I Flip-Flop, and So Should You

Let me get this straight: I never liked Hillary Clinton in the first place.

When, back in 2008, I gave all I had to help elect President Obama — okay, no more than a bunch of empty words, and worse, in my native Portuguese that nobody reads — I mentioned something like “crocodile tears,” concerning her theatrical reaction to women’s pain, or to a particular woman’s pain: her own.

Today, when I see her flip-flopping to fulfill some empty expectations of her attentive audience, I have nothing to add. Although I might have, if I chose to believe what the opposite press consistently says about her.

You might ask, what the heck is the “opposite press”?

Back in 2008, I have to confess, I hated Fox News with all my might, just as it’s hated today by the so-called “leftists.” I mean, the “opposite” media. Back then, I did not hesitate to bravely face my Republican husband, since everything seemed to make perfect sense: It was me against him and in favor of half of the world.

We won: me and that world half. There was no doubt in my mind that I was right, and my husband was wrong. Which, as you know, is a steady basis to keep any marriage going: the wife being right and the husband wrong. This exalts our “women’s rights” and puts things in their correct place, granting the man in the house his famous last words: “Yes, darling.”

So life moved on. We’re now living in the United States, where, in this electoral season, I feel more and more out of place.

I feel displaced in the first place, well, because I am. More importantly, I feel terribly displaced, because, since setting my feet in this wonderful country, I have started to see things differently, transforming myself into a stranger in my own eyes.

Therefore, I don’t “vote” for liberals anymore. I don’t hate Fox News anymore. I don’t loathe my Republican husband anymore, neither do I challenge him, when politics is the topic at hand. And this is not only because right now, more than ever, my survival depends on his.

“I worry about you,” I said, after his nth bout of coughing.

“No, you don’t. You worry about yourself. What would you do if I was suddenly gone?”

He’s right. Sort of.

My dependency on him has grown exponentially, not only because I’m now a foreigner in my own home, but because more and more, I can’t see myself in this world without him. I’m getting too old to pursue a new love, oh, well. On the positive side, some would call this “true love.”

Maybe I should buy a new car, one I could drive more easily than that old Mercedes we bought a year ago, I told myself last night, with all the depressed pessimism a sleepless night can bring. At any rate, this would not help the fact that I would need to pump gas on my own, something that mostly happens in the United States, if you did not know.

I could lump all these things together in the same pot with my latest financial insecurities, but none of them would explain why I have changed my mind about politics so completely, now that I’m living on American soil.

And then there is Donald Trump.

I started to pay attention to the man because my husband happened to like him at some point. And no, my husband is not part of the #middleagedwhitemalematters crew with their hateful rumblings, mainly because he’s not middle-aged anymore. He is just plain old. I could say, “old and wise,” exactly the type that convinces you, in the wink of an eye, that he’s “always right,” and that would do him some justice. So it was curious to see that, when “his” presidential candidate was viciously attacked by his “own party,” he started to… flip-flop. Oh my.

Between you and me, if we were to flip now, who would we flop to? Ted Cruz?

Cruz credo,” I would say, in my native Portuguese that nobody reads. Which would translate into “God forbid” or “knock on wood.” Speaking of which, politics is not some “gift of God” matter, no matter what all these humanly flawed candidates dare to say.

As I said before, I supported Obama with everything I had, and this got “us” into a situation where “our” President looks very good, very presidential indeed, but the world out there is far more dangerous than it was when he took office, not to mention “all that mess.” Just observing. What else can I do?

I can pay more attention this time — go less for the guts and more for the brains, or is it the exact opposite? That is, if reason counts, which apparently it doesn’t. Go more for the land and less for the dream, if I dare to dream at all, now that my short-spanned future is here in the U.S. At least while I have a spouse, with whom I don’t want to fight.

But what if the “opposite” press is right? What if the Mussoliniac and Hitlerian theories are right? I could never forgive myself.

Come on. I still read The New York Times. But if I was a reasonable person, I would be disputing this habit right now, after their vitriolic editorial against Donald Trump. I was awake into the night when I read the first comments, first coming from Trump’s supporters, or at least from people who don’t see him under such a diabolic light. And then the Trump haters jumped in, and on The New York Times website, they are in exceeding numbers.

People in this country now read what feeds their made-up minds, just like anywhere else in the world. Except here no side prevails, at least in the mainstream media. So I’m restraining myself and choosing to act as an outsider, a mere observer. As much as I can. As far as I can, since at some point, I’ll be forced to position myself, which, I confess, I’m still not ready to do.

It does not stop me from asking myself, why now, that I finally succeeded in settling here, in this dreamlike first-world nation… that appears to be going downwards like every other nation in this world. We never cease to witness the ever-growing human stupidity, now far more encouraged as we all have unlimited access to spread our own misinformed opinions about everything that matters most. To our own selves.

Long gone are the times when we could turn ourselves to The Times or the likes of it for some kind of highly informed, intellectual insight. The poison has spread, my friends, and the poisoned ones are us.

On the personal side, if Trump is elected and the world goes to hell in a handbasket, as predicted by the leftist harpies; or, worse still, if Hillary gets elected and the world goes to hell in a handbasket, as predicted by the rightist harpies… lucky me, I can always go back “home.” Where, to my utmost pleasure and simultaneous pain, ex-president Lula, a world-famous “hero of the left, father of the poor” is about to be indicted for his corruption crimes. Which, by the way, is not an unexpected outcome for leftist and populist policies. This time, the result is a broken country, devoid of all possible hope in the short run. So who is the devil now, and where does he abide?

Time will tell. If, of course, we manage to survive our self-made hell.

Oh, well. My insomniac self-advice might have been right: I should have skipped my chronicle today. Or maybe, out of my hopeless desperation, I may have made a few good points, hopefully worthy of some consideration, after all. The least we can do is say what’s truly on our minds, day after day, before it gets corrupted by other people’s panic. Right?

On an end note: When reality is in such a state of constant shaking and change, flip-flopping feels like the right way to go, much like the ever-movable truth. At least until the final vote, which lies months ahead.

Meanwhile, I’ll flip-flop. And so should you.

It could do us some good to be reminded that, despite the fact that Trump might have struck a nerve, Mussolini and Hitler thrived in countries that were ravaged by poverty, hunger and humiliation, which is not remotely the case in the United States. Moreover, as far as the story goes, the Holocaust nightmare might very well have been based upon the fact that Hitler had very small hands.

About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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