It’s now Friday, which means it’s been three days since the election. Two and a half, really, since the results started pouring in. I remain stunned by the results. Donald Trump is our president-elect, and I am still sick about this fact. I don’t know when I will stop being sick about it.
This is definitely grief. It feels like someone died.
Social media has always been a toxic morass, but these past few days it’s been more so. I’ve seen several people uncloak themselves as Trump supporters. They kept quiet during the lead-up, but now that they’ve been vindicated, they’re piping up. “Get over it,” they say. “Your candidate lost. Grow up.”
This isn’t about my candidate losing. “My” candidate has lost before. Plenty of times, in fact. In 1984 I was 5 months too young to vote, but I was keen on Mondale. He lost. In 1988, I cast my first vote in a presidential election for Dukakis. Also a big fat goose-egg there. Add to that 2000 and 2004. That’s four times my candidate has come up short in the election. It sucks. It’s dispiriting. But you accept the results and soldier on and know that you’ll get another crack at it in four years. “We survived Reagan and the Bushes, we can survive this,” people say.
This isn’t about any sort of illegitimacy of the election. Trump won fair and square. Sure, he didn’t get the popular vote but he got the Electoral vote and that’s how the game is played.
This isn’t even about the United States electing a person with zero political, legislative, or military experience. That strikes me as mighty unwise, but hey, I’m American. I love a good underdog, “Average Joe” story. I’m a big fan of moonshots. The Constitution says only that you have to be a natural-born US citizen, at least 35 years old, and have lived here for 14 years. By those rules, Trump was qualified.
Here’s what’s breaking my heart, shocking my system, and leaving me in a quandary as to what to do next:
Over sixty million people heard Donald Trump call Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “killers.” They heard him call women “fat pigs”, “dogs” and “slobs.” They heard him openly brag about sexually assaulting women. They heard him call for a ban on Muslims entering the country. They heard him openly call for a foreign country to interfere with our election. They heard him repeat for years that Barack Obama was not an American, and then they heard him flat out deny he ever did so. They heard him say all of these things and more and they decided it was acceptable.
That’s the part that’s killing me. Not the political differences or trade agreements or opinions on climate change. I have opinions on those things and I think they’re terribly important, but I also accept that there are differing opinions on how and whether or not to resolve them. What’s killing me is that a huge portion of the country has willingly decided that someone who does this is the person they want representing them to the world.
There are many people who already knew the United States of America was like this. People of color, and LGBT advocates and Muslims already knew this America existed. I knew there were people out there who were like this, but I had no idea there was so many of them. I’m ashamed of my ignorance.
That’s what died. My innocence. My relationship with my country. I honestly thought we were better than this.
So don’t tell me to “suck it up” and “get over it.” There’s been a death. This will take some time.