Fed up with Forty Five

As if the threat of nuclear war wasn’t bad enough, now we have this tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. We can thank Forty Five for that one too.  Anyone who thinks this was not a direct result of his hateful rhetoric is naïve, stupid or lying to themselves. Of course he condemned hatred and violence on “all sides”.  He wouldn’t want to call out white supremacists and risk alienating his biggest fan base!  The mother of the killer said she thought her son was going to a 45 rally, not a white supremacist rally. Guess what, lady, there’s a fine line between 45 rallies and white supremacist rallies.

The difference was that up until now 45 supporters were slightly more subtle about rallying for hatred and bigotry than the Ku Klux Klan.  Now when 45 supporters rally together they’re basically the KKK without the robes. Since these assholes in Virginia showed their faces alongside their Tiki torches, I hope they’re fired from their jobs, expelled from their schools and shunned by their communities. I don’t want to hear any ‘freedom of speech’ nonsense. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. I also don’t want to hear any ‘slippery slope’ arguments.  Refusing to tolerate expressions of hatred and threats toward minority groups does not mean it’s only a matter of time before your neighbor is arrested for professing his dislike for a Backstreet Boys song.

You know what did send us down a slippery slope though? Electing 45 as president. And you know who I will not hesitate to profess my hatred for?  If you guessed 45 again, you’re correct. I despise him more than I’ve ever despised anyone in my life. I know I’ve never met the guy and that objectively there are people who are worse than him but those people aren’t constantly in my face, polluting almost every aspect of the world around me.

I’m sick of seeing his evil, ugly, smarmy disgusting face all over the internet and the newsstands. As you can see, I’ve mostly stopped using his real name when I refer to him because I don’t want to give his name any more power than it already has. His name should be treated in the same way the media treats the names of school shooters. Rather than glorifying the name of the criminal, focus on his victims.

And everyone is a victim under his presidency, even those who support him. I can’t believe Caitlyn Jenner or anyone else actually thought he would be an ally to the LGBTQ population.  I can’t believe any one does still support him, I can’t believe people are still defending his words and actions, I can’t believe he’s still president. Yes, I know he’s only been president for seven months but it’s been a long seven months and he’s managed to do so much damage in so little time. While I haven’t given up hope that he’ll be impeached or removed from office, I’m feeling pretty jaded at this point.

I never thought I’d ever see as many swastikas, confederate flags and KKK robes in one day as I saw today on Facebook. Many of them were memes protesting those things but the fact that we still need to protest those things in the USA in 2017 because they’re still being publicly displayed in the USA in 2017 is disgusting. I’ll also never look at Tiki torches the same way again but that’s the least of my concerns.

Can you imagine what the reaction of 45 and his supporters would have been if the driver of that car that killed one and injured 19 had been Muslim or Mexican? The reaction of the police if those protesters with their Tiki torches had been black? White privilege means getting away with doing those things without being injured or killed, without being labeled a thug or a terrorist.

Privilege is a subject for a whole separate blog but many of us are privileged and take our privilege for granted. I haven’t loved all the presidents I’ve seen in my lifetime but I assumed that as an American living in the 21st century I would always have the privilege of having my country led by a sane, mature, respectable, halfway decent human being who would adhere to the principles of justice, equality and democracy. How tragically wrong I was.

Going Nuclear

Ever since I was a small child I’ve been afraid of nuclear war. Learning that we as humans have the power to destroy the world with nuclear weapons struck terror in my little heart.  The Cold War was over by the time I was born so I did not grow up in an era of school nuclear bomb drills, forced at least once a month to contemplate the possibility of a nuclear Armageddon and the uselessness of a wooden desk over my head in the face of it.

I’m a morbid person though so even though I wasn’t forced to contemplate a nuclear Armageddon, sometimes I contemplated it anyway.  I even read “On the Beach” and watched “When The Wind Blows” with horrified fascination.  While I could handle and even enjoy in a way fictional accounts of our planet’s nuclear annihilation, news about real life possibilities of nuclear attacks put me on edge and I did not enjoy it in any way, shape or form.

Luckily for most of my life, reports of the possibility of nuclear attack were fairly few and far between.  If I came across a report of the possibility of nuclear attack, closing my browser window usually solved the problem. In recent years North Korea has become an increasingly dire threat but their talk of development of nuclear missiles appeared to consist mostly of hot air.

I thought the threats North Korea made to us over that movie The Interview were ridiculous. I’m anti-censorship and pro free expression so although I felt I should support the release of that movie, there was a part of me that thought “Come on, America, is some silly movie really worth risking the possibility of nuclear war?” but once the movie was released, yet another threat from North Korea proved to be bullshit.

Fast forward about two years later to the election of our 45th president. I was very upset by the results of that election. One of my biggest concerns about having such a volatile, hot headed, immature, impulsive, egotistical, moronic buffoon as our president was that he would propel us in to a nuclear war. Fast forward a few months later and he appears to be doing just that.

