Heartbreak and Coping With Post-Election Grief

posted in: Politics, Rantings | 2

broken-heart-america

If you are like me, watching the election results roll in was like watching a nuclear bomb explode in slow motion. I stared in horror with the rest of my country, waiting for more electoral votes to swing in on Hillary’s side and rescue us from certain destruction, but they never arrived. I woke up yesterday morning with a painful knot in my stomach to the very real nightmare of President Trump. And I sobbed and I screamed at the television and retreated to Facebook where I could find some tiny consolation in the fact that so many other people were feeling the same awful pain that I was experiencing, that I was nowhere near alone in my absolute disbelief and disgust that America — our America — signed up for this. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been living in the California bubble. It’s not that I didn’t see how much support he had; I had no doubt how close the race would be. I suppose I just had too much faith that humanity and compassion and love would ultimately win. And actually, I wasn’t wrong. More than 50% of the voters in this country voted to elect Hillary Clinton, and only because of a broken and outdated system (that was initially implemented to prevent people like Trump from getting into the White House, by the way) did he even win. Technically, our country said NO to him and yet in true American rape culture fashion, we are still stuck getting his hyperbole shoved down our gagging throats.

I’m sure my friends and family are sick and tired of hearing me talk about the election at this point. Everyone keeps trying to smooth over the bad feelings: “Get over it. Stop whining. This is reality, we’re stuck with him; we might as well make the best of it. Maybe some good will come out of this.” Or the worst sentiment of all: “The best thing you can do is just ignore him. None of this will really even affect you that much.”

Excuse me? This isn’t just a pity-party where I sit around feeling sorry that “my team” lost. This won’t affect me!? Yes, I am white and I just happen to be engaged to a man, that means that I am privileged and in many ways, I certainly won’t be as affected as a lot of my fellow Americans. But you are dead wrong in that this won’t affect me. I am a woman, which means that for the next four years (at least) I have to live in a country where we the people have proclaimed to the world that it is okay to grab women, to kiss women even when they don’t want you to, to do whatever you want to them, to demean them purely because of their appearance or the fact that they don’t like you. We have endorsed a man who wants to take away my rights, my freedoms, and potentially even punish me for exercising them. We have elected a vice president who would like to repeal marriage equality and believes in the pseudo-science of conversion therapy. As someone who proudly represents the B in the LGBTQ community, this infuriates me more than anyone who is straight can possibly understand. I AM NOT FUCKING BROKEN; you cannot fix me or shame my sexuality out of me, it is part of who I am. And to say that I am a lesser part of my community and try to take away my rights because of your religious beliefs is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

But worse even than all of these things and perhaps one of the most terrifying things that Trump’s presidency means for all of us is the fact that he believes that global warming is a hoax. We are rapidly (not slowly) destroying the only home that we have and while I’m not even sure that intense and focused preventative action will save us at this point, it is the only option that gives me hope for the future. I can’t even completely appreciate the fact that so many millennials are getting involved in politics and rallying for change due to this election — and it’s all because I don’t even know if their children will be around to see the results of that.

“We need to pull together. Unite. Stay positive. Look at the bright side.” Look, I am trying. But I have spent a lifetime trying to suppress my negative feelings and put on a happy face, and you know what? I’m tired of it. There is nothing wrong with being hurt, and angry, and afraid. When we gloss over these things, we minimize them. We say that they don’t matter. Let’s all just suck it up and hope for the best! Make sure to keep quiet about our pain for the sake of pulling it together. You know what? If you are as angry as I am and are able to react calmly when people say things like “Trump isn’t that bad!” Well, my hat is off to you, you are a better human being than I. But I cannot stay silent. I believe in freedom of speech, and I will exercise that right even in the face of people who would seek to take that away from me (even just by trying to minimize my feelings.)

Right now, one of the hardest things I’m struggling with is this internal battle about Trump voters. On the one hand, I have several friends that I know voted for Trump; people who I love and respect and know are intelligent and rational people. People that I want to stay friends with. People that I have always been able to have an open and healthy dialogue with and learn from. I believe wholeheartedly in treating others with love and respect, and that’s why at this moment I can’t even engage in rational conversation right now about the election with people who are willing to defend him. I just can’t do it. I’m trying to get back to that place where I could have a calm dialogue, and I’m sure I will get there, but it might take me a little time. Right now I’m finding solace in the community of those who are feeling many of the same things I am, and I decided to write this post in hopes that perhaps this could shed a little extra light into why so many of us are so upset (for those of you that are having a hard time understanding.)

