This Isn’t the End (It Just Feels Like It)

Of course it’s a bummer. Of course it’s terrible. Of course it’s a unyielding gut punch.

It’s not the end, though.

Donald Trump winning the 2016 Presidential Election was a tough watch. It was sports pain and sadness magnified ten fold. As state after state fell his way, the pit in my stomach grew. My headache got a headache of it’s own. I went to bed around 11. I had had enough. I missed Pennsylvania and Michigan going for Trump and with it, the presidency. I suppose in hindsight the one positive was that I was able to go to bed with at least a sliver of hope. A sliver, but at least a little bit of hope nonetheless.

Yet the hope was fleeting. Even though I had pledged not to check my phone for news updates until the alarm went off I still woke up several times and with my mind off to the races I had trouble falling back to sleep. It’s as if knew even though I didn’t. At that point the element of surprise was gone and all that was left was the creeping pangs of reality. You can’t avoid that – no matter how many times you toss and turn.

Now it’s Wednesday. The sun was out, albeit briefly, and rain has started to fall on the east coast. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, meaning more Americans voted for her than Trump, but the electoral college win elluded her because those voters live in the wrong states. Once again we are left questioning the merits of the electoral college. Just like with futile calls for a third party candidate, it’s about timing. The morning after an election is not the time to cry out for the abandonment of the electoral college, just like two months before an election is not the time to make the case for a viable third party candidate. At some point we will get the timing right. At some point. Also at some point, President Trump will feel less like a sweat-inducing nightmare and more like a sweat-inducing reality. Right now I’m having trouble wrapping my head around his inauguration. I just…I just can’t right now.

Of course it’s a bummer. Of course it’s terrible. Of course it’s a unyielding gut punch.

It’s not the end, though.

Image result for 2016 presidential election

I suppose to a certain extent we (people on the left) were possibly naive to think that after eight years of an African American president we could follow that up with the first female president. We were naive to think that unfortunate repercussions wouldn’t be lying in wait. It’s an ego boost to imagine America as this progressive bastion of forward-thinking goodness, but maybe it’s not. There might be pockets, but it’s definitely not the entire country. A common mistake is thinking that it is and I feel like that was especially the case during this election. Both people on the left and members of the media were guilty of questioning the intelligence of a Trump supporter, as if their position was so straight up crazy that they must not be intelligent enough to comprehend just how nuts the whole thing is. That’s insulting and wrong. Yes, Trump did better with non-educated voters, but non-educated is not automatically short-hand for dumb. The first step for Democrats when it comes to moving on from this election is realizing that.

Yet how could we not have seen the backlash, or as Van Jones put it, “the whitelash,” coming? Since Obama’s first term kicked off, there have been talks of others and talk about how certain swaths of the country felt that the country wasn’t the country they knew and love. It was all code words. It was all about the rise of non-white Americans and this election, a large part of the reason why Trump won, was that these disenfranchised whites finally had a messenger who could bring enough of them together. Make America Great Again…take our country back…when exactly where the good old days? The answer to that has elluded me from the jump. The Daily Show had some fun with it, but as with a lot of things in the past year and a half, it was half funny, half sad.

Bitter nostalgia seemed to drive the Trump campaign; a painful longing of what was. As a result, there is the feeling that Trump’s presidency will bring all of that back — the jobs, the prosperity, the uh…whiteness. But how? A good number of blue collar jobs have left the country, but it’s not as if it’s due to one or two main reasons and you know, it’s not as if a flick of a switch is going to reopen long-shuttered factories. It should also be noted that if those factories do open, it will most likely mean any hope of a higher minimum wage has been sacrificed as a result. But hey, that’s a then problem I guess.

Image result for 2016 election

It’s normal to pine for days gone by. Memories always look better than reality. But they are just that- memories. You can’t go back in time, you can’t recreate past wins. Life moves forward and with it, change happens and progress happens. Donald Trump has routinely touted the glory of our history and a longing to go back to it. But we can’t. I also think it’d be an insult to our history to abandon progress in an attempt to recreate that history. We are all part of the American experiment. Experiments are forward-moving projects. Now I don’t know if Hillary was the way forward or the best way forward (I kind of think she was,) but I know Trump isn’t.

Of course it’s a bummer. Of course it’s terrible. Of course it’s a unyielding gut punch.

It’s not the end, though.

No, no it isn’t.

It’s Wednesday. We need to move on. We need to realize how things ended up the way they did and make plans to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We need to plan for the worst in terms of a Trump presidency; plan for how we will respond if the ugliness and hate he promised throughout his campaign are put forth as a legitimate presidential agenda. Sitting idly by, watching the rain drops fall is not the course of action here. Analyzing, digesting, moving on is the path forward.

Of course it’s a bummer. Of course it’s terrible. Of course it’s a unyielding gut punch.

It’s not the end, though.

It just feels like it.

Categories: Current Events, Politics

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