The Day After…Not the Tomorrow I Planned
Today the tears are not welling, I am sobbing. I am inconsolable and cannot see the light. My optimism, my hope, my favorite word…gone, destroyed. Destroyed by a bully, by a man full of hate for “ the others” in our world and by those who did not care about the character of this man nor about his actions, nor about his knowledge…I don’t understand why. I am aware that many are disaffected, that life is not what they want it to be, that it is not what they deserve, that it is the fault of others, that the solution is to disrupt government—to kill the system. Perhaps they intend no harm, perhaps they believe that the man didn’t mean what he said, that they only wanted what has been taken from them. I believe that some are haters of women and of people of color. Maybe they are fearful because they believe that the gains of blacks, Hispanics and women have come at their expense, a zero sum game. I want to know who they are and why they think our country is so broken, why they think that our system, our institutions are fatally flawed; and why they think this man can change that.
When I think of the future, I weep. I weep for my daughters, their spouses, their children and the world that has changed overnight. Rich says we will be OK and he’s right that we will survive financially, we are “the elite” in that sense. But, we will be affected because it impacts our friends and neighbors who are people of color, who are Muslim, who are gay, who are disabled, who are immigrants, who are dreamers or different in any way. It will affect our environment and perhaps our safety. I don’t claim to know more than others, but, this I know…this is not good for the country, not good for me, my loved ones or even for those who voted this man into power.
I cry because today, the world is harder for my daughters. The two who are educators must explain this phenomenon to their students and to my grandchildren. They must tell the children that they are loved and will be protected. That sometimes life disappoints, that it is hard and it is painful. That not all of those who voted for Trump are bigots, that many of them are afraid, that we must continue to fight for what we know is right…that as Hilary said in her concession speech, “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” They must also tell them that this is a test…we must take a path that is righteous but we must continue the dialogue. We need to talk to those who today make us cry, to those with different, sometimes hateful, opinions and thoughts. If we want them to learn, can we learn from them? Is there room for civil/civic conversation that brings us to another place? My daughters must assure the children we will be okay, the sun will rise and life will go on. At the same time they must let them know that this is the time “to take the high road, win or lose”; don’t give up your dreams, they are still possible. My daughter who is a journalist who covered this campaign from the beginning until the wee hours of last night, questions the usefulness of journalists, wonders if they were just an echo chamber for the candidates. I tell her the fourth estate must not bend to this failure but must change what they do and how they do it. It is, as always, basic to our democracy. We need to know that there is an independent source of news other than the government or politicians. The next four years will be tough, but it is even more important to be a truth teller, not to accept this man or his manipulation of facts and reality. We need to hear your voice. Accountability is in your hands; it may be adversarial but be strong. Please don’t give up, be your best person and truth-teller. That man cannot, will not, destroy your dream.
I shed tears for the girls, young women, older women who were sure that the glass ceiling would be shattered…how many Facebook posts yesterday spoke to a parent’s pride that their daughters and their sons would know that a woman could be President of the United States, proof that that daughter could be whatever she wanted to be? Instead, it was these very hopes and dreams that were shattered. My better self thinks that it is not the end, that this dream, this reality, is possible and cannot be destroyed by a man who disrespects women, who is a misogynist.
My tears flow for the Obamas for all that they have done for all of us not for one group…that some day they will be recognized for all that they accomplished. I hope that this white-lash will be shown for what it is. That the change that we have basked in for eight years will, after this scary time, return. Waves come, then spill into the sand, may this wave of hate and fear be a ripple not a tsunami.
Note: I write this because I want to remember how I felt after the 2016 Election. Many say that it’s similar to Reagan’s election. I don’t’ remember this deep sadness and despair…but it may have been there. I also want to remember how I felt on Election Day and the fall from incredible optimism to hopelessness. Whatever, our future holds I want to commit to memory and record this day.