I told myself that I would not – would definitely not – write any kind of post-election blog post. However, if you are reading this post now, I must have changed my mind. But I will keep this short.
After nearly 10 days of reflection, I have a three-fold mantra – –
1. Change Happens.
2. We Can Deal With It.
3. It’s Not the New Normal.
No matter which “side” you were on before the presidential election on November 8th, you may still be in shock. Shock that your candidate won – or shocked that your candidate lost.
Either way – see #’s 1, 2 and 3 above.
What did “we” learn from the election results?
That “we” who have always lived inside the Washington, DC bubble had no clue how people in other areas of our country were feeling – or what they were really thinking.
My husband’s family is from Detroit and we visit there, so I knew the U.S. economy was not sailing along on a wave of prosperity everywhere. But it did come as a surprise to me that so many voters felt disenfranchised and wanted change — especially since that promise of change arrived in the form of a bombastic, erratic and narcissistic candidate who seemed to say aloud whatever (often outrageous and deeply offensive) thoughts he was thinking.
I may be in the minority here – but let me go out on a (hopeful? delusional?) limb, I don’t think that our POTUS-elect really, deeply, truly in his inner soul actually believes in the anti-minority, anti-women, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant horrific statements that he and his followers uttered during the course of the campaign.
I think instead that he developed as his campaign took off an uncannily awful instinct to appeal to the lowest common denominator that exists in all of us – some of us more than others – that makes us fearful of people who look differently, who act differently, who make more or who have more than we do.
And once he realized he had this appeal and that it could be used to swell the size of his “base”, it was like a vote-getting spigot he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – turn off. Which led to some very ugly actions and words.
How can this spigot be turned off? That will not be easy. But it is what we must do going forward.
Just this week we’ve seen signs that bigotry and hate speech are still rising up. In the middle school in the town next to mine, swastikas were drawn on the wall of the boys’ bathroom. In a middle school! And racist slogans were written on the wall of a nearby church.
This CANNOT become the “new normal”.
I believe that people of good faith will always be in the majority, whatever political party is in power, and that they will loudly condemn and take actions against these hate speech and incidents.
I may still be in election-shock but I’m looking towards the long-term. Living in/near DC since my long-ago law school days, I have seen many administrations come and go. None like this, of course.
But this too shall pass, as my wise husband likes to say. And while it is passing – as quickly as possible, please – I plan to speak out – maybe even more loudly (which is already pretty loud) – against evidence of anti-Semitism (because that hits me most personally) and against bigotry of all kinds.
Change has happened. We can deal with it. So long as we do not – EVER – let the spigot of hate that bubbled up during the campaign become the new normal.