When I first heard the news that 45 was making threatening, provocative, inflammatory statements to Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Un was responding in kind, I felt dread in the pit of my stomach and a quickening of my heartbeat.  At first I tried to just ignore the news but it filled up my Facebook feed. I went off of Facebook and sifted through a digital collection of old photographs but was distracted by multiple pop up news alerts informing me that 45 had escalated his threats to North Korea. My mom suggested I come watch Colbert with her because he would joke about 45 and take my mind off my anxiety. One of the first things out of his mouth was “We’re all going to die!”

I posted a Facebook status about how anxious the threat of nuclear war made me and requested that no one respond by telling me we were going to get nuked.  Nevertheless a friend of mine informed me that she’d heard that North Korea would have its missiles ready to launch by mid August. Another friend told me that the only thing left to do was to turn to Jesus. Since I don’t believe in Jesus, I didn’t find that very comforting.

I did some mental math and realized that the time when North Korea will allegedly have its missiles ready coincides with my mini vacation to Block Island. I started thinking that maybe I didn’t want to be away during a time of potential nuclear attack. Than I started thinking about the trip to Chicago planned for next month. Then I realized that we could be in a state of potential nuclear crisis for years. I decided that in the meantime I don’t want to put my life on hold or stop doing things I enjoy.

I’ve been reading articles about 45 and North Korea.  Some say that the threat is very serious, other suggest that it’s not as serious as it appears on the surface. The one thing said by a friend about this issue that actually comforted me was “We survived the cold war, we’ll survive this.”

Maybe he’s right about that, maybe we’ll all go up in a ball of fire tomorrow. Regardless, this may be a good opportunity for me to start living like I’m dying, or at least to start blogging like I’m dying.

Book and movies re-imagined in the Trump era

Dave Astor of the blog Dave Astor on Literature recently wrote a blog post in which he imagined how classic literature titles could reflect what’s going on in this disruptive Trump era.  He asked readers to come up with their own ideas in the comments section. I came up with a list of books and I further expanded it to include movies:

The Idiot: The biography of Donald Trump

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The story of the 2016 election

Much Ado about Nothing: The investigations in to Hillary’s alleged crimes

The Importance of Being Earnest: The self help book Trump really needs to read

Breakfast at Tiffany’s : The story of Trump’s other daughter

Of Human Bondage: The story of what went on in those Russian hotel rooms

A Clockwork Orange: Trump’s guide to skin care

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: The aftermath of the 2016 election

A Visit from the Goon Squad: Trump appoints his cabinet

Little Women: The makeup of Trump’s cabinet

The Vagina Monologues: Grab ’em by the pussy

Never Let Me Go: A plea from Obama

Hard Times: The state of the economy under Trump

The Awakening: How Trump voters finally realized they’d made a horrible mistake

Atonement: Is it even possible for Donald Trump?

Dumb and Dumber: The story of Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Beauty and the Beast: The marriage of Donald and Melania

True Lies: Alternative Facts

Cruel Intentions: The story of how Trump bullied, threatened and humiliated everyone who disagreed with him.

Dangerous Liasons: Trump and Putin

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Republican party

A Few Good Men: What the Republican party desperately needs

Despicable Me: Trump’s moment of self awareness

Girl, Interrupted: Elizabeth Warren takes the senate floor

Can’t Hardly Wait: Counting down the days until Trump leaves office

Half Baked: Trump’s plans for the presidency

Three Men and a Baby: From Clinton to Trump

Dazed and Confused: The night of November 8, 2016

Apocalypse Now: November 9, 2016

Fools Rush In: January 20, 2017

Some Like It Hot: Why global warming is no bigly deal by Donald J. Trump

Clueless: Those who think President Trump is a good idea

The Human Centipede: Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all the other spineless creatures of the GOP with their heads up asses.

I Know What You Did Last Summer: We’re not letting this Russia thing go, Donald.

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Survey Says…

*This is my own personal version of my last Facebook status, which I cut and pasted from someone else. I decided to try to give answers that related to Trump  and to the questions being asked.*

 

Why not take a break from negativity and learn about each other? 😃

  1. Who are you named after? I was named after Kira Agrounova, the main character in We The Living by Ayn Rand. Kira lived under a totalitarian government in Russia that she refused to obey or give in to.Our current president has dangerous liasons with Russia and is trying to institute a totalitarian regime in this country. Be like Kira and resist.
  2. Last time you cried?

There has been so much to cry over since Trump became president. The Muslim travel ban and the attacks on mosques for starters. Contrary to what Trump thinks, the tears that have been shed over that are very real.

  1. Soda or water?

If my friend prefers soda while I prefer water that is a simple difference of opinion that does not harm anyone and our friendship will not be affected. If my friend voted for Trump while I voted for Hillary, my friend has given power to a dangerous tyrant who will harm me and the people I care about. Therefore, I feel betrayed by my friend who endorses something I find abhorrent and our differences may be irreconcilable.

