I didn’t expect or want this post to be how I return to blogging, but here we are.
Yesterday, I took a “mental health day” because I knew if I stayed home, I’d just spend the entire day watching the election results. I wasn’t worried about the outcome, I said, but about the potential backlash against it. I was scared of Trump and his followers not accepting the results and dragging us all into an abyss. Twenty four hours ago, I believed that would be the worst possible outcome.
So I took Onyx to the Laguna Recreation Area for a nice, peaceful, 9+ mile hike. It was awesome. I brought my daypack with a full Camelback and too much extra water, mainly because I wanted to have plenty for Onyx.
I woke up this morning with sore shoulders. Obviously, it’s from carrying that load for four hours yesterday. But the metaphor is too apt to ignore.
I am completely all over the place today and this post is, too, and I would apologize but I want an earnest, honest record out there, fuck if it’s not that pretty or polished.
I’m jealous of everyone who’s already gotten to the acceptance phase. The ones posting stuff like “The sun will still rise tomorrow and we’ll all still be here.” Or “Light is more powerful than dark.” Or “Our task is clear, let’s pantsuit up and get to work.” Seriously, good for you people. I’m still vacillating between anger, denial, and bargaining.
(There’s going to be a recount, right? Too many states were too close to not double-check every single ballot, right?)
I’m feeling just about every negative emotion right now. Sadness. Anger (verging on being furious). Shame. Disappointment. Confusion. Disbelief. Shock. Fear. Desperation. Devastation.
I feel like everything I knew and had faith in came crumbling down last night.
I still cannot fathom that half the country wants to move in this horrible, backward direction. And I feel foolish for being so blindsided by it.
(Correction: a quarter of the country, according to this. That’s still too many for the sake of my outrage, I will assume that had the remaining 46.9% had voted, we would have gotten the same result.)
I have this bad habit, when I’m in a bad mood or expect to be in a bad mood. I want to wallow in it. I pull back from the people posting encouraging messages because you know what? Racism did win last night. Misogyny won. Fear won. Hate won. We won’t stop fighting against it, but let’s not sugarcoat this devastating defeat.
I want to point blame, even though I know that’s not productive. At the Republicans who never stood up to the Tea Party eight years ago. At James Comey. At the media for not putting Trump in his place and spending so much time reporting on Clinton’s emails. At Putin and WikiLeaks. At those who voted third party, especially in the swing states.
(To the third party voters saying “If you’re upset about my vote, maybe the major parties should’ve nominated a competent candidate” SHUT UP. One party did. The Democrats nominated one of the most qualified, competent presidential candidates EVER. If you voted for Johnson or Stein or McMullin because their policies actually align with your values, fine. I can respect that. But if you voted for one of them because you honestly believed Clinton isn’t qualified or competent enough to be president…just no. You’re wrong. And you made the wrong choice.)
There’s been a lot of backlash against some of the reactions from Clinton supporters.
“You said you expected everyone to come together and move forward when you thought she would win; now that he won, you can’t complain and say ‘not my president.’”
On one level, yeah, you’re right, I have to be mature and accept either outcome (although it was a lot easier to say that last week when I thought she would win in a blowout). But on another level, the president of my country will be a man who looks at me and only sees a faceless pussy that may or may not be attractive enough to be grabbed. How can you expect me to stand behind him as my president?
How can you ask a Muslim to do so? A gay person who got married last month? A Latina mother trying to work her way through the immigration system so she can stay with her kids and watch them go to college?
Clinton’s rhetoric has been that she wants to work with and for all of America—her supporters and Trump’s. She would have worked to make America better for everyone. His rhetoric has been that he will only work for the Americans who look and think like him. He will not protect the rest of us. He will not uphold our rights.
And you think I’m being childish if I say “not my president”?
The best I can give you is a willingness to let him prove me wrong, but that better happen quickly.
I know the way out of the anger-denial-bargaining phase is taking action. But I don’t know yet what action to take. Yeah, yeah, love everyone, support equal rights, stand up against injustice when I see it—but that doesn’t feel like enough. I need to feel like I’m taking tangible action towards something that will have a definite and visible impact.
Does that mean I start planning a run for local office, or working on the campaign of someone who is? Volunteer or find a job with Democratic Party? Or with a nonprofit working for social justice and the environment and equal rights? Join an activist group?
This all sounds extreme, especially from someone who’s never been particularly civic-minded or shown any interest in government or the public sector. But if there was ever a time for such extreme actions, I think this is it. I just feel like continuing on with my life as if nothing has changed isn’t the right action anymore.
This morning, I woke up and hit snooze several times, trying to delay the inevitable. As my husband started getting ready for work, I pulled my pillow over my head and let a few tears out and a frustrated yell.
I may very well do that every damn day for the next four years. I will wake up, I will acknowledge our current reality, I will give myself a few seconds to feel sad and angry about it.
Then I will get up and get to work.
To everyone who isn’t a white male Republican, I’m sorry. I will do everything in my power to support your rights.
To Barack Obama, I’m sorry. I will do whatever I can to ensure that your work will not be undone.
To Hillary Rodham Clinton, I’m sorry. You deserved so much better from your country.