For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
—1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)
As I was looking through the photographs from around the country from the Women’s March last Saturday — including more than a few of my wife and daughter, who marched with a group of friends in Asheville — I was struck by the many expressions and images of sheer joy, when I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of anger and defiance. By all accounts, the turnout for the marches across the country far exceeded anyone’s most optimistic expectations, and the overall theme seemed to be the restoration of some lost hope for a lot of people who have not had much to celebrate in the past few months.
Savannah, Georgia-based artist Scott “Panhandle Slim” Stanton was born in Maryland and raised in Pensacola, Florida, but he has been known to pop up in all quarters of these United States, including Asheville — owing to his family’s vacation cabin in Swannanoa.
“Care more, judge less,” “Love trumps hate” and “Rise up” were just a few of the battle cries heard in downtown Asheville last Saturday as an estimated 10,000 people marched to protect women’s rights.
By rain-slicked granite sidewalks they came, early that morning.
In rubber boots, sneakers and sandals they came, not knowing exactly where bound but following — only following — in the footsteps of those who’d come earlier.
Although Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, has been Western North Carolina’s Congressman for only two terms, constituents in his heavily Republican district have watched his stock skyrocket nationally. He’s become a conservative media darling while at the same time rising to become chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a powerful and influential Tea Party-leaning group of Republican lawmakers advocating for smaller, more responsive, more fiscally responsible government.
Inaugurations make for early mornings. Getting into or out of the tangle of security and Humvees blocking the streets of Washington, D.C., requires an early-to-bed, early-to-rise mentality that quickly acquaints one with the deep blue hues of dawn punctuated only by the phosphorescent orange glow of municipal street lighting.
It has been a few weeks now since the election, and I feel like someone who just came out of a coma and woke up in the hospital after suffering a traumatic injury. I am surrounded by dozens of cards and letters from friends assuring me that I am going to be OK and that “everything is going to be fine.”
A couple of friends are by my side, trying to explain what happened, but I gradually realize they are speaking another language and I have no idea what they are saying. I tell them that I do not feel fine, but they just smile and nod. My head hurts and my toes are burning like French fries in hot grease. On a little table next to my bed, there is a half-eaten container of blue Jello, and next to that, my heart, slimy and still beating, as if the doctor — perhaps a graduate of Trump University — forgot to put it back in before sewing me back up.
I needed nearly a full day after the election before I could formulate a response to the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.
Just before 10 p.m. on election night, as Florida and North Carolina broke for Trump and it began to dawn on everyone that all the pollsters and pundits had had it all wrong, I must have read two dozen posts on Facebook ranging in tone from delirious celebration to abject misery to complete disbelief, but I contributed nothing because I just could not believe what was unfolding.
I feel strongly about politics. I hope — with all the hope I can muster — that Donald Trump loses this election. I have major differences with his positions regarding taxes, immigration, public schools, foreign policy and a host of other issues. I think he has stoked some of the most vile tendencies in human nature — racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia, to name a few.
Thankfully, few Americans embrace those characteristics, but some who do have been emboldened by his success.