It’s the day after the day after now and it still feels like September 12, 2001…and September 13, 2001 today.
Around the corner from The Big Top is a beautiful park where every day, as long as it isn’t balls hot, people gather playing on the playground, running, walking, doing cross fit or tai chi, hanging out, playing with their kids or dogs, playing soccer, flying kites, having parties and even one wedding I witnessed one Sunday morning. It is a vibrant place. It’s a place where neighbors call out a friendly good morning each and every time we loop past each other while running or waking its perimeter. It’s an amazing park and I love this park. I love this neighborhood!
Yesterday, as I drove past it taking Daniel to school and later as went to pick him up, I was struck how empty it was. Running errands, picking up Abby’s birthday cake and Bill’s prescriptions, the atmosphere every where was subdued, dimmed even much like the remnants of early morning Valley fog filtered the sunshine yesterday.
It felt so much like September 12, 2001 literally everywhere. That day after I was so sad, so mad, so scared and so paralyzed, as was pretty much every one else I came in contact with. Now the logical part of my brain knows Presidential election and its results is nothing like the day terrorists murdered thousands of innocent Americans crashing jets into buildings. But the thinking part of my brain also knows that a little less than half of Americans who did choose to exercise their right and responsibility to vote voted for a man who some of his own supporters admit that they believe him to be crazy, and he may get us killed, but at least he is going to be truthful with us. Yes, there is that, Crystal. Thanks! Mr. Trump might have won the electoral votes but he did not win the popular votes of those who actually did turn out to vote. So I am mad. I am mad at Crystal and those who think like her. I’m mad at the antiquated Electoral College that only benefitted early American landed gentry and often does not speak for or represent the people.
The part of me that is feelings is feeling all the feelings right now.
Yes, the anger is directed at all the Crystals and the friends who protested voting for Johnson or Stein as well as ALL the media who gave this man a stage pretty much gratis for the ratings. My friends and family who shared for us all how they literally had to hold their noses in the polling booth and today are expressing all your shock, anger denial, bargaining and acceptance, I see you. I see you clearly right now. I’m frustrated with the Bernie Bros now smugly declaring that they told us so and that Bernie would have defeated Trump…NO!
I am overwhelmed with sadness for myself for feeling so happy and optimistic just two days ago imagining that I was a part of making history for women like me, like my daughters and for little girls like my beautiful grand girls. Sad as I tried to answer my son when he asked how could an ugly angry bully win.
Then there is the fear. Fear that almost suffocates. Fear for what will happen if this President-elect is able to make good on any of his campaign promises because so many of them will have a direct affect on my family, my children, my grandchildren and other people who I love. Fear that envelopes watching the world financial markets plummet because they are likely just a little bit worried over what we have wrought. Fear because so much hate feels empowered and emboldened right now to let their hate flag fly because their guy won. Fear over the truth that the checks and balances afforded by our Constitution are legitimately in jeopardy with executive, legislative and soon, judicial branches all representing one party.
And then I circle back to more anger.
Pundit cousin Joe Scarborough tweeted yesterday a quote from Lincoln admonishing us all to end the divisiveness and come around to support our new President-elect, With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, and I answered back to give us a moment because, after all, the far Right took YEARS to mourn their losses after 2008.
Yes, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama both, with grace called for the same thing reminding us that is one of the things that makes America great; and they both are right. Too right. But this is painful, and it will be for a long time. Hope was beaten down, battered and bruised Tuesday and it HURTS! We will heal. We will get back up again. We will because that is who we are as Americans which makes our peaceful transfer of power every four or eight years all the more one of the hallmarks that makes us truly great.
Give me a moment. Give all of us a moment.
Let us work through the painful grief we feel right now.
You know, the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back, and that’s OK…
That’s the way politics works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, we go at it. We try even harder the next time.
The point though is is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens, because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy. That’s how this country has moved forward for 240 years. It’s how we’ve pushed boundaries and promoted freedom around the world. That’s how we’ve expanded the rights of our founding to reach all of our citizens. It’s how we have come this far.
And that’s why I’m confident that this incredible journey that we’re on, as Americans, will go on.
~ President Barack Obama