The Factually Void

Thanksgiving was great. It was my first time home in eight years to experience it. There was no family fighting, no bitterness or resentment – just great company and wonderful food. I couldn’t come up with a complaint if you held a gun to my head, and I’m grateful. I should have known then that the next day would be terrible. DUN! DUN! DUN!

I find high highs are always accompanied by low lows.

My husband and I just returned the the States in October, after living in Taiwan for the last eight years, hence the reason I had always missed Thanksgiving. We are naturally looking to make some friends to fill the void of the wonderful people we knew overseas. Friends don’t grow on trees, and relationships take time to cultivate, but we were excited, and a little apprehensive when we had gotten invited to a ‘friendsgiving’… with some Trump voters – a couple – the female of which I had been an acquaintance of since college.

We had seen them out at a mutual friend’s wedding party shortly after the election, and they made us feel like heading over to their house would be fine. “We have all kinds of liberal friends – you’ll like them,” and, “We’re not racist. Seriously – we just want smaller government. Come over!”…they said…

I like to keep an open mind. I like to re-examine things I think I know; my morals, my views. I like peace and getting along with others.

“Ok, I’ll bring Cards Against Humanity.” And there it was. We were kinda stoked to have a possible social life again.

The day after Thanksgiving, I baked some pumpkin squares, picked up a bottle of alcohol, and packed the game. We headed over. Things were awkward in the way they always are around ten strangers and two friends, but fine. Then dinner was served.

Everyone was told to do a tequila shot before we started eating. Ok, that’s kinda fun. Yay, maybe this party won’t delve into a hate spewing shit show! I thought to myself.

We eat. At the table, the guys at both ends start talking about their hunting days, and the best way to tie up an elk and slit its throat. I’m eating Turkey at the moment, so I can’t get upset about this, but must they talk about this right now? This conversation will be over soon, surely. They talked about slaughtering this poor elk for twenty minutes, complete with commentary on the spiritual journey of digging through the elk’s anatomy.

“Who wants another shot of tequila?”

“I DO!”

Dinner is over. The tequila is doing its job as a social lubricant. People are laughing and having a good time. One girl offers to smoke everyone up outside on the patio. (I live in Colorado where this is legal.) We smoke. She studies physics, is Israeli, and travels all over. Her boyfriend, who is black, (this is relevant to the story), travels as well. I’ll call them ‘Becky’ and ‘Jack’. They’re horrified with the election. So are the two others in the circle. We connect. These people are great. I could really be friends with them.

“Shots?!”

Not for me. I’m good now. Not a big drinker. The closest person I know at this thing leaves first. It’s a bum out, but there are some great people here that I’ve just bonded with, so it’s fine…right?

“Bye!”

My husband is trying to job network with a lead he was told to pursue by the guy he’s talking to’s wife. I better let them chat, and I head to the bathroom. My husband is gone when I come back, so I head outside.

And so, the downward spiral begins.

Back on the patio are five people. From here on out I will refer to the hosts as ‘the Trump voter male’, and ‘the Trump voter female’. The Trump voter male is desperately trying to explain that he’s not a bad person to the Israeli chick and her boyfriend. The couple is explaining that since the election, they’ve had people yell at them on the street for being a mixed-race couple. They’re afraid of where the country is going.*Jack tells me it would be a good idea to purchase a gun, because I will need it for what’s coming. They want to know if he is going to stand and march with them in the streets when it comes to that. The Trump voter male is stumbling over his response.

Next to them, a separate conversation is going on between a die-hard Bernie Sanders supporter, ‘Lindsay’, and Oh! – my husband. She’s lamenting about how sad the election is, and he’s trying to comfort her.
I am sandwiched between these two conversations. I nod in agreement with Becky and Jack who are trying to get a response about marching before going heading back inside out of discomfort.

Lindsay’s husband ‘Rick’ is inside getting blackout drunk because, (I found this out later), the ‘Trump voter host’ was making jokes about misogyny and the election. It really pissed Rick off.  Enough for him to drink an ENTIRE BOTTLE OF TEQUILA. He starts taking off his clothes.

People come back inside. Four others leave. We attempt to play Cards Against Humanity. People are too lit to play properly. Rick takes off more clothes. He and the Trump voter female host start hugging and flirting and telling each other how much they love each other. It’s awkward because his wife is watching. The whole room is watching. Trump voter female’s fiance doesn’t seem to care. People must see my face, because they tell me, “Don’t worry, they do this all the time.” Lindsay is yelling at Rick that it’s time to go. She’s called a cab. The taxi is waiting, but Rick is without clothes. It’s 28 degrees out. They grab a random black coat, put it on him, and get him out the door. It’s midnight.

I am offered a marijuana gummy. I figure things will be fine now, and we can just relax and play the game. My husband has stayed sober so he can drive us home. He’s awesome like that. I take the gummy.

I shouldn’t have taken the gummy. 

There are six people left. Becky suddenly gets sick and has to go to puke in the bathroom. She’s also emotionally overwhelmed from the election conversations. Her boyfriend is fine. The Trump host female starts throwing back shots of tequila because she figures her host job is done. Her partner joins her.

