okay, now what?

Donald J. Trump is the next President of These United States. That’s just a fact. Regardless of how or why he was elected, we have to acknowledge that he was fairly elected. In January he’ll be behind the desk in the Oval Office — and he’ll be there because people voted for him.

Those of us who opposed him must continue to oppose him. But it would be a terrible mistake, I think, to do that in a hateful way. We can be discouraged. Hell, I’m so discouraged I can barely stand to look at the news. Any news, not just about the election. We can feel depressed; depression is a natural reaction to tragedy. But we shouldn’t be hateful. We can be dazed and perplexed and disconcerted by this unimaginable turn of events. But we shouldn’t be hateful. We can be angry — hell, we can be completely fucking furious — but we shouldn’t be hateful.

That’s tough to say, partly because right now hate seems pretty seductive. We’ve just seen hate used effectively as a tool to get votes. We’ve just seen hate and fear rewarded. There’s a part of me right now that wants to be hateful.

But we can’t. We can’t because hate comes from fear, and fear and hate not only lead to racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia, it also leads to devaluing people just because we disagree with them. We can’t afford to be hateful, not even to the people who’ve benefited from hate.

So what do we do? First, give in to grief for a while. A short while. Then look around and find somebody who’s hurt, somebody who’s vulnerable, somebody who’s suffering. Listen to them. Really listen to them, and find out what you can do to help. Helping others is a good way to heal yourself. Kindness can’t stop hate by itself, but believing in the value of kindness can inoculate you from the worst effects of hate.

The cat still finds pleasure napping in the sun. So can you.

The cat still finds pleasure napping in the sun. So can you.

Second, live your life the way you want it to be lived. Walk your dog; your dog doesn’t care who the president is. Walk your dog and pick up its shit — because that’s what decent people do. Cook good food — for yourself and for others. Make art and read books and watch movies and listen to music and have a beer with your friends. Laugh. Laugh a lot. Laugh with, not at. But laugh. Laugh and be kind.

Things are going to be ugly for a while, and it’s important — even necessary — to nurture beauty and creativity and kindness, and to spread it around liberally.

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22 thoughts on “okay, now what?

  1. Lovely post, Greg. It’s going to be a long haul for the next four years and I still think it’s damned good advice to “go high”. But for now, a little rest and recuperation before directing righteous anger and thoughtful activism at the shit tide that is about to take over this country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s impossible for me to even think of this in terms of four years. Four years of a Trump administration — it’s too much to deal with right now. It’s like a natural disaster. I can cope with the destruction caused by, say, a tornado, but the idea of four years of routine tornadic activity is more than I can take in. I think I’m going to have to take a ‘one tornado at a time’ approach.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose there’s something to be said for having lived through a painful period of history — but it’ll probably be easier to say that AFTER we’ve lived through it. Assuming we do.

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  2. I have no intention of being hateful or even hurtful (with words) towards those who made this such a sad day, but if there is one thing that I want to dispute, with regard to the “conventional wisdom” about this election, is that I believe those who have been truly hurting or left out do not make up a huge share of Trump’s voters. I honestly believe that some of the more virulent Hillary haters were just that—people that hated Hillary for imagined crimes, and those that hated her simply because she’s a Democrat.

    I believe that those whom the media have described as angry for being left out or hurting, are really gun nuts who believed Hillary wanted to do away with the Second Amendment; they’re people who have jobs but have been convince that they’re being deprived of something by the others… pick one.

    I think, too, that there was a huge swath of people who tend to be generally uninterested in politics and voting, but were drawn out from their apathy’s woodwork by Trump’s incendiary hate speech. These were the people he boasted about drawing into the Republican Party during the primaries, and combined with the incredibly reliable Republican rank-and-file.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I agree. What’s that saying that’s been going around for a while? “When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” Something like that.

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  3. Let’s just hope there can be something more positive coming from this new administration than what we saw in those previous. If there is but one benefit in all this to this point, it’s that more people played an active role in the political game than had previously. Polling numbers indicate more voters participated in this election process, and it seems the overall apathy has slowed … if only for awhile.

    Congratulations, Greg, on an excellent post. We Americans have a huge job in front of us now, and it will be much easier if we can all set our differences aside and work together in this.

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    • Set our differences aside and work together? No. Absolutely not. Did Republicans set their differences aside and try to work together when Obama was elected? Nope. Even before he was inaugurated, they’d decided to do everything in their power to make him a one term president. For eight years, they’ve concentrated most of their efforts on blocking anything Obama or Democrats wanted — even if it was legislation they’d originally supported.

      So no, don’t expect Democrats to set our differences aside. If Trump puts forward legislation we agree with, unlike Republicans we’ll support it. But since most of his agenda is directly contrary to policies we support, he can expect a LOT of fighting.

