Gut Punched

November 9, 2016

Woke up, checked my phone, he was still president.

I went into my office and stared at my desk… here’s what it looked like last night (well, more like 3:00am) when I finally dragged myself off to bed…


Couldn’t even finish my wine.. what had been my celebration wine. It went mostly un-drunk the whole night.

Still feel like it can’t be possible that we elected Trump to be our president. I’ve felt ill at ease all day.  At one point, just after I’d gotten off the Stairmaster (so maybe it was a rush of endorphins, but whatever).. I just fell onto my bed and sobbed. Hard, wracking sobs. It didn’t come out of nowhere, because I’d been crying on and off all morning, but the intensity was a little alarming.

I just went with it.

It was reminiscent of an experience I’d had earlier in the year. About six or eight months ago, I was riding my bike home from somewhere, and this tidal wave of a realization that Peter was soon to be moving out and going to college slammed into me. Of course his inevitable departure had been a reality for months, years (right?), and I’d certainly seen it coming and shed tears here and there between the frenzied activities of his senior year. But on this day, while innocently tooling along on my bike, I started to cry, and then sob. I could barely keep a straight line, I could barely see. But I just kept riding along, wailing like a crazy person… yeah, what a sight. And it did something.. it helped to be able to face the grief and just go with it, and then, ultimately, it just felt cleansing. I didn’t really cry much after that… a little, but nothing like that day on the bike.

So I figure the big dramatic release probably helped a little, we’ll see.

I’m looking at this intensely emotional reaction and trying to distill it down.. what is it about? Losing is hard. Losing when you totally expected to win is harder still. Losing a campaign in which you invested fully–emotionally, financially, time wise–is also so, so hard.

But that’s politics. I’ve been on the losing end of voting a lot more times than on the winning end, and hate it, but I don’t cry.

This one is different for so many reasons.

One, the man both repulses and scares me. I will never be convinced he ran for love of country. He ran for one reason only: he wanted the biggest brass ring there is, the highest prize, his name in the brightest light on earth. It’s all about the adulation, the validation. Everything he does, he does for attention and praise. He is in it for the pageantry, the pomp and protocols.

It’s a very sad commentary on who he is and the deficiencies in his life, but I’m not going there now. Suffice to say: pathetic little man child.

Two, his tactics for getting to this place were beyond the pale–so indecent, so hateful. He stoked the basest fears among his vulnerable, uneducated supporters. And he just lied over and over and over again.  He further polarized the country, playing people off one another by manufacturing convenient enemies, and created a very intentionally frothed up base, because that worked in his favor.

It also bugs me that his largest and most valuable demographic was “the uneducated white” population. It’s a segment of the country he exploited, and they didn’t care.  I mean please: “I love the uneducated.” Number one: he does not love them. Not his people. They are a means to an end. Period. And the poor uneducated whites don’t even see the slight. Number two: Really? That’s a value we want to promote?

It’s breathtaking to me the wave of anti-intellectualism that propelled his campaign. Anti-higher education, anti-science, anti -liberal elites.. as though education, facts and knowledge are bad things.

Well, the class-gap is a whole nuther complex phenomenon.. not new, fascinating, very worth exploring, but topic for another day.

Back to the profoundly unfair tactics Trump employed to rally his base:

He knew Obama was born in the United States. He knew his rhetoric would whip his base into a frenzy. He totally encouraged the dangerous mob behavior and conveniently looked away when people spoke of lynching, assassination, ethnic cleansing… while never rebuking it. He knows full well who David Duke is and gladly allowed him to mobilize white supremacists in support of his campaign.

He got to where he is on the backs of the uneducated. He used them. He used their fear.

What frustrates the holy hell out of me is that he got away with it all. AND, he can now count on the short memories of people willing to put all of that aside as politics-as-usual gamesmanship.

The reality is, he simply cannot govern the country in the same vile way in which he ran his campaign. His base wouldn’t expect him to, or even want him to. He may now rise to a more civilized discourse. He’ll just remove that ugly costume and throw it away. He got where he wanted to be, by any means necessary.  Now he’ll play president.

