I first suspected that I was different than the people around me when I experienced public pre-school at age four. I went into it expecting to meet lots of kids just like me at school, but instead, I felt like I couldn’t really relate to anyone else on my level. My classmates seemed very happy to pick up a crayon and scribble blobs on a piece of paper. They would hold it up and smile proudly when they were done. I couldn’t understand at the time why anyone would even pick up a crayon—or any writing utensil—unless they were going to convey something. Their ability to sit and scoop paste out of the jar with the little stick that was attached to the lid and eat it for a mid-morning snack really puzzled me. I wondered why they didn’t know they shouldn’t be doing that because it might hurt them.
One time I heard my classmate, Jody, crying in the bathroom. I walked over to the open door and asked her what was wrong. Her face and her long braids were all wet. She told me that another child told her to stick her head in the toilet, so she did and she told me it didn’t feel good. I asked her if she had thought it would feel good. She said she didn’t think about things like that. I couldn’t decide if I was more afraid of people like Jody, or the person who told her to stick her head in the toilet. It caused me to sit at my little four year-old sized desk, and seriously wonder if I was the only human on earth with a real human brain and was surrounded by a world of androids. I contemplated this idea often and began to feel very isolated among my peers, who approached life in a way I couldn’t understand. Even though I found my classmates’ behavior to be strange, I didn’t fault them for it, because I eventually realized that I was the outsider in the group. I thought that maybe my understanding of what it meant to be human was messed up and I began wondering if I was the android.
This past political year has caused my deep feelings of alienation to re-surface. Media coverage of my fellow Americans makes me feel like I’m living in a country filled with paste eaters that I can’t relate to and I’ve been feeling very isolated at times. Since the presidential election, I’ve observed plenty of people sticking their heads in political toilets because someone told them to. I spend far too much time these days wondering when those people will finally realize that it doesn’t actually feel good to follow the commands of someone that doesn’t have their best interest in mind. I feel that maybe Mike Flynn is starting to understand that concept. I don’t know if Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, or George Papadopoulos have grasped it. I feel that people like Paul Ryan possibly never will. People who support Roy Moore, or vote next week to elect the accused pedophile to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, most definitely have become the host body to evil aliens desiring to take over America. I believe they are too far gone to comprehend that it is bad to follow misguided leaders—or to be the misguided leader of the free world.
I can’t stop wondering just when it was that the Republican party lost that moral compass that I once respected so long ago. How is it even possible that so many politicians and Republican supporters lost sight of true morality at the same time? Maybe they were never really focused on it and suddenly just quit acting like human decency and working for the greater good mattered.
To keep my mind from spinning so much, the best answer I can come up with for now is that maybe President Trump, his loyal base, and the Republican politicians who eagerly deny basic human rights and human dignity to promote their “moral” agenda are simply like my pre-school classmates. Maybe it’s completely normal to have a cruel bully calling the shots for his own amusement and for him to be followed by a bunch of paste eaters willing to stick their heads in the toilet without thinking about the consequence of doing so. Maybe it’s simply human nature to behave that way. And if that is typical of human nature, then I must be an android—because I just don’t get it.
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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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