This is really, really not the followup post I wanted to write. I’ve spent November reeling from the election. I’ve written multiple drafts of what to say here but never gotten around to posting it, railed and raged on Twitter, and marched in protests.
I was going to say that I’m horrified this country chose a clearly incompetent, irresponsible con man with no regard for the truth as President. But saying so is deceptive; Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2 million (whatever Trump may claim about “millions of illegal votes”) and she would have won by even more if not for the shameful, racist voter suppression campaigns emboldened by the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Furthermore, almost half of eligible voters didn’t vote at all.
Many people better versed in politics than I have written postmortem analyses. I admit my Twitter feed for the past three weeks consists largely of these, plus news and commentary on the dismaying appointments Trump has already made. My take is that, while some voters might have had economic concerns, they were far overshadowed by racism. It’s the culmination of the Southern Strategy. White people voted for Trump as a bloc, regardless of income. Even white women voted for Trump by a significant margin, despite his disgusting treatment of women (white or especially otherwise). There’s also a lot of misogyny in the frothing hatred of Hillary Clinton – and sadly some of white women’s support for a candidate who treats them as scheming gold-diggers or pussies to be grabbed is no doubt born of internalized sexism.
The weekend after the election, I visited my parents. My mother stopped in a CVS while I was tagging along on her errands. On the magazine rack by the register I saw the latest issue of People magazine, which about a month before had run their writer Natasha Stoynoff’s account of Trump’s assault on her. It was covered in Trump’s smirking face – and I lost it.
“He groped one of their writers and now they write a fucking fluff piece? How dare they,” I shouted to anyone in earshot, to my mother’s horror. “Can you even imagine how she must feel?”
My family didn’t vote for Trump, and they loathe him too, but they don’t understand that a lot of people are literally afraid for their lives in the face of the avalanche of hate crimes and harassment descending upon people of color. They gently chided me about accepting election results when it doesn’t go my way, and I responded with more fury than I should have. I was angry at them for doubting the people most affected by this, angry at them for not being angry enough.
I’m still angry at everyone who treats this as if it were normal.
Two days after the election, Chuck Wendig wrote an amazing blog post called “Mourn, Then Get Mad, Then Get Busy.” Three weeks after the election, I’m reading it again, and I plan to return to it whenever I need encouragement and a reminder. Items 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 20 are especially vital.
Stay mad, and stay busy. But also stay okay. Take care of yourself (writes Althea at almost midnight). It’s going to be a long four years.