Friday, November 11, 2016

Not Normal

Right, so here is the thing. Someday, soon, I will get back to writing about pop culture and the effervescent delights of entertainment. Someday, soon, I will smiles uncontrollably at the endless beauty of a woman in a tank top or a finely tailored suit. Someday, soon, I will laugh so hard again tears stream from my eyes from something other than panic, fear and unshakable sadness.

I have never felt this way after an election and hope to never, ever again. I suspect many of you feel the same way, too. This deep despair. This isn’t about just losing an election. This is about losing the image I’ve had of America. Plain and simple, I was wrong. We are not the country I thought we were. I was so wrong.

Granted, I wasn’t completely wrong. By the time every last ballot is counted (Jesus, California, get your shit together with mail-in votes), I suspect Hillary Clinton will have won by more than 2 or 3 million in the popular vote. Flat-out, more Americans voted for her. But that doesn’t matter because of our antiquated electoral college system (which was constructed by the Founding Fathers because they didn’t trust the common citizenry to be smart enough to vote for themselves and was reconstructed in the late 18th Century to perpetuate the institution of slavery).

I keep reading how we should understand Trump voters. How we should sympathize with Trump voters. How we have to give Trump voters their due. Sure, fine. OK.

But empathy goes both ways. Where are the stories then about the very real panic and very real fear Hillary supporters feel at this man’s win? This is not about being a sore loser. This is about being terrified at the rights this man will take away and the people this man has emboldened.

Because many people of color, immigrants, Muslims, LGBT people, disabled people, women – we feel our rights and even our lives are more at risk now. The rights to control our bodies, the rights to live peacefully in an adopted homeland, the right to marry who we love, the right to worship other or no gods, the right to affordable health care, the right to walk down the street to buy a bag of Skittles, the right peaceably assemble in protest as our First Amendment enshrines.

Make no mistake he ran on a platform of divisiveness and denigration. He was endorsed by the KKK – THE KKK. Those forces have been unleashed now feel legitimized. They feel safe to say the things once scorned as unspeakable out loud and proud and to our faces. And we haven’t even gotten into what his serial misogyny and history of sexual assault telegraphs to men in America. Go ahead and grab them by the pussy, fellas. Don’t worry, you can still be president.

On Wednesday I spent the whole day wondering if each person I passed voted against my very existence. And, just in case you were wondering, not voting or casting a protest vote ended up meaning the same thing. It meant you didn’t care enough or didn’t think enough about the people this man’s presidency would hurt to vote for the only person who could defeat him. If you loved Obama but didn’t vote for the successor he asked you to, it meant you essentially helped destroy his legacy. That is just a fact. But I’m not trying to shame you if you did that. I really am not. I just want you to never forget this feeling.

So here we are. This is our new reality. In eight years, President Obama never came for your guns, America. Not once. In fact you own more now than ever before in human history. But you can bet Trump will absolutely (try) to build that wall and ban Muslims and Pence will absolutely push to end same-sex marriage and keep trans people from peeing in the bathroom they choose and Ryan will absolutely come for your health care and a woman’s right to choose. They control all the levers of power now and will be the ones filling the Supreme Court. Elections have consequences. These are those consequences.

So where do we go from here? Well, we certainly can’t keep crying every day at random, unexpected moments. I mean we can, and I have. Like, the other day in the optometrist’s office while waiting for my pupils to dilate. Sorry, doc, just devastated that my civil liberties and those of other millions of other Americans will soon be stripped. You know how it goes.

How do we go on from here? Well, we pick ourselves up. We look unblinkingly at all the work to be done. We realize progress isn’t a straight line, it’s a seemingly endless winding road and we will end up in ditches and trenches and sometimes even turning backwards. But the only thing we can do is to keep trying. The only way we get better is if we keep fighting.

And we realize the privileges we have in our own lives as much as possible. And when we hear or see someone more vulnerable than us being hurt or harassed, we step up. We speak out. We speak out when it’s hard especially.

We realize that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Immigration Law Center, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, The Trevor Project, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sierra Club, International Rescue Committee, Southern Poverty Law Center and others need your time and money more than ever now.

We realize that in 362 days there will be local elections. And in 727 days will be the midterm elections. And in 1,458 days we will vote again for president.

We realize that this is not normal. What this man espouses and how he acts is not normal. And we never let it become normal.


Shannon said...

The only thing I can muster right now is thank you. It's not nearly enough but thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dorothy. My sentiments exactly.

Adding to your list of organizations: the Southern Poverty Law Center which is compiling information on hate incidents across the country.

ald2106 said...

I feel your pain Dorothy. You are not alone in this. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

We grieve. I think I may have come by this via @JoyAnnReid:

He's written a couple more after that, calling for White Christian T voters to fix this, and one inviting T to prove his rhetoric was empty air. Don't read comments if you go to this site.

Everything is just HARD now. I've decided I will wear my Hillary H hat, as I was before the election, because I want people to know she was my choice. I'm in a red area of a blue state but I think I will still be safe. If I am confronted, I will say I am proud of and will never regret my vote. If the numbers hold, I might point out she got the most votes but the system is not set up to recognize that as winning.

Waffles said...

I'm still wearing all my Hillary flair. I'm not ready to give up. I've been crying since late tuesday, but this morning on the news they were talking about him planning to take some right away, and I thought, "Bring it." So, I feel like some flashes of anger and defiance are burbling to the surface. I'm looking forward to that.

January said...

Normal isn't what it's cracked up to be. Straightness calls itself normal. Whiteness more subtly does the same. Let’s aim for full strength, because right now I’m thinking a lot of us are feeling mighty depleted. We are weary from battles hard fought and from an especially hard loss. But we are here and queer and trans and lesbian and gay and bi to fight another day. Visibility=Resistance, Silence=Death. If you can’t be visible for some reason, let me be visible for you.

Nici75 said...

Five stages of grief-- my advice, drop the last 2 and stick with stage 3:

Get mad. Stay mad. Fight back.

You guys need to support each other and get organized. After considering Dorothy's donate-to-these-folks list, your focus should be on local elections-- please remember that you need building blocks: lower level officials, like small town mayors and sheriffs and even school board members, are the people who often have direct influence. They're not at a lofty remove, and their influence IS important-- the regular people directly influenced by those lower level officials, are voters.

Pay off? It's really big: the more people you can elect at lower levels, the easier it becomes to elect officials at higher levels.

It's easy to think that the little elections and minor appointments don't matter, but they really do count.

Hang in there, folks. Most of the world's behind you all the way.

Helena said...

Nici75 , that is so well said. And DS hang in there we love you and share your pain.

Koschki said...

I was devastated with the results but my Egyptian husband cheered me a bit up with this: Hillary's concession speech was shown on Egyptian television in Arabic. Millions of girls worldwide saw her telling them that they're valuable, that they're powerful and that their dreams are worthwhile. It's at least something.

Anonymous said...

Weve got to repeal the electoral college. More Democrats live in the Big Cities on the East Coast and the West Coast and if it went by the popular vote Hillary would have won the election. We give too many electoral votes to the Heartland. The election was effectively stolen due to the antiquated electoral college.

Anonymous said...

the trump people are calling for obama and hilary to make sure there is a peaceful transition of power. but actually they can do it themselves by droping the racist and anti-gay members and policy, right? i think the protesters on the street should absolutely demand it.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult to face this country right now.