The global nightmare of what I've been referring to as #Trumpocalypse has been upon us for almost a week now. I can best describe my feelings about it as an elevator of sadness, because there are so many levels to my upset and disappointment. I won't spell them all out for you here, because if you are reading this, odds are you already know too well what they are.
I heard a journalist on "The Run-Up" describe the surprise of Hillary's loss as "a failure of expertise on the magnitude of the fall of the Soviet Union or the Vietnam War."
Media failed us. The Information Age failed us. In the oppressive nowness of the Internet, data, social media platforms, and our so-called "smart" phones, we’ve lost something. Our heads are down, glued to the shadow play of our screens. We’ve willfully surrendered a dimension of our reality. We've been flattened.
In the election post-mortem, a slow-mo replay of the sucker punch, the dominant narrative looks like it's going to be that Hillary didn't do anything to connect with the white working class. I think when it's written in the history books, they'll tell a different story. A more obvious one.
My husband, who makes Bernie Sanders look like the center-left establishment, has this theory: no one has done anything really to help the poor in this country. The Democrats have aligned themselves to welfare and bureaucratic assistance programs, which, when you get up close to them, are horrible. Better than the alternative Republican philosophy (survival of the fittest), but no way to live. Dispatches from your local community organizer.
The thing is, I am a partisan Democrat. I was brought up on NPR, PBS, and LWV. But the reason why I vote Democratic down the line is because I believe in what the party stands for. It's not perfect. It may get perverted or watered down in practice, or lead to bloated government, but the Democratic Party in my lifetime has stood on the side of good more often than not. While the Republican Party is out there capitalizing on religious fervor, racism, and xenophobia, we're making room in the tent. If that is going to cost me a little more in taxes, sobeit. I was raised to believe that those who can spare some should.
What I got from listening to my husband is that I have the luxury of worrying about the optics and the principles of my politics, while families living in poverty may not have the time. So I've made a commitment to myself to spend my time more wisely. Less Netflix, more politics.
Wake the fuck up, Dallas. Be that change.
I didn't fully realize how much Hillary Clinton meant to me until she didn't become our next president. All those people who hate Hillary so much... Why? Would they feel that way if she were a man? To be that determined, focused, unwavering, calculating, and hardened... Every quality that got her to be The First is every quality that was hated about her. It's a goddamn fact, and I had to look inside myself and see how I have been living into that paradigm. Always be likable. Don't go too far out on a limb. Don't let people judge you...
It keeps you small.
The first time I told my 5 year-old daughter who was running for president, she got to say “I want the girl to win.” I never had the chance to say that. That is a big deal.
I was out of my mind when Beyonce endorsed Hillary. Beyonce is the embodiment of female empowerment in pop culture today. She spoke of the importance of her daughter seeing a woman leading the country, less than 100 years after women gained the right to vote. I reposted a picture of the moment on Instagram, and an aunt of mine commented with a “thumbs-down” emoji. HRC would tell me not to take it personally, but I did. It's shocking to me how much women reject their own identity politics.
Like I said, so many levels. So many levels. It's a long elevator ride.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly… Some of us believe in government. Which is why the election of a man who, thus far, has shown no respect for it or the office he will hold is so deeply troubling. I can only hope that the weight of the office, and the burden of carrying the entire country on his shoulders, will shape him more than he will shape it.
There, I mustered up some optimism.
I went to the DMV today to renew my driver’s license. Margot and I were there for almost two hours. As tedious as it was, it was also restorative. There, in a government building, filled with a cross section of our citizenry -- all nationalities, all races waited patiently in line, chatted each other up, answered each other’s questions. We got our papers, got back into our cars, and went back to where we came from.
Six days after, it was a minor miracle for which I give thanks.