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.
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.