I watched in horror and disbelief as Donald Trump took the stage for his victory speech surrounded by his vampire-like children. I don’t remember a single word of his speech because I was too numb with shock to register what he was saying. I kept wanting someone to pinch me so I could wake up from this horrible nightmare.
I went to bed after his speech. Unfortunately when I woke up in the morning he was still president elect. The sky was dark and overcast. It matched my mood and the mood of much of the nation. Lightning had struck with Trump’s win and now the storm was coming.
And what a storm it was. The internet was full of people venting their shock, outrage, sadness and fear over the election results. Classes were being cancelled, work was being missed, protests were being scheduled and support groups were being set up. This seemed like an appropriate occasion to fly the flag at half mast.
Of course not everyone was upset about Trump’s win. Some people were happy about it and expressing their glee. Some people were mocking, criticizing and insulting those who were upset over Trump’s win. They were referred to as whiners, cry babies and sore losers. They were told that they needed to “grow a pair” and that it was those participation trophies they got in childhood that made them unable to accept the fact that they lost. They were told to sit down, shut up and give our president elect the respect he deserves.
Anyone who expresses such sentiments is really missing the point and is really lacking in empathy. It’s not like the anti-Trump crowd is devastated over and protesting against the Indians losing the world series or Meryl Streep winning yet another Oscar. They’re terrified because our country has elected a racist, misogynistic bully who is threatening to strip away their rights as well as the rights of their loved ones and fellow citizens, who is jeopardizing their safety and well being, who will likely wreak havoc on the environment, the economy and the world in general. This is kind of a big deal. If it’s not something to cry about, I don’t know what is. If your reaction to someone expressing those fears is to tell them to grow a pair, you have some growing of your own to do.
As for giving our president elect the respect he deserves, people tend to get the respect they give and Donald Trump has no respect for anyone who is not a rich white man. Anyone who has taken a history class or a psychology class should know that blind obedience to authority is a very dangerous thing. The “Because I’m the boss and I said so” philosophy is valid when a mother is telling her child that he can’t have another piece of cake, not so much in situations like these. For those who think kids should be taught to respect authority, I don’t have kids (I don’t think that disclaimer is necessary but another blogger asked me if I even had kids when I expressed my feelings on the matter) but I think teaching kids to stand up for their beliefs and for what they know to be right is more important.
It’s true that peaceful transference of power is written in to the constitution but so is the right to peaceful protest. Peaceful is the key word here. I do not condone violence or destruction of property. I also find it pretty hypocritical to slut shame Melania Trump while condemning her husband’s treatment of women. To anyone who is offended by dirty curse words being directed at Trump, all I can say is “Give me a fucking break” and if you think that what offended people about Trump’s hateful, racist, misogynistic rhetoric was his use of dirty curse words, once again you are really missing the fucking point.
One of my Facebook statuses on November 9th read “I don’t know about anyone else but I’m so not in the mood for jokes, gloating or insults from anyone who helped elect that vile, heinous sorry excuse for a man as our president.”
When Trump was running for president and I didn’t think he would actually win I could joke around with people about their support of him and I even found their idiocy amusing in a sad way but now it just pissed me off. A month or two before Trump was elected I’d made resolutions not to get in to political debates on Facebook and not to argue with idiots but after Trump was elected I broke both of those resolutions (I don’t consider anyone I’m friends with to be an idiot but some of their friends on the other hand…) For a week or two after the election, all of my Facebook statuses were about Trump. I tried to post about other things but nothing else seemed to matter at that point.
I tried harder to understand why people voted for him. I entered the search term “Why I voted for Trump” in to Google and WordPress. All the reasons for voting for him still seemed misguided at best. When I read one blog that came to the conclusion that democrats were pro-choice because they were concerned about overpopulation but overpopulation wasn’t a real issue since you could fit the entire world’s population in to Texas and people would still have room to wriggle around a bit, I thought my head would explode from the stupidity. When another blog read “I cannot believe Hillary’s supporters continue to have the upmost respect for her when she didn’t even have the odasity to come out on stage and thank her supporters after she lost” I decided I was done searching for the reasons people voted for Trump.
