Sunday Salon: Trauma and Grief

Posted 13 November, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

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I wrote the bulk of this post early Wednesday morning. Since then I’ve been too shell-shocked, upset, and anxious to open it back up to edit it.

 

I sit here staring at my screen completely unbelieving of what has taken place in our country last night.

We’ve been told for years that sunlight is the best antiseptic. This piece of conventional wisdom was shot to hell last night. I thought that when the light was shined on Trump’s racist, xenophobic, misogynistic bullshit – the country would come together and reject that message. Instead, what we have seen is an embrace of said bullshit by millions of Americans. I understand and accept that many people who voted for Trump did so for economic reasons or because of jobs, or the way they felt about national security. This doesn’t change the fact that what he said, the way he acted, how he treated people wasn’t enough to turn voters away.

I am currently in the bargaining phase of grief this morning. I feel a lot like Republicans probably felt at the polls. ‘He’s awful, terrible, and completely incompetent… but maybe he’ll surround himself with people more competent with himself?’ Maybe he didn’t mean all those things that he said…? and he can’t do anything because surely Congress will block anything absolutely crazy he tries to do. I mean… they’re not actually going to let him build that wall. Are they?

What this election has led me to, I think more than anything else – is anger. I’m angry at the good people who rationalized Trump. I’m more angry at the people who gave a protest vote to Johnson, Stein, or anyone else – because Hillary just wasn’t likable enough. And those emails. I’m angry with the Democrats who just couldn’t get that excited about Hillary, so they stayed home.

A positive symptom of this anger is energy. This is how I hope these feeling play out for me in the coming weeks, months, and years. It’s what I want to encourage everyone else who is as angry, disappointed, surprised, and as frightened as me to do.

Get active.

Everyday Americans are affected an awful lot by local politics. It’s not as sexy as national politics, but it’s where most of us can make real, meaningful change. Go to city council meetings. Investigate local ordinances being passed. Inform yourself. Then inform others. Join a service club like Optimists International or Rotary, get to know your local politicians and what they’re doing – or not doing – for your community. Run for office yourself. Volunteer as a mentor to a kid. Volunteer as an escort for Planned Parenthood. Protest with Black Lives Matter. Do you. Whatever that means – do you. Need ideas? Jezebel has a great list here.

 

I don’t have any words to console you or fix anything. I’ve not been able to read much news since Wednesday morning, though I’m slowly easing back into that. My anxiety, social and otherwise, is off the charts. I went running on Friday and have intentions to go running again on Monday. I’ve never been so grateful that I deactivated my personal Facebook account in my entire life.

Go in peace.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

5 Comments/ :

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  • Well said, April. I feel like I have been in a period of mourning since Wednesday. I know people felt they had good reasons for voting for Trump (including people I love), but what has me grieving is that those people were willing to overlook so much hate, were willing to discard so much of what I thought were common American values. I don’t know how to cope with the realization that my country isn’t the country I thought it was. I’m more sad than angry. You’re very right that we need to take action where we can. My first action was a donation to the ACLU. I will do more!

  • THIS. I can’t come to surf the web or social media. I can’t even watch anything on TV that mentions or analyzes what happened. I’ve been through a bunch of elections and haven’t always been happy with the results, but this one has really hurt me. As it has for many others. I thought about what you posted here long before I read it and will do my part w/in my community. Thanks for sharing and for sharing the list of places that need attention. 🙂 xo

  • I was devastated by the election results, but I’m managing to get over it by considering it a wake-up call. Hopefully if we all stay vigilant over the next four years, we can prevent this presidency from being too damaging and we can all pull together to make sure something like this never happens again.

  • Well said. Together we can get through this.

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