I really wish I'd posted the recipe I planned for election day because now Donald Trump is the president-elect and I can't think about anything else.
I don’t want to feel better. I’ve had so many conversations with people over the past 36 hours trying to talk me out of feeling angry, bitter, and disgusted. I’ve read so many Facebook posts talking about how the ACTUAL percentage of eligible Americans who voted for Trump is something like 18% when you account for the 100 million non-voters and the 59+ million Hillary voters. I’ve had so many conversations about how the average Trump supporter was really voting for “change” or “economics” and not for the isms that Trump so vigorously embodied and exploited.
I don’t want to feel better because “feeling better” means sticking my head in the sand and enjoying my unchanged life. It feels like a gross exercise of my privilege to watch mindless TV, hug my kid, and not think about it. I’m sick to my stomach about of how much harder it will be for women to make choices about their bodies. I shudder thinking of the trans teen who will have to use the men’s bathroom even though SHE’S A GIRL because some idiot in Washington thinks that she’s faking it so she can assault another girl in the bathroom. I can’t imagine the racist vitriol Muslims, immigrants, people of color, and so many others will face now that Trump has made it okay to be openly hateful. I’m also sick thinking about the unemployed tradespeople in the rust belt who truly hope that Trump will lift them up, when I’m pretty sure he’s about to make things FAR worse for the poor and much much better for the already rich.
No, I don’t want to feel better. But I do want to understand. Seth Myers said last night that we’re better when we have empathy for each other and that what he’s feeling right now is what others have felt for 8 years under Obama. I want to see those Trump voters as humans and not as the enemy, but that feels nearly impossible right now. Especially as I read account after account of our worst fears being realized in the first days after the election. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.
I also want to DO something. I’ve seen a lot of comprehensive and heartening lists of organizations that need my support and as an exercise of my privilege, I will make as many donations as I can to those on the front lines. I also want to stay motivated. It’s easy to be angry when this is so new and raw, but we cannot accept this as the new normal. I want to teach my kid that there should be no “other.” I want him to see me treating everyone with respect (including those with whom I disagree politically) and I hope that this can combat what he sees elsewhere. I want him to feel safe in his own skin, whatever that looks like as he matures, and I want him to grant other people that same right. However, I also want him to see me stand up for what’s right and not ignore hatred or bigotry in the name of “compromise.”
Well, look at that: Writing about not wanting to feel better has made me feel better. Now it’s time to turn off the screens and walk the walk with some real humans, not just talk the talk alone in my house.