While I don’t remember anything that was said in Trump’s victory speech, I do remember some of Hillary’s concession speech. She handled it with grace and dignity. She tried to make it positive, upbeat and inspirational but it was still devastating to watch. I wanted so badly to be watching her victory speech. The atmosphere around me was so negative and depressing. If only the election had gone the other way, the atmosphere would have been so positive and joyous.
Anyone who has been reading my blog knows that I’ve recently been doing much better and have made some positive changes in my life after struggling and being miserable for years. If Hillary had been elected that would have made me even happier, it would have felt like a sign that more good things and new opportunities were in store for me because there were good things and new opportunities in store for women and for the world in general. Now it felt like all the progress that had been made in my life and in the world in general was for nothing because it would soon become undone as the world went to hell in a handbasket.
Some people were comparing 11/9/16 to 9/11/01. Others said such a comparison was a slap in the face to those who lost loved ones on 9/11/. With my genuine apologies to anyone who is hurt by such a comparison, I can honestly say that as someone who did not lose a loved one on 9/11, my thoughts and feelings on 11/9/16 were quite similar to my thoughts and feelings on 9/11/01. There was the shock and horror that something so tragic and unexpected had happened here in America, the fear of what was to come, and the sadness for all those affected by the tragedy.
No, on 11/9, thousands of people did not die a horrible, fiery death at the hands of terrorists, but as a result of the horrible decision our country made the night before millions of people will suffer horribly for the next 4+ years at the hands of a corrupt leader. When I expressed such sentiments on Facebook, I was told I had nothing to be upset about because nothing in my life had changed and things were just fine. I sure do resent it when people who do not know me at all make assumptions about what’s going on in my life. In the less than 24 hours since Trump had been elected things had changed for me but it’s not all about me. The truth is I am not among the groups of people who are most vulnerable to the effects of a Trump presidency. If I felt this devastated over his win, I could only imagine how people in those vulnerable groups must feel.
I actually did get a taste of how people in those groups felt through some of my friends, family and acquaintances. A Muslim woman I know of had to change her last name on Facebook because of all the threats and harassment she was getting in the wake of Trump’s win. A friend of mine who’s a single mom expressed fears about her insurance coverage and access to birth control. It broke my heart when she told me that her son came up to her that morning with a big smile on his face asking if she was ready to turn on the TV and see that Hillary was president, that her daughter said she would not be standing for the pledge in school that morning and that she needed to see the school counselor. I had another friend who was also worried about his insurance coverage and who was so afraid for the future that he was expressing suicidal thoughts.
I was not feeling suicidal myself but I was certainly slipping in to a Trump slump that I couldn’t figure out how to get out of. I lacked the energy, motivation and desire to leave the house. My thoughts were becoming increasingly negative. I could not find any kind of silver lining in this situation and it felt as though there was no comfort to be found anywhere. I couldn’t even tell myself it wasn’t the end of the world because I feared it very well might be the end of the world. Consulting Google about what it would take for a president to launch a nuclear attack did nothing to ease my worries.
Everything this guy has said and done since being elected has convinced me that his presidency will be even more disastrous for this universe than I was originally anticipating. Everything he touches turns to…shit. As if he himself wasn’t bad enough, just look at all the assholes, morons and flat out dangerous people he’s appointed to his cabinet.
I watched an interview he gave a few days after he was elected. His talk of rounding up the Muslims and Mexicans, of sending them away was scary and reminiscent of Nazi Germany. For the people who kept saying we didn’t need to worry about Trump actually following through with those plans because something like that would never fly in America, I kept thinking “Um, Japanese internment, anyone?” I figured the Japanese internment was a compelling argument against Trump’s proposals but a few days later one of the proponents of Trump’s plan pointed out that there was precedent for such a thing (or as Donald would say “president for such a thing”) and gave the Japanese internment as an example. We were venturing further and further in to this bizarre alternate universe that Trump had created. I just hoped we weren’t about to reach the point of no return.
