Wednesday, November 9, 2016

the election

I went to run at the beach this morning to try and clear my head after seeing the results of the Presidential election.  After the run, I sat for a while and listened to the waves rolling in.

Unfortunately, it was a very low tide and the waves weren’t crashing loudly enough to block out what sounded strangely like cries of hatred, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny coming all the way down the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Brazil.

I get that many Americans wanted change, that they wanted fresh blood in the White House, that they wanted a Washington outsider, that they wanted the quality of life back that they think has been stolen by Washington insiders and immigrants.

I got it.

I hope everybody’s clear about who “we” have chosen in the name of having an outsider (and possibly in the name of having a non-female) in the White House.  “We” have chosen someone to be the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA who has insulted every single sector of the American population other than old, white men.  Who has used language so foul, base and vulgar that were my child to speak like that, he would be punished for the remainder of the days he lived under my roof.  Who has shown no grasp of or concrete plans for foreign or domestic policy.  Who has considered himself smart for not paying taxes for years while the rest of us middle classers got stuck with the hefty tax bills year after year.  Who has threatened to build walls, deport people, end free trade agreements, and end the US’s participation in NATO.  Who has cozied up to foreign leaders who are completely at odds with US foreign policy.  Who has acted like a petulant child in debates with his constant interruptions and one-liner jabs.  Who has mocked disabled people, threatened the press, and is accused of sexually assaulting women.  Who has used a Twitter account in the middle of the night to bully people he doesn’t like.  Who has shown time and time again his immorality, arrogance, ignorance, and poor temperament.

That is our President-Elect. 

Well done, America.  Well done.  (Insert slow clap here.)

I am saddened and embarrassed and overwhelmed with grief for the United States of America.  I know we’re better than this, but boy, does this cut deep today.  I wish you’d heard me trying to explain to my distraught 13 year-old son this morning how this could happen.  How do "we" elect someone whose behavior is exactly how we teach our children not to act?  It's a tough sell, but we have to march on in the face of this incredible decision, if only out of respect for the office and title of President and Commander in Chief.

Now we all live with this decision for the next four years.  I hope and pray that our new President surrounds himself with really intelligent, capable, thoughtful, slow-trigger advisors and Cabinet members.  I will continue to pray for our already-great nation and its leaders.  I will pray that there is still a great United States of America for my son to recognize in four years.  I will pray that the checks and balances created by our Constitution will actually work to prevent insanity by a President whose party also controls the Senate, the House and will have great sway over the Supreme Court. 

In the meantime, we are going to double down on our family values and make sure there’s no room for hatred, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny in our lives.  We will make sure we surround ourselves with compassionate, civil, inclusive people who share these same values.  I can demand nothing less for my precious child. 

To quote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "America is great because America is good".  I intend to make sure that we purposefully and intentionally live our lives modeling that good to the rest of the world, no matter what comes out of DC. 


sheena said...

well said, susan. pete and i share your horror and commitment to purposefully and intentionally live our lives modelling "good."

The Stone Rabbit said...

Oh Susan, I cannot even believe we are here. I thought our country was moving forward in a more open, equaltable and loving way. I am beyond disappointed. And, I say this as someone who was formerly a Republican (of the Powell, Rockefeller variety) and has been a long-time Independent after seeing the party move further and further away from anything I can recognize as being good for our country.

I am in shock, complete shock. And, I am scared for our family. The boys' grandpa, his siblings and parents lost their farm and were placed under house arrest in the US because of their Japanese ancestry. My great-grandparents fled Eastern Europe and Russia, a homeland they were never allowed to call home simply because they were Jewish, to escape persecution and find a home they could truly call home.

When David Duke is excited about the results of an election, feeling supported and emboldened, I have to ask myself who exactly is the majority in this country and where are they leading us? Brexit, Assad, Erdogan, Duterte, Duda, Putin, increasing support for Le Pen already had me worried our world was heading down another dark path.

I took for granted, I guess, that America would be a safe haven and never go down that path again. I'm scared for our family, I'm scared for the LGBT community who were finally starting to see acceptance and equal protection in our country, I'm scared for the Muslim community, I'm scared for fleeing refugees, I'm scared about what we are teaching our children about how to treat others, I'm scared that misogynstic behavior can be so easily dismissed and overlooked, I'm scared about the world around us.

I stand with you scared.