Yes, I feel quite a letdown today, but the sun came up, and we have beer in the fridge.
I had a quiet day at home as I reflected on and processed what happened Tuesday night.
Boy, I sure called that one wrong, didn’t I? I take zero pleasure in the fact that it wasn’t just me. Almost everyone was wrong about it—the pollsters and the pundits—and they get paid to do that stuff!
To say that I am heartsick doesn’t do it justice. I am also disgusted, appalled, and embarrassed. What might be the biggest blow is that my eternal optimism and unwavering belief in the innate goodness of humanity has been shaken. I truly did believe that we would find our better angels.
But we didn’t. Some of us did. But not enough.
I’ve seen enough recrimination to last a lifetime today. Everyone wants to lay blame. I’m not going to target any particular group of people or any age group. We failed collectively as a country. We allowed our paranoia and fear and hatred to cloud our reason and judgment. Many of us did our part by contributing and voting and advocating for reason. But this didn’t happen overnight. The Republican party has been fomenting this unrest and anger for years, and this is the culmination of that effort. Should we have made more of an effort to speak out long before this? Would it have made a difference? Or was the worldwide sweep of nativism and populism inevitable in our country, too?
I honestly have no idea and it’s above my pay grade, anyway. All I know is that this is where we are right now.
So what do we do now? I have a couple of ideas.
First, we must speak out. I fear that a massive wave of bigotry, sexism, and hatred has been unleashed. We’ve seen some very ugly scenes lately and I am afraid that we will see more. I know that a lot of us have not been afraid to stand up for someone who is being bullied or abused. We must have zero tolerance for any such behavior. If you see it happening, make your stand! (With regards to Stephen King and my all-time favorite book, The Stand. I might be due for yet another read of it, because there are lessons to be learned and relearned there.) Those who are most vulnerable among us will be under attack and all of us must stand up, speak out, and defend and protect them. We must not let hatred become routine or ignored.
Second, we must speak out against policies that are antithetical to what we believe. We have elected a new president whose policies (what little he has proposed) I find absurd and whose personal behavior I find repugnant. But he has been elected president. That is reality, and unlike most of his supporters, I’m a big fan of reality. I will respect the office. I will no longer call him the Yam, the Vulgar Talking Yam, Yamboy, or any of the other things I’ve called him. (Tool, Asshole, A-hole, and many others.) I will refer to him as the president or as Trump. Not even Mr. Trump. He doesn’t have any respect for women, so why should I have respect for him as a Mister?
I’m not going to call him names, because as Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” It drove us all crazy when people called President Obama and Michelle names, right? So I’m not going to resort to those tactics. However, while I am forced to accept that he is the elected president, I absolutely, unequivocally and forever reject his brand of hatred.
I refuse it. I will speak out against it whenever I see it. I will post about his lies and misdeeds (and there will be many...have you been paying attention?), I will post about the lawsuits against him, I will post as much as I want, when I want. All based in fact, of course, because I don’t traffic in conspiracy theories.
I know many of us feel disheartened and bereft. I felt that today, too. (The nausea was a side effect.) But listen to me and know this: we are not done. We have work to do and it begins with us. Speak out. Do not be ruled by the politics of fear. Reject bigotry, sexism, homophobia, and hatred of any kind. Do not let this negate your belief in what is true, what is right, and what is just. They have not taken those things from us...we still have them. They have not taken our country from us...it is still ours, too.
We still have a voice. Let’s use it.
This song has never been more appropriate.