I live in New York City - a fact that reassures and frightens me on this Inauguration Eve. I take comfort in neighbors who are just as worried about the president-elect as I am. Trump or no-Trump we're an amazing sanctuary city with systems that work and powerful resources. But we're also Trump's home town; you might as well paint target bullseyes across Manhattan. I don't know what to fear more: a nuclear strike or Trump's bigoted agenda.
I check multiple news sites daily, but I'm most loyal to the New York Times. I want to know: did Russia succeed with a soft coup? Who in DC will enforce our laws? Will the Senate confirm cabinet appointees egregiously unfit for their roles?
I see stories on Trump voters. Trump voters head to the inauguration. Trump voters are "unfazed by controversies". But they are the minority. Recent polls have Trump's approval rating at 44% - making him the most unpopular president-elect in modern times. Then there's the matter of voter tallies. Donald Trump earned 62,980,160 votes. Hillary Clinton earned 65, 845,063 votes. If you include votes for Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Evan McMillan, "other", and write-ins, the tally for non-Trump voters is 74,099, 546.
Non-Trump Voters are the majority. Yet our stories of coping with the election aftermath have not made the New York Times homepage. I decided to reach out to some non-Trump voters. This is not a scientific survey. But you will find definite trends: dread, grief, and commitment to resistance. Some respondents wished to be named, some wished to include their race. Others did not. If you wish, please share your stories in the comments.
A NYC Corporate Lawyer Can't Shake the Dread
"Many people I know across the board-- Republican, Democratic, at work and outside of work--are deeply worried. In New York City, most of us already know Donald Trump to be a narcissistic, insecure, bombastic blowhard and cannot believe that he got away with bamboozling the folks who elected him. Up to now, he has been somewhat harmless. Now, he is emboldened and he has surrounded himself with very dangerous, mean-spirited, privileged people who have real power. Disaster can be just a tweet away. I cannot shake this feeling of profound fear and dread."
A NYC Publisher Is Reminded of Abusive Parents
"This whole new administration has awakened memories of being abused by my parents. I learned early on that you can't bargain, negotiate or normalize crazy. It is very hard, I see, for the media and the people in general to understand how they can box you in. In order to not get sucked in, for me at least, I'm doing what I think is absolutely necessary--to work at what I feel most passionate about and to practice much more loving patience to everyone I come into contact with." - Deborah Emin
Michigan Teacher and Grandmother Couldn't Sleep
"At first it felt like someone close to me had died. I mean, I felt stunned, sad, sick to my stomach, couldn't sleep. After a day or two the shock and sadness became anger, I felt cheated, believed (still do) that something illegal had occurred. Today, two days before his swearing in, all I feel is fear. I believe that ultimately his own party, or the security forces in this country, will have to step in, will make him step down. This is my hope. My bet is that the pendulum is going to swing hard...to the left, and we will be singing the songs of the 1960s again." - Gloria Nixon-John
Stay-at-home Upper East Side Mom Thinks We Elected Voldemort
"I feel like we've elected Voldemort. Truly, an entity who is soulless and evil. Someone who could see a frail elderly person fall and hurt himself and not only not offer to help them stand up, but not even care. It chills me to think of someone who honestly seems to me to be a sociopath becoming president. I didn't agree with either Bush, but I always saw a bumbling essence of humanity.
"But he's also PT Barnum. And Beavis and Butthead- guttural, ignorant and crude. I know people who know Donald Trump well--money and real estate types who live in NYC. None of them will admit to voting for him and so many of them say he doesn't believe the things he's saying. They say this is all for show. He's whipping up people he knows he can control. They say he used to be a pro-choice Democrat. So purely to achieve his goal he has unearthed an ugliness that will reverberate for generations and will forever impact the world. I don't think that all the hope we've achieved has been reversed, but it certainly feels that way a lot.
"As Meryl Streep pointed out, the ramifications of this dark entity getting elected are chilling because he's made it okay to do any of these things as long as you never admit guilt, which is textbook sociopath behavior. I feel like none of the Democrats are stepping up. I feel like no one is hearing us and we're viewed as ineffective. I feel like I'm being left alone with an abusive uncle and no one is looking after me."
A Jewish Attorney and Mother is Incandescent with Rage
"I'm a forty-year-old Jewish attorney and mother of a six-year old daughter and I'm incandescent and inarticulate with rage these days. But fine otherwise!"
