the day after liberty

The Day After: Do We Have a Clue What Happens Now?

The Day After Election Day 2016: A Brain Dump

“What comes next?

“Do you know how hard it is to lead?

“Do you have a clue what happens now?”

The next leader of our country will be someone who has never served in public office before. He has also not yet publicly shown any real grasp of, or even interest in, how public service in American government actually works.

NONE OF US has a clue what happens now.

I’m finding encouragement in Hamilton songs this morning–as I’ve been doing for months–but damn, it’s tough to feel like we’re lucky to be alive right now.

“We are working through the unimaginable”

My Twitter feed on Election Night was an interesting mix. Some were dismayed and disappointed to see that America wasn’t the country they thought they knew. Others were dismayed and disappointed to see that America was exactly the country they suspected it was.

If you were to guess at the demographic breakdown, you’d probably be right.

Neither my Twitter feed nor my Facebook timeline was a happy place as the election returns came in. That tells me that most of my online friends–including the offline friends I connect with online–share many of my opinions and values.

Maybe that means I’ve created an echo chamber. I prefer to see it as a safe and supportive space where friends will help each other get through this and figure out how to respond to it.

“There is no more status quo

“But the sun comes up and the world still spins”

As Lorelai Gilmore told Rory when Dean broke up with her, sometimes we need to take the time to mourn:

“Listen, I’ve had my heart broken before. It’s really hard. It’s hard for everyone. So, can I give you a little advice? I think what you really need to do today is wallow. Get back in your pajamas, got to bed, eat nothing but gallons of ice cream and tons of pizza. Don’t take a shower or shave your legs or put on any kind of makeup at all. And just sit in the dark and watch a really sad movie and have a good long cry and just wallow. You need to wallow.”
We got knocked down, but after some time to lick our wounds, we need to get back up again. As Hillary Clinton herself said in her concession speech the day after Election Day:

“I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love — and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.”

“History is happening”

I supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign with my money, my social-media voice, and my vote.

Many women like me*–white, educated, not-quite-so-young–got behind this campaign like nothing we’d done before. We took it personally. We saw someone who seemed to understand our concerns and issues because she shared them in a very specific way–we saw ourselves.

*And it was not all or only women like me–I thank my husband Paul for all he did to speak out and support this campaign.

Now we’re seeing ourselves held back and shot down. We’re afraid we’ll lose rights we’ve fought hard to win and losing hope of ever winning those we haven’t yet gained.

That said, CNN’s exit polls make it pretty clear that women like me were not the only voters, and we clearly didn’t determine the outcome.

And that said, there are many who voted on Tuesday whose concerns are bigger and scarier than those of women like me. This election has made me confront my privilege. Part of confronting it is acknowledging that I don’t get to wring my hands and sit out what happens next.

Are you ready for more yet?

Thanks for spending the day after Election Day with me. Writing this has helped me fight back the tears and settle my anxious stomach. And here’s some further reading, if you’re up for it.

On why it happened the way it did:

Canvassing Las Vegas, a Scary Moment Just Before Election Day – Don’t Gel Too Soon

On processing what happened:

We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population. Those who have always felt vulnerable are now left more so. Those whose voices have been silenced will be further quieted. Those who always felt marginalized will be pushed further to the periphery. Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages.

This Week (Last Night) I Learned: Volume 61 (Brenna Clarke Gray’s TinyLetter)
“While the people who terrorize my Twitter feed like to mock ‘safe spaces’ and ‘triggering,’ it is they who live a life of abject, constant fear. How else do you explain the earnest belief in conspiracy theories, the desperation to be constantly armed, the vitriol at anyone who seems to want to make them share their pie?”

“And I know people are trying to find ways to be comforting but saying ‘we have lived through worse’ isn’t helping either. Because the last time Republicans controlled the White House, Senate AND House was 1928. You know what happened the year after? The Great Depression. The last time this trifling trifecta happened, Jim Crow was alive and well.”

On what we do next:


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  1. The Republicans will have their hands full for quite a while. Trump should not have gotten as far as he did. Him being a viable candidate early on was the real issue. They should have stopped that show before it started. BUT, now he has a lot of work to do and a lot of promises to fill. Bribery will get him impeached so let’s see how he works without $ backing him.

    1. Bribery, intimidation, and broken commitments–there probably ARE countries that run on those, but ours has never been one. I think someone’s getting a very loud wake-up call on January 21. And when the people who supported him realize he actually can’t get a lot of what he promised done, it’ll REALLY get interesting.

  2. I have taken much comfort in the circle of people I’ve largely surrounded myself with on social media today. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who felt like crying; last night I gave some serious thought to calling in sick today. I didn’t but I am going to allow myself to wallow for a while. I’ve been invited to go out with girlfriends tomorrow night who will mostly agree that this is a terrible thing but I’m not necessarily ready to spend a couple of hours talking about this with people or act like this isn’t really hurting.

    1. I thought about calling in too, but I worked from home on Tuesday so I felt like I’d better show up at the office. I didn’t get much done while I was there–not surprisingly–but I figured showing up was a start.

  3. Funny that you should quote one of the very Gilmore Girls episodes I watched last night during my overnight workplace marathon where that was all I could handle. I also listened to Hamilton three times or so between my shift and my hour at the laundromat. Today feels like September 12th.

  4. I woke up yesterday with “The world turned upside down” over and over in my head. It took a while to remember the next part of the song is “Rise Up!”
    I’m struggling with the echo chamber vs safe place dilemma on social media too. I’ve purged my Facebook because it was so toxic and I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do.

    1. I wish I’d worked THAT lyric into this post–“the world turned upside down” is totally apt for how this feels. And for what it’s worth, if “toxic” is how you’re describing your FB feed, I think you made the right call to purge it.