  1. What is your favorite lunch meat? Donald Trump and his administration are full of baloney.
  2. Longest relationship?

Has Trump only been president for 12 days now? It feels like it’s been much longer.This relationship isn’t working. We need to end it.

  1. Do you still have your tonsils?

Do I still have my freedom? Do I still have my constitutional rights? Will I still have them if Trump gets his way?

  1. Would you bungee jump? Bungee jumping scares me a lot less than Trump does.
  2. How many years at current job? Trump is not going to create a bunch of new jobs. Immigrants are not taking your jobs. Starbucks did a good thing by pledging to offer jobs to refugees.
  3. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

If you don’t understand why a Trump presidency is so awful because it’s not directly threatening you right now, try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

  1. Roller coasters?

The 2016 election was one hell of a roller coaster ride and the next four years are sure to be a roller coaster as well. Unfortunately there have been more lows than highs and it’s been more terrifying than thrilling.

  1. Favorite ice cream? Ben and Jerry’s Impeach Mint ice cream.
  2. Favorite thing to do?

Speak out against Trump, although I wish I didn’t have to.

  1. Football or baseball?

Being president is not a sport, it’s not a game and it’s not a fucking reality show contest.

  1. Leggings or jeans?

I’m a member of Pantsuit Nation. Hillary should be our president right now.

  1. What are you listening to?

To my heart, to the news sources that are reliable and to the people who know what they’re talking about. If more people had listened to those things, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess right now.

  1. Favorite color? Not orange, that’s for sure!
  2. Tattoos? Those Holocaust survivors with tattoos from the concentration camps are experiencing trauma and flashbacks because they see the similarities between Trump and Hitler.
  3. Married?

LGBTQ people recently won the much deserved right to marry. Now the Trump administration is threatening to infringe on their rights and enable discrimination against them.

  1. Hair color?

I have no idea what’s going on with Trump’s hair but that’s the very least of my concerns.

  1. Eye color?

Imagine how America looks in the eyes of the world with Trump as our president.

  1. Favorite food to eat?

Wouldn’t it be nice if Trump was using 14 billion dollars to feed the hungry instead of building a useless wall?

  1. Scary movies or happy endings?

It feels like we’re living in a scary movie right now. I can only hope for a happy ending but at this point I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for an ending where we don’t all die.

  1. Android or iPhone?

Get on the phone and call your representatives to tell them how you feel and what you want done.

  1. Chevy, Ford or Buick?

All better presidents than Trump.

  1. Favorite holiday?

Trump tried to make his inauguration day a holiday. It should be a day of mourning.

  1. Beer or wine?

I don’t drink but sometimes I feel like I need to get drunk to cope with the world now. Other times I wonder how anyone who wasn’t very, very drunk could have possibly thought voting for Trump was a good idea.

  1. Night owl or morning?

I don’t know how Trump sleeps at night. I’m up all night worrying about the future of this country and about what new horrors will greet me in the morning.

  1. Favorite day of the week?

Normally Friday is my favorite day of the week but you know which Friday I did not thank god for? Friday, January 20th, 2017. That day was unluckier than all the Friday the 13ths combined.

 

Donald Trump may be the President but he is Not My President

The bile that rose in to my throat in the early morning hours of January 19th, 2017 came quickly and unexpectedly. I dashed to the bathroom and vomited in to the toilet. I thought about the foods I’d eaten recently. Then I thought about the fact that Trump’s inauguration was tomorrow and that seemed as likely a reason for my vomiting as any.

A lot of people I knew were sick that day and I don’t think the timing was coincidental. We’d feared that Trump’s inauguration was coming for a little over a year and we’d known it was coming for a little over two months. Although we knew it was very unlikely that the electoral college would vote against him, we signed the petitions and we hoped against hope. When on December 19th, 2016 the electoral college officially voted him in to office all hope seemed lost.

As we said goodbye to 2016, many deemed it to be a terrible year, mainly because a lot of celebrities died and Trump won the election. I wasn’t too affected by the celebrity deaths because I’d barely noticed that the celebrities that died in 2016 were alive in the first place and celebrities die every year. I was very affected by the election though. Never in my lifetime ( or in my parents or grandparents’ lifetimes for that matter) had our country elected a president quite like this and he wasn’t different from all the other presidents in a good way to say the least.

We cried as we watched Obama’s farewell speech. We were full of sadness at seeing him leave office and full of fear of what was to come as the next president took office. I think another blogger summed it up best when they said that in transitioning from Obama to Trump we were going from class to ass.

As what I had come to think of as doomsday approached my anxiety levels rose. I had a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication called in. What was really getting to me was the talk of how when Trump became president the world was going to end and we were all going to die. I asked my mom to stop saying things like that. She replied that it could very well be true. I told her that even if it was true saying it was not helpful to me.

