There are two emotions competing for my attention this morning, relief and dread. It is a curious combination.
At first, I didn’t understand the emotions. As I looked at the returns from election day and saw that Trump was not elected for a second term, despite his declaration of victory I thought I would feel happy. I knew about the red mirage that could take place. I thought I was prepared for the appearance of a republican victory. The appearance, surely.
And then, as is their nature, the more insidious thoughts began to march through my brain. All those terrible scenarios that start with “what if?” I suspect a good deal of America is facing those questions this morning. I’m trying not to panic. I think I’m failing because here I am talking politics again instead of allowing myself to work on my other writing.
I need to do this, first, before I can turn to other topics.
The dread, you might think, is wrapped up in the long wait that may come for the returns. You would be right, but not entirely. Most of the dread that I feel this morning is fueled by disappointment.
To explain this I need to ask you to do the near-impossible. Think of this choice not as one that was made in the political arena, but instead one that was made on choosing a code of ethics or morals. We’ve looked at red and blue for so long that those colors are all we see. When we look at our parents, friends, workmates, we see red or blue. It’s a political abstraction we are looking at, not a human, not ourselves.
This is where I think a great many of our fellow citizens are struggling this morning. I know it is a part of my upset. That I could look at the polls and see that very nearly half of the nation would choose to repeat the last four years was crushing.
The human cost of the last four years has been immense. The list is hideously long of abuses that people of all color and creed have suffered. I believe that those who wished for a blue wave believed in it so fervently because they saw it as a moral cleansing. They hoped that legions of Americans would stand up and reject the crass, vicious vindictiveness of this administration.
The blue wave didn’t happen and we are all stranded on the shore waiting for a new tide, and wondering, will it come? If not, what now?
Looking at the map this morning it is easy to despair, it is easy to fear, especially if you see the swaths of red as people who didn’t reject the moral bankruptcy of this President. You are left wondering, do they just not see it? OR the harder to bear question, do they just not care? Or the harder question, do they like it like this?
My thought is that they are afraid too. Afraid of losing what little they have. Afraid of becoming a victim of brutality. Afraid of starving. Afraid of the other and the out there. So, they cling close to their leader, even knowing he is the source of much of the abuse they see happening to ‘those others’. They believe if they gather together closely enough beneath their leader they will be protected.
And we who stand outside of that circle to oppose, to protest and to resist cannot understand why they pull against us.
The next few days will be a slow unfolding of our future. It may be torturous to watch. And as much as I hope for a fair, well handled election – I think the most shocking and disheartening result is already in.