I Am NOT Going To Get Over It- Part 2, The Post-Election Blues

Quite frankly, after the election, I cried. I cried for a couple of days.  I tried to watch “The Daily Show” coverage the day after, and it just made me cry again. Hasan Minhaj, one of the correspondents, appeared genuinely frightened about whether his mother would be able to return to the country in March. I read analysis after analysis. I talked to friends. I screamed with one of them at the trees in Roxbury, one sunshiny late fall day, which helped more than I had anticipated. I had been relatively restrained in my political postings during the campaign season, but after the election, I posted even less. Given that I saw Trump supporters compassionately advising others to “Get over it!”, this seemed best, initially.

But while I may have retreated from public view, I was not inactive. I had come to the conclusion that I, as an individual citizen, needed to do more. Much, much, more.

I started by reviewing my charitable and activist donations, removing some after more careful vetting, and adding others, and I now give on a monthly  basis. My thinking is this – regular income is good for everyone, including charities There are several major charity watch organizations that monitor groups. My budget isn’t large, but every little bit helps. Hey, it worked for Bernie Sanders.

I decided that I wanted to share more of my reading and activism on social media. While I didn’t want to remove myself from my general Facebook community, I also didn’t care to get into daily discussions with Trump supporters.  I thought that would be too annoying for words. In my initial post-election Facebook post, to a group of friends and family I knew were of a liberal bent,  I explained briefly that I would like to share with them much more of both my online activism and what I was reading-both investigative reporting and commentary .  I gave all those seeing the post the choice of opting out, and it gave me a boost that no one did.  This week, I posted a public message inviting any other interested friends to join as well. I was immensely pleased at the positive response. A dozen more friends accepted the invitation, including a couple of conservatives just interested in what I was reading and doing.

And finally, since I planned to share what I was reading, I took a close look at my own sources of information. While I believe in constant vigilance, and actively look for better ways to review my sources of information, I will admit to allowing ‘Zesty Left Wing News’ into my Twitter feed for a time. No one is immune. How could I resist ‘Zesty’? But, while it was not grossly inaccurate, it was mostly rehash, with the added bonus of inflammatory headlines. Bye, bye, ‘Zesty Left Wing News’.  There are still ample mainstream sources of information, with signed bylines & accreditation. The NY Times, while it has (justifiably) been criticized recently, is still mostly reliable. The Washington Post is still doing good work, and I find their commentators to be astute, impassioned, and informed. Mother Jones magazine is a terrific alternate news source.  The Center for American Progress does excellent investigations into various political and environmental issues. Grist is doing much the same thing, with more focus on human aspects as opposed to the strictly political. These are just a few of the places I am getting my information from. I double-check everything.

The next four years are going to be ugly.  Nothing I’ve seen in the public sphere since the election has disabused me of that notion. The Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress are actively seeking to roll back civil rights protections, dismantle  and repeal environmental regulations, and deprive millions of their healthcare coverage. And that’s just for starters.  Buckle up, buttercups, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I Am NOT Going To Get Over It. Part 1- The Election

I haven’t felt good since the election. I’m not over the election.  I’m not going to get over the election. I see no reason to get over the election. It’s not a matter of refusing to accept the results of the election. I accept the fact that Donald Trump won the electoral college votes necessary to become president. I accept that our system allowed this to happen. But I because I believe in facts, I take heart in another fact – Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, despite his unsubstantiated blustering about millions of fraudulent votes in California. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, by millions. And I am further heartened by the fact that, although he may have won the electoral college vote legitimately, in the 3 key states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, & Wisconsin, he didn’t win the popular vote there by much (less than 100,000 votes).  Overall, there is no mandate, claims of one to the contrary, and for the second time in recent history, we are about to be subjected to minority rule.  So, for me, not getting over it is how I choose to respond. And since I’ve been horrified and dismayed on an almost daily basis since the election, this will probably remain my response.

As the seemingly endless primary season progressed, I looked at both Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ proposals. I liked what Sanders had to say. Although some of what he proposed seemed a bit pie in the sky, his passion and dedication over many years was marvelous. I appreciated the strength and intelligence that I had seen Clinton display over the years, in the face of truly unrelenting misogyny, and she had policy papers for everything.  However, I worried about both her appeal to middle America and her ability to overcome perception. I looked closely at the media coverage of her, and evaluations of that media coverage. I then set that aside, and looked at her record of service and achievement over the course of decades. Finally, I looked at the conclusions of too many investigations  to count, many unnecessary,  and I concluded that her flaws (perceived and real) did not come close to outweighing her qualifications.  I remain deeply appreciative of the fact that the Democratic primary season contained genuine policy discussions, and very little mud-slinging. I watched the Democratic convention with pride at its’ inclusiveness, its’ policy proposals, and its’ celebration of America, with speech after speech speaking to a better future for all Americans.

I glanced over at the Republican debate to hear Trump bragging about the size of his dick. And it wasn’t just the repellent personal attacks. I also looked at the various Republican policy proposals and saw little that was going to benefit most of us, not just the ones at the top. I saw a party with policies that seek to disenfranchise voters, is against marriage equality, wishes to control women’s medical choices, denies climate change science and advocates  a rehash of trickle-down economic policy that has long since been discredited. So, while I was never going to vote Republican,  I didn’t anticipate that Republican voters would choose as their champion the very worst of the lot. I watched the Republican convention with amazement, completely failing to recognize the pre-apocalyptic hellscape being described by speaker after speaker. And no, it’s not because I don’t get out much.

My revulsion at Donald Trump exists on several levels. As a woman who has been molested, having a self-admitted sexual predator as president is truly disturbing (Yes, he is. He said he was, then 18 women backed up his statement.).  As a thinking, feeling human being, I was offended by the words of religious and ethnic bigotry right at the opening of his campaign – his characterization of Mexicans as rapists and his proposal for a ban on Muslims coming into the US being most notable. I was disturbed by the violent rhetoric on the campaign trail, and repelled by both his reluctance to disavow the support of the KKK and his apparent comfort with the white nationalist fringe, judging by the multiple retweets. As a patriot, I was appalled by the abuse of a Gold Star family, the denigration of Sen. McCain’s service, and the hideous advocacy of torture. Oh, and let’s not forget his refusal to say whether he would accept the results of the election. That’s just what I can recall off the top of my head. In his much-vaunted business background, there’s a history of union-busting, lawsuits (3,500) – many involving vendors or contractors trying to get paid, a federal lawsuit in the 1970’s because of racist rental policies, and 6 (???) bankruptcies. How is this man considered a competent businessman?  He released no detailed information about his web of corporations. He released none of his tax returns. The medical report that was released was ridiculous, so we have little information about his health.  And finally, there’s the lying. The endless, and frequently pointless, lying. According to one fact-checker, he lied roughly every three seconds. As near as I could tell the only policy was building the big, beautiful wall, locking up Hillary Clinton, and oh, yes, some trickle-down economics proposals involving tax cuts for the rich.

I went to bed early election night. I knew around 9pm it didn’t look good. I woke up around 12:30am, made the mistake of glancing at my phone, and I wept. And quite frankly, I wept frequently for a couple of days. It wasn’t just that this manifestly awful, and possibly dangerous person was elected president, but that people I knew voted for him. That people I knew, friends and neighbors, along with millions of others, allied themselves with racists, bigots, and misogynists, because some blustering, manipulative, snake-oil salesman sold them a bill of goods. I was stunned to find that Trump’s egomaniacal assertion that only he could ‘fix’ America had been bought by my fellow citizens – lock, stock, & 4-year administration. America wasn’t broke in the first place. What the fuck were you people thinking?