Friday, November 11, 2016

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Like many people I know and I love, I was devastated by the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election.  It was heartbreaking in ways I can't even describe.  I stopped watching the coverage for the most part around 9:30 that night, choosing instead  to watch a Gilmore Girls rerun.  I flipped back periodically for updates, but the news just kept getting worse.  The last straw was an interview I saw with Nate Silver of  He said that betting odds had shifted to showing the mean orange one as the favorite.  I turned the TV off.

I took two unnecessary for medical purposes Benadryl and went to bed, crying just a little bit.  I woke up the next morning and I knew before I knew, and it was terrible.  The day was terrible.  I felt like I'd woken up in a post apocalyptic movie in the opening credits.  The day felt dark and endless and the weather reflected that with gray skies and rain throughout the morning, afternoon and evening.  I commiserated with other shell-shocked co-workers.  I comforted crying friends and tried to avoid crying myself.  I only really felt challenged when I read the transcript of HRC's concession speech.

Yesterday I woke up and decided I had to deal with it better.  I focused on reading articles and opinion pieces that told me why it wouldn't be as bad as we feared.  I took comfort in small pieces of evidence that his campaign was already possibly backing off of some of his more extreme ideas, like banning all Muslims (removed from his site) and pursuing the prosecution of HRC (Giuliani's interview).

More importantly, I made a choice to be better.  I made more eye contact with people on the streets.  I smiled at them.  My please and thank yous were more sincere instead of automatic responses.  I felt a generalized sense of compassion for everyone around me. I told my bus seatmate to have a good night before he de-boarded instead of just silently moving out of the way like everyone, including myself, is so inclined to do.

Today, inspired by a post by Sabrina over at The Perils of Urban Courtship, I donated to a local GoFundMe account for someone in need in my city.  Like she did, I'm looking into setting up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood or another organization that may need help in the wake of this impending presidency.  I want to be proactive in my beliefs instead of just talking about them over lunch or at the watercooler in the office.  I want to be part of the solution.

Beyond this, I'm trying to re-frame my initial understanding of what happened in this election.  I truly believe that only a small group of those that voted for our President Elect voted for him based on the intolerance he has demonstrated in his own words and life.  I think most people that voted for him were just so desperate for change, so desperate to get away from the establishment politicians, that they grasped at their only chance for something different in this election.

The fact is that HRC was not my dream candidate.  I voted for Bernie in the primaries because I matched up with him best on the issues.  HRC has made mistakes in her past.  But she's been crucified for them for years.  She's fought a harder battle her entire political career because she is a woman, and that's a fact.  She was held to a different standard and that was maddening to watch.  So while she was not my dream candidate, I voted for her and I hoped for her victory.  I didn't vote for her as a lesser of two evils either, though I definitely thought that was the case.  I also didn't vote for her because she's a woman.  Was that an awesome added bonus?  Hell yes!  It was amazing to witness.  In the end, I voted for HRC because she was by far the most qualified candidate.  I felt the country would be the safest under her guidance.

But in the end, she lost the electoral college, and he won.  This is where we are.  This is what we have to work with.

I'm not turning a blind eye to the heartbreaking incidents I've heard about in the last couple of days. People full of hate have been empowered by this victory, and it's creating dangerous and intolerant situations.  I'm hopeful that these are exceptions to the rule, and that they will be stamped out sooner than later.  Ideally, the President Elect would come out and condemn these behaviors, even if it would be fairly hypocritical of him to do so.  He incited this and he stoked these racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist fires.  He has an obligation now to try to put them out.  Will he?  I'm not betting on it.  But I can hope.

In the meantime, I'm going to focus on being better, doing better things and enjoying the things around me.  I love my people, my cats, autumn leaves crunching underfoot, my new little fireplace heater in the basement, Starbucks holiday cups, kind smiles on the street, drinks with friends, the anticipation of the holidays.

When they go low, we go high.  We go high.


  1. I am devastated as well. I have cried many tears. Looking forward to fun things is a great distraction, it's just so hard to do when I start thinking about how disappointed I am...

    1. Yeah, a lot of the times I have to force myself to skim the surface as opposed to really thinking about it ALL THE TIME. It's too heavy.

  2. *EVERYTHING* you said. Thank you for putting my all-over-the-place feelings down plainly. I wrote and wrote and wrote that night, and the nicest thing I could say about my feelings on this man are that he couldn't even be trusted with his own Twitter account.

    1. This continues to be incredibly difficult to process. I imagine it will be for a long time!