old normal, and that’s the only normal that I will ever accept or support.

- Elizabeth George
Whidbey Island
Washington State



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