*As much as I’d like to forget it, last week’s election and the interminable campaigns that preceded it contributed to a national travesty. Commentators like Van Jones have been quite articulate about the results of the election and its ramifications.
Contrastingly, I’ve been stumbling around all week, off and on, tripping over my own words and waiting to wake up from the type of nightmare I never wanted to witness. I haven’t felt like this since I was 15 years old.
In a world before CNN, the internet, or around the clock access to news updates via a smartphone, I was watching the CBS Evening News’ election returns one November evening in 1980, gathering information for a civics essay I was assigned to write. President Jimmy Carter was running for reelection, and in my parents’ eyes, the election returns weren’t worth staying up for.
“There’s no way the country’s going to elect a former actor,” my mom said of the president’s opponent, Ronald Reagan. “You should just go to bed and watch the morning news for results info before you go to school tomorrow.”
It was getting late and I was fading fast, so I listened to Mom and went to bed, looking forward to waking up and getting caught up on everything.
The next morning, I thought someone had died when I walked into the kitchen and looked into my mother’s eyes, as she paused while packing her lunch for work.
“This is going to be the longest four years of your lifetime,” she posited of what was to be President Reagan’s first term. Neither of us could have known that Reagan’s reign would last 12 long years, between his back-to-back administrations and George Bush’s election in 1988.
“You’ll be voting for president next time,” Mom told me. “Never take that privilege for granted.”
It was one of the best pieces of advice I have received to-date from my mother, and I went on to vote in every presidential election since 1984. I am proud to have helped Bill Clinton, and later Barack Obama, get elected.
As I watched last week’s returns come in, the results of an election during which only a reported 57 percent of the electorate voted, I found myself struggling to envision a world that includes a President Donald Trump.
As I went to bed that night, just before Trump did his victory lap, I remembered that morning way back in 1980, and waiting to wake up to what was to be the dawn of the Reagan era.
Since last Wednesday morning, I have risen every morning, but I’m finding myself still waiting to wake up from a nightmare that I can’t quite believe happened. And I’m waiting for a nation that elected Donald Trump to wake up!
The View’s Joy Behar may have said it best:
“Men in this country can get away with everything, and women can get away with nothing.”
President-Elect Donald Trump is a serial liar, as well as a xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, bigoted bully. He just barely meets the minimum qualifications for the presidency, having been born in this country over 35 years ago.
I agree with First Lady Michelle Obama in thinking that there has never been a candidate more qualified for the presidency than Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sure, Clinton has her flaws, but she also has a pussy that’s ripe for the grabbing by people like Trump, whose supporters — along with a broad swath of America — were not ready to watch a black man hand the keys to the store to a woman.
In the days since the election, like James Bond’s famous martini, Trump appears shaken, not stirred. Instead of emboldened to get to work on behalf of all of us, he appears thrown by the enormity of the task at hand. He got the job he asked for. Now, it seems, he’s wondering how he’s going to do it.
That said, when Trump was asked on 60 Minutes whether he really intended to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, he replied immediately with a resolute “yes.”
Earlier I referenced the next four years of Trump. Let’s pray that it’s only four.
According to a post-election statement from Hillary Clinton, “…our best days are still ahead of us.” Clinton even referenced scripture: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
Let’s not lose heart. That’s the kind of message I like to repeat over and over and over again, until it really sinks in and I have it committed to memory. I’ll think I’ll give that a try. Tomorrow.
Today, I’m still sitting here, waiting to wake up.