This is day five since Trump was elected to be the next president of the United States, and realizing that all three branches of government will be Republican come January.
I started crying around 11 pm on election night, and didn’t stop for almost two days. On Wednesday morning, as I was driving R to school, I told her to stay calm at school if Trump supporters were gloating, and to not give them the satisfaction of seeing her upset. I finished that sentence as we pulled into a parking space at the convenience store to get snacks, and the moment we set foot inside, tears just started streaming down my face. So much for that.
I spent the rest of that day in bed, crying every moment I was awake, which, admittedly, wasn’t often. I thought, I hate this fucking country; I was invited to join a book club and I thought, oh, now we’re going to be all cultured in rural America? I don’t think so. I thought, half the country has lost its marbles and I thought, we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of the earth, because if Trump pulls out of the Paris Agreement, we’re all fucked. I stayed off Facebook, the news, Flipboard; I was isolating myself completely, and those first two days, that’s what I needed.
On Thursday I got on Facebook and I saw lots of inspiring posts about donating to or volunteering for causes and groups that will likely suffer under Trump, such as the environment and, well, practically everyone who’s not rich, white, male, cis, hetero, and conservative. I donated to the Sierra Club and will donate to the ACLU soon. I put the Million Women March to the state capitol on January 21 in my planner.
I’ve also been crying and ranting and screaming (on the inside) upon reading every article about who Trump will probably have in his cabinet. I’ve also read lots of articles about the momentum in the renewable energy sector, and how Trump will have limited influence there. Maybe it won’t be so bad, I thought at first, to calm myself. And right after that I thought, that’s what they said when Hitler came to power; that’s what they said when the Germans invaded the Netherlands.
Of course, to even think that it won’t be so bad, you have to be at the very least white. Trump just made Steve Bannon of Breitbart infamy his Chief Strategist. Trump’s campaign already emboldened racists and bigots, and now that he’s won, they’re really coming out of the woodwork. Hate crimes are being committed and racial slurs are being yelled and sprayed on walls all over the country as I write this.
On Friday R was rummaging in the kitchen drawers for safety pins. I asked her what she needed a safety pin for, and she told me that it tells people that you’re safe to be with. I showed her where the safety pins were and I took one, too. It wasn’t much, but it was something I could do.
The safety pin is becoming a symbol of anti-bigotry, but people are arguing about that as well, saying on the one hand that it symbolizes a pledge to actually speak up and stand up to every hateful expression you witness toward anyone who is on Trump’s shit list, even if it means putting yourself in harm’s way, and on the other hand that the pin is a useless symbol that doesn’t accomplish anything, that you should instead donate to or volunteer for various causes. I, for one, can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can donate and volunteer and wear the pin, if only because it might prevent violence. After all, bullies are at heart cowards, and knowing that others will stand up for the potential target of their hate might make them think twice.
And then there are folks who are voicing their frustration on Facebook about the “whining”. The election is over, they say, so let’s get back to puppies and kittens. The one thing that really boggles my mind about all of this is how unbelievably naive Americans can be. This is not your average election. Various elements have aligned to give a dangerously ignorant, potential fascist carte blanche for the next four years. We should be able to talk about that, and about what we can do or not do, and watch videos of cute puppies and kittens.
In short, I think we’re all still reeling and that it will take a while to regain our balance. It might even take four years.