"And I can only assume that President Donald Trump will be a bigot. It is absolutely possible that America didn’t elect him in spite of that, but because of it. Consider that for a second. Think about what that means. This is America right now: throwing its lot in with a man who named an alt-right sympathizer as his campaign chief."
For the past two days, in between bouts of crying and trying to get work done, I've been reading election reactions like this NY Times op-ed from Charles M. Blow.
What might be scarier to me than a Donald Trump presidency (and I'm pretty effing scared) is the fact that 60 million people in this country voted for him. That, even if Hillary had won, those people still exist. People who either openly or, perhaps worse, quietly and secretly, voted to advance racism, sexism, and xenophobia rather than build upon the progress we've made. That the people who look like me -- white WOMEN...people in my own damn family, even -- put this bigot into office. That maintaining control of the Supreme Court took precedence over maintaining basic human rights, or even just some shred of basic human decency, in our nation. That we're already seeing thousands of horrifyingly hateful interactions coming from people who now have a leader to validate their aggressive and vile views of the world. (You can look at some examples here, if you're up to it). That 60 million people in this country are so blind to and removed from the deeply and terrifyingly negative impact this will have on communities that don't look or think or speak like theirs.
When I was 13, I lost my dad to a three-year battle with leukemia. It was one of the darkest, saddest, and most painful moments in my life. I love to write, and yet the words for that time escape me. And while I certainly don't share this to compare the election results to the death of my father -- there is no comparison to the death of a parent -- it carries some relevance.
The feelings I've felt over the last two days are familiar. Grief has settled in and won't seem to go away. Its pangs aren't nearly as dramatic as they were 14 years ago, but I know that's what I'm feeling. I'm in shock. I'm sad. I'm confused. I am so damn angry.
I'm sad for Hillary and all that she's worked for. I'm sad that we don't get to see our country's highest glass ceiling finally shattered. I'm sad for the immigrants, Black people, Muslims, and children who have to operate under a level of fear that no one in this nation should know so intimately. I'm angry that I didn't do more. That maybe I was part of the problem. That I was too ignorant about how far from "great" we are and that I didn't put in the work to at least make us "good." I feel like sitting Shiva for our country right now, and it breaks my heart.
Family got me through the loss of my father. My mom, my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins -- we all rallied together around love and hope and frozen casseroles as we figured out how to cope with this gaping hole in our lives. We put one foot in front of the other, holding hands and lending support where we could. And I think that's how we're going to get through this time of national grief.
They say one of the best ways to move through loss is to just keep moving. But what if, instead of continuing on with our normal lives, we move in a different direction? Maybe this is a big, ugly, flaming-pile-of-shit wake up call that our standard for what is "good" in America is too damn low. That when our sadness is replaced by anger and indignation, we have to channel it into something productive. We have to be family.
I'm not sure exactly where to start; I'm still feeling that don't want to get out of bed in the morning kind of stuck. But as the days roll on, as the fog slowly starts to lift, and as I get more and more motivatingly pissed-off, I'd love to know your ideas. There are 3.2 million of you in #PantsuitNation already inspiring me, so let's put down the tissues and get to work.