One of my Facebook statuses on January 19th read “Don’t you just hate it when someone you care about is making a terrible decision that will have devastating consequences for themselves and everyone else but you’re powerless to stop them? By someone I mean the United States of America.”

It seemed like everyone with the least bit of sense knew that making Donald Trump president was a terrible idea, yet we were going ahead and doing it anyway. That made me feel so angry, helpless and frustrated.

My mother called me that day to say that my therapist appointment would have to be cancelled because she was working late and wouldn’t be able to take me. I called her back a few minutes later to see if my dad could take me because this was a day when I really needed therapy.

Kate and I spent most of my session talking about Trump. She tried to comfort me by saying that she didn’t think he would be able to do much damage because other government officials would stop him and America was set up in a way that prevented one evil person from having too much power. She told me that a lot of people were protesting against him, that several republicans in congress were boycotting his inauguration. I wished I could have as much faith in our government as she did and I wished I could find what she said comforting but it just sounded like “It can’t happen here” rhetoric to me. No one thinks it can happen here until it does happen here. Since I wrote my blog entitled “It Happened Here”, I’ve read the book “It Can’t Happen Here”. Although it’s a work of fiction, Berzelius Windrip bears an uncanny resemblance to Trump and the results of Windrip’s presidency were disastrous.

She also suggested getting involved in advocacy, protests and volunteer work, speaking out against Trump and making my voice heard. She said I’d already started to do that with my blog. I replied that I wasn’t sure I’d actually changed anyone’s mind with my blog. I felt that the people who disliked Trump to begin with agreed with what I wrote and continued to dislike Trump while the people who liked Trump to begin with disagreed with what I wrote and continued to like him. When Kate suggested arguing my points about Trump with my Trump supporting friends, I said I’d prefer not to do that because they were also unlikely to change their minds and arguing might damage our relationship. I know I’m sick to death of hearing my mother and grandfather argue about Trump. My grandfather is never going to change his mind and arguing will just aggravate his heart problems. Kate said that even if we’re unlikely to change anyone’s mind, we still have to try.

When I got home I told my mother that Kate had said that she thought the government would prevent Trump from doing serious damage. “Kate is Pollyanna-ish” she replied. A few minutes later she told me that Kate had been spreading fake news-it was only democrats, not republicans who were boycotting the inauguration.

The following day I guiltily watched the inauguration on TV. I knew I probably shouldn’t because I would be contributing to the ratings but I just couldn’t help myself. A few days earlier I’d watched a debate among reporters in which one reporter questioned Trump’s ability to be a good president based on the things he was tweeting. Another reporter replied that he wasn’t president yet and when he became president in 5 days he would communicate in a more mature, professional manner. I rolled my eyes at that statement but if I was at all inclined to believe it, that belief was shattered when I listened to his hateful, divisive, piece of shit inauguration speech.

The speech can basically be summed up as ” Rah, rah, rah, all the other presidents sucked but I’m going to achieve the impossible with my massive ego and make America great again by kicking out all the brown people!” He even included a fist pump. The facial expressions the Obamas had in reaction to that speech said it all.

That night my friend Delilah texted me a picture of herself in a pussy hat. When I saw the picture I thought it was just a funny hat. Then I Googled the term “pussy hat” and saw that it had a deeper significance. Those pussy hats symbolized the fight for women’s rights, rights that were being threatened by the Trump administration. They were to be worn by the women who were attending the women’s marches the next day.

I’d heard about those women’s marches. I’d also heard that there was a certain man who was threatening to harm those who attended them.  I figured that would deter people from attending them and that not that many people planned to attend them in the first place. I figured that maybe one or two of my Facebook friends would attend a march. Boy was I wrong.

On January 21st my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures of my friends attending marches. Some of these friends weren’t even women and some of them weren’t even U.S. citizens. I was shocked by the turnout for those marches and I think it was the first time I was shocked in a good way about anything regarding this election. The spirit of the marchers was so strong and infectious that I found myself wishing I’d attended a march.

That night my Facebook status read: “I have liked so many things on Facebook today and every one of those likes was well deserved. I was feeling bleak and hopeless yesterday. I was expecting more of the same today but thanks to my friends from New Jersey to Canada who marched in protests, who donned pussy hats, who stood up for their beliefs, who fought for their rights and the rights of their fellow world citizens, who refused to back down from or be intimidated by the evil bully who calls himself our president, I have a new sense of hope.”

Of course the coming days gave me plenty of reasons to feel discouraged.  The environmental protection and LGBTQ pages were removed from the White House website as was the disability rights page, other than to tell disabled people how they can access The White House. A group of men signed bills regulating women’s reproductive rights. Trump spewed lies and misinformation about the size of his inauguration crowd, supposed illegal voting, global warming and various other matters. The phrase “alternative facts” became a thing as someone in the Trump administration used it in earnest.

