Fossil

5. He is out of touch with reality

In 1938, off the coast of South Africa, something bizarre turned up in the net of a local fishing trawler. With its unusually large eyes, beautiful blue scales, eight fins, and second, smaller tail, it looked like nothing anyone had seen before. The curator of a local museum took possession of the fish and consulted some reference works. What she found seemed unbelievable, so she sent a sketch of it to an ichthyologist. Soon the word spread like wildfire: a species thought extinct for tens of millions of years turned out to be roaming the oceans of the 20th century. Thus went the discovery of Latimeria chalumnae, otherwise known as the coelacanth, previously known only from its fossil record and sharing more key characteristics with ancient fish than it does with modern ones. Extant but endangered, it is a handsome creature, swimming placidly through the coastal waters of the Indian Ocean, a danger to no one but the smaller fish it eats. Of course, there are other living fossils in the world. Some aren’t nearly so harmless as the coelacanth, and neither are they as elusive.

COELACANTH
CC-licensed image by smerikal

Throughout the 20th century and for some years after, American society evolved enormously, transforming from a primitive state wherein institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophobia were omnipresent to a condition of theoretical near-equality under the law. As legislative and court victories incrementally formed the basis for a more level playing field, American culture changed. One of the most significant developments was the rise of women in the workforce. At last check, women comprised a majority of jobholders in the U.S. That may be an obscure statistic, but it is no secret that the majority of women work outside the home; that has been the case for many years. June Cleaver has been a rarity for decades. Perhaps a few people who have been living under a rock are unaware of this, but who would have imagined a president would be that oblivious?

For some while, DT has been been targeting what he calls “suburban housewives” in his tweets and at his rallies, counting on a demographic that has been shrinking for well over half a century to push his vote counts over the threshold. “Suburban housewives, please like me!” he implored. “I’m getting your husbands back to work!” If his ultra-privileged existence didn’t preclude his having even heard of them, he probably would have gotten around to invoking Jello salads and station wagons with faux-wood side panels. In any event, his words were wrong on so many levels that it boggles the mind. First, relatively few women (suburban or otherwise) are “housewives.” Second, a good number of those who might be described as that disdain the term. Third, many women are single, divorced, or widowed—i.e., they aren’t wives and they don’t have husbands. Fourth, some of the women who are wives don’t happen to be married to husbands. Last but not least, he isn’t getting anyone back to work in the first place: his abysmal lack of leadership during the pandemic has taken what was a crisis of unemployment and insufficient government aid and turned it into a steadily worsening catastrophe with no end in sight.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that he’s out of touch with suburban women. After all, he’s clueless on so many other topics. This is someone who has no qualms about mocking people with disabilities, who mistakenly believes his administration has “done more for the Black community than any president since Lincoln,” who muses aloud about coronavirus patients injecting disinfectant. If there’s any justice in the world, all of the people he has taunted and taken for granted and outright harmed will rise up and vote him out of office. Instead of the White House, he belongs in a museum somewhere, along with the other fossils.

Don’t touch that mailbox!

Anyone who has not yet voted should not mail their ballot. Given the state of the Postal Service (now headed by one of DT’s major donors), there is an excellent chance that ballots mailed today will not arrive by Election Day. This is of particular importance in states that will not (due to Republican efforts at voter suppression) count ballots after Election Day, but it really goes for all states at this point. If you have a ballot at home, put it in a secure official drop box or deliver it in person to your local board of elections.

If you don’t have a ballot, please plan on going to your polling place on Tuesday. Dress appropriately for the weather, take snacks and water and extra masks; you may be in line for a long time.