Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rage and hope: the future will come anyway

Here it is, five days after the election, and I'm still feeling rage.

I am not usually an angry person. But I do not remember ever feeling this angry, for this long.

I feel rage at the media who spun the stories about Hillary, Benghazi, and who-cares-about-her-stupid emails, and those on the far left and far right who swallowed those stories and repeated them over and over again. I feel rage at James Comey and Anthony Weiner, and I feel rage at Donald Trump and the entire Trump machine. I feel rage at the people who voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, wrote in Harambe or Bernie Sanders, or said that Hillary was just as bad as Trump--or unbelievably, "crooked" or "corrupt" (TrumpPot, meet Kettle!). And I feel rage at the men--and women, for God's sake!--who completely negated my and so many women's PTSD about our own sexual assaults and voted in a self-confessed sexual predator. As my husband commented today, it's like Trump is an abuser, and we are the victims. We just continue to take it, especially white women, who should know better.

Of course, not all Trump supporters are racist, misogynist xenophobes. But everyone who voted for Trump, or anyone but Hillary, saw a racist, misogynist, xenophobe and said to themselves one of these things:
"Donald Trump doesn't really mean the things he says!"
"I am so furious at the Democratic party that I don't care enough about disenfranchised people to protect them"
"This is an acceptable person to lead our country." 
The third party voters
 are equally responsible
 for the Cheeto Elect
Millions of people voted for him not because of his bigotry, but in spite of it. The brilliant Samantha Bee nails it: "Once you dust for fingerprints, it's pretty clear who ruined America: white many times do we expect black people to build our country for us?!?!?...If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of their community, so do we....did you not hear people of color, begging you not to legitimize this?" (queue racist Trump rallies)

Trump and third-party voters: your votes or lack thereof unleashed the beasts of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia. I'm talking to you, Susan Sarandon. The Southern Poverty Law Center is tracking bullying and harassment all over the country, and in recent days my heart has been broken to hear about multiple racist and homophobic incidents in my hometown and my son's university campus...all conducted in the name of Trump. Are you surprised to see this, when this Bully-in-Chief was enthusiastically endorsed by the KKK and neonazis?

And then there's climate change. Ironically, the state most likely to suffer devastating effects from climate change is Florida, now a red, climate-denying state. In the next four years, the actions Trump and the Republican congress plan to make, rolling back everything President Obama has done in this area, will accelerate global warming and we'll all be in trouble.

Maybe Trump voters didn't realize this would happen. After all, if we get our news from Facebook, our political views completely skew the news that we see. Check out this handy Blue Feed, Red Feed tool from the Wall Street Journal that shows what you see in liberal and conservative news feeds. This, and the decline of objective journalism, is one of the reasons we are so divided in this country.
Now, here's my hope.

The media is saying "half the country" elected Donald Trump, and that's just plain wrong.

  • First of all, nearly half of registered voters did not vote in the presidential election. Damn. That still infuriates me!
  • Voting is hard in most of this country. It's not a fair, or easy system except for places where people can vote by mail.
  • Hillary won the popular vote, by what's expected to be 1.7%! 
  • Donald Trump won 26.3% of the nation's votes.
  • Although many millennials voted third party, they were much more likely to support Clinton than Trump.

What this means to me is that half the electorate is apathetic, thought Hillary would win so didn't think their vote mattered, or didn't like either of them. Brexit passed in the UK for similar reasons...a lot of young people didn't vote because they thought it would fail.

Trump was voted in by a small percentage of the country. Far more Americans didn't vote for Trump than voted for him, similar to the Republican primaries. So this is where my rage--and my hope--lies. With the millions of people on the secret Facebook groups supporting Hillary and peace and justice--and with the thousands of people peacefully protesting the election around the country.

The day after the election, Gloria Steinem said, "This was a vote against the future. And the future will come anyway." For those Trump voters longing for a "White Traditional Values America," this is their last desperate stand. The future is coming. We are a nation of immigrants. Own it. Thanks to climate change deniers, our children will pay the price. The future is coming, and it will not be pleasant.

My hope is that people come together and stand up to bigotry and racism. That businesses and state and local governments continue to challenge on the issue of climate change. That the grassroots organizes and raises up young, energized people to run for political office. That we shape the future for our children. That we maintain peace and avoid war. That women rise up and get educated instead of voting for their abuser. And that our children will carry the mantle of hope and peace, because their parents have failed them.

This has been a hard week for our kids. But they give me hope. May peace and justice prevail.

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