Black, Queer Physicist Won't Let Democrats Off the Hook
"Shit is fucking fucked. I'm extremely worried. My husband works in public health, and I cried through his conference calls during the first week after the election. Today I am reading the plans to cut funding to the Department of Energy, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities and trying to imagine our national community without those resources. I keep seeing how I've always imagined 1984.
"I'm scared to wear headphones while riding public transportation now. I'm afraid I won't see the beating coming. I struggle even more to decide when to allow myself leisure, which includes my professional work as a physicist, and when to focus on things that will enact resistance, including my work as Editor-in-Chief of The Offing.
"I think I'm more committed now than I've ever been to seeing The Offing succeed to ensure that people on the margins, people challenging the status quo both in terms of their existence and also the forms their work takes, get their work out into the world. I know that the arts have a major role to play in keeping us grounded in our humanity as well as envisioning the better world that we have no choice but to fight for. I'm also even more committed to my work with Jewish Voice for Peace, where I am a member of the Academic Council and a leader in the Jews of Color, Sephardim, and Mizrahim caucus. We can't relent in our anti-racist work both here in the United States and in Palestine-Israel.
"I am afraid of not doing enough and simultaneously of losing my humanity because I try to do too much. In our fight for justice with peace, we can't forgo what makes us human because then what are we fighting for? I'm always worried about that balance, always aware of how my social and economic capital influences my thinking about it. I'm coping by reading and writing, a lot. I'm re-reading Moby Dick because it is such a brilliant allegory for white supremacy. I'm also still watching a lot of escapist TV, like MTV's Catfish.
"Make sure that your existence is part of the resistance. And don't let the Democrats off the hook, FFS. And don't trust them either. Look at their track record, honestly, and demand justice." - Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
White NYC Professor and Activist Feels her America Died
"I am living in a state of anxiety and 'bracing' myself for the next blow to be delivered by Trump. I'm managing my feelings by working out and resuming my meditation practice. My feelings swing from sadness to rage. I feel like my America has died."
Kasich Write-In Will Support Trump, is Sick of the Hate
"I am a Republican who did not vote for the President-elect, but I am going to support him and hope he succeeds. Do I have concerns about foreign policy, social issues, civil liberties, civility, compassion ... YES! But the message I got from the election was that a lot of people HATE government, for one reason or another.
I have lots of liberal friends and I have maintained connections to them on social media through the election. I appreciate passion for the election process and people advocating for their candidates. But now, after the election, I have a few friends who are demonstrating the kind of anger and hate that they believe Trump represents. I am sick of it."
Black Bay-Area Novelist Has Escape Plans
"I'm still in shock. Every morning I think of some new layer of awful. I have been suffering from pretty serious anxiety and depression. I have a lot of fear. I feel like we don't even know what we don't know right now. Every day has seen one shocking set of revelations and deplorable appointments after another.
"I will feel much less safe traveling internationally, which I do often. I was applying for a Fulbright to Morocco but now I think I'm scrapping those plans--I just wouldn't feel safe hanging out near a US embassy or in places heavily frequented by Westerners now that Trump is president. I am also very saddened at the prospect of having Jeff Sessions as AG. My biggest fear is the police. With a guy up there sending the message that it's open season on Black folks and they will not be sanctioned or prosecuted? My fears are amped up considerably.
"I call my senators and representatives three times a week. There is no shortage of issues to discuss. Resist by contacting our representatives in Congress every chance we get. Resist economically by boycotting big banks and etc. Truly, at this point, the secret to resistance is thwarting these folks economically. For me the tax structure is a biggie, as Trump has said he will do away with Head of Household, which will penalize single parents. I am most certainly not getting married, so this will take a huge chunk out of my income.
[I think about] my children's futures. Which seem imperiled in so many ways at this point. While it may not be reality to think one needs to exit the country immediately, it feels incredibly realistic to have a long-range escape plan. Things may get very strange very fast--we just don't know anything beyond the fact that we have a President who doesn't seem prepared to sustain any sort of normalcy whatsoever. It may become unprofitable and unsafe for many people to continue to live in this country."
Mexican-Jewish Poet Feels Loss Immediately
"The day after the election, I wrote for The Kenyon Review how I'd lost my keys, my wallet, and all forms of ID in the less than forty-eight hours. While I've recovered almost everything, my keys are still lost. I know they are still in the apartment because I'd last used them to get inside, and yet they are also gone. I've looked everywhere. It might seem pointless, but I can't stop looking.
