Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trying To Make Sense of What Makes No Sense

All day I have been trying, trying, trying to absorb the outcome of the election.  I feel utterly dumbfounded. Despondent.  Disturbed.  And I'm not the only one.
True, I wasn't a huge fan of Hillary's; never have been.  But I totally believed she was the most experienced, competent person to do the job.  I was certainly voting for her because the other choice was no choice.  And while I didn't give her any money (I have an abhorrence of the amount of money spent on political campaigning and refuse to contribute to it), I did register voters twice, and spent multiple, multiple hours phone banking for the full Democratic ticket and more volunteers.

I wasn't sure my state would go for Hillary but I hoped.  I knew it would be a race, and maybe even a very close one, but I never, NEVER imagined that she would lose.

Hillary Rodham Clinton who had been in public life for thirty years; who had fought for the rights of children and women; who had been First Lady of Arkansas, then First Lady of the United States; a New York Senator, a Presidential candidate, and the Secretary of State during the Obama Administration. Some resume...and yet. 

And yet, in her second bid for the Presidency, surprisingly, she was in a serious battle with a New York businessman who had a mercurial, successful, wealthy, flamboyant, headline subject, reality-TV personality, global brand resume.  A man who was never a public servant, never an employee of the people, never governed anything, never had to by adhere to a stringent set of laws and rules,let alone and manage warring factions who all were constituencies and audiences to be pleased, not walked out on or fired. 

I didn't take Donald Trump's candidacy seriously at first.  I thought he was in it for the hype and the circus.  That any publicity was good publicity and it would certainly energize  his perhaps fading celebrity-brand after fifteen seasons on the air.  I thought he would get wiped out by someone and if not someone, well then, Jeb Bush would certainly swipe him off the face of the ticket.  But it didn't happen.

No matter how outlandish, how outrageous, how offensive, how untruthful, Mr. Trump just kept gaining in popularity.  This told us something.  It told us that people were really looking for someone truly different and they cared more about different than the social norms of present-day politics.  Yes, it was true that Hillary came with baggage, lots of it  between her style which many interpreted as aloof and secretive and domineering; her husband (a full set of luggage on his own); her past with Whitewater, and her present  complete with personal server and emails.  

But what about Trump?  What about his issues with supposed-billions and bankruptcies and no tax returns and being smart about paying no federal taxes and stories of womanizing, and his derogatory statements about women and people of color and people of other countries and people with challenges?    No matter his lack of substance when it came to coherent policy or lack of experience with governing or international diplomacy, or his war-mongering,  often times mocking stance, on this country.   Lets overlook his frequent lack of appropriate language (in open and closed settings) or his repetitive triumvirate of meaningless words: "disaster  rigged  HUGE."  

I really never understood how he managed to continue being the face of the Republican Party's nominee for the highest office in the land.  Here is my first mistake.  That should have told us something big.  He just kept knocking out or pushing past some fairly substantial figures in the after another the promising newcomers and the seasoned legacies of the Party's representatives fell by the wayside and Donald Trump endured.

Still, I did not think that he could beat out Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

Another mistake.

Next there's the issue of how many people really dislike her.  I really did not feel great about the way she seemed in public.  Yes she had the facts, she had the right arguments, she had the views I believed in, but I often thought she seemed smug or condescending.  I knew that wasn't what those close to her felt but it was what I received almost every time I saw her speak.  

Not her concession speech.  In fact that speech was the most authentic I'd ever seen her.  She was composed and caring and conciliatory in a warm, honest way but she also held firm to what she had lost, what she felt and why it was critically important to not see her defeat as DEFEAT.  Even if she wasn't to be at the helm (horribly disappointingly to many millions of voters and to her family, her staff and her SELF) still we were obliged to carry the mantle, continue to be the voice and the presence and the power of the values we shared despite this stunning setback.

I think underneath all the stuff: the Comey "indictment" of a batch of emails on someone else's laptop (and what a someone), the fact that she's an insider-insider; I still believe that it definitely hurt that she's female.  Now I'm not saying she lost because of sexism, but in part  I think she did.  I saw a statistic that said 67% of white, male, non-college educated males voted for Trump and I thought, "Well there's a group that sure wants to support women being equal..."

After turning off the TV at 1:37am (because I couldn't stand watching the inevitable at that point), I fell asleep hoping that it would all look different in the morning. 

