I am still in too much shock to give a thoughtful response to yesterday’s election, but I suspect the luxury of having time to carefully fashion a reflection is one I should not count on in the near future. The visceral reactions I’m still having– nausea, light-headedness, shakiness – are valid emotional reactions, but emotional reactions are precisely the currency that Trump traffics in. My form of protest today is to refuse to allow fear and anxiety to overwhelm me, to refuse to turn to name calling and pat generalizations as a substitute for thought.
Maybe, just maybe, Trump’s promises to pull the rug out from programs to assist the most needy and to build up more protections for the wealth of the richest, to enact mass deportation, to discriminate against people based on their religion, to shut down major projects addressing climate change, to dismiss international treaties, to eliminate the freedom of speech of journalists who challenge him, and so on, were just the rabble-rousing claims that he exploited to get elected. Maybe, he will break his campaign promises. Maybe, Mike Pence will not try to extend the structural discrimination he enacted in Indiana to the nation as a whole.
If any of these things start to happen, though, it is the responsibility of every citizen of this country to get over whatever excuses we give for not participating in the political process and not only articulate dissatisfaction but act to change them. If nothing else, this may stimulate enough collective action to energize a more progressive political movement in this country than the DNC has been able to house. It would have been nice to be able to get there without electing a leader founded on demagoguery, but we now have no choice but to ramp up our efforts to fix this mess