"Oh dear, he's still President."
I'm sure that, at some point, that will stop being the first thought in my head as I wake up, the whole "this is not a dream" quality of how off the world seems with a President Donald Trump. I had to turn off the TV on election night while several states were still finalizing their counts because the actual announcement that Trump had reached 270 was too much to take to bed with me.
But you wake up and there it is and here we are and you wonder how this happened and can it really get any worse... and of course, yes it can, as you watch the early rumblings and stumblings and realize, yes, he's going to put these sorts of people into cabinet positions and keep talking in that way he does.... and on and on.
I'd love to say the point of this exercise is to say there's a silver lining or it gets better... but I don't think it does. It's bad, really bad, and likely to get worse. We've seen the election of a man who is neither suited to nor capable of being President (a reality I do not say lightly), elected on a broad wave of hatred and resentment, surrounded by dangerous people who can cause serious, lasting damage to our country and many people's way of life. The upside of that? Not so much.
Still, I know I can't cry for 4 years straight, and I can't focus only on negatives. I amazed myself that within hours of seeing how this would be, I returned to blogging with hardly a second thought. Of course it was time to write, to start moving... to do something. Like many, I'm heartened, and thoroughly unsurprised by the spontaneous protests around the country. Of course we would have to stand up.
So this isn't meant as a down post, a cry in the wilderness. Rather, it's the acknowledgement that yes, we've got it bad, and that means we've got to get up and start trying to make it better. In that vein, here are some things to bear in mind:
- The voices saying "we need to come together" or " we need to accept these results" are trying to enforce silence. We do not need to listen to them
- Similarly, voices saying "you are causing trouble" or "don't make us mad" are an acknowledgement that our refusal to go quietly troubles and upsets them. They are no reason to stop
- A lot of bad things will happen. Not all bad things are equal. Ivanka Trump meeting Shinzo Abe is not necessarily in the same category as Mike Flynn getting to head the NSA
- On the other hand, a lot of where this goes will be built on things they do now - so Ivanka Trump meeting Shinzo Abe may add to the scandals yet to come.
- Each new day, each bad decision will bring new people to realize they are outraged too - there's already some pretty severe buyer's remorse in just a few days, even from those who voted third party. We should welcome them... but also bring them up to speed. We're all outraged. That's just step 1.
Yes, this is really happening. It really is this bad. That's how change works, and while this is change many of us did not choose, would not have chosen... there are people who did, who wanted this. I'm not sure they
realized what getting this actually meant - and one thing it meant, quite clearly, was not that people would accept these results with dull submission or even "quiet grace." Change, shaking things up, is unsettling. It's uncomfortable. Those who said we need to "blow up Washington" need to face what it means to set off an explosion. It's not pretty. There is damage. There is shrapnel. There are unintended consequences.
Many on the left, I think, overdid the embrace of Michelle Obama's well meaning, but incomplete thought "when they go low, we go high." The problem is, they're not just going low; they're going everywhere. And we will have to go there as well - low, high, and everywhere in between. That's not to advocate violent protest, rioting or looting; it's to say that the calls from the right to "accept the results" and "give him a chance" aren't calling for a graceful response. We don't have to be nice about this, how we deal with it, how we "handle" it, how we choose to take action. This is really happening. Something was broken, and the next part is going to be ugly. If that's not the result you wanted from this election... you weren't paying attention.