But the next four years have only just begun
For three years, I was in constant pain from Lyme disease, and it took all my willpower and energy to get out of bed. In the last two days, it’s been even harder for me to get out of bed than when I was at my worst with chronic fatigue and debilitating pain. Before my body was broken. But today — MY HEART AND SOUL ARE BROKEN.
I’m trying not to wallow. Really I am. In fact, I keep reaching for any bit of light I can find, and then the darkness surrounds me, and I am reminded this is not a dream or a plot for a dystopian novel. Plus everywhere I look I see his face on my computer screen or on my TV and I have a physical reaction that sends shivers down my spine, and makes me feel sick. I don’t want to get out of bed. Or eat. Or exercise. I feel so lost. I know I must take action and get more involved with our democratic system. However, I’m not quite there yet. I’m barely able to focus and get through the day.
I’ve heard somebody laughingly call this “Hillary flu.” I know it’s meant to be derogatory slam against wallowing liberals, but I’ll take it over “Trump fever.”
I just hate where we are right now.
Still, I remind myself, as I tell our youth: HE IS OUR PRESENT, BUT YOU ARE OUR FUTURE.
And that helps me see how bright the future looks, even if the present seems somewhat dark and scary.
This younger generation is the most open-minded, diverse, and inclusive in our country’s history. They don’t remember the “good old days” and they have grown up with certain rights they surely aren’t going to give up without a fight. I’ve heard several of my Republican “friends” call this generation and all the liberals who are protesting this shift in our democracy as being “entitled and spoiled”. Well if it makes me spoiled to think my rights are protected under the Constitution then call me spoiled. If it makes me entitled to believe that everyone — not just heterosexual cisgender white men and women — should be treated as equal, then call me entitled.
By the way, we are not crying and protesting because we as democrats or liberals or independents or progressives lost. We are utterly bereft because in our hearts we truly feel like OUR COUNTRY LOST.
And the divisive nature of where we are as a country — with two very vastly different ideologies now being led by an inexperienced Reality TV star and egotistical businessman who says and does whatever he wants — scares us to death.
Those who gloat and call us whiny losers or sore losers are missing the point. It is their right to taunt us and gloat, of course. For many this is all just part of “the game.” And besides, they voted for the orange one, so obviously they do not see in him what so many of us see. Maybe they never will. I hope they never will. Unfortunately, it will take a great undoing for them to see the emperor has no clothes. His hate speech didn’t deter them from supporting him. Fifty-three percent of white women voted for him despite his bragging about sexually assaulting women.
So whatever he does that might finally help them see the truth would have to be something devastatingly awful or cataclysmic. And that will impact us all. NOT JUST THEM.
This is NOT something I hope for. I don’t want to be the one who says, “told you so.”
In fact, I am actively praying that things won’t be as bad as we think it’s going to be. I try not to panic when I remember our country’s intel is now being handed to a man who feels the need to express himself openly and egregiously (and crassly) on Twitter and can be engaged in a Twitter war every time he feels even slightly insulted. Sorry, but it frightens me that this thin-skinned bully will have his hands on the nuclear codes. I know this is future-tripping and I shouldn’t go to worst-case scenarios. However, come January 2017 —
The man standing between us and nuclear war will be a man who is not very intelligent or thoughtful; is easily insulted and baited; and exudes a special brand of obnoxious and dangerous toxic masculinity, as well as a vile sense of self-entitlement and white privilege.
And then I pivot and try to ignore such worst-case scenarios. Maybe he won’t actually destroy everything we hold dear, I think. And perhaps much of his more insidious campaign promises were all macho blustering or exaggerations to rile up his followers.
Or we can set the bar really low and treat him like a new and inept parent. Then we can celebrate it as a success if he merely keeps our country breathing for the next four years.
And we can try to stay positive and proactive. We can set our sights on the midterm elections and hope that between now and 2018 he won’t have nearly enough time or power to: destroy the environment; abolish reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights; decimate healthcare; implement mass deportations; alienate our NATO partners; isolate our country in nationalistic fervor; empower white supremacists, thereby legitimizing institutional racism and hate; or play softball with Putin, Assad and Kim Jong-un.
How much damage can one person do in one term?
I say this to calm myself. But then I think of the cast of fools he is certainly adding to his Administration as I type this — Christie, Giuliani, Gingrich. A climate skeptic heading up the EPA? Oh dear lord, I think, just when you think it can’t possibly get worse — it certainly does.
IT DOES GET WORSE.
And that’s what they don’t get when they call us crybabies or tell us to get over it and get behind the new “leader” of the free world.
The election is over, but the next four years have only just begun.
Now we have to live with this decision. And day by day, it will certainly get a hell lot worse, before it gets even slightly better for many of us.
What is there to do?
My heart will mend a little each day. I will take comfort from the people in my life whom I love and who are courageous, and strong, and hardworking, and compassionate, and kind, and inclusive, and loving and showing me how to stay in the light. I will stay opinionated and outspoken (as long as we continue to have Freedom of Speech). I will check in with Pantsuit Nation each day as we bolster each other up and spread the news about a movement of real change. And I will get off my butt, dust myself off, and become an active participant in our political system.
All we can do is look to the future, and make sure we are all doing the best we can. In my heart, I take comfort in knowing that whether we are red or blue, conservative or liberal, WE ARE ALL UNITED in wanting this. None of us wants to destroy anything (although this may be the idealist in me speaking). We all want to build a better America.
We just vehemently and passionately disagree on the way to get there.
So now after eight years of Obama, it’s the Republicans turn to take the lead and show us what they’ve got. No more excuses. No more pointing fingers. And if they’re going to call us whiny entitled crybabies and expect us to stay quiet and follow the leader, might I remind them that they whined and cried and ranted and threw up blockades throughout the Obama years. Fox News fed them talking-point after talking-point and conspiracy after conspiracy theory and they ate it up until they practically burst.
Luckily, this is still America and we have a right to protest and whine and speak up when we see our freedoms, and the freedoms of others, being put in extreme jeopardy by a careless Republican Party that told so many lies and raised so many conspiracies that it now uses hate speech to win elections. I don’t even see it as a choice. Who are we if we stay silent and don’t speak up and out against oppression?
We aren’t being very good patriots if we ignore blatant injustice.
So let’s see what the Republicans can do when they’re not spending all their time and energy trying to block a Democratic president or spending taxpayer’s money on endless investigations into the Clintons. Let’s see how easy it is to get things done when half of the country is still reeling and doesn’t support your agenda and doesn’t feel particularly represented or heard. Let’s see how this “outsider” shakes things up when his own party leaders don’t particularly like or respect him. Let’s see how long the lovefest between Trump and the Republican Party lasts. Let’s see if any good can come out of so much bad.
As for me, I’m going to drink a lot of tea. Meditate. Play with my dogs. Walk in nature. Hug my family. Write. Create. Cry. Laugh. Breathe. Heal. Love. And remind myself I am free and living in a very good country.
At least for today.