Our home is once again just my husband and mine. Family members and out-of-towners who worked tirelessly for Hillary have left. Our Hillary/Kane stickers are on the hall mirror, where they will stay for a very, very long time.
Now that this long nightmare of an election is finally over, I want to tell you something that I did not want to discuss in any way. Yes, I am stunned by an election result I find appalling. But this said, I am not one bit surprised. Trump signs were all over Pennsylvania suburbs and in our rural areas. So were the "leaners." This was for two reasons. Please read on.....
It was clear to me from his earliest days on the campaign trail that Donald Trump touched a nerve, unseen by most pundits and power-brokers. This nerve belonged to a large group of Americans who feel unheard, left behind and isolated in a country they believe that they, their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents built, and that their loved ones had died for in two World Wars, in Korea, in Viet Nam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan.
These are not the privileged people, the intellectuals and millionaire/ billionaires in Washington, New York and Los Angeles who eat in fancy restaurants, shop in high priced stores, and see theatre critical of our country. They feel lucky to be able to afford McDonalds, and "Saturday Night Live" is not their cup of tea.
This large sector works very hard - yet has less and less financial power. They see their futures as bleak, and fear for the future of their kids, whom they love as dearly and deeply as the far more fortunate love ours. They surely cannot afford to send them to privileged colleges. Many cringe at the musical talent, the dress, and the messages adored by the fortunate. And they see a truth, again and again reiterated by Donald Trump: Washington is broken. Further, they see their truth: They and their loved ones are invisible to the powerful.
I want to share the moment I felt certain we had lost -- and bit my tongue so that the kids in our home, and their parents and friends would not know my thoughts. It was after the enormous rally here in Philly where, with Constitution Hall as backdrop, musical stars once again performed their hearts out for Hillary and great political stars surrounded her. In contrast, Donald Trump stood on the stage, surrounded by his loyalist fans, and told the world that these ardent supporters were different. They were his family.
There is another unsettling reason for our loss, one that played out constantly in conversation and written word: Hillary and Bill are disliked and distrusted by so many. Sadly, the leaks and other horrors during this election process created a perfect storm, which intensified their dislike and yes, their hatred.
To these folks, the pragmatism that has often guided the Clintons' enormous successes and comebacks brought only contempt. They did not care about all of the good in their public lives and all the opportunities their Foundation brought to the world. They did not care that Hillary is experienced or that she and the press revealed Trump's consistent lies. They did not care about Trump's terrifying comments concerning other Americans. Or about tax returns, demeaning behavior, or example after example of Donald Trump's sexual harassment.
As with Bernie Sanders (who also, to my knowledge, never revealed his tax returns), Trump's candidacy appealed to millions who are untrusting of and furious about the obliviousness of the wealthy and privileged to their downward spiral, as well as the direction of our country - the endless war on terror, our unsafe borders -- and the seeming indifference of every American institution they no longer trust to protect them.
Yes, like Al Gore, Hillary won the majority, but not the election. The Gore defeat in itself should have been a wake-up call to Democrats about the growing red hot rage of those burned out and burned up - those who longed for compassion and opportunity in our enormously fast paced society, but found only isolation.
So now Donald Trump is President-elect of our beloved country, and Republican grass root investment and Trump have given the Republicans the majority in both House and Senate. However, our Constitution guarantees a mature transition, and we must not forget that one of the beauties of our democracy is our system of checks and balances, more important now than ever as we move toward a Trump administration. One of these checks and balances is our blessing of free speech -- now giving President-elect Trump an earful from those of us terrified by his words, plans, and impulsiveness -- and peacefully reminding him of his promise to be the President of us all.
For millions now is a time to "Cry My Beloved Country." But then, to wipe our eyes, see straight, and deal with our reality, as painful as it is. And deal we are, and deal we will.