What’s the difference between a conservative and a liberal?

We’ll return to our regularly scheduled books and comics talk shortly. I just had a couple more words to share.

It has been one week. Last Tuesday, I was up until almost four in the morning in a tear-streaked, horror-induced stupor, endlessly refreshing three different news sites in the rapidly fading hope that everything would change like the pundits were saying and we’d all be snatched back from the edge of damnation. As time wore on and that outcome became more and more unlikely, I was angry, and then I was sad. Eventually, luckily, I went numb.

The feelings came back, of course, and the cycle continues. I’m trying so hard to make myself a better person, to remain educated and informed. In the past–say, eighteen months ago, when the campaign nonsense all kicked off–I didn’t want to hear it. I Felt the Bern, with a fiery passion; I didn’t yet fear for my life. In just a few words: I was young, dumb, and full of crumbs. And look at where that got us.

So, I’m trying to be better. In the face of whispers like Secretary of State Newt Gingrich, Secretary of the Interior Sarah Palin, and Secretary of Education Ben Carson, I find my anger rising up. And with it rises a need to learn, to know, and to understand. What led us here? What will happen in January? How can we–can we? stop any of this from happening?

And in the midst of the mounting evidence that this man is unfit to be our president, I have to wonder what the other side–conservatives of all stripes, and the people who gleefully elected Donald Trump as the forty-fifth president of the United States–would be doing right now if we hadn’t been the ones to lose. They rallied around a man who said he would take up arms if Clinton won. They have “warned” mainstream media to keep in line and outright attacked journalists, indicating that “freedom of the press” under the Trump regime will mean little more than “freedom to praise the president with unquestioning obedience.” Their leader has discussed nothing but what he will destroy, with little consideration seemingly given to what he hopes to build. They have already insulted–if not threatened–the Americans who have risen up in protest of their unacceptable politics. They have belittled, bullied, and bludgeoned those who stood against them throughout the 2016 campaign.

And even in the aftermath of a stunning, seemingly improbable (but never, ever impossible) win, they have attacked their fellow Americans. To prove that they can? That they should? That they will do it again, and worse? I was naive when Obama was elected four and eight years ago. What did they do then?

If Clinton had won, her supporters would be standing up for the right of a man to say that he would “pick up a musket” when the candidate he didn’t like won the electoral votes to be president-elect. Her supporters would have celebrated the shattering of quite possibly the highest of glass ceilings, in yet another historically male profession. It would have been an incredible victory–and then we would have gone to work.

We would have fought to defend progress like a woman’s right to choose and the legal acceptance of gay marriage. We would have fought to fix healthcare, so everyone, at last, had affordable access to the doctors and medications they need. Nothing would have been perfect when she entered office and nothing would have been perfect when she left. But we would have fought on. There would have been hope. We would have made sure every American was able to say what they wanted, to believe what they wanted, to fight for what they  wanted. We would have held firm in our beliefs that everyone has the right to protest, to speak out, even if we do not agree. Progress could have marched on, opening doors to those who once thought they were doomed to be locked away forever. We would have paved the way for others, for women and for people of all races or backgrounds, to follow in Hillary Clinton’s footsteps.

The news items cropping up in the aftermath of the Trump victory should frighten you, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum or what you believe in. Because the difference between conservatives and liberals is that no matter how annoying they may find the progressive policies, the former never has to worry when the latter is in power, but the same cannot by said of the opposite setup.

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