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There is no silver lining.
I fell asleep early last night in my little cabin in rural Guatemala, not having watched any election coverage.
I woke up at midnight or one, as usual. Then I remembered. I thought to double-check what surely would have been the result: a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton. History made! First woman president. Progress! Wonderful.
Instead, I found that Donald Trump had just declared victory.
Instead of a qualified woman, a hateful man has been elected. TRUMP TRIUMPHS, blares the New York Times.
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”
~ David Remnick
I am speechless. And I can’t go back to sleep right now.
My daughter, who will be four in January (when, instead of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump will take office) is sleeping fitfully, tossing and whimpering in her slumber. And she doesn’t even know. She has no idea. I don’t have to explain anything to her, and the President of the United States actually matters not at all to her life. I only wish the same were true for the rest of the world.
“We thought that our fellow citizens would not, in the end, vote for a candidate so manifestly unqualified for high office, so temperamentally unsound, so scary yet ludicrous.
We thought that the nation, while far from having transcended racial prejudice and misogyny, had become vastly more open and tolerant over time.
We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law.
It turns out that we were wrong. There turn out to be a huge number of people—white people, living mainly in rural areas—who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about.”
~ Paul Krugman
And everyone wants to see the sliver of silver lining.
What if there is none?
What if we are totally f*cked?
“What do we tell our children?
We tell our children that we are still their biggest protectors. The people who loved them yesterday still love them today. We still have laws and good people in our communities, states and nation who will always defend them, and they stand with us too.
~ Amanda Christmann
What to do now?
1. Realize that the world is not coming to an end, the sky is not falling, and the reality of day-to-day life is not going to change that much no matter who the U.S. President is.
“I feel hopeless right now. I am incredibly disappointed, but I cannot wallow in these feelings for long. I will not. The world will not end because of a Trump presidency. Tomorrow, the sun will rise and the day will be a lot less joyful than I imagined, but I’ll get through it. We all will.”
~ Roxane Gay
2. Grieve. A chance has been lost. Fear has won. Has hate trumped love?
“We must be prepared for nonviolent civil disobedience. We must transcend racial and religious division in a movement of resistance that is as diverse and as open as the new president’s will be uniform and closed.”
~ Andrew Sullivan
3. Breathe. Inhale, exhale, repeat.
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Image: elephantjournal on Instagram
Editor: Toby Israel