I started, post-election, from the position of wanting to give Donald Trump a chance to do well, I really did. He gave a lovely, conciliatory acceptance speech, and President Obama said his meeting with the (gulp) President-elect went well.
There was a church service seeking to heal political wounds, organized by the FOCUS Churches of Albany before the elections, but taking place the day after at noontime. Since it was held at First Church, less than ten minutes away by foot from my office, I attended, and there was a lot of hugging afterward, even from strangers. it was helpful in dealing with my grief.
But so was John Scalzi’s Cinemax theory of racism. Maybe people voted for Trump to “Make America great again,” whatever the heck that means. But you get, at no additional charge, the “racism, sexism and religious and other bigotries that Trump and his people have already promised to engage in.” I read it and even shared the core message with a friend of mine I happened to run across Thursday night. Non-Trump voters can perhaps see that the Trump voter was only thinking about the HBO, as it were; if Trump supporters read it, it may explain why people are so afraid.
Especially since their fears are already proving to be justified. For instance, racist graffiti and being harassed for speaking Spanish on the phone and a transgender veteran’s truck painted ‘Trump,’ lit on fire and a gay man being brutally beaten up and women reporting strangers grabbing them below the navel, and reports of anti-Islam attacks and a whole lot more harassment, or worse.
BTW, I find Barack Obama more and more incredible. Being statesmanlike with the man who rose to power on the slander that Obama was not born in America is impressive. Especially when his accomplishments are likely to be erased by a guy who freaked out on Twitter after Obama won re-election in 2012, with Trump calling for “revolution in this country!”
Ironic, then that, four years later, he complains: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” In a single tweet Thursday night, the President-Elect has threatened free speech, a free press, and freedom of assembly, though he subsequently walked that back.
And people are rightly also freaking out about Trump’s potential Cabinet of Horrors, as well as the loss of their Obamacare, and the loss of civil rights, and the further despoiling of our planet (regardless of how the Trump team spins it), and more. Oh, and with his kids running his company AND being on the transition team, “there will be no wall between the Trump administration and Trump Organization.”
(Christians voted for Trump. Meh.)
Now that Trump has won, my post-election thought is that I am getting ready to participate in the loyal opposition. Not sure what that looks like yet for me. But I’ll have to work to combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.
It’s a tricky time. Often we are critical of each other over the tactics we are using, whether it be wearing safety pins or sending money to a right-minded charity. I myself haven’t tweeted #NotMyPresident, though I surely understand why others do. I didn’t join in the local protest because I don’t yet “get” the strategy, but this isn’t to say I wouldn’t at some point.
I was planning to be a thorn in the side of a President Hillary Clinton had veered off course, but I suspect this will prove to be a greater challenge. And speaking of Hillary, I give her a lot more slack than most, I gather, at not coming out at 3 a.m. after the election and facing the crowd. Not only was she understandably devastated, she may not have decided whether to contest the election. Her losses in a few swing states were very close, and she deserved the benefit of the doubt of not making a hasty comment, but composing herself before making her speech.