Somehow the topic of taxes comes up. I make a joke about not wanting to pay taxes with them being so high. Trump voter female shouts, “Well I don’t want to pay taxes for you.” I calmly replied that I didn’t expect anyone to pay taxes for me, but I’d like some of my tax dollars to pay for health care and other things we need like roads, since it’s our money. I asked why over half of our tax dollars have to go to killing innocent people in the Middle East. She shouts, “Because defense is important! And I’m not paying anything for other people.”

Fuck these people.

The Trump voter male asks me if I’d like to go outside while he smokes a cigarette. I agree. He’s given me a gummy. It’s polite. Outside he tries to convince me for the twentieth time that he and his partner are great people. He tells me that he loves to study political philosophy, and brags that he even has a copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ in his basement.

I am unusually quiet and extremely uncomfortable.

He asks me if I’ve ever read Ayn Rand. I tell him, “yes, and I find her to be selfish.” He responds, “I believe in conservatism and individualism. Ayn Rand is great. You seem worried about what is going to happen to the country. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. We lived through eight years of Obama, and now you will live through Trump and everything will be fine.”

Fuck these people.

I tell him that I’m more concerned with the cabinet that he’s picked. Especially the alt right guys, and the climate change denier he’s picked for the E.P.A.. His response is to ask, “So you care about the environment?” I say I’m cold and would like to go back inside.

Let’s not talk about politics. 

My husband has been trying to have a reasonable political conversation with the Trump host female back inside. She keeps talking over him, and shouting, “No!” at anything she doesn’t want to hear.

Becky and Jack’s cab has arrived and they prepare to go. We decide to stay a tiny bit longer out of courtesy. They’ve asked us to stay.

We sit at the kitchen table to play a game. Trump voter female makes a comment about how great oil is, and how she has an engineering degree and knows that fracking is great. She also says how great it is that we can have civil political conversations. I point out that fracking is bad, and that being able to light your tap water on fire isn’t great. She says, “That’s a lie. That’s not really happening. It’s just from that stupid movie.” I assume she’s taking about Gasland, or FrackNation, both of which contain many facts that you can see with YOUR OWN EYES.

It’s at that point that I calmly ask how she justifies the earthquakes in Oklahoma…a place that never has earthquakes until recently… She replies that there’s obviously a fault line. I try talking about all the fresh water that gets contaminated from fracking and she SHOUTS OVER ME.
Fuck these people. 
I get up. The environment is my trigger. My husband tries to have a rational discussion with her while I go to the kitchen. Trump voter male follows me. He tries to convince me that global warming doesn’t exist. I ask him what sources he would trust that I could show him. He can’t give me a source. I ask him, “How about NASA, would you trust NASA?” He says, “No, I don’t trust anything government funded.”

THESE PEOPLE ARE COLLEGE EDUCATED ENGINEERS.

“Ok, give me a source you’d trust.” He can’t. He starts asking me questions about my sex life with my husband…

Meanwhile, my husband is listening to the Trump voter female spout bullshit. I am trapped in the kitchen, and make an excuse that I have to go to the bathroom.

It’s 2 am. I tell my husband that I think it’s time to go. He agrees and goes to find his coat. THE DRUNK GUY WHO TOOK OFF HIS CLOTHES ACCIDENTALLY TOOK HIS COAT. OUR CAR KEYS WERE IN THE POCKET. 

WE WERE STUCK THERE.

We tried calling the drunk couple. No answer – not surprised. We live 40 minutes away. We don’t have a ton of money right now, as we’ve just moved back and are waiting for my husband’s green card.

They now insist that my husband start drinking, since we’re going to have to sleep there. They don’t know where the coat thief lives, and we won’t know until the morning.

Trump male voter keeps talking about how much he likes my husband. My husband has somehow tricked them into thinking that he’s conservative because he said he believes in smaller government. (So do I, but they don’t care.) Male Trump voter uses the rest of the time to say things like, “We swallowed eight years of Obama, and now you’re going to have to deal with Trump, and it makes me feel really happy.” It’s 4 am. I go to bed without saying a thing.

I bit my tongue most of the night. I am not that kind of person. I regret doing so. I regret not just taking a fucking taxi home.

At 10:30 the next morning, our keys arrived and Rick apologized profusely. It was a simple mistake.

My husband and I felt violated for several days. We fell into a bit of a depression at the realization that these people exist. They may not all be racist, but half the country will not listen to reason, no matter how many facts you throw at them. Many are even ‘educated’ and they don’t give a fuck about anyone but themselves.

Fuck these people.

I spent the better part of a week being angry and feeling victimized until I was motivated enough to get active. I signed up for Sierra Club meetings. I donated to causes I believe in. I will continue to write these posts. You know what I’m not going to do?  Continue to get mind-fucked. I will no longer be polite like I was that night. These people are literally hurting the environment, and decent people. They are complicit in the violence against women and minorities, and the loss of morality. I’ll be marching in the streets, but until then, I’ll be trying to avoid it getting to that by shouting as loud as I can about the things that matter NOW, before it’s too late.

This is America. No amount of avoidance or politeness will make this go away.

***Fun Fact! We found out later from a mutual friend that they were trying to ‘swing’ with us…GROSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

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