Why It's OK To Need A Moment To Mourn What Just Happened
Before it actually happened, I thought that if Donald Trump won the election (and let's be honest, a lot of us seriously doubted that would happen) the world would quite literally stop on its axis. I assumed that work would be called off, that there would be protest in the streets, and that someone would eventually say "haha just kidding!" because there was no way it could actually be real.
But I woke up this morning, and it was real. As it turned out, we weren't all being "punk'd," and life was expected to go on as usual. CNN's headlines read "Donald Trump Wins Presidency," and I was supposed to just get up and get to work as if it were any other day.
How was I supposed to do that? How are any of us supposed to go about our lives when all of a sudden our entire world — literally our entire world – has been irrevocably changed overnight?
Last night was supposed to be one of the proudest moments in American history. When I cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton yesterday morning, all I could think about was how excited I was to vote for the first woman President, and how proud I was to be a part of a country that was finally going to make it a reality. I was excited at the prospect of telling my future children, "yeah, I was there," and teaching them about the first time America used the title "Madam President."
But then, it didn't happen. Instead of popping bottles of champagne and celebrating being a part of history (and the fact that I would never have to listen to Donald Trump ever again), I sat on the floor of the Javits Center and cried. I felt lost, defeated, and cheated out of the future that I think this nation deserves.
I am devastated at the thought of spending the next for years living in a country led by a man whose inherent values I so deeply disagree with. And frankly, it's going to be a while before I'm ready to "pick myself up and get to work" the way all of my Facebook friends are imploring me to, and the way we all know Hillary would if the roles were reversed. I need time to mourn what happened last night.
Because as a nation, we did lose something when Trump became our President elect: We lost the ability to believe that we are better than this. We learned the hard way (thanks in large part, to the media) that more than half of this country is willing to align themselves with a racist, sexist, homophobic reality star who brags about sexual assault than with a "nasty woman." And for that, I am heartbroken.
For a lot of people, today sucks, and it's OK to let it. Order pizza, pop in Katy Perry's Prism album, and give yourself all the time you need to mourn for everything we, as a nation, have lost.
Mourn for the little girls, who deserve better than a President who calls women "dogs" and "pigs."
For the groups whose rights are now being challenged — there are too many of them to list — and who no longer feel safe in a nation they were once proud of.
For the people with disabilities who now have to put their fate in the hands of a man who has publicly mocked them.
For the families who don't know if they will be allowed to stay together, in the country they call home, under Trump's rule.
For the Muslim women who feel like they shouldn't wear their Hijabs in public for the sake of their safety.
For your own reproductive rights, which now belong to a man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.
Let yourself mourn for feeling cheated out of being a part of history. Because as my best friend put it this morning in our group chat, "We all just really wanted a woman to be President."
After the results came in last night, legendary New Yorker editor David Remnick posted a story to the magazine's website titled "An American Tragedy." It opens like this:
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy.
And that about sums it up.
This loss is particularly hard, not just because it was so, so unexpected, but because it feels deeply personal. Each one of us has felt, in some way, marginalized, offended or hurt by Donald Trump over the course of the election cycle, and are now terrified at the prospect of feeling that way for another four years.
But even if you aren't ready to be strong, work together, and power through (I, for one, am not there yet), there is something you can do to use your mourning in a positive way. Hilary's motto was "Do all the good you can for all the people you can in all of the ways you can." To honor her, and her strength, and the mission that so many of us so deeply believed in, do something nice for someone else. Not just today, not just for the next week, but every day. We can't change the results, but we can at least bring a little more kindness into the world in the hopes of making this country the kind of place where love will overcome hate, and move to a future that we know we deserve.