Right now it is so hard to come from a place of love. I am so angry — I feel let down. All of these people that I know were willing to turn a blind eye to all of the racist, bigoted, sexist and degrading things that this man has said because they dislike or disagree with Hillary for one reason or another. But to me, the two are not even remotely comparable. All politicians are corrupt to varying degrees; all of them do things that have at least some negative consequences. I have never been the biggest Hillary fan (although I will admit, seeing the way she handled herself during this election certainly gave me a new measure of respect for her) but to compare even what extreme right-winger’s accuse Hillary of doing to the actual video evidence of things that Trump has done and said… well, they’re simply not comparable. Trump marginalizes, degrades, and seeks to oppress minorities and all of the freedoms that they have fought SO HARD for; Hillary does not. I never needed to love her to elect her, I only needed to trust her to stand up for ALL of our rights as American citizens. I don’t trust Trump to do that.

It doesn’t make it better when friends tell me they voted for him in spite of all of the awful things he has said and done. When someone tells me they voted for Trump on policy, this is what I hear: “I voted to take away your rights and freedoms as well as the rights and freedoms of others I don’t care about, because I believe in tax breaks and trickle down economics and I’m tired of people taking advantage of the system.”

I’m sorry, but that fucking stings. I know that’s not the way they see it or the way that they mean it, but that’s what it feels like.

I can’t help but find it ironic that it’s not okay for people to take advantage of the system that provides food, health care, and housing — but it’s okay for a rich white man to take advantage of the same system in order to avoid paying federal taxes, avoid actually paying people for the work that they did for him (which he USED by the way) and essentially screw dozens of investors out of their money. I’m sorry, but in what world is that better? Loopholes are okay for the rich, but not the poor. GOT IT. I’m not going to deny that people take advantage of our system on every level — but you know what? I would rather be a part of a system that provides basic needs to every citizen, even ones who might take advantage, than a system that is “every man for himself” and a large percentage of people (even the people who need it and deserve it and work hard) can’t have their basic needs met. Regardless of how you set up the system, there will always be people that take advantage; stop using that as an excuse.

Every single person that I know who voted for Trump is white. Every. Single. One. Of course they are going to tell me to “get over it” and “stop whining.” They can get back to their lives as usual and not leave their house every morning afraid that someone is going to sexually assault them or come after them with torches and bullets and hatred. That’s called WHITE PRIVILEGE. Just because you can’t imagine life from someone else’s point of view doesn’t automatically make you right. I’m sorry, but yes. I am angry. I have been trying for this entire election to put myself in your shoes and I can conceptualize, but I hear and see too much greed and lack of empathy in those words to take your support for Trump seriously.

My heart aches for all of the people taking to the streets late last night in protest. On the one hand I feel for all of the people who went out with the intention to protest peacefully; but I am simultaneously angry at the protesters that allowed their anger to fuel violence. I have no patience for that. You make all of us look bad. You give Trump supporters a reason to point and say “stupid liberals” and not take any of this seriously. Violence is never the answer. On top of that, a large percentage of these protesters didn’t even vote. This makes me more angry than the Trump supporters. (Obviously if you can’t vote, or you chose to vote because you honestly don’t care about who was elected — no hard feelings. That is your right.) But if you could have voted, didn’t, or worse, voted third party, and then get angry that Trump was elected — you made your fucking bed.

Some of my Trump supporter friends have told me that they think everything Trump does is “just for show” and now that he’s elected he will be different. I sincerely hope they are right, but I’ll be honest. I spent six years in a relationship with an emotionally abusive man who would swing back and forth between complimenting me, and belittling and degrading my sense of self-worth. I put up with every apology, every “I didn’t mean it.” I let him manipulate me with sweet words after the dust of emotional destruction had settled and continued to allow myself to buy into the delusional idea that things would get better. I know what that bullshit looks like when I see it, and Trump oozes it out of every orange pore. Every woman who has ever been sexually assaulted is looking at Trump right now, horrified because they see their attacker not only vindicated, exonerated, but CELEBRATED. Elected to the very highest office. Women have been putting up with this shit for pretty much forever, and we’re used to it, but that doesn’t make it okay. Society victim-blames and points the finger and belittles women when they step forward and speak up — and you’re asking WHY they don’t come forward!?

Guess what? I don’t trust or believe people any more when they say one thing and do another. So I’ll make peace with Trump as president when he stands up for MY rights, and for the rights of my friends who are Muslim, Black, Latino, Native American, women, LGBTQ, disabled, or poor. If President Pussygrabber can get his Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde personality under control and perhaps actually get his story straight for once and actually make improvements to this country that benefit its citizens without restricting the rights of half of them, and if he can stop inciting hate and violence, and for once encourage white people to step into the shoes of the other half of the country and imagine a world where they wake up every morning AFRAID, and find a way to help these people embrace and accept all of the differences that make this country the beautiful rainbow that it is — well, then I will eat my words and I will accept his presidency.

But until that happens, I will be that angry voice that is willing to stand up and say, “I believe in this beautiful thing called FREEDOM — the very thing that our country was built upon. And I will fight for my rights and the rights of others, in any way that I can.”