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      • Your candidate lost! Get it through your thick skulls that the people of this nation voted Donald Trump as our next President. Suck it in. There are lots of things I don’t like about Trump, but I’m not about to lower myself to the levels of those who’s feeling are hurt because their candidate didn’t win. If you don’t like things the way they are, or maybe will be, then pack your bags, grab the nearest U-Haul truck and get the hell out. I’m an American, and I’m staying put because I’m still trying to make this into a nation everyone can be proud of. I served in this nation’s military. For what? To preserve your right to rattle off at the gums protesting what the rest of the nation wants. ENOUGH!

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      • “What the rest of the nation wants”? Your candidate was not elected by a majority of those who voted, much less a majority of the country’s population. Clinton received more votes than did Trump… by what metric do you measure “what the rest of the nation wants” when the only quantitative measurement is votes?

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      • And just what is it about the system YOU don’t understand? The popular vote does NOT elect a president; the Electoral College supports a president. Clinton conceded, and what happened after that fact is now just history. I’m not completely pleased with the way things worked out either, but at least I’m willing to give this new administration a chance to demonstrate what it might (or might not) be able to do to get this nation back on track. Are you?

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      • To be clear, I wasn’t arguing with the results.Your statement was that the election was ““what the rest of the nation wants.” And my question was by what metric? The Electoral College decides who is President, but it is not an indicator of what “the rest” of the country wants.

        Since, in fact, the Electoral College decides who the President is, what if there were a delegation of voters within it that decided to throw their votes to Clinton because she won the popular vote? Would you defend their Constitutionally granted right to do so? Or would you be crying, “Rigged system!” Rigged system!” ?

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      • Yes, I most certainly would. And the reason I would is because I’m an American proud enough of his country to abide by the laws and regulations set forth. What I flatly refuse to do is accept the crying and whining of a bunch of sore losers demonstrating they won’t under any circumstances, give a new President-elect a chance. As much as I have a great deal of disdain for Obama, at least I was willing to put aside my differences long enough to see if he could effect the change this nation so badly needs.

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      • Nor do I intend to. In fact, I see no point in going any further. May I say, though, that if I ever have the misfortune of meeting you in person, I will gladly concede to you your opinions, genuflect and make the Sign of the Cross as I know I will have indeed encountered God.

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      • This. This right here.

        Both of your responses to me were dripping with condescension. You essentially insulted Greg’s reasoned response to your—what I can clearly see now was nothing more than a—disingenuous call to get along, by telling him to shut the fuck up or get out of the country. I guess that’s how you go about “trying to make this into a nation everyone can be proud of.”

        I challenged your statement about the “rest of the country” and because its basis bore no basis in reality, you changed the subject and insulted my understanding of the system. You couldn’t actually bring yourself to admit that what you stated was factually inaccurate.

        Your interest isn’t making this a nation everyone can be proud of… it’s in being able to say, “I told you so.” I’ve read your blog. You might like to think your being some kind of voice of reason, but all you do is repeat nonsense you hear elsewhere. There is no honest discussion of reality. You might consider taking tips from Greg on how to be honest and fair and reasonable. And fact-based.

        And I’m not going to bother going any further than that just because I don’t have to. I’m God.

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      • Just got back from my Veteran’s Day breakfast (like you, I also served in the military — as did both my brothers, as did my father and all of his brothers). I’ve spent most of my life in public service, because I was raised to believe we have an obligation to serve the community, or the city, or the county, or the state, or the federal government. Everybody in my family spent most of their post-military career working in the public sector, even though we could have made more money in the private sector.

        I’m only saying that so you know I’m not just “rattling off at the gums.” As I said, if Trump proposed legislation that I can support, I’ll support it. But don’t expect me to give him the benefit of the doubt — not after eight years of deliberate Republican obstruction intended to cripple President Obama.

        I’ve disagreed with you, but I’ve always tried to be respectful of your opinions. But you do NOT get to question my patriotism. You do NOT get to tell me to pack my bags and leave — though that’s perfectly in keeping with Trump’s worldview. My family has shed more than its share of blood serving this country, and I’ve earned the right to say whatever the fuck I want to say.

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  4. I did not vote for Hilary. I did not vote for Donald. I voted my conscience. And my conscience said, “these are not the ones you are looking for. move along.” I voted for a third-party candidate that more closely aligned with my thinking.

    NOTE: I did NOT waste my vote. I live in New Jersey, a decidedly Democrat state for the last three decades or more. Any vote — Republican, Libertarian, Green Party — that is not for a democrat is ALWAYS wasted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I’m inclined to think that any vote NOT for Hillary was a poor choice, I can’t fault anybody for voting their conscience. Plus, you get extra street cred for the Star Wars line.

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