Election Day + 1

I didn’t stay up until the bitter end. Once it was clear Hillary would lose I went to bed, although I didn’t sleep much. I couldn’t bear to see her concede, and I don’t want to hear from Trump, or his surrogates — now or ever. He will profoundly reshape America and affect my life. I have to concede the big win for Republicans across the board — validating white resentment, validating Mitch McConnell’s strategy of stonewalling on President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, validating the Freedom Caucus that refuses to agree to anything and then uses that as evidence that government doesn’t work. But my own personal piece of resistance to the ugliness that is Donald Trump is to turn my back on his teleprompter words. I don’t want to hear from him, his wife, his Stepford offspring. Tom Friedman, writing in the New York Times, said he feels homeless. I do too — completely alienated from what has apparently become the majority American embrace of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, derision for institutions like a free press, and disregard for climate science.

African American CNN contributor Van Jones said last night that the vote is “a whitelash” against a browning American and against President Obama. Jones asked what he is supposed to tell his children. I wish, this morning, that I could find some consoling or hopeful words for my grown family, and for my grandkids, who will have to live with Trump’s destruction longer than I. But I’m really struggling.

Lily was texting me from Panama throughout the night, and this morning she said two things that are common understandings in her country — no stranger to dictatorial rule. One is that a country gets the government it deserves. The other is that power brutalizes.

Peter Beinart, writing for the Atlantic, puts words to how I feel:

I don’t respect this election result. I must abide by it, of course. But I don’t respect it. I respect the people who voted for Donald Trump. As private individuals, they’re no better or worse than anyone else. But I don’t respect their decision to elect a man who blames vulnerable minorities for America’s problems. Who threatens journalists for reporting the news. Who castigates judges for requiring him to abide by the rule of law. Who boasts about his enthusiasm for torture. Who cheers on his supporters on when they beat protesters. I don’t respect that. I won’t pretend the people possess infinite wisdom. I’m a Jew. We know better.”


Over time the gloom will abate, and believers in liberal democracy will find ways to resist Trump and do the hard work of reclaiming our country. But it’s going to be a very hard four years.

I said this before, but it bears repeating: Trump has been clear from the beginning about who he is, what he believes. Those of you who voted for him can’t ever say you didn’t know, or didn’t understand.

4 thoughts on “Election Day + 1

  1. I am at a loss for the right words. I was in shock this AM and now it is a gradual decline To pure amazement. It amazes me that he won and that I must be so far out of reach with what I want from this world for my children, for women, for society as America. WTF as people say. Just WTF.

  2. Shocked, disheartened, disgusted and terrified: All feelings I’ve had since 5 AM when I woke up and checked the NPR News app on my phone. I could not fathom how anyone found this man to be remotely electable, and I’m still absolutely stunned that he won by the margin he did. An enormous section of this country chose hate and misogyny and bigotry. How do we fix a country filled with so much hate?

    It actually took me 10 minutes in the parking lot at work this morning to pull myself together and get on with the day, and I too share the feeling of homelessness.

  3. for Ben: I wish we could all be together to drown our sorrows in a bottle of good gin. Like you, I am stunned that so many people were moved by his message of hatred.I always knew those currents existed, but not that they swept up half the country.

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