The endangered species act was targeted because it hinders drilling. Funding for the arts is being cut. Obamacare is being scaled back. Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education knows nothing about education and his pick for secretary of health is an anti-vaxxer. When the National Parks Service tweeted aerial view pictures comparing Trump’s inauguration to Obama’s, their Twitter account was suspended. A media blackout was ordered on the Environmental Protection Agency.  As I was writing this blog, executive orders were signed to build a wall at the Mexican border and to put an end to sanctuary cities. All of that isn’t even the half of it.

Sales of the book 1984 are way up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great novel and I’d be happy to see it achieve best seller status again but I’d prefer the reason for its bestseller status not to be that we are now entering in to a society that resembles the society it portrays.

So far Trump’s presidency is even worse than I imagined it would be. I knew it would be awful but I didn’t think it would be this awful this fast. As I said on Facebook last night,”If Trump has managed to generate this much WTF-ery in the 4 days he’s been president, imagine what he’ll do in the next 4 years!”

There are still reasons to have hope though. People are still fighting, protesting, marching, holding up their signs, voicing their anger, calling out the lies and the hypocrisy, writing letters to their representatives, saying they will not stand for this. In defiance of the gag order, Badlands National Park tweeted a series of actual facts about environmental destruction (although the tweets have since been deleted.) Betsy DeVos’s hearing was delayed as an ethics committee investigated her and a second hearing was requested (although that hearing was denied.) Some hilarious satirical articles, memes and videos making fun of Trump have been released. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine and sometimes comedy is the best way of reaching people.

As for me, I’m still not sure if I want to get in to it anymore with Trump supporters who are good friends of mine or who are related to me but his presidency has rekindled my passion for arguing with idiots on the internet. The other day I was arguing with a woman who claimed that it was fine for Trump to talk about grabbing women by the pussies because it was just typical locker room talk that all men engage in and that Planned Parenthood should be defunded because women should just make proper decisions about sex and if they got pregnant pay for their own abortions. The argument ended when she said there was no point in debating it anymore because I just had my liberal views while she had her normal views. If her views are normal, I will proudly call myself abnormal.

Then there was the guy who posted a meme saying that if your child needs grief counseling over the election, you have failed as a parent. I replied that I wasn’t in to blaming parents for the actions of their adult children but having a child that voted for Trump is more of an indicator of having failed as a parent than having a child who needed grief counseling over the election is. I was unfriended. It was no great loss to me.

I donated blood yesterday. It’s not directly related to any protest of Trump or his administration but it’s a way of doing some good in a world that seems to be going to hell. Maybe later I will get involved in some volunteering or advocacy that is directly anti-Trump. I fear what the repercussions might be for me as the Trump administration and its supporters gain more power and go to greater lengths to silence those who oppose them but I fear the consequences of not speaking out may be even worse.

As for the title of this blog, I don’t need anyone pointing out to me that I am a U.S. citizen and Donald Trump is president of the United States,so therefore he is my president. I’m prone to literal thinking but even I immediately knew what people meant when they started saying “not my president.”

I also don’t need to be told that I’m being unpatriotic or disrespectful by speaking negatively of the president of this country. Although he is the president of my country, he does not represent my values and he does not represent the values my country was founded on. He is a threat to freedom, equality and democracy. Standing up for freedom, equality and democracy is very patriotic.

The Aftermath of the Trumpocalypse

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.

 

It Happened Here

November 8, 2016 started out as a good day for me, a day filled with hope and eager anticipation of what was to come. That morning my Facebook status read “Never before have I woken up with such a strong feeling that today is a day that will go down in history. Or shall we say a day that will go down in herstory?”

I really thought I was going to see our country elect its first female president. I was going to start reading “It Can’t Happen Here, a political satire novel in honor of Donald Trump but I’d decided it wasn’t going to happen here so instead I would read “I Am Malala” in honor of Hillary breaking the glass ceiling. That day I voted more joyously than I had ever voted before. I wore white to honor the suffragettes and my mother wore a pantsuit to honor Hillary. We had our pictures taken in front of the voting station, big grins plastered on our faces and proudly posted those pictures on Facebook. My mom joked that if Trump won, those pictures would commemorate the last time we were ever happy.

It wasn’t entirely a joke though. We would both be very unhappy if he won and my mother was seriously afraid that he would win. There was a part of me that was also afraid he would win but I brushed those fears aside and told my mother there was nothing to worry about. Actually I did more than that. I scoffed at her and all the other Hillary supporters who at this point were expressing fear that Trump would win. A few months ago I would have considered that fear to be valid and I’d expressed it myself but I’d been checking the political forecasts on a daily basis and the odds were now strongly in Hillary’s favor. Some prediction meters put her chances of winning the election as high as 99%. I’d read articles that said that while it was technically possible for Trump to win the election, it was very unlikely, then went on to explain why with all sorts of comforting facts, figure and data. I figured a Trump win would be akin to a lottery win or a lighting strike, depending on how you looked at it. When on November 7th Hillary supporters were expressing fears that Trump would win, I wondered if perhaps they didn’t seriously believe she was going to win but were engaging in a form of magical thinking that said “If I fear Trump winning that will prevent him from actually winning.”