Trump assured the interviewer that gay marriage had been legalized by the supreme court so we didn’t need to worry about gay people losing their right to marry. A few minutes later he said that Roe vs. Wade might be overturned and abortion might be decided by the states but that was no big deal because if a woman lived in a state where abortion was illegal she could just go to another state to get one. Yes, I’m sure it would be so easy for a poor working single mother living in the middle of Texas to just hop on over to the next state for an abortion.
When the interviewer informed Trump that his supporters were threatening and harassing minority groups, he said he had a message for the people who were doing that and his message was “Stop it!” It was nice of him to tell them to stop but it’s too little, too late, buddy. You not so subtly encouraged these kinds of threats and harassment with the hateful rhetoric you spewed and now that you’ve gotten what you wanted you don’t get to absolve yourself of responsibility for your words and actions with “Now, now, cut it out kids.”
I’m rather baffled by all the people who insist Trump is not racist. I know that some people have trouble recognizing the more subtle forms of racism but as I’ve said, Trump’s brand of racism is not particularly subtle. Would he have to walk around in a KKK robe with a sign that said “Death to all minorities” before these people would admit that he’s racist? It’s not like he’s even come that far from doing just that. No, he didn’t officially endorse or associate himself with the KKK but when he has to pause to consider whether to disavow them and when the KKK celebrates his victory, I find that rather alarming.
In one of the post election Facebook debates I was involved in someone offered as proof that Trump was not racist a video narrated by a black woman (who never appears on camera) talking about how nice Trump was to her when she worked for him. The video also featured a picture of Trump kissing a black baby and pictures of people from minority groups in “We love Trump” T-shirts. Excuse me for remaining unconvinced. I was similarly unmoved by a video in which Trump vowed to protect LGBTQ people against discrimination at the hands of foreign terrorists. As a friend of mine said, we should protect people against terrorists but we all know that in Trump’s world terrorist mean ‘brown person who was not born in this country.” How benevolent of him to stick up for one vulnerable minority group when he can go after another vulnerable minority group in the process.
A lot of the arguing I’ve seen between the pro-Trump crowd and the anti-Trump crowd involves the people who didn’t vote for Trump accusing the people who did vote for him of being racists and those people insisting that they are not racist. Not many people will admit to being racist and I think a lot of the Trump voters who insist they’re not racist are in denial about just how racist they are. I do realize that not all Trump supporters are racist though. Obviously I’d prefer that people, especially people I associate with not be racist but whether or not the people who voted for Trump are racist themselves is almost irrelevant to me at this point.
As I said in one of my Facebook statuses, regardless of whether or not the people who voted for Trump are racist themselves, with their vote they helped put in to office someone who is. With their vote they gave power to a platform that will work to discriminate against Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, LGBTQ people, women, the disabled etc, that will work to strip them of their rights, deny them their humanity and make them fear for their safety. I saw a meme that said “Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist but everyone who voted for him decided that racism was not a deal breaker.”
Speaking of deal breakers, I know that many people considered voting for Trump to be a relationship deal breaker (and others felt the same way about a Hillary vote.) There were a lot of unfriendings on Facebook and uninvitings from Thanksgiving dinners as a result of this election. I was venting to a friend about how I upset I was that Trump had won the election when I found out to my surprise and disappointment that she is a Trump supporter. This friend is one of the kindest, most good people I have ever known, someone I have loved, admired and looked up to since I was a child. I could not understand how someone like her could support someone like Trump. I was curious about what her reasons for supporting Trump were but afraid to find out. When she told me that I needed to keep an open mind and that government could use some shaking up, I wanted to say that no, I refused to keep an open mind towards things like racism, misogyny and xenophobia and that no, government most certainly did not need the kind of shaking up Trump was going to give it but instead I said “Let’s just not talk about Trump anymore.” She said she hoped I wouldn’t unfriend her.
