Handmaid’s Tale (an overdue book report)

November 14, 2016







Dear America, this is your circus and these are your monkeys.

I posted a property listing that a real estate agent friend of mine has for sale.
8.5 million dollars, 167 acres, several livable and legal dwellings, and 8 acre pond. I joked that I wanted it in case the zombies come. I didn’t want to say ‘just in case Trump wins and my vulnerable American  friends need somewhere safe to live’ because I didn’t believe it was possible.

My sin was pride, pride and the ensuing blindness to a world that I had decided didn’t exist.

I can see it now.

It looks like hate and division.

I feel like there are politicians sitting around in Washington trying to figure out how to fix this without burning everything to the ground. Quite possibly the worst time to be a politician, there is real work to be done. All joking aside, I do not envy them.

The Republicans mocking the Democrats for protesting will take up arms and do the same. Only angrier because for the first time in a long time they felt heard and that is a hard thing to lose. I know this, every man who encouraged me to keep going when I’d get excited talking about something instead of telling me to shut up. That isn’t something I am willing to let go of.

There are options. Electoral College swings the other way. Anarchy.

Impeachment. See above.

Obama declares martial law until we can figure out what to do. See above.

Civil war and/or concede.

Let him have his way and see how bad it gets.

None of those seem viable but this is exactly what has happened and these are exactly the options.

QUINTUS: People should know when they’re conquered.

MAXIMUS: Would you Quintus? Would I?


Scholars for years have been trying to understand and articulate how Hitler rose to power. They’ve figured it out, we’ve been amply warned and it’s happening again. All that is needed for a fascist to take power is to leave a vast majority of the population under the poverty line and living in fear of affording their next meal/mortgage payment. Cut them off from the world, blame outsiders for everything. Eventually some charismatic madman will come along and promise change.



I wrote on Saturday how we all need to come together, listen to each other and heal, but there is still fear clutching my heart and it won’t let go. I don’t think it’s enough and I am afraid people are going to die.

The same fear I had when I watched in disbelief as the Republicans put forth Trump as their burnt offering for the Presidential Elect.

The fear that was fed with every debate, every news release, every episode of the Daily Show.

The fear was founded and it’s now all encompassing.

I rewatched an HBO series called Carnivale, set during the Great Depression. Basic plotline of good versus evil. But the charismatic preacher on the side of evil won the popular vote. Had a devout following of the masses. Because they were poor, hungry and scared and he offered them hope. The rhetoric he used made me jump out of my skin. It was a prelude, a warning and no one listened. Here we are.

The series was left open ended because it was cancelled, the writers and producers chose to just leave everything hanging instead of tying it neatly up with a bow. But that’s how life is. Sometimes we don’t get a happy ending.


There are plenty of fictitious works that tell us what happens when evil wins.

I have read the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood several times.

It was mandatory reading in Canadian schools for a long time.

I never handed in the book report that was due in 1991, I am writing it now because I feel like it’s happening.

Written in 1986 it was a story about a dystopian future somewhere/time around now.

The similarities to actual events are eerie and getting worse.

Nuclear accidents and poisoning of water have led to a lot of America being uninhabitable and most citizens sterile.

Paper money had been replaced with debit cards and the government seizes all money held by women.

Books are burned, walls are built. Militarized police force is used to ‘keep everyone safe’.

An attack on the White House has left the country under totalitarian, military rule.

Viable women are rounded up and used as breeders for the elite. Named Handmaiden’s.

Genesis 16:1-2
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

Non-viable women, anyone not white or Christian, anyone opposing the new order are all sent either to their death or to clean up the mess in the middle, so just a more drawn out death while the elite/high ranking military live in a walled community called Gilead.

The story is told in a patchwork. Pieced together from audiotapes uncovered years after the rise and fall of Gilead. The story of a woman who was smuggled out.

She was part of the beginning, she has memories of the life she had before and holds them like treasure.

It is a common theme among post apocalyptic characters. The nostalgia for what was keeping some hope and sanity.

Change is coming. I can see it, feel it and it’s never easy for the first wave.

I had nightmares early on in the election when I heard the things Trump was saying, coupled with the Dakota pipeline fiasco that at some point soon women would have to be smuggled out of the states.

I woke up to that being a reality.

I am scared for America. Especially the women and minorities.

Bill Maher said “This is different, this is real. Once Fascists take power they don’t give it back.”

I think he is right.

I am going to re-read this book again. See if there are any clues as to how to stop it.

I don’t want the world to plunge into darkness before it sees the light.

I don’t want to leave it to our children to clean this up.

I don’t want them to be the ones that have to tear walls down. My generation has already been through this.

I am all for hope and love and light, what scares me is that it’s not enough anymore.

“Gotta kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.” Bruce Cockburn




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