Now in the new year, I'm still looking at my fellow citizens who support Trump in disbelief. How did a reality TV personality who's never held any public office and who's largely been sheltered from the financial and social burdens that plague most of us already do such damage? How is it possible, for example, that has not yet been charged with inciting violence during his campaign? How so quickly have racist and sexist forces already begun shaping actual public policy and laws-- before he's even stepped into office. This is not some reality show-- he's playing with our lives, making reactionary, crippling decisions that won't even affect him at all." - Rosebud Ben-Oni
Boston Writer Battles Depression with Small Actions
"Since Trump became President-elect, I feel we've entered into a new America where racism and intolerance is now trying to be normalized into mainstream America. Fake news and propaganda is trying to rewrite history and skew our perceptions of what is decent and good. I can't accept this. It goes against everything I know. At times I feel depressed and overwhelmed, like everything I know and love about my country is changing so fast for the worst, but then I remind myself that as long as I am taking action, however small, to fight against those negative forces, then I am part of the resistance against hate and intolerance. All action matters, even on the smallest, individual level." - Olivia Kate Cerrone
Native Texan, Over-60, Will March This Weekend
"I am dismayed, disheartened and, yes, depressed. I have thought about and commented on politics more than usual. I am anxious about any 'success' that Trump might have when it's at the expense of people, programs and services from health care to education to the arts. I resist the status quo, although I haven't determined exactly what that looks like. I'm going to start with the Women's March in NYC and ask for inspiration from fellow marchers. I am heartsick at the people I know who think this person will 'make America great again' and what that definition of 'great' actually entails.
"I don't know what to do next ... except get up each day and try to 'be the change I want to see.' Eloquence escapes me."
Lifelong Democrat from Republican State Would Be Surprised if Trump Lasts 4 Years
"My morale is low; though my family and career are supportive and will continue to be, I cannot shake the feeling of impending dread, not just for my own situation, but for everyone, including the misguided, duped "Trumpcore" who got him elected.
"I haven't exactly determined the best way to resist Trump, but I will. I actively resisted the bad policy ideas of Reagan and GW Bush, but frankly, I felt we resisters were unable to make much of a difference during their terms--they both wrecked the US economy and made life more difficult for many people here and abroad.
"Lately, I have been thinking about lessons learned in study of US politics during college, such as: the fickle and shallow will of the "sheeple"; how readily they are attracted to Nazi-style propaganda when it's wrapped in the US flag; how US politics used to be cyclical, swinging left and right across a center, but now seems to be swinging more and more to the right.
"Many people in the shrinking white majority seem to want to return to a rigid pre-1960 ideal of America, but they have failed to understand that life is itself a rose-colored fiction, not one lived by anyone outside an archetypal white, middle-class, Mom-at-home bubble, especially in minority communities. They yearn for an authoritarian time, where difference of any kind is marginalized, contained and punished.
"I really don't have a clue about what we, as a people, can do other than to continue to live our lives, not abandon our ideals, and hold those in power accountable for bad decisions or policies. But having said that, I will be surprised if Trump lasts 4 years."
Female Brooklyn Writer Tries to Use This Heartbreak for Good
"My morale is generally low, but trying to find the stars in the sky. Tears just fall from my face at any moment now, including during sex. And I am barely reading the news, which is odd. I feel upbeat when I'm with friends, numb when I look at anything to do with Trump. I'm either detached or disassociating since I don't know what to be most afraid of, so it feels safer not to feel.
"I'm thinking about compassion and harmony. Just came up with this mission statement: I use my heartbreak to walk toward harmony with compassion as my guide.
"What am I worried about? I'm worried we'll all get teargassed or arrested at the march. Extremely concerned by all of Trump's appointments--2017 meets McCarthy era. I am nesting at home, creating a co-gender group and a lady writer support group to have more spaces for emotional support. And I'm writing. I am mainly staying off social media since Twitter just feels like a rage machine.
"I'm resisting right now by going to the march in DC. I'm also engaging Trump voters in conversation to hear why they made the choice they did. I would like to be part of some sort of cross country (in person) dialogue so that we can all learn to listen to each other, at least for those who would be willing to take part. I also want to make everyone's reaction 'okay' - like it's okay that I want to talk to people who voted for Trump and it's okay that others don't. Let us all find our way through this."
Oregon Scientist Remains Optimistic
"I am--because I must be--optimistic. The next few years will likely shake the country to its roots....or not. If it does, it is the shaking that we need for Dems to institute a thorough, deep makeover. The current mind boggling situation we are in has opened my mind farther than it has ever been opened. That's what us really keeping me optimistic." - Kathy McCarthy