Like many of you reading this, I’m looking for some peace of mind.
The election results this week were not what I had hoped. In fact, my body was so unwilling to accept the new reality that I vomited when I read the news. (Neither an exaggeration, nor the result of drinking away sorrows, I swear.)
But there is solace to be found, and progress to be made.
Below are seven thoughts that have been the most effective in quelling the worst of my fears. I hope they can be of use to you. If not, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I'll write back and maybe we can both feel a little less frightened together.
And if you voted for Trump and are now feeling anxious, not knowing which of his conflicting policies he’ll champion, please email me also. Or if you voted for him with no regrets. Honestly, I’d love to hear what you have to say.
First, a reminder: more important than doing great things is doing things with great people. If you feel lost, call someone who loves you, and whom you love, and do something small together. Make a joint donation to the ACLU. Attend a production at your community theater. Call your local politicians and ask what kind of volunteer work they need. Small deeds done in good company are no less noble. They are, in fact, the backbone of a decent society.
Start there, then build. And in the meantime:
1) Only 18% of America voted for Trump. Not half. 18%. He doesn't represent the majority of America, or even a third of it. Even among all eligible voters, he still only managed to pull 25% to his cause. Many people are speaking of “Trump’s America.” That’s as inaccurate as calling it “Hillary’s America” because she won the popular vote. America belongs to neither of them, nor any sole human.
2) Hillary did win the popular vote. Of the citizens who cared enough to vote, more of them wanted Hillary’s vision than Trump’s. Important to remember if you feel outnumbered or threatened. And counting just the votes from 18-25 year-olds, Clinton won in a landslide: a margin of 504 to 23. The world continues to spin forward.
3) As a good friend said to me, "While he is in office, he'll likely do nothing. He is capable of nothing and so he will do nothing." He is obviously capable of many things – winning the presidency being chief among them – but governing demands a different skill set than winning. Executive orders require no one’s approval but his own, and we can expect him to quickly negate several of the ones Obama issued (as happens each time a new President is elected). But given how he ran his campaign, it isn’t unrealistic to imagine a Trump administration that is at war with itself, even if it is filled with his most vocal surrogates.
4) The GOP isn’t Trump. And Trump isn’t the GOP. Yes, they will collude, most likely on taxes and health care. But many of his proposals (infrastructure spending, subsidized childcare, American isolationism, etc) are anathema to current Republican ideals. He spent the last year excoriating their most prominent figureheads. Three states that voted Trump also voted for legal marijuana. Contradictions abound, and will continue to surprise both sides of the aisle.
5) Many people who voted for Trump are racist and misogynist. They existed before and they won't go away. That's America. And they are emboldened now, which merits a separate, deep discussion on combating abuse. But many aren't those things - they're just afraid. They've seen their local business die in front of them for years and don't understand why. They've seen cities around them bounce back from the recession as their towns lag further behind. (David Wong has written an excellent, balanced piece on this). As you move forward these next weeks, try to be kind to those who have felt just as afraid as you do now - the best way to lead is by example.
6) The 2018 elections are not as favorable as many Democrats would like you to believe, but there is still cause to rally. All 435 House seats and 33 senate seats will be contested in 2018, along with 36 governorships. While the senate map is foreboding (25 of the open seats are blue), the slate of Republican governors is at great risk. They must defend 27 governor’s mansions, many in states that Trump lost (or won by less than 2%)
7) Recreational weed is now legal in several states. Not hugely important, but hey, if you need some relaxation, head to Massachusetts, Nevada, or California and get mellow.
Yet despite all of this, we must not forget that our commander-in-chief is a predator. It will be very easy to forget. Both liberals and conservatives have a vested interest now in forgetting: liberals want to blunt the trauma, conservatives want to hide their shame.
He admitted to sexually assaulting vulnerable, non-consenting women. He employed well-documented discriminatory housing practices against people of color. He continues to advocate a national registry to restrict the movement of a singular religion. He may not care which bathroom someone uses, but plenty of his emboldened supporters do, violently. He takes advantage of people, and will likely continue to do so.
So even if the above thoughts help ease some anxiety, don’t start hibernating. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, take inspiration from Mad-Eye Moody:
Lee is a writer, actor, producer, and investor. He covers culture and entertainment for Forbes Magazine, and can be reached for dialogue on Twitter @leemourseymour, or via email at email@example.com