I went to bed at 8:30 Tuesday night. I just couldn’t watch. I took some melatonin, read my book for a bit, and then I slept rather peacefully through the night.
In the morning, I didn’t check my phone right away. I got out of bed, took care of my bladder, put my contact lenses in, pet the kitten.
Finally I realized I couldn’t delay the inevitable any more. I looked it up on my phone. Tears filled my eyes.
I continued getting ready for work with the feeling of a lead weight in my stomach. I felt nauseated. I thought about calling in to work.
I drove to work, the feeling of dread continuing.
I was on the Franklin Howard headed towards Tampa, and my attention was captured by the sun rising over the bay. That reminded me we are a small blue dot circling a rather small star on the outskirts of an average sized galaxy. I immediately felt better.
Trump as President-elect is small damn potatoes in the scale of the entire universe.
Since Tuesday, I’ve been absorbing. I’ve been reading, feeling, venting. Part of me wants to sit back and see what Trump will really do once he takes the most powerful seat on Earth on January 20, 2017. Maybe he won’t be such a dick. I don’t really think that’s going to happen though.
As I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this particular election, along with the way the Senate and House went, I’ve realized a few things.
- I’m afraid. I’m a vocal, strong, independent woman. I already get some flack for that. But our President-elect has sexually assaulted women, promoted the idea that it’s Ok to grab a woman’s pussy without consent, and said that a woman should just change jobs if she faces sexual harassment at work.
- I’m angry. I’m buying mace. The first man who thinks he can grab my pussy because the President-elect of the United States has endorsed that action, I will mace him directly in the face.
- I’m afraid. I teach impoverished African American students. I teach students from a variety of backgrounds; including, Indian, Hispanic, Latino, and various Asian nationalities. I work with immigrants. I have friends who are immigrants. I have LGBT friends and family. I fear for their safety in a climate where the President-elect has emboldened people to spew their hate against people who look differently from you again.
- I’m angry. I’m thinking about buying a shotgun. I’ve already got my bow. If this Presidency starts to take a truly fascist turn analogous to Hitler’s Germany, I want a weapon in my hand to defend myself and my minority peers.
- I’m afraid. I worry Congress is going to get rid of the income-based repayment plan for student loan borrowers. I can’t afford my student loan payments if that happens. I worry ACA will be repealed. While I have an insurance plan through my work, many of my friends benefit from ACA. At least one of them, a kidney transplant patient, could die without ACA because he can’t afford the anti-rejection medication he needs.
- I’m angry. Forty-three point one percent of people did not vote in this election. What, were you going to miss your show? Couldn’t be bothered to fill some bubbles while waiting for a doctor’s appointment (i.e. vote by mail)? Can’t be bothered to educate yourself about who your next President will be (among other very important races) in a time when information flows so easily and freely? This trend is nothing different from previous years, but it makes me so so angry that so many people are tuned out or making excuses about something so incredibly important. Maybe we’d start to see real, positive change if more people voted.
- I’m angry. And I’m going to do something about it. This time I voted, I encouraged others to vote within my circle, but that’s pretty much it. Next time, I’ll be out canvassing. During the next 2-4 years I’ll be writing my Congresspeople and Senators, both at the State and Federal levels. I hope they get annoyed and think, “Oh, not another letter from her.” I’ll be calling them. I will be letting them know that they work for me. I’ll go to some rallies. I’ll be active. It doesn’t even take all that much time. And that’s what it takes to hold onto freedom.
In fact my activism started today. Hillsborough County Schools had a holiday today, so I started walking to grab a coffee and pastry at Kahwa. I was in Williams Park, and a gathering was finishing. Everyone was in black. I realized it was for the veterans. I kept walking, and I saw Charlie Crist, my newly elected Congressman in the House of Representatives. I kept walking. But then I paused and looked over my shoulder. I reversed my direction, and I approached Mr. Crist.
“Hi, Mr. Crist. I voted for you, and I just wanted to say …” I faltered, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. There is so much. “… I hope you will fight Trump if he tries to do things that aren’t for the good of the whole.”
Crist responded, “If Mr. Trump does good things, I’ll support them. (I nodded in assent, and I mean it!) But if he does bad things, I’ll fight them. How does that sound?”
“Sounds pretty good to me.” We shook hands. As we parted, he asked my name. I hope he remembers it, because he’s going to be seeing a lot of it over the next two years. I’m watching for the bad, and I’ll be in contact. I’ll write about the good stuff too.
It’s not likely that Trump will be good for the majority of this country. If that turns out to be the case, we’ve got a lot to do to protect our interests. Freedom is not free, and this election has shown that. We’ve been passive for too long. We’ve grown complacent. It’s time to place the energy from our frustration and anger in the right place and put it to good use. We must let our representatives at all levels know THEY WORK FOR US. THEY REPRESENT US. It doesn’t matter what party they are.
We’ve got work to do to remind our elected officials of that.