Shattered

Shattered

img_0081I don’t need a mandala to get centered this time. As Michele Obama said of the Access Hollywood tapes, this really shook me to my core. And the feeling burning in my belly this week tells me something is very, very wrong. I know exactly how I feel. And it’s our country I fear has lost its center.

I need to write about this because my body won’t cooperate and let me vomit up what I witnessed on Tuesday night.

We never did shatter that glass ceiling. This election has always been so much bigger than that. But we are shattered just the same. All of us. Even the ones who think they got what they wanted. The splintering has begun. And who knows how long it may take to put all of the pieces back together again.

A coworker calmly reassured me that our country has lived through worse. Which is of course true. But I don’t think we’ve ever elected a leader like this before. Although we’ve seen them wreak havoc in our own and plenty of other countries.

I kept thinking of the famous quotation highlighted at the Holocaust Museum, over and over again on Tuesday. This was before the unthinkable happened. I looked it up on Instagram and felt compelled to post it. But I didn’t, because I didn’t want to offend or alienate anyone. But I’m not going to worry about that anymore.

I wore my navy pantsuit as a subtle, small measure of support for our first female presidential candidate, who seems to have one in every color. I didn’t vote for her because she was a woman, as her detractors love to say. I’m not blind to Hillary’s faults, and she wouldn’t be my first choice.

No, I voted for her because she was the only adult in the room with the proverbial elephant. Because she has dedicated her life to public service, works very hard and knows how to make things happen. And because she was, and still is, the only qualified candidate for the job. I naively assumed others would do the same.

We canvassed for Barack Obama during the last two election cycles. So the Clinton campaign literally had our number and kept hitting us up to volunteer. It’s grueling work. And I resented the thought of defending Hillary’s “damn emails.” The last time they called me, I asked them if they know if the dated tactic even works. They didn’t really have an answer. Still, I thanked the volunteers for working on the campaign.

We got the vote out early this year. It felt good, and we were in and out in less than ten minutes. Maybe that should have been our first clue? But, no, they said Florida had overwhelmingly participated in early voting. Hillary’s camp was confident this was good news for them. No worries. We could just sit back and wait for the fireworks.

By the time election day finally rolled around, I was in a nervous state of excitement. Chris Hayes with MSNBC captured the feeling of the day so well that I laughed out loud when I read his tweet:  “Feels like a combination of Christmas Eve and the day before major, possibly life-threatening surgery.”

Several posts on the 538 blog offered encouraging forecasts. And I couldn’t wait to get home to watch the election coverage. I wanted Hillary to hand his arrogant ass to him on Tuesday. I will admit that – especially because he’s so demeaning to women. What could be more righteous?

Now I’m angry at the democrats for insisting upon such a controversial candidate. Everyone said Bernie was too far to the left. I should have listened to my tummy on that, too, when I voted during the primaries. You can say it isn’t personal, but it is very personal. It impacts all of us, and every single vote counts. So we are all to blame. And I resent every person who didn’t vote in the general election. Truly. And I am livid and disappointed by the people who voted for this wildly repugnant man.

Her concession speech shattered me. I saw a woman completely gutted and broken by a broken man. Hurt people hurt people, that’s what they say. I know she’s no saint, and can be really harsh and cold. But she has also done a wealth of good, and, at times, worked for very little money. She’s admittedly not a people person, and clearly no match for a billionaire reality television star. I guess things like experience, policy and competence don’t matter in the age of celebrity and social media. Whatever.

I will leave all of this to the analysts to figure out. But I doubt I will ever listen to them again. I trusted them and their damn blue wall. Now we have a bunch of other walls to contend with.

We let ourselves down. We should have stopped him before he got this far. We didn’t take him seriously, but obviously plenty of other people did.

How could we? It’s still hard to believe his own hateful words didn’t take him down. If you missed his latest offensive comments and rants on Muslims, Mexicans or women the first time around, you could catch them on endlessly looped commercials or his ridiculous Twitter account. I heard the commercials so many times I started imitating them. And laughed at his outrageous behavior, assuming it completely disqualified him. How could people vote for him?

No one else could get away with it – he said so much himself. So he continued his bizarre behavior at the debates, talking about the size of his package, jailing his opponent and staging a tawdry press conference to “give voice to” Bill Clinton’s accusers.

His Trumped-up attitudes are already trickling down to the kids, giving them a permission slip to bully in school. And kids don’t need an excuse to be mean. They need direction, guidance and leadership. That’s what we all crave. So much for the law and order president.

That’s why I keep calling my parents. I’ve lost count of how many times I have called them this week. I want them to reassure me that everything is going to be okay. It has been almost impossible to concentrate at work. I can’t stop myself from feverishly googling every article I can find on my phone to make sense of this colossal loss. It really feels like a death has occurred.

There’s a part of me that never wants to watch CNN again. But I know it’s even more important now to be hyper vigilant and informed.

I’ve spent the last couple of elections with CNN, and been captivated by John King’s Magic wall. But he was cooking up some dark magic on Tuesday night. I was panicking right along with Wolf Blitzer who kept begging him to pull up some counties where there might be hidden votes. He couldn’t conceal his concern. And seeing him like this really did something to me. But the well was coming up dry in one of the most humid states in the union.

Wolf already did the math on what a Trump presidency means for someone like him. He saw the danger in the anti-media sentiment at the rallies, and even implored Kellyanne Conway to speak to Trump about it. Talk about the second amendment always drew a healthy roar from his crowds. Other rights like Freedom of the press, speech and religion, not so much.

Things started falling apart pretty early in the night, and continued well into the morning. He was carrying a lead in most states, barring the true blue ones, when I went to bed. I knew he was winning, and I couldn’t watch anymore. I woke up around 1:30 to see if things had improved. At some point I got a notification on my phone that the presidency was called. I still can’t wrap my brain around this fact. How can this be possible in America? He’s the antithesis of everything this country stands for.

If she could have cracked a little sooner and shown some emotion maybe she could have pulled it off. Why couldn’t she put herself out there a little bit more? We know she’s competent and cares, but we needed to see a little more passion.

We didn’t protest when Obama was elected, some Trump supporters say. They still don’t get it. Obama campaigned on a positive message of hope, which obviously didn’t resonate with all of “the people.” But he never threatened anyone.

We only have to look to the president elect’s own words to understand why people are frightened and protesting. And to see the stark contrast in style and leadership.

There’s a cool wind blowing through the crack in the blue wall. We better cover up. Winter will be upon us soon. And we’ve got work to do.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
-Martin Niemoller

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