Fuckity-fuck, fuck fuck!
That pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter, as concisely as possible.
It’s taken me a while to process the results. I’m still trying to process the implications and ramifications for our country. Truth is, I don’t know what will happen – no one does – but I don’t get a good feeling when I consider the possibilities.
BTW: if you’re looking for a more analytical breakdown of what went so horribly wrong in this election, there are much better and more in depth pieces out there. People, better qualified than I, have done some interesting reporting and interpreting of the situation and its likely causes. If that’s how you soothe the gnawing ache I know many of you feel, go for it. I’ve done some deep dives myself, but that’s only because I’m a bit of a wonk and enjoy getting into some of the intricacies.
This post is not going to be a detailed breakdown of the electoral politics of this presidential cycle.
Sorry, I just don’t have the fucking energy.
There are two things I’ve been thinking about: The people who felt hurt enough and threatened enough to vote for such a dumpster-fire of a human being to be our leader, and the people – many of whom I know and love – who, rightly I think, fear that they will be hurt by this incoming administration and the example it has set; if that example prevails in the wider populace.
(Here’s a hint: Attacks on Muslims, in America, rose sharply during the 2015-2016 election cycle. If you think that has nothing to do with the example broadcast by a certain orange push-pop who was campaigning to be president, you’re fooling yourself – to a dangerous degree.)
I have a fairly good handle on the powers designated to the president, by the constitution. I’m sad to say I know more than most of the voting public; if polls are to be believed. So, I’m not terribly worried about most of the policy red-meat that got tossed out during the campaign. The president doesn’t have the power to do most of that shit. Most of that is Congress’ bailiwick. (I am worried that congress is now majority republican in both the House and the Senate, and – if you enjoy your constitutional rights, as they are – you should be worried too. Democrats tend to legislate hate crimes and regulate business. Republicans tend to take away your rights; right to privacy, to free speech, to due process, to fair treatment under the law.)
So, not so much worried about the president elect’s effect on policy – not yet anyway. What worries me, and what should worry you, is the example he represents. Trump campaigned – successfully – on the meaner angels of our nature. On fear. Isolationism. Nationalism taken beyond the bounds of reason or sanity in the modern world. Racism. Xenophobia. You’ve heard his greatest hits and they are not easy listening.
And those are just the sentiments he actively campaigned on. How he did so included some of the worst types of misogyny, pettiness, disregard for fair play or for facts. Rudeness. Encouraging outside, foreign powers to exert influence – legal or otherwise – into the American election system. He promised to both remove the right of a free press and to jail his political opponent. He spoke of suing people who brought charges of sexual assault against him.
He turned Americans against each other.
You can call yourself a lot of things, but when you behave that way, patriotic is not one of them.
In any American age, we have held up the office of the President as a shining beacon. A lighthouse on the stormy seas of cultural identity. We have said that whosoever holds that office is the best of us. We say that the president is someone to admire and to aspire to be like.
None of what I have said about the President elect is supposition. None of it is opinion. All of it is verifiable on video, issuing from the mouth of the man himself.
This is the example we have chosen to elevate.
Do not be surprised when – as they have already begun to – some of the less stable and less mannered members of our society begin to act to that example, or use it as a justification for the violent venting of their own insanity upon the members of the populace – women, LGBTQ, people of color, non-Christians, etc.. – who they, the unstable among us, feel are fair game.
Do not be surprised, and do not be silent.
Silence gives consent.
Stand up for your fellow Americans; for your fellow human beings.
As much as I disagree with Safe Spaces, it is time to become one.
I’m not talking about being a room full of puppies, or otherwise infantilizing grown people. I’m talking about being someone your fellow human beings can count on; count on to stand up, to get in the way, to protect the values of human decency and freedom from oppression that we, as Americans, have always held sacred. To stand in the way of hatred. If necessary, to stand in the way of violence.
One of the things that has made America great is that we stand together.
Do not look the other way when one of your fellow Americans is suffering under the weight of hatred and derision. Do not stand idly by while a fellow American is assaulted or deprived of their rights. Do not shrink from the conflict, regardless of who is involved. We Americans have always been fighters.
It is all right to be afraid. Fear is natural. But do not allow fear, in any of its guises, stop you from doing what Americans have always done: Spit in the eye of the oppressor and say,
“Do your worst. We will not be bowed”.
I hope for success. I hope for peace and prosperity. I hope for unity and progress.
But there may be dark times ahead. There may be pain, and suffering, and the loss of hope.
But we will not be bowed.