I was not considering unfriending her or anyone else in my life who supports Trump. I absolutely think that anyone who voted for Trump made the wrong decision and I am disappointed that they made it but I don’t think I’m in a position to judge them for it. God knows I’ve made plenty of bad decisions in my life. The way I see it the sum total of our lives comes down to more than who we voted for. When someone makes the decision to vote for Trump that does not cancel out all the good things they’ve done and will continue to do for me, for others and for the world. Likewise when someone makes the decision to vote for Hillary, that does not cancel out all the bad things they do. In terms of my own personal relationships I’ll take a Trump supporter who’s a good person over a Hillary supporter who’s an asshole any day. It’s tempting to say that there are no good Trump supporters. Things would be much simpler for us if we could just put all those Trump supporters in the basket of deplorables and all those Hillary supporters in the basket of good eggs but people and the world in general have never been that black and white.
However, I’m also not inclined to judge anyone for choosing to sever their relationship with someone who supports Trump. We all have our own personal boundaries and limits to what we’re willing to accept in a relationship.The issues that have been brought up in this election are not just differences of opinion that everyone can agree to disagree on. We’re talking about human rights here. The question is whether groups of vulnerable, oppressed people deserve to be treated with human dignity, not whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza. If you’re a member of one of those vulnerable oppressed groups, it can be a real slap in the face when a loved one votes for a candidate who has promoted such hatred and discrimination towards you and your people.
The morning of November 9th my sister told her husband that when he came home from work he might find that he’d been locked out of the house and the locks had been changed. Realizing this was serious, my brother in law delayed going to work to have a discussion with her. She asked him how he could have voted for Trump, knowing the attitude he had towards immigrants, when she and her parents were immigrants. My brother in law said he hadn’t thought of it that way and that if he had he wouldn’t have voted for anyone.
Shall we talk about those people who didn’t vote for anyone? This year approximately 47.6% of eligible voters did not vote. Perhaps it was better not to vote than to vote for Trump and perhaps some of those people had legitimate reasons for not voting but for everyone who didn’t vote because they figured their vote didn’t matter, that is a terrible attitude to have. Everyone in this country only gets one vote so therefore everyone could justify not voting on the basis that their one vote doesn’t matter but guess what would happen if everyone did that? No one would vote and we would be unable to select a president through democracy. Enough people apparently had that attitude this time that half the country didn’t vote. Hatred is disturbing but so is apathy.
Then of course there’s the fact that Hillary won the popular vote by about 2.8 million but lost the presidency because she lost the electoral college. My immediate reaction to that is “Fuck the electoral college! Let’s get rid of it!” but when I read about the history, purpose and function of the electoral college, I can’t say I endorse getting rid of it. One of the stated goals of the electoral college is to stop the large heavily populated states from having an unfair amount of power over the smaller less populated states and that seems important to me.
It’s not like I have much faith in the populace’s ability to select the right candidate anyway. This time they happened to get it right but next time they might get it wrong. I don’t know what the solution is. Monarchy is scary and so is democracy. Anarchy is scary and so is government. People are scary animals and the world is a scary place.
I want there to be some divinely appointed committee of upstanding citizens who posses infinite wisdom and good sense, who can always be relied on to make the right decision, who will swoop in to save us from danger and harm. Of course I know that’s impossible though. We have to deal with flawed human beings who create flawed systems.
I don’t trust the electoral college to be that committee of upstanding citizens who will make the right decision and save us from harm but another stated purpose of the electoral college is to stop a tyrant who’s unqualified for the job and who manipulates public opinion from becoming president.Historically the electoral college has almost always gone along with the votes of the states but if ever there’s a time to break with that tradition it’s now because we’ve got a tyrant who’s unqualified to be president on our hands.
I watched Michael Moore’s plea to the electoral college to not select Trump as our president and I agreed with every word of it. Appointing someone like him as president is dangerous and irresponsible. Please, please for the love of humanity, do not do that to us.