2 Responses

  1. yourcousinredstatehell
    | Reply

    WOW! THANK YOU! Again, you so perfectly articulated my own thoughts and feelings. To say that I feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me and I can’t even begin to find the words to accurately convey and express my own feelings is an understatement! I appreciate being able to identify, relate, and even borrow and share your verbal eloquence as a means of self-expression when I feel too angry, emotional, reactionary and irrational to participate in coherent, non-profane, productive discussions with others at the moment. Warning … this reply contains profanity.

    Let me start by saying … I’m not even a liberal democrat. In fact, I’m registered as an independent. I try to read and educate myself with a multitude of news sources, both conservative and liberal as well as international news sources and anything in between that may give me a well rounded, well informed, unbiased, objective view of politics and policies upon which I can make informed decisions and draw conclusions based on a multitude of FACTS, and not just opinions or perceptions. There are some areas where I am VERY left, and others where I lean pretty hard to the right. But overall, I consider myself a moderate and I’m pretty open minded to hearing thoughts, ideas, and opinions from ALL sides – conservative, liberal, and everything in between.

    And if I were being completely selfish, self-serving, and myopic, I could also go so far as to say that personally, these election results are unlikely to have much of a negative effect on my immediate family directly (with the exception of environmental issues being dismissed and ignored and the long-term consequences of such ignorant actions.) We happen to be one of the families that will financially benefit from a Trump presidency. We ARE in the top 1% and his tax cut promises and “trickle down” regurgitated Reagan theory is really great news for us financially.

    And don’t even get me started on the Affordable Health Care Act – a.k.a. Obamacare. We pay THROUGH THE NOSE for our insurance it’s gone up over 500% in the last 8 years and it does get a bit irritating when our premiums keep going up, but our options and coverage keep going down.

    I also don’t have any daughters whom I would have to worry about their freedoms and choices being taken away. I have 3 WHITE sons.

    So generally speaking, this new president-elect is PERSONALLY good news for MY family with little negative impact.

    So WHY ON EARTH would we have voted for Hilary Clinton in our house??? I’ll tell you why … because this election was about something much bigger than ourselves or our personal needs and desires or financial gains. This election was about doing what was RIGHT, not what was easy. It was about the greater good and standing up to bullies, takining a stance against racism, sexism, misogyny, bigotry, hatred, hypocrisy, fear, and deception. It was about standing up to FASCISM! And it was about supporting the values and principals this country was founded on, FREEDOM, CHOICE, ACCEPTANCE, DIVERSITY, and DECENCY.

    I too have friends and acquaintances that voted for the Orange Douche Bag (ODB). And as I voiced in several of my own posts prior to the election results, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend” – Thomas Jefferson.

    Some of these friends I know DO and HAVE felt lost and forgotten by our current President and politicians and saw ODB as THEIR only option to potentially improve their own lives or circumstances.

    But right now, I can’t even begin to wrap my head around their reasoning or thought process. Currently, I am the one being bigoted, racist, irrational and narrow-minded because I can’t stop thinking “are you really such a selfish, stupid, fucking, white trash, ignorant, pious, hypocrite suffering from a major inverted rectal cranial injection that you’ll turn a blind eye to what ODB really is? Is your head so far up your ass that you can’t see how DANGEROUS and poisonous ODB’s presidency will be to not just our nation in the long run, but to our planet as well?!!!, Do they not see the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Are they really THAT FUCKING STUPID?”. Now … rationally, I know that many of my friends are good, decent, loving people that didn’t want or appreciate the candidate their party nominated. Many supported him reluctantly .They are NOT this stupid or this racist, or sexist, or bigoted, (OK, some may be, but they have enough redeeming qualities outside of politics that I can take a deep breath in order to stomach these shortcomings and value and respect them for the many positive attributes and virtues they DO possess.) And I am sure many of them have had the same thoughts or felt the same way towards me with my “liberal” leanings and posts of adulation and my “Obama loving ways”.

    What’s so incredibly frustrating, disappointing and pissing me off to no end right now is how truly dismissive, demeaning and arrogant these people are when others that don’t agree with them are expressing their disappointment, concerns, fears, reservations, thoughts, and feelings.

    They condemn and demean protests and suggest we be quiet, stop whining and that we “shut up and buck up”. Their behavior, words and suggestions are essentially wanting to suppress our freedom of speech and self-expression. As it’s been said by numerous people, this is NOT an issue of “sour grapes” or “I’m disappointed that the candidate I supported didn’t win”. I’ve never really been a Hilary fan, but she was exponentially MORE qualified to become our commander & chief and better suited to represent and advocate for ALL American’s than ODB. And that’s why I ultimately supported her and why she won the popular vote.

