As a teen and a young woman I wondered why my mother didn't love me. Now and then, my mother and I would have an especially painful (for me) exchange. Seeking comfort (or something) from a relative or friend of the family, I'd hear "She loves you. She just doesn't know how to show it." This never comforted me. Not once.
And I didn't believe it. Any more than I believed "You can be anything you want to be" or "Good things come to those who wait" or "Everything happens for a reason." How could I believe? Real life experience was telling me that she did not love me. The people I consulted didn't want to believe that such a thing could happen, that a mother could not love her child.
In the early days of Donald Trump's candidacy for President of the United States, he made outrageous statements. He lied. He was rude. He was mean. He was stupid. People said "He won't last. He'll be gone before the first primary election." They didn't want to believe that such blatant bigotry and incompetence would appeal to the "good people of this country" (the assumption being that "people are basically good." Add that one to the list of platitudes in the previous paragraph.)
As time went on, real life experience delivered a different message. Blatant bigotry and incompetence appealed to a great many people.
"Well, he'll never be nominated," they said as Trump's march through the primary season began.
"Well, he'll never be elected," "they" are saying now. People from a variety of political persuasions don't want to believe that a man of such blatant bigotry and incompetence could be elected and hold the highest office in the "greatest nation on earth."
A few months ago a big brown envelope was delivered to me via USPS. It contained the Amended Final Settlement of my deceased mother's estate. She died on Valentine's Day 2012. My name does not appear anywhere in the document, only on the address label affixed to the envelope. As far as my mother was concerned, as indicated in her Final Will and Testament, I did not exist. The document acknowledges the existence of my son but not me.
She did not know how to show her love for me (if she had any) but she did know how to show an enduring disregard. As the recipient of this disregard, I must say it feels a lot like not being loved.
And I've survived it. For the last 30 years of her life, my mother refused to speak to me, to answer or return phone calls or acknowledge cards and letters. It hurt -- hurts still on certain days -- and I survived it.
There is a strong possibility that some day in the not-too-distant future, Barack and Michelle Obama will give Donald and Melania Trump a tour of the White House. The Obamas will not be happy about it but they will survive it.
I don't want to see Donald Trump elected. I hope he isn't. If he is, the consensus in the entirety of my sensorium is that I will survive it.