First: Hi guys. How are you doing? Are you eating anything? Are you making sure to take breaks from social media? Did you get a good night’s sleep last night? How about a nap?
I don’t know what to say. I really don’t. I found out last night that the America I thought I lived in is not real. And I don’t know how to process that type of dissonance. I don’t know how to deal with that sort of betrayal of trust. My trust in the people around me, the places I came from, the place I live, to do the right thing. To recognize that no matter their hurt or anger, the answer wasn’t fear, or hate. The answer was to dig deeper and work together to get us all out. A rising tide. I thought that’s what we stood for.
But now I know that approximately half of my fellow Americans hate me, what I stand for, and large parts of my friends and family. I don’t know how to process that information either. I don’t know how to shake off the nagging suspicion that they’ve never been with me, they were just pretending. That’s what I have to take away from these votes for a man that has been openly and incessantly hostile to those I hold near and dear. Before you tell me I am engaging in hyperbole, you weren’t there last night when the friends with whom I was watching the returns, mostly female members of the LGBTQ community, began to cry. In fear. In disappointment. In rage. You weren’t there as I received panicked texts from my friends across the country, friends of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, like they’d just been hit by a natural disaster. I don’t know what to do with this helplessness. I can’t help them. I can’t help me.
Because I will work for this man. This demagogue. It’s my job. I could leave my job. I might. But I feel like I owe it to the American people, even the half of them that hate me, to work towards a better future. To fight the tide of nationalism. Call me a glutton for punishment. I don’t know how I’d feel better on the sidelines. I’m probably going to have to buy more pantyhose. There’s really only one way to be a woman in a Trump administration. I’m pretty sure I’m not that kind of girl.
I walked down the street today, bleary eyed and exhausted, enfeebled, and in every face I met I searched for signs that the other person was with me, or against me. I got nothing back. I think we’re all numb. People in my office keep openly weeping. Me too. Crying at work isn’t professional, but we’re all giving each other a pass today. Maybe tomorrow.
Trump tells it like it is, or like they believe it to be. He gives them a pressure valve to let off the steam I didn’t know was building. Don’t we want to be on a trajectory towards more freedom? Towards more common dignity? Weren’t we all in this together? No. Apparently not. There’s been a lot of talk about how liberals lost because we’re disconnected from reality, and live in an ivory tower. I don’t think that’s right. I think we believe in the best of people. That people, when given the option, will tend to listen to their better angels, rather than demons. I don’t know how to process the idea that I was wrong about that.
And men. I realized last night, in a flash of total clarity, that the number of men I really trust can be counted on one hand, and I don’t need all five fingers. As I watched that roving pack of Bud Light-drunk dude bros gloat at Trump HQ, a shiver of fear ran through me. Van Jones referenced a “white lash” last night, and I don’t think he’s wrong. But I think there was also a a repudiation of female power; not just Hillary, but the notion that women are equals at all. And what scares me the most is how many women seem to agree. It’s not that anyone should have voted for Hillary because she was a women- it was moving and historic, yes, but I would have voted for a man who said the same things. It’s that people should have voted against Trump because of the hateful things about women and minorities he has said. I don’t know how you vote for a man who has shown total disdain for you just because of your gender or your ethnicity. Perhaps other things are more important to you, and I can respect that. But I never heard a single policy initiative from this man. I have no idea what affirmative things he stands for. I only know what he’s against, and that’s almost everything I love and hold dear.
And then there’s the silent majority (I won’t even get into the popular vote vs electoral college which somehow seems to always screw the Dems). Silent why? If you believe in this man, and what he stands for, if you were willing to vote for him, why be quiet about it? Are you ashamed? Do you understand that it’s a vote of self interest at the expense of your fellow Americans? You must. Otherwise why be silent. That silent majority terrifies me, the ones who voted against their own conscience and didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to be proud about it. If you’re really looking for a new world order, don’t be a coward about it.
Some say now is not the time for name calling. I think if you scroll up you’ll see there were no names called (ok, except dude bros. But you’ve seen the photos, I stand by my statements). But don’t ask me to move on, or forward. Not yet. Not today. I’m still reeling and I’m still numb, and I have whiplash from being asked to get on board with a platform that has repeatedly told me I am not welcome. I have more self-respect than that. I am not going to beg for crumbs at the feet of an institution that does not want me, or my kind. That tells me the only way to be a woman is as object, or opportunity. That names five old white men, one man of color, and exactly no women for their support when accepting the presidency.
Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get there tomorrow. But not today.