I have had so many thoughts since the election on Tuesday, I’ve decided to revitalize the blog. I just can’t flood Facebook anymore with this.
After the election, I stayed in bed far longer than I should have. I nursed the pain that I’m still trying to process and explain. I think Michelle Wolf of the Daily Show summed it up really well on Wednesday night, during a monologue at the end of which her voice cracked in an echo of my own in recent days.
Our president-elect is someone who openly has stated that he could be called a chauvinist; is someone who doesn’t look at me and automatically see another person. But instead a number or an object. And the fact that this outcome makes it feel like we have to be reminded that little girls and women are valuable, capable and strong is heartbreaking.
It feels like the choice of him over Hillary is a devaluation of me–and that’s not to say anything about literally everyone besides cisgender white able-bodied men that he alienated and othered in some way during his campaign. I do want to move forward and be positive, I really do, but for me that doesn’t mean simply accepting the results and going about business as usual. I’m not going to burn anything down or be outwardly hurtful, but I need to do something–no one else is going to the work I think needs to be done if I don’t start with me. I can’t help feeling like, in the words of the inimitable Leslie Knope:
“I acknowledge that Donald Trump is the President. I understand, intellectually, that he won the election. But I do not accept that our country has descended into the hatred-swirled slop pile that he lives in. I reject out of hand the notion that we have thrown up our hands and succumbed to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and crypto-fascism. I do not accept that. I reject that. I fight that. Today, and tomorrow, and every day until the next election, I reject and fight that story.“
I, too, reject and fight the idea that this election has to mean that our society is lost to the “silent majority” who, along with a majority of white women, elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. As is their right. However, I don’t believe that the majority of them elected him out of hate. I think they elected him out of fear, and in some cases, of misogyny. More on that here.
When I walked out of my house on Wednesday, it was hard not to feel like everyone I encountered was going to be against me. I was still wearing my HRC shirt–in part because I slept in it and in part because I didn’t want anyone to have a question about how I voted. Walking to lunch, I hugged my jacket a little closer with each person I saw, unsure of how they would react. No one did anything. It was fine. The sky was grey and hung too close, but that felt appropriate. When I finished my lunch my waitress asked if I’d watched HIllary’s speech yet. I told her I hadn’t been able to make myself yet. She told me she almost called in sick. We hugged. She told me she was glad she came into work.
Here are the numbers ( so far)
Americans eligible to vote: 218,959,000
Americans registered to vote: 146,311,000 (66%)
Ballots cast in 2016: 127,332,730 (87% of registered, 58% eligible voters)
Clinton: 60,839,922 votes (48% of votes, 41% of registered voters, 27% of eligible voters)
Trump: 60,265,858 votes (47% of votes, 27% of eligible voters, 41% of registered voters)
Third Party: 6,226,950 votes (4% of vote, 2% of eligible votes, 4% of registered voters)
So my point is, if you were with her, the odds are overwhelming that you’re not alone, or at the very least you’re surrounded statistically more by apathetic people than people who can feel so different because they voted for Trump (but again, most of them are probably not that different.)
The polls weren’t wrong, per se. Clinton did win the popular vote by 1 point. Of those people eligible to vote, these candidates motivated us at exactly the same rate. And of those people who voted, more people voted for a woman to be the 45th President of the United States than a reality television star. That’s something to hang your hat on, even if the hook is not firmly planted in the wall. My point is that we did not wake up on Wednesday to discover that a majority of Americans voted against progress and for regression.
And I’ll reiterate: I don’t think that the majority of Trump voters are hateful, xenophobic, misogynistic, or racist. They are people with concerns that need to be addressed and bridged.
The majority of Americans wanted Hillary Clinton to be President. We can’t forget that, and more importantly, we can’t let our elected officials forget that. I encourage everyone to look at the voting records for their districts, counties, and states, and use that data to support any comments on upcoming legislation. Here are some resources:
SCvotes.org — Look up the voting stats for your precinct, county, state.
IssueVoter — Track legislation that matters to you and contact your representative to make your voice heard. Doing so is consistently reported as the most likely way to effect change aside from lobbying.