There are so many thoughts running through my mind after seeing Donald Trump elected as the 45th President of the United States, I don’t know where to begin. Sometimes I feel nauseated just thinking about it.
Right now as I write this is one of those times. But that’s just one of many negative adjectives that describe the feelings I’m going through.
I’ve felt shocked. Stunned. Disgusted. Amazed. Deeply saddened. Betrayed. Angry as I can be. Several hours after the victor was announced in the wee hours Wednesday morning, I went to a grocery store to buy a few things we needed. Just before approaching the cashier to pay for the items, I prepared myself for a simple question that the cashier might ask. I gave it some thought and came up with a couple of simple words close to what James Bond was known to utter to give the most accurate answer to …
“How are you today?”
“Shaken and stirred.”
My response brought a chuckle from the guy who was bagging my purchase, and he said, “Perfect.” He knew what I was talking about, I didn’t need to explain.
Every election is important. This one felt especially important, like there was something particularly world-changing about it, in all-too-historic ways. It still feels that way. My thoughts about it before, during and after are jumbled. Let me try and sort them out.
AFFECTING COMMUNICATION, AFFECTING RELATIONSHIPS
I’ve been friends with a particular church leader for quite a few years in my walk as a Seventh-day Adventist. We’d known that we had very different political views, but that didn’t get in our way. At least it didn’t until last year.
As an Adventist, he was particularly drawn to fellow Adventist and then-GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson. I never said anything to my friend about it, even though I sharply disagreed with Carson’s political views and the way he’d twist facts around.
But then Carson dropped out of the race and threw his support behind Trump. I’d distanced myself from my friend on social media before then, mainly because I’d grown tired of seeing a steady, pretty much daily stream of biased, mean, hurtful, spiteful, misleading memes he’d share that made me concerned about his views and how they’d reflect on our church. After Carson dropped out, I was curious to see if my friend would follow Carson’s lead and back Trump so I checked out his social media page.
Just as I’d feared, he bought into Trumpmania. I’d known about Trump’s history in business and his personal characteristics for years, and I shared my concerns with my friend. There was no listening. His daily vile-filled posts about Trump had become so frequent that I felt the need to get across to him somehow. I actually prayed for a way to approach him, and I decided to do it simply with as little confrontation as possible. On any posts involving Trump, I’d leave a very brief and very sincere comment: “Praying for you.”
Apparently, my friend felt that I was mocking him. He won’t be reading this because my comments about praying for him made him decide to block me on our social media connection.
I’m not alone in that department.
Trump trumps friendship, meaningful dialogue, even blood relationships that go back almost a lifetime.
It was after 6 p.m. Mountain Time. I’d just finished a day of work, and I was anxious to start getting results from the Eastern states, so I eased into my vehicle and turned on a news station on the radio for the drive home.
Florida was looking too close to call. It was going to be a long night, they said. I pretty much anticipated that. I was prepared. Soon after getting home and taking the dogs out to do their business, I got my dinner and sat down in front of the TV to watch results on NBC as they came in.
Trump was leading. Later on, Clinton was leading. Maybe that would be the turning point, I thought.
It didn’t last.
Nervousness swept over me like a desert sandstorm. I’d written before the election about Tuesday night being white-knuckle time. I had no idea how true that would be.
Midnight passed. Wednesday morning came. I didn’t have to work, it was the first day of my “weekend,” so my only reason for getting up early that morning was to wake my daughter up for school. I set my alarm for 6:30. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be for me to fall asleep, but I got ready for bed just after the Clinton supporters had been sent home for the night.
I got in bed, checked my phone one more time, and saw that Trump was giving an acceptance address. My heart sank. I remember feeling some anxiety when Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980, never forgetting the words I was told by a bus driver who’d lived in California about how Reagan had left a mountain of debt along with other messes from his time as governor there. But seeing Trump give an acceptance speech in the wee hours of Wednesday morning … I felt nauseous. As I watched it on a live feed on Facebook, I left a one-word comment as it was happening. “Nauseous.”