It didn't and I was astonished by the depth of my physical reaction (my ulcer which had been dormant for decades decided to make itself known), the depression I felt and my complete inability to comprehend this new reality.   As Hillary said, 

"Donald Trump is going to be our President."

I'm going to try to wrap my head around that one.  To face the fact that after another 80 days or so, after Barack Obama, despite my disbelief, President-Elect Donald Trump will be the Commander-in-Chief.  Could anyone have beat him?  Not Bernie Sanders.  My friend says perhaps Joe Biden who himself is a bit of a loose cannon, but a reasonable, measured one.  I don't think so because he too is a career politician.
Donald Trump is going to be our President.  I can only hope that the sheer magnitude of the job awes Trump in a way that tones his everything down, humbles him into realizing that some responsibilities deserve thoughtful, civil, collaborative consideration.  Of course he'll always be who he is  brash and a maverick  but perhaps he can focus and do what he does best, build things.

Infrastructure is a great place to start.  The nation needs it, the parties agree on it, it will put people to work, it will boost the economy, and make monies flow while making everyone safer.  Let that be the legacy of the Trump Presidency  that he orchestrated a second WPA that stabilized the financial situation of a working public and produced a more secure set of roads, bridges, and tunnels.  Let them build these structures and build our economy.  

Just as long as they're not building a wall.



  1. I too am sickened physically, emotionally battered, fearful, angry and hurting. The unimaginable has happened. If only we had been given some warning by the polls which continued to count the Hillary Blue column as near, at or over the magic 270. There was such certainty. If only we had been given a healthy dose of "no it may not happen". But I think the bulk of my emotion is negative blame against friends, family or co-workers who I know voted for Trump. I am finding it difficult to forgive them. How could they have knowingly done this, contributing to this utter mess? Our side believes they are misguided, uneducated. But if you ask them, that's exactly what they think of us: misguided and fooled by things they think they know better. How did we get to this massive divide, and commonly over the same set of facts?! I am still searching for answers. My guess is there is no one clean tidy answer. It's a host of contributing factions: from KKK racists against Obama, to right-wing Bible clenching pro-Lifers, to new young voters disappointed they couldn't vote for Bernie so they did not vote or voted 3rd party, to white under-educated and under-employed men who blame the world for their lack of success, and yes there really are a group of single-minded people who listen to sports radio instead of hard news and really have zero clue of the issues and tend to believe everything they hear on Fox news or read on Facebook. 47% of our country did not even vote. Good grief. I cannot think that this will end well. We have elected someone unqualified, irrational and with multiple personality disorders. But our Founding Fathers had a good eye on this as a possibility. Luckily the House and the Senate would have to be in large agreement and vote yes to enact most of what Trump said he'd do. Yet the worst of his ugly legacy has already happened and it is already too late. He has ramped up hate and made it okay to bully people, blame people, push and shove people, and even kill people. We have lost decades of civil rights, common decency and respect towards differences in race, sex, gender, etc. This is a huge setback and we're going to have fight for equal rights all over again.

    1. I understand your frustration and I too have relatives who praise Trump and are completely convinced he will save the country...I'm trying to hope for the best.

  2. I was uneasy throughout. Others pointed to her lead in the polls, I said, "I'll exhale on November 9." It wasn't conscious thinking about the misogyny, though that is deep and pervasive. I've felt physically sick since leaving the polls on Tues night (I was a "vote protector" for Democracy NC) and seeing that FL was leaning right. Also sickened that 47% of voters didn't vote. No idea how to bridge the "earth is flat" vs "earth is round" divide in perceptions of reality. Reeling, heartsick, terrified, vulnerable. Fearing for my gay son and his husband, for my white/Pakistani-parented Muslim grandchildren. For all people of color. For all of us. My gun-toting, Clinton-bashing, cigar-smoking, HS drop-out middle-aged white male cousins from rural PA are crowing; they have no idea what they've done. Bragging yesterday on FB about celebrating by buying more guns. I unfollowed them. Very concerned about Congressional oversight. That should help rein him in, though the far-right, 40-member "Freedom Caucus" has made noise about unseating Ryan and replacing him with one of their own. Imagine Trumpers are on board with that, he has revenge to wreak on Ryan. God help us.

    1. Yes, it is a scary prospect and let us hope saner minds prevail...I understand your fear.

  3. Well said my friend--I think we are all in a state of disbelief and will be for quite awhile! Nancy

    1. Thanks Nancy...disbelief and then ? We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out...