As I watched the election results come in last night, the worry I felt was gradually replaced, particle by particle, with a numb dread. Like a bone being fossilized, it kept its shape, but had a different nature.
I thought about going back and deleting my post from yesterday. In the light of what happened later, it seemed hopelessly naive. I decided to leave it up. I've earned whatever shame I feel for having been someone who could write that. Yesterday already feels like a long time ago. I feel like a different person now. Fossilized.
So this is the reality we live in now. My country has elected a vapid, misogynistic ignoramus without the faintest whiff of qualification or empathy as our leader. This has really happened. I have spent almost 24 hours now second-guessing: sure, I voted against him (twice, actually.) But I could have donated. I could have volunteered. I could have done... something.
And every time I think that, it leads me to think about something else, which is what really scares me.
See, I'm worried about our laws, and what's going to happen to Obamacare, and who's going to end up sitting on the Supreme Court, and what will happen to our financial and environmental regulations, what will happen for marriage equality, abortion rights, a bunch of other things. All those things are in jeopardy now. But if that's all it was, that would be manageable. There will be other elections. New laws can be passed, decisions overturned. Long-term, big picture, all of that stuff is fixable.
What really scares me isn't any of that. It's the fact that (very close to) half of the voters in this country watched Donald Trump through this entire grueling campaign, watched every lie and insult and threat, and then went out and voted for him anyway. Sometimes despite all that Trump is; sometimes because of all that he is. They were passionate and fired up to vote for him. And no amount of donating or volunteering or cold calling that I could have done would have done anything in the face of that. I try to imagine having a conversation with someone who gleefully chants "Lock her up" and I can't conceive of what common ground we could find to start any kind of meaningful exchange.
That's the thing that really scares me. My country has turned into something else without me realizing it was happening. Particle by particle. It has the same shape, but a different nature.