It’s 3:30 am when I go into the kitchen and check my computer to see Trump giving his concession speech. He has 276 votes so far. I am not shocked. That came earlier in the night as I watched the election unfold. What I feel is unsteady, as if I’m standing on uneven ground. For the last few months, I have been certain Trump would not, could not, win. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been so certain about something and so dead wrong. Like most people, I don’t function very well in the midst of uncertainty and I toss and turn for the next hour in a vain attempt to get a couple of hours of rest.
It’s not Trump himself who worries me. He is just one man, after all. I also think that much of his rhetoric was just a strategy to connect with the voters he targeted and that he will be much more “presidential” when he gets into office. He will surround himself with the right advisers, etc. What’s keeping me up is what this vote says about us, collectively, as a nation. How can half of us go along with his principles? Whether he will act on those is irrelevant to me since politicians don’t do what they say – and I don’t believe for one minute he will be any different once he gets to office. What scares me is the fact that he was elected in spite of (or worse, because of) his beliefs. I try to push away the thought that has been with me all night and during the election. My mind has been drawing a parallel to the time in our history that birthed the Nazi party. If I said this out loud to some of my friends I would be ridiculed, I think. Unfortunately, history does repeat itself – there are plenty of examples of ethnic cleansing since the Holocaust and they all started with a specific group being blamed for socioeconomic problems.
Over the next few days, I try to avoid the news and social media as much as possible. I want some time to sort out my thoughts. I feel a sense of calm but it isn’t coming from resignation or the understanding that I can’t change anything. I realized that I have hope. Not the fake positive thinking that’s on posters but the knowledge that we will find a way. Fueled by this hope, I begin to put myself in the shoes of those who voted for Trump. I come to understand the fears that have brought all of us to this point. I think of the people I know who voted for him and realize that we all ultimately want the same things – safety for our families, economic opportunity, and the ability to live our lives the way we choose.