I have spent this week mourning.
My husband does not understand. Though he is not in anyway, shape or form a Trump supporter, he is a political historian and economist. He sees this week’s election in the terms of politics and the market; neither of which are much to comment on. A Republican (albeit a faaar right one) is now in office. There is a peaceful transfer of power underway. The market recovered after it’s initial 700 point dive.
These are the things he responds and reacts to, and, as such, wonders why I have been in constant tears over the last four days.
The grief was/is real. I did not sleep Tuesday night. I spent most of Wednesday crying. Thursday was a little better. Today I have only cried twice.
My husband asked me why, truly puzzled. I could only shrug, because you see, at first, I just knew that I grieved. I grieved for my country, feeling a deep sense of despondency, a sadness so big and so gigantic that I could not find words to describe the depth and breadth of my hurting.
Wednesday felt the worst. Dark and bleak. The rain incessantly fell on the car windshield as I sat sobbing out front of my house, talking to my grandmother, begging her to tell me that these things pass, that this is not the first of the United State’s mistakes and we have emerged before, and we will again.
She told me that this was true, citing those traumas she had lived through.
She tried to comfort me.
I could not be comforted. I railed against Republicans. I was so filled with anger at the people who seemed to have voted for racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, and kicking the wheelchair of children with cerebral palsy (an affliction my brother struggles to live with).
They voted for someone who admitted to being a sexual predator! And many because they just “didn’t like Hillary.” I was so angry. I could not even look on the face of my best friend’s husband because he voted for Trump. He disgusted me.
I KNEW, I knew I was being irrational and ignorant. I KNEW it was/is not that black and white. And underneath the anger, I felt kernels of shame, because I knew that half of the population who voted for Trump were not so simply defined by the message that Trump spouted from his pulpit.
And as Wednesday moved to Thursday, I started to emerge from the anger. I started to think a little more clearly, and I slowly started to wonder if maybe, just maybe this might be a good thing, healthy for our country. Maybe because we now see what is wrong, what is out there, what is actually going on, we can start to address those things.
My husband calls the election results the impact of geoeconomical downturn; I think he is right. And I get it, I really do. I have lived in those towns decimated by jobs being shipped overseas. I have seen the meth addiction (though I moved away before seeing the opioid one). I have known those people who carry a feeling of hopelessness about them… who believe that no-one cares about them… who believe that they are getting the shaft.
And largely, they have a point.
The media didn’t care, or didn’t realize. I didn’t care. Most of the democrat party didn’t care or didn’t realize.
… but we do now.
And I hope, intellectually, that by having these people’s plights highlighted for all the world to see, that they will be helped, their lives will be made better, and in doing so, their fear and hatred of The Other (the seed of all racism, bigotry, sexism etc.), will disappear with understanding, education and exposure.
This is where I am intellectually: Hopeful tinged with a touch of pessimism.
But. My heart hurts. The tears roll down my face. I worry about all those minorities that I both know and don’t know. I read about the hatred that is being found in schools, SCHOOLS for heaven’s sake, and I just can’t even comprehend the totality of what has happened.
And that brings me to today.
At first, I didn’t understand what I was grieving about. Was I grieving for humanity? For the protection of our planet? For our future as a country?
All of those things are worthy of grief, yes, but in reality, I realized today that I am grieving the loss of an illusion.
You see, dear readers, I thought we were so much farther along. I thought we were a nation moving in progressive ways. I thought we were more open then ever to homosexuality; and we were at least having conversations about Black Lives and police brutality.
In my circles and in the media it seemed that we understood that Muslim does not equal terrorist, and Latino is a rich, vibrant culture to be celebrated and welcomed.
I thought the entirety of our nation, when putting aside politics and religion, was progressing, learning kindness and acceptance, or at least having conversations that would lead to those outcomes.
I was wrong. So incredibly, terribly, horribly wrong because we are not there yet, and we might not be for a long time.
And that is why I grieve.
I grieve for a nation that hasn’t made it to that place, and I grieve because my thinking it had was all smoke and mirrors.
I grieve for a nation that was of my own imagination.
Because, you see, I thought they were a basket of deplorables. I thought it was a handful of people at Trump rallies.
I was so wrong. Ignorantly wrong. Arrogantly wrong.
And I grieve for my loss.
I could end this post there, leaving it with grief, but we move forward because what else can we do, and it is what we SHOULD do.
Moving forward, we will try to protect those who are in the line of fire; try to protect our Earth; try to protect the inalienable rights of EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING.
And hopefully, we will try to figure out what to do for those who voted for Trump.
Friends, the problem and the solution is so vast and so multileveled, that I don’t even know if it can be fixed. I look at my country and I see so much work to be done. Is it possible to change the geoeconomical forecast for those who overwhelmingly voted for Trump? I don’t know. We live in a global world, and anyone telling you otherwise is lying to you. Those manufacturing jobs are not coming back. It doesn’t matter how many tariffs you put on China. There is always India.
And there might be a resurgence of mining jobs etc., maybe even a small boom in those West Virginia and Kentucky towns… until there isn’t because there isn’t anything more to dig up (or, policy puts a stop on fossil fuels under another president in the future).
Change has already started, is already changing the landscape of all. And not Brexit or Trump is going to be able to stop globalization or the “fall of the white man.”
And IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A FALL.
We, ALL OF US, must redefine how we live in this world and how we fit into it; and that includes those who voted for Trump. There is a plight. Absolutely. There is terrible fissures in our country. People need help. And just as I will work to protect and help those affected by Trump and his followers, I will work to protect and help the followers too. Because, my illusion wants to become reality, and I want it to become reality.
We are humans in this together. I want that future and I will work hard and tirelessly towards trying to make that future exist.
But not yet.
Tomorrow I will let go of the anger and hurt and disgust.
Today, I am still crying.