I’ve had all day to think about Trump’e election, and I’m still not sure how to process it.
Right now, I’m mostly just angry. Angry at Trump, and all the people who voted for him. Angry at Gary Johnson and his supporters for taking votes away from Hillary. Angry at the DNC who went out of their way to make things harder for Bernie Sanders, a man who (in my impossible-to-prove opinion) would have had a much easier time winning. Angry at Hillary for calling Trump’s supporters deplorables and for using a private email server way back when. Angry at James Comey, who didn’t help matters now. Angry at the electoral college for existing. Angry at the gun lobby who now has a President in their pocket. Angry at the pollsters who got it all wrong. Angry at the media for legitimizing Trump and giving him so much coverage that it made his ascent inevitable.
Angry at myself for not doing more to prevent this from happening.
I’m also disappointed. Disappointed that we’ve elected a man with absolutely no experience to be our next Commander in Chief. Disappointed that so many people thought he was a better choice than the most qualified candidate to ever run. Disappointed that nasty nicknames and conspiracy theories won out over facts and truths. Disappointed that people heard what Trump said about women and still voted for him. Disappointed in all the people who will tell you they’re not racist or sexist, but sure as hell don’t want to take orders from a black person or a woman. Disappointed that so many people are hurting and angry, despite all of the good that came out of the Obama administration—an administration that, let’s remember, began amid the fallout of a huge economic disaster that was set into motion many years before.
Disappointed that the country was robbed of a historic moment.
Electing a black President didn’t end racism in this country, and electing a woman wouldn’t have ended sexism. But it would have been a positive step forward. Instead, this country has taken a major step backwards.
Then I try to look at the bright side. Maybe Trump actually is some kind of genius. He won the nomination and the election despite tremendous odds… and he did it without the usual donations, celebrity endorsements, or even widespread support from his own party. Maybe he really does know what he’s doing. Maybe he can improve the economy. Maybe he can fix the healthcare system. Maybe he can destroy ISIS and keep America safe. Maybe he isn’t simply the world’s most successful con man, who’s sole agenda in life is furthering his own interests.
Hell, I hope so. I don’t want to root against this land that I love. But the thing is, besides being angry and disappointed, what I am most is afraid. The mood in New York City today was downright depressing. It may seem extreme to compare 11/9/16 to 9/11/01, and of course the days aren’t directly analogous; there was a loss of life on one, and Americans did the damage to ourselves on the other. But that day fifteen years ago was honestly the last time I felt this scared about the future of my country. I’ve heard plenty of people saying that President Trump won’t affect our day-to-day lives, and that may be true—though it’s worth noting that’s certainly more likely for those of us who happen to be straight white men. Things are already getting scary for people who aren’t so lucky. And it’s frightening to think how a new Supreme Court appointee could undo a lot of the progress we’ve made over the last few decades. And scarier, considering Trump’s temperament and apparent willingness to use the nuclear option, I worry about him starting a devastating war. His anti-Muslim sentiment is exactly the kind of thing that motivates ISIS, and New York City is Trump’s home. The city and the state didn’t vote for him, but will that matter?
So I’m angry, disappointed, and afraid. I’d love to be able to say something profound and inspirational (like this beautifully written letter from Aaron Sorkin or this hilarious one from the fictional Leslie Knope), but I’m just not ready. Life goes on, and this country has endured some great challenges throughout our history. I really hope we can all survive this one.