Statistics were on my side and logic was also on my side. Our country had been crazy enough to select Donald Trump as the republican presidential nominee but surely we wouldn’t be crazy enough to select him as our next president. A hateful, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic hot headed bully with no political experience was obviously not suited to lead our country. Hillary certainly had her flaws but she was obviously a much better, more qualified candidate for the job than Donald Trump.

When it was first announced that Trump was running for president I thought of him as a joke candidate. I assumed he would drop or be forced out of the race soon enough because  he was just so ridiculous and so horrible in so many ways. I watched in horror and disbelief as he rose to the top of the republican polls and became the party’s official nominee. I watched in horror as he mocked a disabled reporter, called Mexicans rapists, proposed to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and deport the ones that were here, had to stop and think for a few days before disavowing a member of the KKK, shamed women for having abortions, having their periods, using the bathroom and not having perfect bodies. I watched in horror and disbelief as it was revealed that he was going to court for a financial scam he’d run through Trump university, that he’d sexually harassed several women, that he and his father had denied people housing based on their skin color. I watched in horror and disbelief as he demeaned, insulted, bullied and threatened anyone who did not live up to his standards,who dared to speak out against him and who displeased him in any way. I watched in horror and disbelief as despite all this people continued to support him.

Who were these people who supported him and why did they support him? Before the election most of the people I talked to about Trump found him to be as awful as I did. However, there was one person in my life who told me he wasn’t going to bother voting but if he did vote he would vote for Trump because he thought he was awesome. Why did he think he was so awesome? Because he just tells it like it is without worrying about political correctness!

I’ve heard that line of reasoning from other people and every time I hear it, I feel like my eyes are going to roll out of my head. I can respect a person who isn’t afraid to tell the truth even if it might make them unpopular but I will only respect them if the things they say are actually true, intelligent and helpful.  They do not get credit for spewing a bunch of hateful, hurtful, idiotic, asinine bullshit. Really, this guy’s pie hole had become indistinguishable from his asshole because there was so much shit coming out of both ends.

Good, reasonable people don’t refrain from saying the things he says because they’re afraid saying them will make them unpopular. They refrain from saying them because they realize they’re not true, kind or necessary. Trump hadn’t just eschewed political correctness, he had eschewed basic human decency. Trump was not the hero of The Emperor’s New Clothes, speaking the truths others are too afraid to voice, he was the emperor who was too stupid and incompetent for the job. My feelings on the people who applauded Trump for “telling it like it is” are best summed up by a political cartoon I saw in which a flock of sheep are looking at a billboard of a wolf with the slogan “I’m going to eat you” and they’re saying “At least he’s telling it like it is.”

The other reasons people gave for voting for Trump were just as ridiculous and nonsensical to me. You don’t like Obamacare? I’ve yet to hear the details of Trump’s brilliant healthcare reform plan. You think we need to kick those darn Mexicans who are taking our jobs and those scary Muslims who are terrorizing us out of this country? I think we face bigger threats from own white American born citizens. I also think racism and Islamophobia are very harmful  and ineffective strategies for addressing unemployment and terrorism. You think Trump’s hateful policies and rhetoric will only harm all those bad, evil members of those minority groups and all those good, upstanding citizens will be just fine? How sad that you’re that naive, that you have such a poor understanding of the ways racism and xenophobia are proliferated. You think Trump will be great for the economy because he was a successful business man? Running a country is a bit different from running a business and that successful business man filed for bankruptcy six times.

It seemed some people weren’t voting for Trump as much as they were not voting for Hillary. Why did my non-voting but Trump supporting brother dislike Hillary? Because he thought she was a bitch. Trump accused Hillary of “playing the woman card.” There were a lot of people who were excited at the prospect of a female president but I’m pretty sure being a woman harmed her presidential campaign more than it helped it. Unfortunately misogyny is alive and well in America. An assertive man is a bitchy woman.

I was one of those people who was excited at the prospect of seeing a woman elected president. We were just about the only developed country in the world that had never had a female leader. A woman becoming president would be a nice symbol that the walls of patriarchy were crumbling and women could now become anything they wanted to be. Please don’t think I was voting with my vagina though. I voted for Hillary because I truly felt she was the best, most qualified candidate. If she was the female version of Trump, if she said and did the kind of things he said and did I would not have voted for her.

Some people were horribly offended that Hillary said half the people who were voting for Trump  belonged in a basket of deplorables and yet they gave a pass to the million and one horribly offensive comments Trump made. I’d say she was truly telling it like it is and that half is a generously conservative estimate. That comment was also made in the context of acknowledging that the other half of Trump supporters were decent people who had been let down by the government and who should be empathized with.

