Election night, I worked until 8 pm, when the polls closed in New Mexico, and half the electoral votes were in. Clinton was behind by 33, but there were 294 left up for grabs. The mood could have been cautiously hopeful, but I felt dread deadening my emotions. I texted a bit with PT and G, but they were watching polls and TV and online election maps, and my stomach couldn't take the play by play. I bowed out, and listened to James Marsters read The Summer Knight, with that perfect amount of Sam Spade in his voice. I took diazepam for my queasy stomach and spinning brain, and fell asleep.
I woke up to the news that my country, my neighbors, my friends, my family, had elected a man whose entire campaign denigrated and marginalized women, minorities, and The Other, people who were also my neighbors, my friends, my family. We elected a bully, a man whose "Art of the Deal" consists of screwing over the people with whom he deals, a man who is proud of working the tax system while the rest of us pay, whose response to criticism is a blisteringly vulgar tweet, who is all about what he can win for himself. I can't even talk about the rape accusations and his treatment of the soldier's surviving family.
I was heartsick.
I walked through my day, feeling tears in my throat, dread in my heart. I was nauseous, my head hurt as well as my heart and stomach. I saw but could not feel the sun shining on the snow-sprinkled mountain. There was a haze over everything. I wasn't sleepwalking, but I was not present.
Eventually I started reading other people's words. In most there was some version of shock and dismay. One particularly poignant post in Facebook said "We have elected a CHILD RAPIST!" I looked up the details in Snopes.com.....well, legally he has only been accused, and the suit has been withdrawn. As with so much that is horrible about this man, one can't help but wonder: is he really a sociopath, or is that just his shtick? And, in the long run, does it really matter? We have elected him as he presented himself to be. That in itself is enough to shame us all. But does it?
I started listening to people's words. And, as I listened, a glimmer of...something....came into me. It was not hope....not light....it was a spark, a tiny ember, melting away the hard lump that I was curled around. I started paying attention again to my body's reaction: nausea, pain, tears. I was feeling grief, and it was a very familiar feeling. But, I have some tools to deal with that. Meditate, let the grief and other emotions flow through and out, envision myself as a clear vessel holding light and love....I think about that, and it seems too personal, too small in the face of this global catastrophe. Can lifting up really be the answer?
And yet, there's that tiny spark. I listen some more. And I realize that my country, my friends, my family, my neighbors did NOT elect this evil person (and I truly do believe his works and his effects are evil). At least 50% of us do believe in the value of women and marginalized people. We want to safeguard our natural resources. We want affordable health care, social services, freedoms. In fact, many of the people who voted for him seem just as horror-struck as those who did not. I read screeds of blame and shame, saying it's our own darn fault for choosing Clinton as our candidate.
What it seems to come down to is that everyone feels discouraged and disenfranchised. So, some of us tried to take down the old power structure which Clinton stands for. While I think it is irresponsible to elect an unknown just because he isn't part of the old guard, I do understand. And I cannot descend into blaming and shaming. My only hope while I work through this grief is that the government, corrupt, lumbering entity that it is, will use its will to live and swallow him up. Just as liberals become part of the machine they want to fix, so will this sociopath.
And, in the meantime, it's time to get to work on that revolution. If I don't run away first.
I've been threatening
To leave if the worst happened.
But where can I go?