Five Things I’ll Miss after the Trumpocalypse
Five Things I’ll Miss after the Trumpocalypse
I am, for all intents and purposes, a bona fide country girl: I live on the edge of a cornfield, stroll down a long swath of gravel to fetch my mail, and am often seen rooted to the spot as I watch a family of wild turkeys amble across my lawn. The world leaves me limp with confusion. I prefer darting dragonflies to political analysis. But of one thing I’m certain: if Donald Trump’s current popularity results in a 2016 win, then the end is near. I’m not talking about God’s wrath or an invasion by other countries willing to liberate us. Rather, it is only logical that if this American electorate chooses Donald Trump, the soil of the country will convulse, and all those who at one point took electing a president seriously will burst from their graves in an undead rage. They will, quite properly, feast on our flesh to teach us a civics lesson: Don’t elect a blistering pustule of affront to human reason. Just. Don’t.
There are things I will miss in the aftermath. Here are my Top Five:
- The day my coffee supply finally runs out, my head may well split open of its own accord, saving the zombies the trouble of exacting revenge for the forsaken republic upon this particular remiss citizen.
- My students. They are young and deeply attached to the electronic world, while somehow blithely oblivious to the madness of our current political climate. I can’t really identify any actual life skills that will allow them to survive the Trumpocalypse. With the exception of some of my rough-n-tumble hunter kids, the ones who skip on the first day of deer season, I’m pretty sure the whole millennial generation won’t last a week after our undead chew through the doors at the power stations. As soon as the juice runs out of the country’s last two cell phones, the millennials will turn on each other—again, saving the zombies the trouble. Actually, with the exception of the ones who have confused Martin Luther with Martin Luther King, Jr., and thought the latter had freed the slaves, many of my students dazzle me. They are open, excited, and eager to connect with the world beyond their borders. I especially appreciate the ones who have taken on the adventure of studying Arabic. I love watching them tackle a new letter and etch it into a new word thus linking themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, with centuries upon centuries of people unraveling the mysteries of that beautiful script. If only, instead of history and language, I had taught these fledgling voters to fear the zombies enough to concern themselves with our electoral process…
- My kayak. I know someone will swipe it and try to head for Canada—it’s only 26 miles, after all, and, Ashley Madison’s hold over Ottawa notwithstanding, is probably a proper refuge after the Trumpocalypse. Me, I’d never make it that far—I like to kayak, but I’m not very brawny. What the kayak has given me is an experience of Lake Erie that has sustained me in many situations. I’ll miss the lake on days of satiny stillness, when all I can hear is the plunking of the oar in the water and my own breathing. I’ll miss the view of the shore, craggy with driftwood and wave-strewn stones, and the lush, green banks against which I have learned to acknowledge my smallness. Still, perhaps I luxuriated too much in my smallness. Was it while I was kayaking that the most offensive words could be hurled at our immigrant populations? Was it while I was kayaking that gross misogyny and shouts of “white power” became another acceptable day on the campaign trail?
- Lolling about reading. Not that we’ll stop, of course. Surely without electricity my teenager will eventually pause at the bookshelves she passes each day in the hall and pull out Arundhati Roy. And my eight-year-old will stay rooted in the universe constructed by J. K. Rowling for as long as she can. But eventually we will have to do some actual work. After we’ve battled the panicked hordes of suburban mommies for Wegman’s last loaf of rosemary-olive-oil-bread, we’ll have to start fending for ourselves. An actual connection will at last be made between my careless carnivorousness and the animals that have nourished me for all these years. I will have to sort out planting some produce with my own hands instead of unthinkingly relying on underpaid migrants to do it for me. A lost republic will engender a loss of all its accompanying pleasant illusions. And lobbing arrows at both attacking zombies and my clover-grazing deer will leave me all grubby and hardened and with eyes-that-can’t-unsee-things… and without time to sit on my butt and just read.
- My Cleveland Orchestra subscription. My teenager regularly assaults me with whatever the radio is spewing. As a result, I can recite lyrics that range from a description of one singer’s pride in her hindquarters to another’s gleeful refusal to actually speak to women before ravaging them. Such music cultivates inner zombies. I get that the orchestra members might have better things to do than stick to their performance schedule; they too might wind up all grubby and hardened and with eyes-that-can’t-unsee-things. But Severance Hall is a space steeped in its own magic, awash in Mahler and Mozart… My boyfriend and I willingly drive an hour and a half each way to that sanctuary, earning a moment’s revivification cushioned in crescendos and decrescendos. And so in post-Trumpocalyptic America I might be torn. What place shall I defend? My little house in the cornfield or the Cleveland Orchestra’s string section? Might not our salvation lie in strains of music floating into the long, dark night of our national shame? When political reason has escaped us entirely, perhaps the long trek back from barbarity could begin with Brahms and Bartok. Perhaps just the right symphonic sigh could stop our angry undead in their tracks. Perhaps they might tilt their scab-encrusted ears in the direction of the music and allow us all one last chance.
Dr. Carolyn Baugh holds both a Master’s (2008) and a Doctorate (2011) from the University of Pennsylvania in Arabic and Islamic Studies. She is an Assistant Professor of History at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses in Middle East and world history and also directs the Women’s Studies Program. Her graduate research focused on minor marriage in early Islamic law, while her translation work includes the Sufi treatise of the celebrated 14th century jurist and scholar Ibn Khaldun.
Dr. Baugh co-directs the Erie Voices refugee oral history project geared at collecting the stories of Erie’s diverse refugee community for purposes of increasing tolerance and understanding between cultures. She is faculty advisor for Students United against Human Trafficking and the Muslim Students Association.
She is a failed concert pianist, a psychotic soccer mom to two indomitable girls, and the only one in the house who feeds Oreo the Cat.