I get that some people believe life begins at conception and thus feel that Hillary’s pro-choice stance makes her a baby killer but I believe in a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. I believe that if we can’t take away organs from a dead person in order to save the life of someone with legal personhood unless the dead person has given their prior consent than we certainly shouldn’t be able to force a living, breathing woman to be a human incubator for 9 months in order to preserve the life of a fetus.  Moreover, it’s much more important to me to have a president who will focus on improving the quality of life of our citizens with legal personhood rather than one who will focus on just keeping fetuses alive at the expense of the women gestating them and who will stop caring about those fetuses once they’re born.

It drove me crazy the way people would point to Hillary’s less than perfect political record and argue that Trump was a better choice because he had a clean record in politics. The reason he had a clean record in politics was because he had no experience in politics whatsoever. I’ll take someone with a long history of experience with some mistakes made along the way over someone no experience and every indication that if given a chance, they will royally fuck things up.

In what other profession would someone with no experience in the field even be considered for a high ranking position? I know people have become disillusioned with politicians but many people have become disillusioned with lawyers and doctors as well. Would those people see allowing someone with no medical training to operate on them or allowing  someone who hadn’t been to law school to defend them in court as solutions to their problems?

Speaking of defense lawyers the argument against Hillary that always had me rolling my eyes was that she was a bad person because she defended a child rapist in court. How awful of her to do the job she was expected and paid to do to the best of her ability. We all know the justice system is founded on the premise that some crimes are just too horrible to defend and never mind that Trump was accused of raping a child himself.

I hate to minimize anyone’s death or quantify tragedy in numbers but sometimes it seemed as though Hillary got more grief over the four deaths in Benghazi that she might have had something to do with than George W. Bush got over the hundreds of thousands of deaths he caused with the Iraq war. I was not pleased with he way Hillary handled her e-mails but that paled in comparison to all of Trump’s egregious sins and I hear Trump has an e-mail scandal of his own. Oh yeah, in addition to being a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, a bully and an asshole, he’s also a hypocrite.

In 2016 I began to lose my ability to tell the difference between real news stories and satire.  Real news stories were reading  like pieces from The Onion. I’d read about things Trump said and did and I would assume it was satire but nope, he’d actually said and done those things. Later in the year I’d read satire and assume it was a real news story because nothing Trump said and did could even surprise me at that point. Some things were so ridiculous that I was about 95% they were satire but with the way this election was going you just never knew.

Had we somehow been catapulted in to an alternate universe that was a parody of the real world? In what kind of bizzare-o world was Donald J. Trump a serious contender for president? In some parts of the world at some times in history it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see someone like him rise to power but this was America in 2016 for god’s sake. The week before election day I posted a meme on Facebook that said “On Sunday remember to set the clock back 60 minutes and on Tuesday remember not to set the country back 60 years.”

I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to realize just how creepy Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” is. Again? What time period in America’s history does he think is so great that we should aspire to return to it? I suspect “Make America Great Again” is really code for “Make America White Again.”

No matter what horrible thing Trump said or did, his supporters continued to try to justify his words and actions, to make excuses for him. That one quote of his wasn’t so bad when you put it in context, he didn’t really mean that other thing the way people thought he did and of course he did racist things in the 70s, everyone was racist in the 70’s. The liberal media was just biased against him. They were telling lies about him and painting a false picture of him. He was really an all around great guy.

Then a video emerged of him talking about sexually harassing the women he worked with and grabbing them by their pussies. Some people dismissed it as innocent locker room talk but a lot of people seemed to realize that this was kind of a big deal. His approval ratings and his odds of winning the election plummeted. He was being pressured to drop out of the race. Then his campaign staff seized away his control of his twitter account. I was hoping people would realize that a man who couldn’t even be trusted with a twitter account, shouldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes. I was hoping his goose was finally cooked.

About 11 days before election day it was announced that new information had been found regarding Hillary’s e-mails and that the FBI was reopening its investigation in to her activity. This revelation was brought to us courtesy of Weiner’s weiner.  Of course it was. That was the 2016 election for you. This latest development alarmed me and I worried it would hurt her chances of being elected but when a few days later it was announced “Oh no, just kidding. We’re not reopening the investigation. She’s in the clear” I figured things were all good and that she would win the election.

At a message board I participated in someone said that ordinarily the e-mail scandal would be a much bigger deal, maybe it would even be a deal breaker but then the republicans went and nominated an over ripe papaya with a twitter addiction. Unless Hillary was found doing something really horrible like chewing on the corpse of Ryan Seacrest, she had this election in the bag. Someone else replied that she would have to be found chewing on the corpse of a celebrity much more beloved than Ryan Seacrest in order to lose this election. I read an article in which people were asked what it would take for them to vote for Trump and someone replied “Hillary could die and I’d still vote for her over the vile alternative to her corpse.” That pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter.