Although a few members of the electoral college have said they will not vote for Trump and I signed petitions urging the electoral college to make Hillary president and to take the Russian hacking scandal in to consideration, I don’t have much hope that they will vote against him. I know the chances of that happening are very, very slim. Then again, all the polls said the chances of Trump winning the election were very slim so maybe there’s hope yet.
When and if Trump does become president I’m not sure what I’m hoping for. I just can’t picture Trump making it to the end of a four year term but I can’t really hope that he gets impeached because then we’re stuck with Pence, who supports gay conversion therapy and thinks smoking doesn’t kill people. Okay, honestly I think it would be just perfect if Trump and Pence were both struck by lightning on inauguration day.
I’ve seen people in the anti-Trump crowd criticized for wanting Trump to fail as president. I will admit that I intensely dislike (or shall I say bigly dislike?) the man and when someone I intensely dislikes fails at something, suffers misfortune or makes a fool of themselves, I do experience a certain amount of schadenfreude. However, I would actually love to be proved wrong about Trump. Now that he will most likely be our next president, I would love it if he turned out to be an all around great guy. I would love it if he ends up being the kind of president who champions the rights of women, minorities, the LGBTQ and the disabled. I would love it if he ends up being a boon to the economy, the environment and international relations. Sure, it might be kind of embarrassing to admit I was wrong about him but I’ll take the shame of being wrong about him over the horror of being right about him.
Give him a chance you say? Maybe if he’d been elected president of the school glee club I’d be more open to that idea but he’s been elected president of the United States of America. I’d prefer not to give him a chance and let him destroy the lives of millions of people in the process. Not that I have much choice in the matter at this point.
Trump’s win leaves us with so many questions, first and foremost “How could this happen?” Speculating on the reasons people voted for him leaves me feeling angry, baffled and emotionally exhausted plus I’d like to finish this blog before the new year but let’s talk about why the polls got it wrong. It’s believed that people lied about who they were going to vote for because they were afraid that if they admitted they were voting for Trump they would be met with disapproval and hostility. A vote for Trump went against perceived social mores and the perceived social majority. Social mores are not always a reflection of what’s right and the perceived social majority is not always right but this time they were. If you’re feeling scared and embarrassed to admit that you’re voting for a certain candidate, then maybe you should reconsider voting for them because they’re a scary and embarrassing person to have as president.
To anyone who essentially voted for Trump as a “Fuck you!” to America that was a real dick move and fuck you right back. I have a feeling you will get fucked right back. Maybe you thought it was fine to say fuck you to all the people whose lives will be destroyed by a Trump presidency because you think you’ll benefit from his presidency but I don’t think it’s going to work out too well for you either. There really are no winners in this election. (Maybe Hillary would be disappointed in me right now because I’m not going very high but we can’t all be classy all the time. You try to be reasonable and compassionate with the jerks and idiots of this world but sometimes you reach a point where you just have to say “Fuck you!”)
Then there’s the question of “How do we cope with something like this?” I often use humor as a coping mechanism and this time was no exception. I took pictures of myself giving a picture of Trump the middle finger and making an ugly face at it. My uncle then took that picture of me, put it under a newspaper headline that said millennials were excited about a Trump presidency and posted it on my Facebook page (I had to consult the USA Today website to make sure I wasn’t on it and a few people asked me if the article was real.)
I posted a Facebook status that said “Me in 2012: Please don’t let Romney be elected president. He’s a horrible person who will ruin the world. Me in 2016: Please let Romney be appointed secretary of state. He’s a decent guy and our only hope of saving the world.”
Another status said “I now understand what a curse ‘May you live in interesting times” is. Here’s hoping the 2020 election is extremely boring with the most boring cookie cutter candidates ever.”
