I’ve been mostly apolitical my entire life. I registered to vote when I was around twenty years old. My parents were working class Democrats, so I was a Democrat, too. In addition, out of my more than 40 years in the workforce, 30 of those years involved union membership. As a result, I would usually vote for the union’s choice of a pro-labor candidate. On occasion, however, I would cross party-lines and vote for a Republican or Independent if I thought a change was needed.
Even though I voted, I felt I had little control over what happened in the political world. I was a little too young to protest the Vietnam War or to, thoroughly, understand what took place during Watergate and the subsequent removal of President Nixon. So, for me, government was what oversaw the laws that we lived by, our protection and progress as a nation and helped individuals when needed. I paid my fair share of taxes to live free in this land of security and opportunity.
For me, government worked. Then my sense of security was shattered by the abhorrent behavior of our newly elected President. Because of his behavior as a candidate, I thought he had no chance of winning. As the numbers came in on election night, I was filled with feelings of dread and fear. I held out hope that the electoral college would do what it was created for and protect us from this outrageous and immensely inexperienced candidate who lost the popular vote by the greatest margin in U.S. presidential election history, but that didn’t happen.
President Donald Trump’s behavior shook my understanding of my American life based on my 60 plus years of experience. This loss caused an internal discordance that manifested in a questioning of the stability of the life I knew. It caused an underlying anxiety. When was it going to end? How did it happen? What can I do? Now, I am politically aware!