As the time to tally the votes approached, I felt hopeful and confident that Hillary would win, probably by a landslide. I was hopeful and confident that a few months from now Hillary would be making history as our nation’s first female president and Trump would seem like a nightmare we had put behind us. Years from now when people referenced him it would be to say “Remember when we had a presidential candidate that resembled both a Nazi and a Cheeto? What were the people who supported him thinking? For a while I was afraid he might win the election but thank god our country came to its senses. Imagine what the world would be like today if he had become president.”

I told my my mother that we needed to go get snacks and drinks for election night because this was going to be a festive, celebratory occasion. My mother replied that since it was going to be a historic occasion, she didn’t want to miss an hour of it in order to go to the grocery store. I would have preferred to eat popcorn and drink sparkling apple cider as I cheered Hillary’s victory but even without those things watching her win the election would be pretty damn awesome. I had spent election night 2008 in a mental hospital so I had missed experiencing the joyful, celebratory atmosphere of the nation as we elected our first black president but I would be there to experience the celebration of a woman being elected president in all its glory.

My confidence that Hillary would win the election was cemented when it was reported that Trump’s own campaign manager had said it would take a miracle for him to win. I’d never believed in God and I thought that if he did exist he was a real asshole. He was a special kind of asshole if he refused to grant us all the miracles that should have happened like allowing kids to recover from terminal cancer but then granted us the miraculous disaster of a Trump presidency.

The election results started pouring in and Trump was in the lead. My mom started freaking out but I told her not to worry. It was still early and those states where Trump had won were states where we had expected him to win. The other states where it looked like he was going to win had only tallied one percent of the vote. I reminded her of election night 2012. In the beginning Romney was ahead but in the end Obama won.

I posted a Facebook status that said “I wish they weren’t announcing the Trumperific states first. It makes me feel like I need Xanax to get through this election night.”

As he won more states my anxiety level rose. My mother was really upset when it looked like he was going to win Florida but I pointed out that while it had been said that he needed Florida in order to have a shot at winning the election, that didn’t mean that taking Florida guaranteed that he would win the election.

I started to really get concerned  when swing states and states that had solidly gone democrat for years went to him. I turned to the New York Times for comfort. They had been my source of comfort in the months, weeks and days leading up to the election, with the chances they gave of Trump winning the election often being in the single digits. They now had a live meter measuring Trump’s chances of winning the election. I noticed with alarm that his chances were now above 50% and that the arrow was moving steadily upward, crossing over from the tossup section of the meter to the likely section and heading towards very likely.

My next Facebook status read “Okay, I’m really starting to worry now. Can this not be real life?” My Facebook friends were expressing similar sentiments. “How could the cheeto be in the lead? ” they wondered. There was talk about which states Hillary had lost, which states she had won and which states she would need to win if she was to still have any hope of winning the election. “She’s won Virginia. There’s still hope yet” one of my friends said to me. “Once she wins California she’ll pull ahead in electoral college votes” my mom said. I informed her that she’d already won California and it had already been counted towards her electoral college votes.  “Oh crap” my mom replied.

She went downstairs and attended to the cookies that were baking in the oven. We had hoped to make them as celebration foods but they were turning in to comfort foods. This party was taking on the air of a funeral. As we sat in front of the TV we battled feelings of nausea and struggled to find the simple words we needed to express what we wanted to say.

My next Facebook status read “There are no atheists in foxholes. This quote feels disturbingly relevant to to me right now.”

I had never been religious but now I found myself praying to God, the universe or whatever force was out there that Trump would not win this election.

Things just went downhill from there. Trump continued to win more states and a widening pool of redness was spreading across a map of the United States.  I watched in horror as Trump’s chances of winning the election went from 60% to 75% to to 85% to 90% until my mom came in to my room to say “Trump’s chances of winning the election are now over fucking 95%.”

My next Facebook status read “Welp, Canada’s immigration site just crashed and so did my morale” followed by “It’s 1:30. Just put us out of our misery already.”

I saw a Facebook comment by someone saying they’d done the math and it was technically still possible for Hillary to win the election. Shortly afterwards I saw a comment by someone saying they’d done the math and it was impossible for her to win at this point.

When Hillary’s dejected campaign manager came on stage to inform everyone that Hillary would not be speaking tonight and that they should go home, I wrote a Facebook status that said :

“When I was three years old I cried over Michael Dukakis losing the election but that’s nothing compared to the devastation I now feel over Hillary’s projected loss. I was looking forward to seeing our country elect its first woman president and instead I get to watch it elect its first orange president.

I want to wake up and discover this has all been a bad dream. On election day I wore white and I feel like the day after election day I should wear black. Rest in peace, America. You can be buried next to my faith in humanity.”

A few minutes later my mom came in to my room to inform me that Hillary had called Trump to concede the election to him. My heart sank. Donald J. Trump was officially our president elect. It had happened here.

To be continued…