I’ve been sitting with the election results for a couple days now, and finally feel like I can talk about it. This has been a deeply, deeply painful election season, as you all know. And, as most of you know, I’m pretty damn liberal, so losing kind of sucks. But my side has lost before, and I’ve accepted it and moved on, looking toward future elections. On election night, I have never cried*, but this year I did. I lay in bed after it became clear that this country had elected an authoritarian man** with absolutely no experience or credentials in government over a woman who was more qualified than any other candidate in history. They chose to tacitly approve a man who has spewed hatred and vitriol against Muslims, Mexicans, and women (among others). A man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy. A man who denigrated gold star families and advocated the use of torture. They “overlooked” his personal faults because he was an outsider and a business man who would take care of the little guy and save the economy. Never mind that he was able to provide almost no information about policy, instead just saying he’ll slash and burn everything he doesn’t like and replace it with something “really, really good.” Never mind that he was born rich, was gifted millions of dollars and countless business connections by his daddy, and declared bankruptcy multiple times. Never mind that he’s never known what it was like to be the little guy and has repeatedly shafted the little guy by not paying for the services they rendered. Never mind that he hasn’t paid taxes in years, thus screwing the little guy out of good schools, good roads, and good healthcare. Never mind that he has perpetrated scams (like Trump University) against the little guy and pushed multiple business ventures that outright failed. Never mind that his products are made overseas, taking jobs away from the little guy here. Never mind the multiple sexual abuse allegations over the years. Never mind that most economists think the few policies he has outlined will put us back into another recession. The cognitive dissonance happening here is staggering. All evidence to the contrary, this man will be the savior?
Of course, I knew that racism was not dead in America. Of course, I knew that sexism and misogyny were deeply ingrained in our culture. But when the people who think that way constitute half of our population? I didn’t realize that. And I am heartsick about it. This is not the country I thought I knew.
And no, I didn’t think Hillary was going to swoop in and fix everything. She’s not perfect by a long shot. But she was overqualified. Yes, she made a dumbass move with the private email server, but that’s the worst thing you can hurl at her? I get that Bernie supporters were frustrated by the primary. I was, too. I voted for Bernie, but I think it was smart of Hillary to adopt the policies that Bernie was advocating. She listened to what the people in her party wanted and included it. That’s a good thing. Listening is good. People should do a lot more of it. This was a woman who had devoted her entire life to public service.
And – and this is no small thing for me – she was a woman. A woman damn it! Finally, there would be someone in the oval office who looked like me. Finally, I would see that anyone could be president. Little girls would grow up knowing that the “you can be anything you want to be” talks were true. Because, let me tell you, I grew up knowing that wasn’t reality. My parents were both feminists, but the real world was a lot harsher and sent very different messages. I was ready for America to say that women were valuable for something other than the shape of their bodies. But no, instead they voted for a man (who is no supermodel himself) who constantly denigrated women for how they looked, for the fact that they menstruated or needed to use the bathroom (I know, Donald, it’s disgusting: women should never have to pee). He rated women based on how fat they were or ugly they were. That was the measure of their worth. That, apparently, is the measure of my worth. The title of this post is “Sitting Among the Shards.” I had hoped that it would be the shards of glass from a shattered glass ceiling. That, obviously, is not the case. America voted for misogyny and hatred instead. They sent a clear message that women are not respected or valued for anything but their body parts.
So I cried that night. And I cried yesterday. But today? Today I am resolved. America can be better than this. This is my country, too. When I saw that Hillary actually won more votes and only lost because the electoral college system, I was heartened a bit – not a lot, because almost half the voting public still chose Donald. But still, more than half chose to give women a voice, to give sanity a voice, to give love a voice. And people are protesting because they want to let women and minorities know that they do count and they are loved and we will fight for them, too. I am grateful for the people who look for the value and worth of their neighbors.
This is their country. This is my country. This is our country. And as we fight for women and minorities, we will bring the little guy up with us. We must rise above party politics and try to improve everyone’s lot in life, even if they don’t always agree with us. We must not do what Republican leaders opted to do when Obama was elected – we must not block Donald at every turn out of spite. If he surrounds himself with people who have good ideas and he proposes good legislation, we must enact it. Making him fail for the sake of failing will not accomplish anything. Of course we must stand up to bad ideas. Even if the little guy won’t give us credit for working on his behalf, we must work for him anyway, in part because the majority of us are him, and in part because it’s the right thing to do.
This is our country.
*Actually, that’s not true. I cried when Obama won for the first time, because I was SO proud of my country for electing a person of color to be POTUS.
**Please give me credit for having refrained from using the term “cheetoskinned fucktwit manpig” to describle DJT for the entire post above.