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.”
“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.
That discomfort you’re feeling when you hear white people being blamed for Trump? Sit with that.Then exercise your privilege to do the work.
— Janani (@TheShrinkette) November 9, 2016
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:
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.
“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.”