I walk around this city, in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, and I see faces that I think look like mine.
Mind a million miles away, a mood of disquietude fixed on visage. Like many of you.
Certainly, not everyone. I see smiles and hear laughter; children, especially, seem to have a better immune system which repels shocks to the nervous system sustained by masses of millions of persons, in NY, and in other states and in other nations.
It doesn't compute. I try to practice it in my head, even state it aloud. I see an image, of the NY real estate magnate turned President elect, and I can't properly assimilate the man and his history and his character traits and the decision that was rendered by the masses last Tuesday.
Wednesday, I woke up, and asked myself, was it a dream? The guy who'd been slammed with allegation after allegation from women who maintained he'd assaulted them sexually, to a varying degrees of grotesqueness, about 50 million persons had decided that they wanted him to represent them. I woke up Thursday, and Friday and Saturday, with the same first thought. Was it a dream? No, it was a nightmare which is playing out in real life.
And then, like many of you, at various points in the day, I'd shift out of that assessment, and I'd cycle into a stance of attempted acceptance. Wednesday especially, I was trying to be accepting. Wait and see, I was told, let us hope for the best. Best to be a good loser, and act like a grown up, accept the process, that men and women think differently than you. Comprehend that was it not a disqualifying event when Mr Trump voted yes when asked if he'd be ok with tactics like water boarding. But acceptance was brief. I found myself sparring with people I thought I was more so aligned with. They deemed protestors who took to the streets and processed their anger and sadness by convening with others similarly touched "sore losers." Grow up and get over it, my sparring partners opined. I was surprised at my depth of feeling as I defended peaceful protests--I but of course don't condone any anti Trump persons beating up a Trump rooter, or destruction of property by protestors, 99.9% percent of whom didn't walk this destructive path--and tried to make sense of my feelings.
Isn't that what so many of us have been doing since 2 am, Wendesday morning, when it began to dawn on us, the possibility which began a pipe dream and morphed into a distressing theoretical and cemented into a heart piercing certainty? Trying to make sense of our feelings...
I figured out that the disquietude I saw on so many faces was more likely to be fixed on faces that didn't look like mine. Darker faces, faces belonging to LGBT people, people who came to this nation to escape extreme poverty or a dire homeland, but don't possess the "right" paperwork which could repel an authority figure doing a round up and deport mission. So, my friends on the left lobbying for acceptance and patience and tolerance, I wondered, were they not coming from an empathic place? Did they not have or know children, like my 9 year old, who had a classmate admit he was fearful of being deported? Didn't they know a person who is gay and can they not understand that the election of Trump and Pence felt like a kick in the gut, a national embrace of policies like "gay reversion therapy" and the like?
The days passed and the calm hoped for didn't arrive. Like many of you, the funk stayed in my mind. Who are we as a people? The guy who slandered just about everyone save for the average Caucasian Joe, he was deemed fit to lead the super power that is our dis-United States. Like many of you, I pin balled from one stage of grief to another and back again. I went out of order, testament to the immensity of the shock to my system.
To my minor credit, I tried to act like I learned a lesson from my conduct leading up to the election. Like the folks who crafted the Hillary Clinton nomination and then campaign, it would be impudent to not turn an interrogation on myself. Why were you so over confident? Why did you predict landslide, and post the Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide" onto Twitter and "cheer up" your worried friends who referenced polls which showed Trump having a 25 percent chance at winning this highest of offices? Bubble boy, that's what you are, is one thing I decided. You stay inside your safety zone of like minded persons, in reality and in the at some times all consuming virtual world. Shame on you, I decided. But I also let myself off the hook, to a degree. From the get go, I told people, if portions of Trump's message are appealing to me, then that must be taken seriously by Team Clinton. If a far left sort like me finds himself being seduced by the broadsides against the pols who offered zero protest or alternative arrangements to the vast swathes of citizens who lamented the loss of a job which kept up with the staggering costs of living which has even upper level income people feeling uncertain that they can keep pace...then a Trump win can't be unfathomable.
And yet it was. Not until I heard the MSNBC gang, who got it egregiously wrong, tick off a couple Trump electoral wins, and his 19-3 lead, did I even traffic a slight bit in the possibility of a Trump win.
"They" won't elect the guy who bragged about grabbing pussies without consent. I, like many of you, KNEW that there were not enough people who would sign off on such a brute, a boor, to be their leader. Oh, but there were enough.
Which brings me, like so many of you, to where we sit today. In a mood that is dark blue. Uncertain of who were are, of where we will go. We read stories of hate crimes, an uptick of anti Semitic vandalization, of black people being harassed by persons who were emboldened by the win by the guy endorsed by some KKK factions, and we silently look at a loved one who maybe exulted after Trump got the W, and we wonder how well we know that loved one. Daughters look at fathers who voted Trump, maybe just because he said he will lower their taxes, and seethe internally. How could you? Why would you?
Like many of you, I sit and ponder and stay stuck in a funk. Then I cycle into a motivated period, and clean the house, ride the recumbent bike, take the kids to the park to luxuriate in the wonder of trees with majestic leaves, and I gain a spell of something approximating serenity. It lasts a couple minutes...Then I drift, and get pensive and worried. Global warming denialists have been given license to gloat and effect policy. For fuck sake, the guy who is so thin skinned he blocked me on Twitter for busting his balls 18 months ago has the nuclear codes at his disposal.
It will take some getting used to. Like many of you, I am now better understanding that his election is seen by so many as akin to a death. To what they thought they knew, to certainties which helped stabilize them which are now upended. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, they are here, many of us are knee deep inside them and I dare say will be for some time.