A brutal truth I reckon with fairly often is the fact that if I wanted a simpler life, I would have married someone else. I am certain I could have found a nice accountant or an office manager, someone who came home at 5:00 PM every evening, and gladly left work on his or her desk.
For those of you who aren’t legally bound to a political journalist, newsflash: it mostly sucks even when reasonable people are in office. The perks, although they make for good internet humble-bragging, are actually few and far between. The schedule is savage. If you have procreated, you better be steeled for a life of frequent single parenting. You better get used to phones ringing in the middle of the night. You better be okay with your day being dictated by a stranger’s calendar. It’s pretty hard to complain when parent-teacher conferences are rescheduled 5 times because of something that happened with the Chancellor of Germany. You better treasure personal independence. You better be okay with being married to a ghost every four years.
For every POTUS party photo op, there is a canceled family vacation. For every trip through Europe with the Secretary of State, there is a spouse at home who passes on their own promotion because of career conflicts. For every Emmy award, there is a 3-week stint of parenting via FaceTime and missed birthdays and anniversaries. For every personal interaction with the leader of the free world, there is a personal interaction with your wife over bills that go unpaid or cars that break down and can’t be replaced because the paycheck that comes with journalism is not a huge one, in case you were unaware.
There are things that make this type of little life easier. Having a genuinely wonderful spouse who prioritizes his family as much as he can is a giant one. Having him work alongside an administration with a basic appreciation for human rights, and an inkling of leadership/public office experience also makes life much more tolerable.
Being in love, however complicated love may be.
My husband is fiercely independent in his politics; neutral to a fault. He is the best of your much-maligned media. He is unbiased and amazing and frustrating to a non-neutral woman like myself. The Bush years were dumb as hell, but I was young and I could shake it off. The past 8 years have been hard, but not impossible. The past seven days have been wretched, as J. covered the Trump ticket in NYC. I’ll spare you the details of what a logistical train wreck his responsibilities were, even before this weird, dystopian outcome.
I’m terrified for the country, to be sure. And selfishly, I’m terrified for myself.
Please, take this as fact: every third party vote, very abstention, every “don’t blame me because I wrote in this guy,” every vote down the conservative line for a Republican party that essentially no longer exists? It was a personal affront. You unleashed terror into this nation, and are also complicit in making my personal life an intolerable horror show for the next four years. Every seemingly minor decision made by anyone of legal voting age in this country that swung the pendulum in this asshole’s favor is a direct shot fired at my family, and I tend to nurture grudges like a champ. #dontblameme? Oh, but I do.
I’m going to try and be better about the grudge thing, just not today. Today, for one day, don’t tell me we need to “start to bridge partisan differences.” For one damn day, I don’t have to be nice. I don’t need to be nice to you, and I don’t need to be nice about this, and I don’t need to calm down, and I don’t need to “promise to work together."
I have instructed my children to be extra kind to their friends today because they are children and they need to be taught that love is still more important than hate. I, however, am an adult. I will be kind to my friends today, but the rest of you can step aside. I’ve earned 24 hours of meanness, and I’m gonna take my icy, grieving little heart and try my hardest not to drown in it.