Friday, January 20, 2017
This is not normal
I haven't written about the election in this space, but that is not because it hasn't been on my mind. It has been hard to think about anything else. Today, Trump will become the President of the United States. That is a sentence I never thought I would type.
We traveled to Missouri on election day, ready to watch the returns with family and celebrate. I was excited and confident that our country would elect the first female president. Voting for Hillary with my kids was so, so special. We all know how that turned out.
I took periodic breaks from watching the returns to comfort my daughter who was struggling to fall asleep in a different place. By 1 a.m. it became harder and harder to deny that Trump was going to be the president-elect. I lay next to E, holding her, and thinking over and over, What the fuck, world? What. The. Fuck. She deserves better than this. We all deserve better than this.
This SNL clip describes with painful accuracy how election night looked for me, emphasis on the painful. The results forced me to come to terms with facts others cannot so easily avoid: we live in a racist, homophobic, misogynistic society. I was genuinely shocked by the results of the election, and that is a problem. My privilege and the liberal enclaves I inhabit blinded me.
I am at a loss. Outside of some extended family, I know very few, if any, Trump supporters. I live in a liberal town, go to a liberal church, and have liberal friends. How do you have productive, thoughtful, respectful conversations with the other side when you live in an echo chamber?
This post sums up so much of what I have been feeling. Hillary Clinton losing the presidency to Trump has felt personal in a way politics never has before. I was disappointed when Bush won in 2004--the first election in which I cast a ballot. But I wasn't scared. This feels different. This is different.
But here we are. Some days I find myself going about our routine, able to forget about the news. Then I remind myself it is a privilege to be able to check out, and I don't want to; I want to engage.
Someone recently told me that anger is not a productive emotion, that I should have hope instead. I respectfully disagree. I am angry and I want to stay angry. Angry enough to act. Angry enough to speak out. Angry enough to educate myself even when what I learn is uncomfortable. Angry enough to remember how incredibly not normal this all is.
We are entering a new era. Let's pay attention. Let's listen. Let's engage. Let's resist.