The Future of America and “An Absolute Mind”

This is it. We are down to the final days before the release of my second novel, An Absolute Mind. Without a doubt, I am getting excited, as an author should be when they’re about to release a novel; regardless of whether it’s the second novel, or the fiftieth. But since my previous post – let alone in the months leading up to today’s post – there’s obviously some emotional weight going into it now.

I’m releasing my second novel post-Election 2016. I knew how pivotal it was going to be. I just did not expect for the aftermath to be what it is. This was my second time voting in the presidential election, and never had I expected an outcome like this. In fact, out of all the presidential elections that I’ve been alive to see, never have I been in this much dismay over the outcome of one.

Donald Trump won the presidential election. This is a reality that is better off in existence in an alternative timeline, rather than what we have to currently deal with. The idea of him winning this role has been nothing but a joke. In fact, if you listened to the podcast that I appeared on last month, I even joked about how An Absolute Mind will be coming out a week after the election, so long as we don’t enter an apocalypse. Now, it’s really starting to look like that, as I’ve since read numerous posts on social media about Muslim women having their hijabs torn off their heads and other people of color receiving threats, if not being straight up attacked, for who they are… and this is only what we’ve heard on social media.

How did this happen? The man has zero experience in politics and goes around saying things that are equivalent – if not exactly the same – as what Adolf Hitler would shout in his speeches. I knew that there was a gap in terms of political beliefs amongst Americans. As is the case with others, I just did not expect it to be this large, where a vast number of people who voted (as well as the lousy electoral colleges) would have such an impact.

I’m afraid for those who’re sure to be affected to some degree. I fear for my Muslim neighbors, my fellow females, my LGBT friends, and other humans I know who are of color. Living in the Bay Area, one can expect only so much backlash in such a diverse community, but that does not, by any means, make us immune from what has yet to come.

I’m White, and that alone comes with the kind of privilege that can go a long way. At the same time, as someone who is also female and Filipino, how are people’s perceptions of me going to change? Already as a biracial person, it’s annoying enough to constantly be asked “What are you?” How is that going to change under Trump’s reign? It’s times like these where I’m glad I’m not a teacher of young kids, let alone a parent of any, for I honestly have no idea what I’d be able to say to them that’s at all reassuring.

Referring back to the podcast I appeared on last month, if you listened to it, you may have noticed I mentioned how two of my grandparents are immigrants; my maternal grandmother being one of them. She is from Germany where, as a teenager, she unhappily watched her country fall under control by Hitler. While she met the criteria of the ideal German, she never once agreed with anything he stood for. I spoke to her last year about her time during the war, where she would spend nights in bomb shelters, not knowing if anything would be left of her town the following morning. On the last day of the war, her childhood home was destroyed in a bombing. That is why my family very much hates the word “Nazi.” I can’t even imagine what she must be thinking about all this right now.

I remember when and where I was when President Obama was first nominated to office. I was a junior in high school, doing some film work for my school’s fall production of “Rent.” Out of all the kids on the cast and crew, only one of them was old enough to vote at the time (and he did). It was during break from rehearsal in between the two acts when we received the history-making news: Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election. As the first Black/biracial/Hawaii-born candidate to win the job, this was a sight to see for sore eyes. As we crowded around the two television sets we had at hand, I remember one person wondering aloud about how it might be when a woman first wins the presidency.

I, along with many others, was hoping for that day to have been earlier this week; and honestly, if it weren’t for the electoral colleges getting in the way, Hillary Clinton technically should have won. Forgive me for wishful thinking, for I am aware that now is not the time for that, but I hope that something happens in the next two months where it will stop Trump from taking office period, and Clinton will finally shatter the ceiling on women becoming president.

A woman finally winning the presidency is a parallel between real life and my novel that I would have liked to see happen, for as I may have mentioned in past posts, there have been a number of them popping up over the course of working on it. But now, at this point in time, this detail has instead become something that needs to be seen (or, I guess in this case, read) in a story.

A woman in office is one of many details that make up the optimistic future An Absolute Mind is set in. It’s a future where a man who disrespects a woman in any capacity for the sole reason of her gender pays for it with his downgraded reputation. It’s a future where once progress is set in motion, it’s pursued without an afterthought. It’s an optimistic future, but it’s not a perfect future, as the novel will show with time.

My novel’s release makes for fitting timing; not so much in the aftermath of the presidential election, but in the year 2016. Already “Hamilton,” which made it Broadway debut last year, is still just as prevalent and celebrated by the public this year as well, where through its hip hop-infused historical reenactment, the musical touches on a lot of topics that are still talked about now. I also want to note the release of Disney’s “Zootopia” earlier this year, where in a time where race and how it places a role in one’s privilege is much more talked about, the film managed to hit it right on the nose.

While I’ll be going more in depth on the making of An Absolute Mind once it’s released, I will say this: When I first conceived the idea for the book, it was originally much more scientifically-inclined, with the focus more so on how Absolute Memory, the cognitive ability my protagonist has, functions. While there are still some of that there, I’m glad the story has since sprouted wings of social justice, much needed head nods to history, and philosophical insight.

If anything, at this point, I hope people who read An Absolute Mind will look at it as a narrative of hope in this hour of darkness and inspire people to fight inaction with action. That’s why regardless of what happens, because I’m releasing the novel fairly late in the year, I will be promoting it as much as I can in the coming year.

To all those who are already feeling the side effects of what is sure to be a difficult presidency, I’m not going to tell you that everything will be alright. What I will say is that I will stand with you, and I will fight for you. I hope for my words to make a difference in the madness, even if in the smallest of ways.

Pupukahi i holomua. (Unite in order to progress.) -Hawaiian Proverb

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