Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Now We Fight

This was never supposed to be close.

I expected Hillary Clinton to win handily yesterday. I believed the polls. I believed the maps that said she had several paths to victory, and that Trump had to have a perfect night to win.

So I’m a victim of my own expectations, like many people. We never expected this to happen.

Too many people ignored the heinous nature of Trump and voted for him as “the Republican candidate.” They ignored the groping video and the religious bans and the crypto-fascist talk and the warmongering and everything else. They decided they wanted change, and so they supported him.

This man threatened to sue women who accused him of sexual assault. Millions of people still voted for him.

He told protestors in his rallies that they deserved to be beaten up, and that he would pay the lawyer's fees if his people beat up the protestors. Millions of people still voted for him.

I hate this. I hate that so many people were willing to mark the box for a racist sexist xenophobic pig for president. I hate it.

And let’s be real. So many people could not accept Hillary Clinton as a candidate. Many of them couldn’t support her because of who she was. And many of them, let’s be honest, couldn’t support a woman as president.

When they say “I could support a woman candidate, just not that woman,” they’re saying that the only woman they will support is a perfect candidate who matches their ideals in every way. That person doesn’t exist.

My father has had an American flag in his window for years. He took it down last night. He says he can no longer be proud of this country. It breaks my heart, but I can’t blame him. His heart was broken last night. Our hearts were collectively broken last night.

The media kept portraying Trump and Clinton as equally flawed. “So Trump has declared bankruptcy a bunch of times, and groped women, and maybe raped a child, and is on trial for fraud. Hillary had that email thing!” They are both flawed, but these two levels of flawed are not equal. That’s like saying a paper airplane and a Boeing Dreamliner are equal because both can fly in the air.

And then you’ve got the third party people. The “oh, no, they’re both so corrupt, I can’t support either of them” people. The holier-than-thou voters. They’re no better than the people who said “I could support a woman, but just not that woman.” So they supported Jill Stein or Gary Clueless Johnson.

Look at the vote totals in Florida and Ohio and the other states where Trump won. What would have happened if Gary Johnson had said, like his vice-presidential pick William Weld, “vote for Hillary Clinton because our first priority is stopping Trump?” Maybe it would have made a difference. Maybe.

“They’re both equally flawed” is what I heard in 2000 when Bush and Gore were running. I almost fell for it. And then we got George W., and then we got 9/11 and the Iraq war and the war on terror and the PATRIOT Act and the recession. I don’t accept that both parties are the same. I refuse to accept it.

So, because too many people decided they would take a chance on a loose cannon, the country gets a monster for president. And a Republican House and Senate. He can’t do everything he promised to do, but he can do a hell of a lot of damage. For immigrants. For low-income people who need health insurance. For women. For minorities. He can do a lot of damage in that office, and now he has the keys.

So we fight. If Hillary had won, we would have had to fight to push her to the left. Now we’re faced with Donald Trump as our next president. The challenge is clear. We live in a country with deep racism, deep sexism, deep suspicion of immigrants. We need to work to heal that wound.

We need to fight, every day, to protect the most vulnerable people in our society. We cannot give up and hang our heads. Now we need to stand and fight.

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