Like most people I know, I’m profoundly saddened and disappointed by the results of this week’s presidential election. I have lots of thoughts, and I’m not 100% sure I’ll be able to put them down in words, but I’ll try.
I’m sure nothing I’ll write here is anything that hasn’t been written more eloquently elsewhere. My theory friends Megan and Bryn have both written excellent posts on this; Bryn also created a bangin’ Spotify playlist (with some help from his Twitter followers).
I can’t say I’m completely shocked by the outcome, though I am disppointed that the polling numbers seemed to have been misleading. Maybe this is pessimism from living in a deeply red state and driving by a dozen Trump/Pence signs a day, or maybe I’ve just learned never to underestimate angry white people who feel threatened by people of other cultures. I’m as guilty as the next liberal of refusing to engage with my racist/misogynist high-school friends or extended family members on social media. (But at the same time, social media, and Facebook in particular, is a terrible place for substantive discussion with people you disagree with.)
There are a lot of things to be sad and angry about. With Trump in the White House, a Republican Congress, and (at least) one seat to fill in the Supreme Court, social progress in this country could be set back decades in no time flat. As a heterosexual white male, I’m mostly immune from the primary effects of that—straight white dudes have been in power basically forever in this country, after all—and, as I saw somewhere on Twitter, even though I disagree with everything about the next administration, at least I was born in the right camouflage.
I ache for women. Mike Pence is dangerously anti-woman, and it seems likely that reproductive rights are going to take a big hit. Even more than that, though, knowing that our country elected someone who brags about sexual assault over the most qualified candidate of all time is heart-breaking.
I ache for the LGBTQ community. For my friends, whose marriages are now in doubt. For my students, who are beginning to form their adult identities and are now being told that who they are is unacceptable. For the people I’ll never know, who no longer feel safe in their own communities.
I ache for people of color. I’m sad that people who look like me have been so terrible to you for so long. I’m sad that this election has brought to the surface the hate you’ve felt your entire lives. I’m sad we will have an administration that wants to keep you from coming here, and to send home your families. I’m sad that people do not understand that black lives matter. I’m especially sad that the president-elect has promised to restore “law and order,” and that that will involve more senseless murders of black men and women by the people who are supposed to be protecting you.
I know it’s early still, and that there’s work to be done. Already today we’ve donated (well…Carolyn has donated, but we share a bank account) to the NAACP, to Planned Parenthood, and to NARAL Pro-Choice America. A majority of the country did not vote for Donald Trump (not even a majority of voters did), and we cannot stand by and let him and his administration destroy the things that were so hard-won by people working much so much harder than I ever will.
In the past, I’ve tended to be fairly hands-off, politically. I was raised in a culture in which you did your work, and didn’t go telling everybody about it. (My parents are both very liberal, though probably no one outside their immediate family knows that.) For me, that’s going to change: if I can’t speak up for what I think is right, how is anything ever supposed to change?