We came out of the shadows slowly on Wednesday morning, exhausted and afraid. Timidly dipping our toes into this new reality, then jerking back out when we realized how cold it was.
Much like the feeling following the loss of a loved one, there was intense shock that people — some people — seemed to just go on about their business, seemingly unfazed by something that forever changed your world.
And then the stages of grief began cycling, again and again. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and the one we’re all waiting for: acceptance.
I’ve spent a lot of time in anger, but now I’m just tired. My soul and my bones are tired.
I am thankful my daughter isn’t yet old enough to know that this week, people all around her voted for a person who will shape her world in scary ways. Someone who denies climate change. Brags about sexual assault. Incites racial discrimination. Mocks people with disabilities. Disrespects women. Was endorsed by the KKK but not one news outlet. I want those people to look my sweet baby in the eyes with full sincerity, and tell her what you did. Because I can’t.
Would it have been different for you if I was the one who he bragged about assaulting? Or if I was a Muslim – now fearful of having to register my religion? What if I was gay and the integrity of my marriage was now at stake? Would that humanize it enough to make a difference? Because it’s easy to ignore when it isn’t in your own little bubble. But what if it was me?
You can say there are bigger issues. That there was no choice. That it was the lesser of two evils. But my heart does not believe you.
I am sad. That so many people I know are now in fear. Of backwards progress in every civil liberty. Of being harassed and monitored because of their religious beliefs. Of nuclear war, increased domestic threats and the rise of hate groups.
I am disheartened that it seems people can’t seem to agree on right and wrong. And are getting their news from Saturday Night Live and swirling rumors, and not educating themselves about what really matters. We’ve lived charmed lives as Americans, haven’t we?
And I am angry. At people who don’t vote. Or who say it’s what we need to change things…to just accept things and go out and be a good person – because while that matters, it doesn’t feel like enough.
I’m not naive to the fact that this is how a democracy works. That there aren’t outcomes that please everyone. And that some people I am close to voted for the very things that keep me up at night. Normally I appreciate opposing views and discourse, but not today.
Today I’m still just tired.