Fake Tears: How to Gaslight, 101

timthumb“Gaslighting” has to be the most overused word of 2016, a close second to the decades-long overuse of “unprecedented.” Most recently, it has become the flippant argument du jour of everyone who has an issue debating legitimate arguments with their opponent. Nonetheless, the term (and subsequent concept) has its merits. And now, that concept is no longer a theoretical idea, but front and center in the Oval Office, uttered in person and on Twitter by Donald Trump, himself.

“Daddy!” Felicity (9) wailed at me through tears.

“Stop your fake tears and act your age!” I loudly ordered, not caring what she was crying about, but just wanting peace and quiet.

Felicity’s crying deepened, the corners of her lips becoming more curled as I threw away any sense of dignity she may have thought she possessed at the moment. Turning on her heels, she swiftly bounded up the stairs and disappeared down the 35-foot hallway to her room.

For a brief few seconds, I breathed a sigh of satisfaction. I had rectified the situation and brought peace to my lair. Then, realization hit me that I had crushed my daughter. Climbing the stairs, I began to hear the faint and muffled sobs of a broken little girl. The crying became louder as I headed toward her room. Recognizing my footsteps, Felicity lifted her head from her bed and threw her voice into the hall, “Go away!”

“No. I came to apologize. I’m very sorry for disrespecting you downstairs. I want to know why you’re crying.”

Sitting down on her bed and putting my arm around her, we began a small conversation that had no earth-shattering ramifications, but I was taking advantage of the opportunity to love her. It didn’t matter if I felt that her tears were unwarranted. That was how she was expressing herself at the moment and, if I wanted to teach her a lesson in what I saw as a better way to approach life, I could do it in a calm manner, without the use of humiliation.

Wow. It’s been a while.

I haven’t written since October. It appears that I went off in an angry huffle and puffle, but that isn’t the case. Sure, my last one-liner post seemed angry (and I was, but I don’t remember why). I was anticipating a slam dunk win for Hillary.

I invited people over for election night on November 8th. Two couples. The husband of one couple was a rabid Donald Trump fan, though he claimed that it was out of necessity (one-issue voter and all). His wife was mysterious and shows signs of pragmatism and a good heart. The other couple was a lovely woman whom I was becoming good friends with. She was very worried about things from the moment she walked through my door. Her husband always has eyes that twinkle, seems nearly always happy, and never betrays his feelings, should they be deemed even remotely controversial.

Early on in the evening, I knew it was bad. I ran numbers in my head and called the race by 8PM CST. As did this new friend of mine. She fell very silent and I could see her non-existent soul crushed. She was devastated and retreated to my kitchen to wash all my dishes and scrub it from top to bottom.

My wife wept uncontrollably for an hour. I became a very sensitive person while I watched human being mock those with tears flowing down their cheeks. It fucking hurt me to have my hand wrapped in my bride’s hair, the woman I loved more than the air I breathe, and see people I considered friends, mocking her, cackling, and indirectly calling her names – even if they were on her side, politically.

To too many people, politics is a game. Donald Trump tapped into this idea and abused it, bringing along the electorate that saw this as a sporting contest, rather than a prescription for the future of our country. Sure, many who voted for Trump actually did see his prescription as the way forward, and I don’t fault them, I just disagree mostly. But that’s not why my wife and my new friend were so shaken to the core.

They saw a nation look at them and consent to a man who looked upon them as a pussy to grab. A woman to mock, bleeding out of their wherevers. A vagina in the boardroom to pleasure the real people (the men) under the table – their rightful place in the world of the Orange Jesus. In fact, both of them could have actually agreed with some of his policies and yet rejected him completely, desiring respect and equality, rather than sub-male status.

And now we must live in this world that we created. We must watch as those who rabidly and gutturaly screamed for this man to lead them, laugh at our pain and worry – sometimes even feel terror at what his victory can bring upon us.

So yeah. Those were some of the thoughts rolling around in my head over the last few months. But I’ve been doing a lot more thinking. My own autopsy for those I consider “on my side.” And I have deep disagreements with plenty of good people. And even deeper disagreements with plenty of very bad people. I’ll be sharing those as I write more.

Love you all,

I. C.