Less than two weeks ago, our world here in America was rocked. Many of us gathered together to have election night parties. We stayed up late so we could be a part of history; the first woman to be elected President of the United States! The Clinton campaign had rented a room for election night that featured a glass ceiling and that symbolism was not lost on us. We were absolutely certain that we would hear the sound of shattering glass before the night was over. The news media and the science-based polling companies affirmed our beliefs with statistics showing Hillary Clinton with a commanding 5% lead nationally over her opponent Donald Trump. Pundits were no longer talking about the possibility of a mere Clinton win, they were talking about a landslide and we brimmed with excitement. Not only were we going to elect our first female President, we were going to do it overwhelmingly! This would be a tremendous victory for good. In our minds Donald Trump was a monster; a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, a homo and xenophobe, all he was missing was the KKK hood. In our minds, this election was as much about good versus evil as it was about making history by electing our first female Commander-in-chief. America could not and would not elect a man who had become the poster child for prejudice and bigotry. We knew his supporters would be devastated after the loss so we began to circulate memes on social media that showed our compassion for their disappointment while simultaneously reminding everyone that gloating by our side would be unwise.
In our minds, too many Trump Supporters come right out of the box in a semi-unhinged state. There’s no logic in pushing them over the edge. Trump had already laid the foundation for civil unrest by claiming that the election process was rigged and that he wouldn’t necessarily respect the results. The last thing we wanted were protests and rioting to mar the beautiful history that we were about to make so we were trying to play this cool, calm and classy.
Then it happened.
The last time the state of Wisconsin had voted for a Republican was 1984, a third of a century ago, but that’s exactly what they did. Wisconsin is a blue collar state, working people, Democrats, dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, faithful voters for the party of the working class. Clinton was pounding Trump in the polls there by 7% so her strategists didn’t have her visit the state even once during the campaign. Wisconsin was supposed to be “in the bag” but now they had done the unthinkable and flipped for a man that is a monster. Other “rust belt” states soon followed their lead and Hillary Clinton’s blue firewall came crashing down along with our glass shattering dreams of a historic victory.
Hysteria is exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion, especially among a group of people, and that’s exactly what descended upon us AND it was absolutely legitimate and justifiable. We didn’t do this to ourselves. It was as if after having believed in Santa Claus our entire lives we accidentally overheard our parents talking and were horrified to find out that the magic of Christmas was a complete and utter lie; a ruse prosecuted upon us for the entertainment of others. We were angry and dismayed. We knew that America still had a long way to go to achieve social justice but we never imagined that half of the country could be so racist or so blind. They had to be didn’t they? They voted for Trump! The day after the election we walked around like our hearts had been ripped out without anesthesia. We cried, we consoled, and many of us couldn’t pull it together enough to function at work or school so we called out sick. In the cruelest of tricks, what was supposed to be one of the greatest record setting events in American history, the realization of a dream, had suddenly turned into a nightmare. We cursed every time we heard the phrase “President Elect.” Like Charlie Brown, we had lined up to kick the football a country mile but Lucy cruelly pulled it away at the last second. The Trump supporters heaved in one giant collective gloat and even the comedians at Saturday Night Live couldn’t resist making jokes at our expense.
Me? I’m not in any kind of pain because I voted third party. I have never liked Donald Trump and maybe never will but I’m not a fan of Clinton either. To me, the election was a lose versus lose situation. I wrote the first part of this piece from the perspective of a Clinton supporter based on observing the reactions of my friends. I did it because I am able to have compassion for their immense disappointment. Unfortunately, they have not been able to access the second part of the meme that I attributed to them, they are despairing and that’s not good for anyone.
Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Bigotry is intolerance toward those who hold different opinions than you. I think the Clinton campaign did an excellent job of defining Donald Trump as a bigot and proving that he operates with prejudice. The vast majority of people that I personally know who are despairing are doing so, not because the dream of a female president has temporarily died, but because they believe we have elected a monster. I have compassion for their despair because I think it is completely logical based on the things that they have accepted as true about the President Elect. I accept the hysteria caused by the election but I do not accept the ongoing hysteria two weeks later because I think it is self-inflicted. I will explain.
