Warning: Everything you read here will sound alarmist and melodramatic. I apologize for that. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t justified.
For the last few years, I have wondered how our country has turned into what it is today. How did we become so completely divided, but more than that, how did we turn the clock back so extensively? How have we gotten to the point where The Handmaid’s Tale could even look remotely possible as a real-life future? Don’t get me wrong. Even while watching The Handmaid’s Tale and seeing elements of it in our own existence, I still assumed such a thing could never come to pass in reality. And I still believe that…but not quite as strongly as I once did.
It’s been easy to just see the obvious reasons for our divisions. Those on the right blame it on Obama or Pelosi or Biden or AOC and the progressive members of Congress, etc., and those on the left blame the division on Trump or McConnell or McCarthy or MTG and the radical right members of Congress. Easy answers, easy blame, right? And of course, there’s all the conspiracy theories and the accusations of what’s going on behind the scenes. The right sees the boogie man in the “Deep State” and the left sees the boogie man in.. what exactly, I’m not sure, maybe the Federalist Society?
But I’m a “show me the proof kind of gal.” I don’t subscribe to rumors. They might be interesting, sure, and might even be somewhat based on facts, but I still want to know more.
I’m sure there are lots of facts out there that I’ve never seen. Facts that some on the right know about that I don’t. Facts that some on the left know about that I don’t. Some may have huge impacts, some may not.
Why do I say all this? I’ll end the long preface here and get right to it.
I just watched Shiny Happy People – Duggar Family Secrets and my eyes are more open now. (One might even say more “woke”, haha. Don’t get me started on that).
I’ll begin by saying I never saw a single episode of the reality TV series about the Duggar family. I’d heard of it, but I’m not big on those kinds of reality shows, so I never watched. I also heard about the arrest of Josh Duggar a few years ago, and it just washed through my brain’s collection of news-feed of the moment, and I didn’t think much more about it.
So I watched Shiny Happy People without any real pre-conceived ideas about this particular family. Sure, I came to it with some general feelings about the overarching topic in general – a Fundamentalist Christian family with 19 kids. No doubt, just those 7 words is enough to trigger a certain bias in me. Still, I didn’t know much about that particular family, so I was watching this family with fresh eyes.
I’m feeling a mixture of shock, disbelief, horror, and fear.
Of course, like most people who have seen this show, those emotions are partially because I feel so bad for all the people who’ve been through that experience. And I’ll return to this a little farther down.
But the other reason I feel those emotions is because I now realize I have missed a huge uprising of horror that has been building over the years and spreading like a cancer across our country. I know, that sounds so melodramatic. I get it. But the parallels with The Handmaid’s Tale are there. And now it all makes sense.
Now the Huckabees and the Gaetzes and the Boeberts and all the rest finally make sense. I’d never heard of the IBLP or Bill Gothard. I didn’t know this was so widespread. I didn’t know how horrifying it all is.
In some ways, I feel like we’ve already been so consumed and overtaken by this that maybe there’s no way out. Of course, I can’t accept that. It’s all too new to me to say what I’ll do or how I’ll work to change things. But I certainly won’t sit still and take it, I can promise that.
And now, let’s go back to the people who’ve grown up in this. My heart breaks for all the children, many who are now adults. I may even know many of them, without knowing that I know many of them. Maybe half of the people who I know in real life grew up this way. That wouldn’t really surprise me. And there’s a good chance that most of them think it’s wonderful that they did. But if any of you that I know need someone on “the outside” to be there for you, I’m here. I don’t have answers to save you. I’m no one’s savior. But I’m a person who will do her best to just listen and be there and give you whatever emotional safety nets I might have to help you.
Whenever I sign my first novel, I always include this… “Control your destiny!” I include it because the main character has grown up being lied to about her entire existence and must eventually take control over her own life. This cult portrayed in the show and others like it that have spread across the United States over the last few decades where “authority” and “control” are their prime directivess is appalling.
It’s time to regain control of our own destinies. I hope we aren’t too late.
P.S. I’m holding my breath waiting for the attacks on me to begin.