Conversations with white men

Whenever I was home over the past week, I’ve been watching South Park DVDs. It has been keeping me sane.

I also spent a while on Facebook yesterday, trying rather impotently to console a friend of mine in Colorado. He’s angry, and frustrated, and scared all at the same time. He probably looks on the outside like an average Trump supporter, but he has a lot of friends who are gay, a lot of friends who are ethnic and religious minorities, and a son approaching military age. All of these things are playing on his mind right now.

When I went to work, one of my colleagues (a young, blond, blue-eyed Czech) was confused more than angry. “What were they thinking? The last time a Western country voted in someone who talked like that, it didn’t work out so well.” And we both know that he’s talking about Germany in the 1930s, because he’s from central Europe and that history is alive and real to him. Plus we have talked at length before about the similarities: vitriol against ethnic and religious minorities; nostalgically hearkening back to a “great” time in the nation’s history that never really existed; harnessing the frustrations of people who don’t like how their world has changed; inventing “crimes” committed by his enemies; the implication that the people of this nation (or rather, some of them) are special and superior to the rest of the world…

Later in the afternoon, one of the young waitresses at our event (not white) asked me what I thought of the election result. The Head Chef interjected. “He’s a fucking idiot. But we’re on an island, so don’t worry – it’ll take a while for the nuclear fallout to drift this far.” I added that we could dig a bunker in my yard and she could come and live in my bunker if she wanted.

I had been feeling heartsick (and powerless) all day about my friend in Colorado, and all of his friends, and all those like him. When I got home, I sent him the link to the Skilled Migrant list for New Zealand immigration. I suggested he share it around, as pretty much every job in his industry is on that list (including his own). I said I’d be happy to help out and sponsor anyone who wants to come live here for a while. It’s not a bunker, and it’s not a suggestion that people should give up on America – just an acknowledgement that some people may feel safer if they move away for a while. And hopefully things will all be okay… but they might also get very bad in the short term.

None of us really know what the future might hold.


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