It’s been two weeks since America went to the ballots and voted in a dumpster fire for president. Two weeks of intense processing on my part, and by processing, I mean two days of crying, three days of drinking with friends and another week or so arguing with people on Facebook. I think there are supposed to be more steps to this grieving process, but I will not be moving on to them anytime soon–I’m happy to sit right here, in the angry part, at least for now. By now it should be clear that Trump was not my first choice for president. He wasn’t my last choice, either. Trump was plain and simple just not a choice to me. He ran a campaign steeped in fear, deceit, and devisiveness. A campaign that harangued anyone who didn’t like him, that made marginalized people even more so, that treated women like objects. Things that should have been his ruin ended up catapulting him into office, under the guise of “he tells it like it really is.”
I reject this. Donald Trump does not tell it like it is. Donald Trump told a base largely made of white men and women that their worst nightmares were coming true, and that he was their only savior. There is a huge difference.
I’ve had several people ask me why it is that Clinton supporters, including myself, are taking this loss so hard. My dad had to talk me down during a tearful conversation the day after the election (tearful on my end, not his)–he didn’t want me to be so sad. He, of course, has the much longer view, having been through a number of elections on the state and federal level; some went his way, some didn’t, and he still lives to tell about it. I’m willing to concede that sometimes things don’t go your way, and you have to move forward. Wait for the next election. But I am afraid; I’m afraid for my friends who have experienced attacks of hate and racism following the election; I’m afraid that we are excusing inexcusable behavior; I’m afraid that all of the things that I saw as a triumph of the Obama administration will be done away by a president and a congress who built their reputations around resisting him.
And, somewhat ironically, I am afraid that fear is more important than facts.
Because above all, that was what rang through this election: that rational research and fact-based statements mean nothing when someone is speaking to your emotions.
So you’re a Trump supporter, and you say Trump “tells it like it is.” He’s going to “make America great again.” You’ve been forgotten by traditional politics, you don’t have enough saved for retirement, and you’re watching your way of life begin to change. Maybe you feel like you don’t know what you’re allowed to say or who to say it to. Maybe you pay more than your fair share in taxes. And here comes this guy who seems to have made something of himself, promising to shake things up, promising to make your life better. So you let him tell you what you want to hear.
And that’s what hurts the most, out of all of this. Because underneath everything, Donald Trump told you WHAT YOU WANTED TO HEAR. You wanted to hear that he would kick out the undocumented immigrants with a wall. You wanted to hear that he would unabashedly commit war crimes to keep you safe. You wanted to hear that he was going to put Hillary Clinton away for the rest of her days. You wanted to hear that he would revoke healthcare for millions of people. You wanted to hear that he would go after that press that annoys you with all the things you don’t want to hear.
Now, Jessica, hang on a second, you might be thinking. That’s not fair; I didn’t necessarily want that. I didn’t like everything he said. I’m not a pussy-grabber. I’m not a racist. I have (insert marginalized group here) friends/family/coworkers and I love them. I won’t let anything happen to them. I just didn’t like Hillary.
I believe in the complexity of people, so I hear you. I will take in your point of view, and I will offer a counter argument. Here’s what I think the problem is with that: Trump’s presidency is not an à la carte menu where you can just order the parts that you like and assume he’ll stop serving the ones that you don’t. When you voted, you voted for the whole thing. You voted for more jobs, but you also voted for pussy-grabbing. You voted for less pandering in politics, but you also voted for Mexicans are rapists. You did not do the work to separate them, and now he has no reason to, because you voted for him anyway.
And let’s talk about the things you did vote for.
Bringing jobs back to the U.S.: Oh sure, Trump will do it eventually, right? He’s just not starting with himself.
Prosecuting Hillary Clinton: Just kidding!
Making Mexico pay for the wall: What a great campaign device!
Draining the swamp: Nope.
So if nothing that you voted for happens, what did you vote for? I’m worried that you voted for all that other crap that you didn’t want. All the crap that NONE of us wanted. And I’m worried that now you will sit on your laurels, patting yourself on the back and complaining about protests and participation trophies, watching the people do the work that you should have been doing all along. And you’re going to call us names the whole way.
I challenge you to prove me wrong. I would love it if you did. I would ask you to find the truth in things, to not stop at the first article with the clickbait title. I would ask that you stop looking at protesters and those of us who reject Donald Trump not as crybabies, but as people who are doing the work of disavowing the parts of his campaign that were unacceptable, the parts where you had to hold your nose while you voted.
As a Clinton supporter, I must come to terms with the fact that I did not do everything in my power to change the sway of this election. I was one of the many who voted and then sat back watching NBC and Five Thirty Eight expecting Hillary to win in a landslide. I let myself sit in my own bubble, and I ignored the signs around me. And I’m privileged enough that I will likely get through a Trump presidency relatively unscathed–and that’s nothing to be proud about. So this is my promise, to my friends and family that may not be so privileged: I want to fight for you. I want to fight for us. I will not sit back and watch this happen–I will be an active member of the community and a voice of sanity. I will not normalize this president’s behavior. I will continue the discussions that I have started, and I will do my best to have compassion, even when others disagree. And I will do it with facts.
And if there is anything I want to pass on to anyone reading this, it is this: check your sources. This goes for BOTH SIDES. You may have heard that there was a ridiculous amount of false news circulating that favored Trump–but do not think for a second that liberal news is not also vulnerable. Before you repost, PLEASE consider the following:
- What news site is this from? Are they legit? Do they have a certain bias?
- What are the sources in this article? Do I trust them?
- When was this published? Am I recirculating something that is no longer relevant? Am I passing this off as current news when it is not?
- Does this have a sensational title? Is it clickbait? Is it meant to be provocative instead of informative?
- Is it a meme? Is it appropriate for this subject to be boiled down to one sentence?
- Are there statistics? If so, where did they come from?
- Who the fuck wrote this?
- Is it too good to be true? Then it’s probably too good to be true.
- Have you only sought out articles that agree with you?
It is on ALL of us to make sure we use the best information possible. Do not let your point be diluted with false news. If we can’t be on the same side politically, let us at least be on the same side of truth. I hope that, at least, is something we can all agree on.