People will be talking about this Election for days to come. The reality of the evening seems almost dreamlike. As the results slowly began to reveal themselves, I was sitting on my couch, alone, drinking, because I just didn't know what else to do. I wasn't numb. I just didn't have a point. I've considered many times what this outcome will mean for our country. For my children. I just don't know what that is yet. As I look back, my political allegiances haven't always been clear. When I was younger, I never found myself married to one particular party. I voted for people. Not words. Not even politics. Just ideas. Admittedly, I haven't always been the most informed citizen. There was a time when I didn't even know what NPR was. What the fuck? But I've learned. And I've followed things a bit more purposefully. Carefully.
Tuesday night was a victory for some. Their ideals and values were legitimized by the results of a long and tiring election. To others, like me, it was confusing and just a little bit terrifying. The things this "man" appears to stand for are mind boggling. The reality, however, is that it appealed to a great many people. And that's what's so frightening about the whole thing. Before Election Night, regardless of who the person in front of me supported, the person behind me wanted something else. The person to my left probably did, too. And maybe the person over there. We're surrounded by division every day. And that's fine. Unity is not possible without it. But this is something else. This entire election has done nothing but build a wall within our own home, from which I fear none of us will escape anytime soon. And make no mistake. We will ALL pay for it.
Following the election, as my 5 year old son entered my bedroom, I asked him to lay next to me. Pulled from a maze of knots deep within my stomach, I found the words to explain to him what had happened, what it meant and what it never should. But after a few moments of a mostly uncomfortable exchange, he jumped up and continued playing with his brother. This is a luxury that remains theirs. They won't understand the magnitude of this now. And expressing my horror in front of them falls, unfortunately so, on deaf ears. If they were older, my reaction could incite some sort of meaningful discussion. As far as they know, I just stepped on a fucking lego. And after cursing the paint off the walls, I'm left asking myself where we go from here.
These past few days on social media have summoned a whirlwind of divisive and conflicting views. Though what can be expected from an election fought by such widely derided candidates? I'm not ashamed to share my side. I voted for Hilary Clinton, for many reasons. Above all, because I just couldn't bare to watch someone like Donald Trump, a man who I'm in no way calling a failure at business, or even life, to be the face of our nation and the badge on our country's chest.
We all heard the shit storm he and his campaign unleashed, the endless deflections and excuses that were hurled at us, and the mountain of dirt from which he very successfully climbed free. I believe Hilary Clinton stood for something more than that. And that was enough for me. Has she lied? Was she corrupt or take part in corrupt shit? Possibly. The media is like a ball of yarn that unravels in every direction. It's up to you to pull in the direction you choose.
I never adopted a "lesser of two evils" approach. I believe she would have been good for this country, for women's rights, for my children's. In eight years time, this country had the opportunity to see its first black president followed by its first female one. And that was exciting to me. Clinton's flaws were well documented and at times, glaringly obvious. But experience, qualifications and ambition, among others, are all critical traits a presidential candidate should possess. Or not, as this election has certainly proven. Protests make our voices heard, but it doesn't change the result we now face. This is not to say that we should just concede to the throne and surrender our pussies to the palm of the new order. We can change things.
We make a difference every day in how we act, how we treat others, how we fight for those who feel their voices have been silenced, or feel don't have one at all. We don't have to burn the flag. We can still represent it. Our new reality is upon us, yes. That much is certain. I've awoken to it 5 times now and have yet to feel my suspension of disbelief surface. Until the day of Donald Trump's inauguration, I feel it will stay like this. That day will either compound that feeling or do wonders and subside it. The latter sounds nice, but I fear I may be sleepwalking among the comatose. Time will tell, but have no illusion. The future may be unknown but it is not indestructible. If you think it can't be chipped away to reveal the one you hoped for, you're wrong. We just have to discover how. Together.
This reminds me of a scene in Back To The Future 2, when Marty arrives at a version of Hill Valley unfamiliar to him, where cars burn on the streets, gangs roam freely, and a gaudy Casino stands in place of the once beloved courthouse. When confronting the Doc, Marty is told that it is the result of an elder Biff Tannen from the future giving his younger self a book of sports statistics throughout history, and instructing him to bet on the winners. Marty, terrified of this alternate hell, suggests stealing the book from Future Biff and just returning to the Hill Valley they remember. The Doc explains that if they go Marty's route, it will be a future born of the hellish universe they're currently in, and says the only way to change history is by going back in time to prevent Young Biff from acquiring the book in the first place. Thus, one of the best middle sequels of all time.
For us, our only option is Marty's way, to continue on in our new reality and make the changes we can. Acceptance of a new leader is not the acceptance of the hate and bigotry many of us have come to expect. There are ways to challenge it. Riots that cause violence and damage to property is not one of them. Although stemming from a very real and understandable anger, it's a selfish act. But a protest for rights, donations to organizations, the continued education of our children can make the difference we seek. Protect your friends and loved ones. Support the LGBTQ community, the rights of Muslim Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans (a group to which people still don't believe I belong) good things and good people, dogs, cats, an alien fucking species. Just be good. Anything said is easier said than done. So do it. I promise I will, too.