THE MORNING AFTER
I woke up maybe an hour before my alarm was set to go off. It felt like a bad dream, but I knew it was real. Our daughter left for school, I’d been tuned into the Today Show, and my anger was building.
How could he? How could they? How could so many people elect such a vile, dishonest, unsavory character to the highest office in the land?
We went about our day. I went along with my lovely wife as she went about her horse business, just spending time together as we do when we can, and I kept checking my news feed. I was far from the only one expressing shock, immense sadness, and anger.
One black friend wrote, “Last night I felt something I never felt in all my life. I truly felt scared from the results of an election. Last night I was told by a resounding election that America hates me and people that look like me. Last night I was told by America that having a black man in power was so disgusting that they were willing to accept the most unqualified man to take his place as long as he is gone. Last night I was told that America didn’t care about a woman’s right to safety, protection of her body or being worthy of simple human respect. Last night I was told by America that the term that they proudly gave us ‘Minority’ is just that, we are minor and marginalized. Last night I was told a lot. And a lot of it worries me to my core.”
One Latino friend — also from my church — who teaches at a local college wrote, “Listening to the college bells at Westminster before my class begins.. they always sound beautiful to me.
“And yet today I feel very lost, confused, disoriented, numb, petrified, as if some impending doom like a zombie apocalypse is about to take place and change our little world. But I’m afraid it’s much worse than that.
“I can kick a zombie’s ass: no problem.
“But I don’t know how to deal with someone who’s been characterized as a racist, bigot, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, all into one. Can you? How could this man possibly be elected to the highest office, be elected as the new leader of the free world? How?!?!? I’ll be shaking my head for the next 4 years…”
I saw live video start popping up from various parts of the country. I can remember elections dating back to the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago when protests and violence erupted inside and outside the convention hall, but there was something different about what I started seeing early Wednesday afternoon in live video over social media. I couldn’t recall people taking to the streets to protest a newly elected President the way I was seeing this.
It seemed so surreal. Everything was turning surreal.
Not my President.
Not my President.
Not my President.
This jackass is supposed to be my President?
RANDOM THOUGHTS/STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
- Early Thursday morning, I got up early again to make sure our daughter woke up to get ready for school. As I gave her a few extra minutes of sleep time, I turned on the early local news before the Today Show came on. They showed a story of local elementary school students, Hispanic and Muslim, being harassed on the way to school the morning after the election — being told they’d be going to a different school, they’d have to move away, etc. A sister-in-law who’s a teacher said the same thing happened at her school. So it begins.
- Protests grow.
- We’re told we need to “give the President-elect a chance.” Would that be the same “chance” the sitting President was given over eight years?
- This Trump character who gave that acceptance speech, coming across as such a nice guy, talking about how everyone needs to come together, how he’ll represent everyone … after the vomit he spewed for months and years in our political process dating back at least to his earliest birther questions. How do you pour acid back into a container that’s been eaten away? How do you suddenly bring a halt to the hate and anger you’ve helped to create for so long with this “new side” featuring flowery words? Sorry, pal, the insane genie’s out of the bottle and you ain’t putting it back.
- “MOSCOW, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The Russian government was in touch with members of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign staff during the U.S. election campaign, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency on Thursday.
“There were contacts,” Interfax cited Ryabkov as saying. He did not give details.
“When asked whether these contacts would now intensify after Trump’s election victory, Ryabkov said: ‘These working moments and follow-up on this or that matter will depend on the situation and the questions which face us. But we will of course continue this work after the elections.’
“Defeated Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton accused Trump of being a ‘puppet’ of President Vladimir Putin during the campaign, and U.S. officials said Russia had hacked into Democratic party emails, something Moscow denied.
“Trump has said he might meet Putin before his inauguration, but Putin’s spokesman has said there are currently no plans for such a meeting.