    And HELLO??? Look at the WORLD’s response to the election results! We “liberals” or rational independents aren’t the only ones freaked out or concerned! This is SO MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT!!! I mean TRULY! ODB is the least qualified, most frightening, arrogant, ignorant person EVER to take this position. It’s simply FUCKING SCARY! What I wouldn’t give to trade him for George W. Bush or Richard Nixon right now! THAT’S HOW BAD HE IS!!! He makes these moronic presidents look like one of our Brilliant Founding Fathers, or Abe Lincoln, JFK, Gandi or even Jesus Christ!!!

    And speaking of Jesus Christ … really …all of the ultra-conservative, right-wing, religious republicans truly have me baffled. You have a man that is about as UN-Christian as one can get. You have religious and spiritual leaders around the world and members of his own party that would not endorse him, or that “unendorsed” him due to his unethical, deplorable, immoral actions and words, yet you have others that condoned his disgusting behavior with their apathy or silence, essentially burying their heads in the sand as though his actions and words were somehow excused with an insincere apology or the thought that this bombastic behavior is some sort of “act” and not truly representative of ODB himself. I wonder, how do you reconcile or defend that in front of your Lord and Savior on Judgement Day?

    And Democrats … they’re not off the hook here either. WTH? The WORLD is gonna be paying for their karmic debt for the next 4 years (or more), not to mention the long-term ramifications sure to impact us with ultra, right winged, take your freedoms and civil liberties away Supreme Court justices sure to be appointed during ODB’s presidency and thank you very much, we really get fucked with that!) The party’s cheating, deceitful manipulation of the democratic nomination essentially sealed their fate and they were stuck with probably one of the most un-electable candidates that could have possibly run. The Presidency is NOT the Oscars, one isn’t “entitled” to the job because they’re the most visible, prominent face of the party that’s been around the block a few times and it seems like it should be “their turn”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL FOR A WOMAN as President, but Hilary was not the best candidate for this election or any election in the future. She simply carries too much baggage to be a viable, electable candidate.

    And Republicans – they embarrass themselves and our country. It’s like the patients have taken over the asylum! First, the ultra-conservative, irrational Tea Party hijacks the GOP and runs it amok with their partisan politics,railroading, and blatant obstruction for the last 8 years! This type of behavior, their actions, these are key factors as to what has deepened this chasm in our society. Republican’s have all been doing what has been in their own self-interests, rather than what’s best for this country and it’ citizens! There has been NO COMPROMISE! They’ve all acted like spoiled, brats, and now they have the KING of spoiled, entitled brats at the helm. ODB. or as you so eloquently referred to him, … President Pussygrabber. Most republicans couldn’t even endorse him, yet those that did endorse him, did so half-heartedly, reluctantly or for personal and political gain. Again, putting party ahead of this country and it’s citizens.

    Let’s not forget the media … yep, they share in the responsibility of this trainwreck as well. What ever happened to responsible and objective journalism? The media has perpetuated the divide with their greed for ratings, shock value, and entertainment. Accuracy of information is optional. And is anything ever put into proper context? Is there even ONE American News source that is honestly and truly dedicated to conveying accurate, objective, unbiased information.

    And ALL American’s share in the blame as well. We have become so figuratively fat and lazy with our politicians and news media. We have allowed ourselves to be spoon fed information that appeals to our ideals and opinions, yet we don’t open ourselves to explore or accept opposing views that may require us to look at things more objectively. We don’t DEMAND that we are presented objective, TRUE, relevant, and unbiased information. We drink from the hose that suits our own self-interests, and shy away from the altruistic notion of “ONE NATION” and all that “indivisible” means. We are judgmental, ignorant, arrogant, intolerant and apathetic. The same attitude emerged in Rome before that empire fell. We elect politicians that are motivated by greed, and that are interested in only advancing one party’s self-interests, nevermind the health and well-being of the nation as a whole. We aren’t willing to compromise, and we’ve either become so rigid or insecure in our beliefs that other ideas, suggestions, approaches, or possible solutions to our nation’s problems are perceived as a threat.

    So yea … I am MAD, yes, I’m frustrated, disappointed, and sad. But most of all, I am disgusted. The feelings, concerns, and fears people have right now are VERY real and VERY valid. And as a mother, I am frightened and mortified for the future President Pussygrabber offers my children and the long term effects his presidency will have on my future grandchildren. His fascist attitude and hateful rhetoric signal the decline of what has been great about our country. Let’s call a spade a spade. What his campaign slogan really meant was “Make America Hate Again”.

    And in response to the rhetoric and facism, I too will be the angry voice in chorus with yours that is willing to stand up and fight as I profess my belief in FREEDOM, and in compassion, love, and tolerance of others. And I will be vigilant, and informed and educate myself whenever and wherever possible to ensure I am never ignorant or complacent when the Constitutional freedoms and principals this country was founded on are threatened.

  2. Mona McGuire
    | Reply

    So well put, I truly agree.

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