Forget all that “time to move on and heal our differences” stuff. Maybe I’ll get there, but after Tuesday’s stunning presidential election, I sure haven’t arrived at that place. I’ve vacillated from being so heartbroken and devastated that I can barely function—to burning with anger and disbelief that this has happened to our beloved country.
As a liberal Democrat, I’ve lived through plenty of disappointing elections where my chosen candidate didn’t win. But I never believed the winners were actually dangerous and un-American. Now, however, we’ve thrust into office (thanks to the continued existence of the Electoral College which ignores the popular vote and insures we’re less than a genuine democracy) a man who violates every moral and ethical value I hold dear.
Maybe because he’s retiring, Harry Reid felt free to call out Trump for the “tide of hate he unleashed,” and declared: “Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.”
He wasn’t kidding. The German teacher I share an office with at the university told me, “I lived in Austria for eleven years near where Hitler grew up. I know what fascism looks like. Well, this is it.” My stomach dropped somewhere around my knees.
That’s where it stayed that night when my younger son called. He teaches at a school in Denver that is 90 percent Hispanic. “My students are so upset and afraid,” he said. “They’re scared that someone’s going to show up in the middle of the night and haul members of their family away.”
Meantime, my older son who lives in Manhattan with his wife and two year old lamented, “I hate that my son has to grow up in a country led by someone with no moral compass.”
Maybe it won’t be that bad. Maybe now that he’s elected, Trump will stop trading on the politics of division or denying that climate change exists. Maybe he’ll grow a conscience.
And soon, I know I’ll move past despair and get to work with others who believe, as Hillary did, that we are “stronger together.”
I’m just not ready yet.