“The Russian parliament erupted in applause on Wednesday when it heard that Trump had been elected and Putin told foreign ambassadors he was ready to fully restore ties with Washington.
“Ryabkov was more circumspect in his interview, saying the Russian Foreign Ministry felt no euphoria about the Republican’s win even though it wanted to normalize relations with Washington.
“Ryabkov said Trump’s allies had made some tough statements about Russia during the campaign and that his ministry was therefore not harboring any rose-tinted hopes.”
Damn chilling. Dealing with a Gorbachev was one thing. Dealing with a Putin is another.
- It’s hard to believe that just days ago, pundits were saying how Trump was destroying the Republican Party and the GOP would have to re-invent itself somehow. After a GOP sweep, now it’s the Democratic Party that needs to figure out how to rebound. After a disaster of a primary season which pushed its best hope for a Trump opponent to the sideline in such a populist climate and in not-so-subtle ways, the Democratic Party isn’t what it used to be but needs to adjust now because of the change in demographics between the growing numbers of younger voters and their more progressive (for these times) views and the growing number of people we have considered for years as “minorities.” The party needs to find the courage to maybe be a bit less moderate. That was a direction that came along with Bill Clinton and helped get him elected in 1992. I remember that vividly. This isn’t 1992, but Dems have clung to that since then with a slight shift with Obama, but very slight because he could also be pretty moderate. But it’s especially true with Mrs. Clinton. No surprise. There has to be a new Democratic Party that doesn’t look all that different from the old Democratic Party of, say, the Nixon era.
- The major media bears some serious responsibility for falling down on the job in allowing tons of free, mostly very friendly air time to a huckster disguising himself as a bonafide leader and starting to do any serious probing into his history at a way-too-late stage. Simply put, if the major media had done its true job from the beginning, Trump never would have made it far in the primaries, let alone making it all the way to President-elect. To hell with this notion of a “liberal media.” Shameful.
- Trump can give thanks for his new role to one thing flowing through a variety of sources — misinformation.
- Eight years fighting for progress looking like it’s all about to be flushed down the drain.
- The best unintentional recruiter for ISIS being elected President. Get ready for more terrorist attempts within our own borders, which could mean more successes for the terrorists. Don’t fool yourself on the idea that Trump is going to make America more secure.
- Trump has talked about punishing the press for reporting his exact words to the public, because he didn’t like what he himself said. What will happen to the First Amendment?
- I get it. Middle America — the Heartland — is angry. It feels like it’s being ignored. Rural America feels like it’s had no voice. I’m angry too. I’m tired of feeling like we always have to struggle to survive and pay the bills and all these other debts and never getting ahead, never being able to save because trying to survive leaves little and usually nothing to save. I’m pissed. I was born and raised in rural America. But I’m also frustrated that so many people in rural America feel that a billionaire (maybe, if only we could see his taxes) con man who doesn’t believe in paying his own bills and loves having gold-plated everything is going to create all these manufacturing jobs, strengthen the economy, yada-yada-yada. How can so many people in rural America believe that this con man really speaks for them, and will follow through once he’s in office?
Back when fists were really flying on a frequent basis at Trump rallies during primary season, I was reminded of the real roots of modern-day America. That would be ugly talk shows like Morton Downey Jr., Geraldo after his days with ABC News came to an end, and of course the worst of the worst, Jerry Springer. Those shows helped give birth to the reality shows of today, with one turning Trump from a slick huckster in the business and social arenas into a celebrity and into the world of politics with repeated phone calls to Fox News to chime in with his twisted and ignorant views of the world.
We’ve become a society where too many people don’t know who fought in or won the Civil War, they have no idea who their current Vice President is, yet they’re totally knowledgeable when it comes to reality TV and pop culture.
The end result has helped give us a reality TV star as President-elect. Huge warts and all.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr reminded me of that “Jerry Springer mentality” in his own post-election thoughts.
We care about the most trivial things in life and we elect a Donald Trump as President of the United States.
What a weird, sickening show.