Donald Trump Just Won the 2016 Presidential Election
I’m not prepared to write this post today. For the past week I’ve been mentally drafting a post about the election of the first female president and what that means to our children. I was ready to wax poetic about how far we’d come since the 90s, when Hillary Clinton said she had picked her profession over baking cookies and the voters of the U.S. got so mad about it that she actually had to go bake cookies to prove she was likeable and feminine. It’s 2016, and we’d all pat ourselves on the back for having moved past the days of performative baking.
I was ready to talk about the fact that the kids who are babies and toddlers now would grow up with the idea that of course a woman was in the highest office in the country. It was just natural. As far as the 4-year-olds of the world would be concerned in 2020, it would always have been that way. My daughter would never remember a time when there hadn’t been a woman in the White House. But now I can’t write that post, and instead I have to write this one: Donald Trump Just Won the 2016 Presidential Election.
I’m not prepared to write this post, because I’m a naive optimist who was too wrapped up in the world the way I wanted it to be to see the way it actually is. It seemed like we were at least starting to move in the right direction, though there was still a Hell of a long way to go. We’d joke about how the people who opposed LGBT rights were on “the wrong side of history.” It felt like we were all slowly working towards becoming better people and a better society.
Last night, Donald Trump won the presidential election. He’ll be the 45th president of the United States, and he’ll have a GOP-controlled Congress and Senate. They’re still holding an open Supreme Court justice seat open for him, in spite of all logic and precedent. A lot of people are afraid of what this means for them and their families. Donald Trump has talked about wanting to ban abortion, and wanting to make sure women who get abortions are punished. He’s talked about putting Muslims on a registry. When asked about how to heal the racial divide in this country, he said he’d double-down on Stop-and-Frisk. LGBT Americans, people of color, women, and poor and working-class people are right to be worried.
So, this happened. Now the question is what to do about it. Be sad, of course. Be angry. Feel your feelings, because they’re real and you’ve more than earned them. For those of us progressive-minded people with privileges stacked in our corner, it’s time to use them. We need to get out of bed, mope for a minute, then put our shoes on, get some coffee and get to work.
We should donate, write letters, volunteer, and keep an eye on the future. (Our next chance to retake Congress will be in 2018.) Maybe we should even get into politics ourselves. There’s city council, and school board. Those people have important stuff to do, and they matter. The boards of our schools can fight for science-based education, sex education, and the rights of LGBT+ kids. We can continue to teach our kids that bigotry, misogyny, and bullying are not OK, and to raise them to be good citizens of the U.S. and the world. We can encourage them to try to learn more languages, and study, and travel the world and meet other people.
We can’t just be sad for a few days and assume that everything will “basically be the same.” If we want this car to keep moving in the direction we want, we’re going to have to get out and push. We’re not the kids anymore. Our generation is in the front seat. What happens next is our responsibility. To quote Hamilton, history has its eye on us.
If you have any words of advice, support, or practical ideas, let us know in the comments. A lot of us could use an ambitious, progressive “To Do” list right now.