Soon, ensconced in the luscious elegance of the office and its institutional civilities, where people–everyone–must call him Mr. President, he’ll not just tone down the rhetoric, it will be completely gone. His frothing base just a manipulated means to an end. He’ll “look so presidential you won’t believe it” (and I won’t for a minute), and we’ll be fully in pretend land.

So that hurts like hell. The unfairness and injustice of it. I am not cut out for this level of fraud. It just shreds my soul.

THE OTHER TRAGEDY is what happened to Hillary! I am not prepared to defend all that has gone on behind the scenes over her lifetime of political public service… that is a world so complicated, so corporately corrupt and so beyond my reach, I just cannot begin to understand it.  But I will say 1) she is not alone in abusing the system for political gain, 2) she has been unfairly and relentlessly pursued for decades by Clinton haters and old white guys not comfortable with women in power, especially a Clinton woman,  3) the conspiracy theories surrounding the Clintons are legend, so he just seamlessly picked up where other fruitcake theorists left off, and 4) Trump, I’d hazard an easy guess, is monumentally more corrupt and devious, which points to yet another painful, cry and cringe-worthy irony in this whole thing. Like, for godssake people: thousands of lawsuits on the books, countless disgruntled employees and contractors, numerous bankruptcies, and, hello?, no publicly shared tax returns! You can talk to me about Hillary’s corruption after we’ve discussed the creepy, filthy, slimy world of Trump’s abuses and questionable morals and ethics…. the lawsuits, bankruptcies, tax returns, AND his numerous marriages, porn flick appearances, and pending charges of sexual abuse. And whatever else is in that dirty, disgusting, entitled past of his.

I will also say that she may have been politically devious, no doubt she was. But I am utterly certain that his corruption and financial manipulation is orders of magnitude worse. Further, his bottomless pit of questionable business practices are done to advance his personal wealth, hers have been done in the service of public programs. Hers is a lifetime of public service. His.. not so much. There is no comparison.

The irony that SHE was labeled throughout the campaign by HIM as the crooked one, and that that became her defining story, makes me sick.

And then, cruelest of all, this country elected him president while Hillary–smart, wonky, experienced and deeply prepared, a person who’s committed her entire life to public service, especially to girls and families, is bullied, humiliated, shamed and sent packing. She had the resume, she’d done her homework, she was the best candidate for the job. She earned it, and she deserved it.

Once again, the big, powerful, abusive guy prevails. The profound unfairness makes it hard to breathe.

This is why I cry.

It was the last thing I ever expected on Tuesday evening when the polls first closed on the east coast. It made for such a shocking evening, as, hour by hour, her victory started to look less certain. I felt totally, totally sick.


I’ve seen people already writing about getting over it. It was election, there are always winners and losers. Move on. Give the man a chance, they say. Stop being so dramatic. Like it’s everyday a breathtakingly unqualified, bigoted, misogynist with no government experience whatsoever rises to the highest seat of power in the entire world. A position in which he is supposed to lead and represent–fairly and genuinely–the most proudly diverse country on earth.

Hell yeah, people are worried. Muslims, immigrants, african americans. And not just minority communities: people who care about women, women’s rights, climate change and the environment… people who value their health insurance.

For starters.

It is NO WONDER universities all over the country and state governments (I’ve only seen California’s so far) are issuing statements to their people to try and calm everyone the hell down and affirm their commitment to basic human rights principles and protections. They are compelled to let their students and constituents know that they will be safe and protected. I am not kidding.

Jesus Christ. When was the last presidential election in which that had to happen?  Is it not absolutely STUNNING that universities and entire state governments are even writing these things?

So no, I don’t think people’s reactions to Trump’s election are over dramatized and out of line. I think their fear and despair are warranted and understandable.  I don’t think, frankly, we’re going to chill out anytime soon. Our country just elected Donald frickin’ Trump. 


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