It’s Election Day 2016 in the United States of America and I’m sitting in a stuffy room in the Republic of Ireland. It might be worth remembering at this point that Ireland is a Republic in large part to the financial support of a prosperous Irish-American community who, after fleeing starvation; deprivation and stifling religious and social constraints, became the American Dream (albeit faced with the anti-Catholic – and anti-anything-but-WASP – prejudice which still pervades the great American experiment today). We have followed in the rebellious footsteps of the American Revolution against the Empire, as well as in Netflix and chill binges, but I sure as hell hope we don’t follow them in Trump’s “movement”.
I’m listening to a guy deliver a training programme on how to start your own business. There are six of us today – attendance fluctuates each week. There are fifteen of us on the list. One guy makes silicone models of vehicles to be played with in conjunction with a post-apocalyptic table top game for which he also sells his game plans; stack cards and creates some sort of online platform. It all sounds impressively millennial to my borderline Gen X gaming experience of which the sum total is Pacman on my uncle’s boxy old wooden TV in the 80s and a couple of rounds of Sonic the Hedgehog which I quickly abandoned for The Cranberries and a book of poetry. A fellow educator in her 40s just asked GameBoy if the post-apocalyptic vehicular gaming experience is a new trend or a gaming breakthrough that will continue to grow in popularity.
“It will if Hillary Clinton gets elected…”, chimed in an unnervingly cerebral, quietly argumentative man.
I didn’t look up but my eyes did close slowly and somewhat dramatically as a small sigh betrayed my desire to punch him in his bespectacled face.
This is the second time in three weeks, in this very room, that we’ve had an anti-Clinton comment. During a workshop on taxation in late October, the US Election, inevitably, came up. (I wonder does America realise that we are all watching? and I mean ALL as in every other nation on the planet just can’t get our collective global head around the fact that you, the nation that gave us Jed Bartlet, Matt Santos and Leslie Knope could possibly consider Donald Jackass (that’s what the J is for, right?) Trump for its highest office.) A woman taking part mentioned Trump’s taxes, another woman said she hoped Clinton would win.
TaxMan: “She”s a witch! She belongs in jail. I can’t stand her. She’s evil.”
Oh, I didn’t realise I’d been transported back to Salem in 1692.
Firstly, how very fucking professional of you. Secondly, you’re delivering a tax course telling us business start-up hopefuls to pay our taxes while effectively declaring your support for a man who should never ever be considered a business role model, or even an example of, you know, a human. At the time of that particular instance of what I can only assume is ill-informed, deep rooted fuckery, I hadn’t yet mastered the keep-your-head-down trick of saving my energy from being sucked into the guts of misogynists and narrow minded, privileged shite hawks. He mentioned that he protested against water charges. Yes, I made up my mind about him right then. How’s that for prejudice?
We are attempting to stay up tonight to follow the results on CNN while fuelled by hot dogs, mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies.
I have a million words in my head and my heart about this Election but right now I want to go and watch Hillary Clinton become Madam President Elect with my sixteen year old daughter who might have baked cookies tonight but now she will know that she too can “fulfil her profession” safe in the knowledge that that damn glass ceiling splintered the scalps of misogyny on the night of November 8th 2016.
More to be done? Hell yeah. But this is a really big fucking deal.