A lot of people used humor to cope with Trump’s win. Those Biden memes are hilarious and a lot of the things Trumps says are more ridiculous than anything any meme writer could come up with. I’m currently trying to install a “Make America Kittens Again” internet filter that will turn pictures of Donald Trump in to pictures of kittens. At the end of the day this whole thing really isn’t funny at all though. The cold open of SNL, which is almost always funny, took on a somber tone after Hillary’s loss.
I was so upset by Trump’s win that I decided to see a therapist about it. She said that a lot of people were having feelings that were similar to mine and she handed me an article on using the Buddhist philosophy to cope with a Trump presidency. The gist of it was that we can’t let something like this stop us from going about living our lives and doing good deeds.
I wonder if the serenity prayer might also be applicable to this situation. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s something a lot of people, myself included, could benefit from applying not just to this situation but to life in general. Like most great pearls of wisdom, it’s also a lot easier said than done.
How do we know the difference between the things we can change and the things we can’t? We cannot change the fact that Trump is now our president elect. Many people think we can’t change the fact that Trump will be our president so we should just accept it. Others feel that with enough protesting and campaigning we might be able to prevent him from taking office. A lot of us feel compelled to argue with our Trump supporting family, friends and acquaintances as well as with random strangers. We want to show them how evil Trump is, convince them to see things our way but as a Facebook meme I saw said, (should I be disturbed that I’ve drawn on the wisdom of Facebook memes several times in this blog?) sometimes you have to realize that nothing short of a brain transplant is ever going to change their minds.
I’m not the only one who thought to apply the serenity prayer to this situation. When I was scrawling through my WordPress feed the other day I saw an image that said “I’m through accepting the things I cannot change and am now changing the things I cannot accept.” In some ways I lack courage (as well as drive and initiative.) You won’t see me on the political front lines working to change policies and standing up for the rights of my fellow citizens. Thank goodness for the people who have more courage than I do. I applaud them for it.
When my grandfather heard I’d seen a therapist because I was so upset over Trump’s win, he said that I needed to get with the program and then proudly announced that he was among the basket of deplorables who voted for Trump ( sensitivity and tact have never been his strong suits.) If by “Get with the program” he means become happy, enthusiastic and accepting about Trump becoming our next president then I have not gotten with the program and I never will. I think I’ve gotten with the program in a different way though.
I’ve adopted some of the Buddhist philosophy to dealing with Trump’s win and decided not to let him prevent me from living my life, from doing good things for myself and others. I realize that I’m in a position of relative privilege that enables me to do that and I really feel for the people who are not so lucky, for whom doing that is more difficult. Difficult is not the same as impossible though.
I said earlier that I intensely dislike Trump but sometimes I wonder if my feelings for him actually border on hate. I also wonder if it’s hypocritical to find myself agreeing with the slogan “Love Trumps Hate” and find myself hating Trump. At this point love really does trump hate in my life though. There were people besides Trump who I hated and who were negatively affecting my life but these days my life is much more positively affected by the people I love than it is negatively affected by the people I hate (I try not to even hate those people anymore. As a wise teacher of mine said “I don’t have the energy to hate people.”)
The love I have for my friends and family, even those who support Trump, has not been diminished by his win, nor has the love they have for me. The positive effect of the love we have for each other has not been cancelled out by Trump’s win. My newfound willingness to rekindle old friendships, to make new friends, to put myself out there, to stand up for myself and to express myself continues to have a positive effect on my life and the lives of others.
I told my therapist that the hardest thing about Trump’s win was how pervasive his negative effect on the atmosphere around me was. I wasn’t even looking forward to the holidays anymore because I was afraid my Trump supporting relatives would ruin it with obnoxious expressions of Trump support and obnoxious jibing at me. When Thanksgiving came I did disagree with and roll my eyes at some of the things my relatives said about Trump but we all remained respectful of each other. I enjoyed their company and I enjoyed the holiday.
I still am afraid of what the new year will bring when Trump takes office but I’m also looking forward to the good things the new year will hopefully bring for myself and for others, things Trump cannot take away from his. Donald Trump may wreak havoc on the world in general but I will not let him ruin my world.