NO I WILL NOT CALM DOWN.
Here are some completely real things that are actual or potential results of this election that will not go away in 36 hours or a week or month or year. Some of them are forever. Forever.
- Once again, we do not have a woman president, and so much of this campaign was rooted in deep sexism, both blatant and subtle, that we women are now painfully aware of just how rigged the system is against us. Still. Women of my generation (I'm 45) were brought up by our newly feminist mothers to think we could do anything, be anything. Not only is that manifestly untrue, but even OUR daughters, 30 years later, now have to doubt it.
- My LGBT+ loved ones may lose certain basic rights, such as their right to marry or to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender.
- Everyone I know or work with who is an undocumented immigrant now has to live with an increased level of fear, and rightfully so.
- Everyone I know who is a person of color, immigrant, and/or Muslim (screw it, even Jews! This is so crazy) now has to feel that approximately half the country either hates and fears them, or at the very least cares so little about their rights and well-being that they are willing to casually endanger those things.
- Women may lose access to abortion.
- A temperamentally aggressive and impulsive man will be in charge of our extremely sensitive foreign policy. In addition to being aggressive and impulsive, and having a pathological need to "win" everything, he appears to know no more about the subject matter than I do, possibly less. And his inability to pay attention to information for more than 3 seconds or listen to the advice of others means that informed counsel will be of limited use. We could end up in pointless wars over personal affronts, discontinue important alliances, and/or initiate the use of nuclear weapons.
- We will almost certainly bow out of the Paris climate accords. We will move backwards on energy and climate policy when it is critical that we move forwards very, very fast, if we are to avoid total disaster. We will see significantly worse climate change, more severe weather events, lose land to stupid development, lose species at an even faster rate, fail to protect what is fast slipping away. These effects are forever. They can't be reversed four years later. They have permanent planetary impact.
- The painful, slow, did I mention painful progress that we have been making the past few years in highlighting issues of race, police brutality, and criminal justice reform will likely be erased.
- Unpredictable worldwide economic effects may change our lives dramatically. This is a slow-burner one, but still scary in a personal sense. Last night I pondered whether we should order pizza (because I did not have the heart to cook), or whether we really ought to start carefully hoarding our resources immediately. (We got the pizza. I'm not insane.)
I'm sure there are so, so many other things that I would think of over the next two minutes or seven hours or whatever-- I could go on writing this just about forever. But I think this is enough to convey the point: YES, I AM FREAKING OUT. IT IS COMPLETELY RATIONAL TO BE FREAKING OUT. If you are a Trump voter, or a third-party voter, or a disaffected voter, or a low-information voter, or even a Democratic voter who sees this as just another ordinary election that we lost, please don't come along and tell us to settle down or get to work immediately on something positive. We'll do those positive things once the dust settles and we can identify what the fuck they are. But for now, there is a real need to grieve, and to do it in an open way such that we can connect with others who are also grieving and freaking out. Please don't tell us to shut up. Thank you.