People were blindsided by the election results. Very few people saw what was coming and hysteria ensued. I get it, I understand. My position is that either the mainstream media intentionally lied to the American people or they didn’t really have any clue what they were talking about. There is no other way to analyze how they could have been so completely wrong about the election. If they lied to us then why are we continuing to listen to them? If they really don’t know what they are talking about then why again are we listening to them? Either way, WHY ARE WE ALLOWING THE MEDIA TO CONTINUE TO PROGRAM OUR THINKING AND FUEL OUR REACTIONS?
I watch a considerable amount of mainstream media and since the election all they have done is foment fear and stoke the post-election hysteria. Last week they told me that the Trump transition is in disarray, that they don’t know what they are doing. Five minutes of research yielded the truth that the last four transitions didn’t even name their first cabinet appointments until six weeks after the election. Trump has named a half dozen within the first two weeks! The only logical conclusion is that we are still being lied to. I heard that there was going to be a Muslim registry. I heard that people were going to be rounded up and deported. I heard that Steve Bannon is a white nationalist. I heard this, I heard that, from anybody and everybody except the Trump people. It’s the same thing on social media. I could waste my entire day debunking false news stories and lying memes. It’s really not that hard. All you have to do is have a modicum of skepticism, a desire to be fair, and know how to search the internet for reliable sources. If you are accepting and passing on false information because it agrees with your preconceived notions then you are self-inflicting your hysteria. Even after they have proved to us that they are unreliable, if you are still swallowing the cable news swill without taste-testing it for truth first, then you are self-inflicting your hysteria. When the editor of the New York Times rededicates his paper to truthful reporting after historically biased coverage of a presidential election and you continue to read newspapers without fact checking their stories, then you are self-inflicting your hysteria.
The Trump presidency begins on January 20th. Until then he will have done nothing. He will take no action other than to assemble his team. After he takes over the reins of the nation from President Obama we will have actual actions that we can hold him accountable for. If prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience then we need to consider that maybe we are the ones who are being prejudiced. Oh, you think we have valid reasons based on the election coverage? You mean the same coverage that told me that I’d be saying Madame President Elect right now? I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I am willing to sell you real cheap if you are interested.
If bigotry is intolerance toward those who hold different opinions, tell me who are the bigots at the moment? Who is insulting who for electing Donald Trump? Who is degrading the 52% of white women who cast their votes for the “misogynist”? Who is smugly looking down their noses at the working class, the majority of non-college educated males who voted for him as well? Who is accusing every cabinet appointment of being a racist, an anti-Semite, and on and on and on?
I want my friends to be healed of their hysteria and I want you to be healed of your hysteria. I don’t want you becoming a hypocrite because that’s what bitterness does. Yes, love does trump hate so let’s start acting out in love not hate towards each other. I understand your disappointment in Trump’s victory and I completely understand the hysteria that engulfed you and that it wasn’t your fault. However, if you continue to get up every day and you choose actions that feed that monster like it’s your new favorite puppy, you are the only one responsible for the malicious wolf that it will become.
No election is worth being miserable over. In two years there will be a midterm election and if Trump is a disaster we will neuter him by throwing out the Republicans and taking over both the House and the Senate. He will become as impotent as Obama has been for the last six years. Two years after that we can throw Trump out if we need to and anything he has done can be undone just as quickly as he is about to undo Obama. No worries.
In the meantime, please resist inflicting hysteria upon yourself.
A friend of mine dubbed me “The voice of reason in a very unreasonable world” which I am flattered by because I am less than that. Having said that, if you enjoyed my writing I invite you to scroll to the very bottom of this page where there is a button labeled “Follow”. If you press that button you will receive a notification whenever this blog is updated with new posts. Thank you for reading.