Hope Extinguished

My kids were late for school this morning, but I didn't care.  As I drove, the world around me was grey.  The sky is dreary today, the chill has returned to the air, and rain pelted the car as we made our way there.  My heart today matches the weather, grey and dull and muted.  A fog fills my mind and soul, and the future is impossible to see through the haze.

When I got home, I pulled out my computer.  I know I need to write.  This is how I process, and I can feel it in my bones, that I need to put words down.  But it's hard.  I don't know where to begin, and having a coherent thought that lasts more than a few sentences has proven more difficult than usual.  I suppose my mind is trying to process the feelings of disappointment and trauma and fear.

My heart is broken.  I have always believed that people are generally good, and I suppose that now is the time for my faith to be tested.  I see people try to be positive - the sun will come up tomorrow, we just have to keep trying and fighting.  Right now, though?  It just feels like the world has turned upside down.

The hope and excitement that I felt, that so many of my female friends felt, so many of my friends with daughters felt, has been extinguished in the worst way.  I know it's not forever, but it feels so incredibly bad right now.  This hope was squashed by the opposite of a feminist.  Instead of an experienced woman who would support equality and women's rights and the things we believe are fundamental, we are left with a misogynist who would like to repeal Roe v Wade, judges women by how attractive he finds them, and has openly based his opinion of female politicians on the fact that he finds them unattractive.

You can't tell me that this isn't setting this country back.  You can't tell me that this presidency isn't going to affect me negatively when the campaign alone has re-traumatized so many survivors of sexual assault and unwanted attention. We have gone from a person who, the day after a horrifically painful defeat, said "And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams." to a man who has said that if she wasn't his daughter, he'd totally bang his daughter because she's hot.

I have voted in 5 elections now, and never have I felt dread like I did yesterday.  Last night, my mom tried to rationalize that we've been through this before, and we'll get through it again.  But this time feels different.  This time feels personal.  Because this isn't just about policy or politics.  This is personal.  As of Jan 20, 2017 we will have a person in the White House who thinks that it is okay to force sexual attention on women.  We will have a person in the White House who would look at me and I am 100% certain would think I'm worth less because I have a vagina, would think I am worth less because I am overweight, would think that I am worth less because I am not on my own two feet right now and need to ask for help.  We will have a person in the White House who has been outspoken about not supporting LGBTQ rights.  We will have a person in the White House who thinks people of color are less important than white people, who has been openly racist in a myriad of ways.  This is not hyperbole.  These are facts.  I have no doubt in my heart that this man actually believes these things, and that feels like the most dangerous thing of all.  We spend so much time trying to instill in our children that bullying is not okay, and we have seen the absolutely real damage it causes.  Now, we will have a person in the White House who is one of the biggest bullies I've ever seen.  This is the person our children will see leading our nation.

I am in pain today.  I am feeling the fear and pain of my friends who are women, but even more for my friends who are non-cis or non-straight.  For my friends who are seriously talking about how they do not feel safe because of the person they love or because of the color of their skin. For my friends who feel self conscious just going about their business today because their are brown.  For the mothers are texting their daughters pleading with them not to wear their hijabs in public today. This is just so awful that I don't think I have the words to express it.

This feels different too because it is unprecedented.  When Bush 2 ran and won, it sucked.  But at least he seemed to care about saving face or appearing sane.  Donald Trump is an ego-maniacal billionaire who has stoked the fires of intolerance and hatred in this country to an astounding degree.  I'm not one to make exaggerated comparisons, but there is a REASON that he has been compared to Hitler by so many intelligent people.

What we need is love.  What we got is hate.  What we need is compassion.  What we got is divisiveness. What we need is acceptance.  What we got is ideas about deporting Muslims and a big wall between the US and Mexico.  What we need is to lift each other up, and what we got is a president who will step on anyone and everyone to get where he wants and do what he wants.

I haven't even come to a place yet where I move out of the fog of emotions and start thinking about politics.  About how the dollar started to lose value last night, about how other countries are going to see us now.  About how humiliating it feels to have a person leading our country who has no political or military experience, who is blatantly unqualified for the job.  About foreign policy and the economy and how that's going to affect us.  About funding for social programs, and the lack of a balance of power with conservatives in the majority in all three branches.  About health insurance and mental healthcare and marriage equality.  About the supreme court.

I don't know what to do.  I don't know how to process everything that I am feeling.  I don't think there is really anything I CAN do, other than try to get through today, one hour at a time, then try to get through the week, one day at a time.  I could probably keep writing and adding to this for hours, as the thoughts come tumbling in, but I need a break.  So I'm going to go and look for jobs to apply for, because while that's kind of depressing and painful, today it feels like the less frustrating option.  Besides, my tears have run out and need time to replenish themselves.