The Fourth of July and what it means to me now

“Still In Mourning” – Reflections on the 2016 Presidential Election

As most of you know, generally I steer clear of politics on this blog for various reasons. After all, this is a cancer blog; however, I also frequently focus on loss, so this post seems appropriate for that reason alone. So here goes…I am a proud Democrat. Always have been. Probably always will be. Some of you will read no further because of this. But some of you will read on. (Thank you). I’ve lived through quite a few Presidential elections by now, including a fair number of them which resulted in losses for candidates of my choosing, but as these losses go, this one feels different. How do I know this?

Because a week later, I am still in mourning.

And I am not alone.

I never felt this way before. Sure I’ve been disappointed and sad and even angry. But this time it feels different. This loss feels more profound, more personal, more troubling.

Too dramatic?

I think not.

We are mourning for what might have been and for what we believe should have been. Do not discount our feelings as merely sour grapes. It is more than this, so much more.

I don’t want this to be another article bemoaning all that went wrong for the Democrats. There were many wrongs on both sides. We all lived through the agony of this particular election cycle. And even if your side won, you have to admit it was damn bizarre that it did.

And btw, the serious mistakes made by the Democrats were many. I live in Wisconsin, a state that was once counted on to go blue in Presidential elections, at least in recent years. Had the Clinton campaign consulted me, I would’ve mentioned my concerns. You see, I have observed the slow, but meticulous swallowing up of blue by red in this state, in fact, I have seen it on the very street I live on. I remember the recent recall election, perhaps you (the Clinton campaign) should have remembered as well.

I found it particularly interesting that immediately following the election a reporter asked Mr. Trump if he had perhaps gone too far with the negative rhetoric in his campaign. Deep down we all know he did. I believe in his heart of hearts, Mr. Trump knows it too.

Still, his response was, “No. I won.”

This is what I cannot get past.

Does the end justify the means? Always?

I don’t think so. I cannot get past the outrageous, hurtful and yes, disgusting things said and done during this campaign by the candidate himself (and others). It appears many could. And this is so deeply troubling to me and terribly, terribly sad. I am grateful my children are adults. I am relieved I am no longer standing in front of a classroom of second graders.

How does one explain these things to children?

Principles matter. Character matters. Decency matters. Respect matters. And as I’ve said time and time again on this blog, words matter. This doesn’t mean perfection is a requirement (because who hasn’t fucked up?), but perhaps humility and the ability to apologize should be.

I know I am in mourning because I recognize that I am experiencing some of those stages of grief we all know about. I have definitely been experiencing feelings of denial, sadness, despair and anger.

Acceptance, I do not know when or if I can make it to that stage. I am just so damn disappointed.

I am disappointed with the system (which in reality was rigged against HRC, not Mr. Trump), the voters who stayed home, the people who voted based only on their own economic situations, Republicans who mostly kept quiet (while literally squirming with discomfort during the campaign) always putting party before country, the Democrats who weren’t paying attention to legitimate concerns held by many voters, WITH WOMEN, with the media (I’ll be tuning out most cable news shows for quite some time), with pollsters (will never listen to them again) and perhaps mostly with myself for not doing more.

And I am no longer confident I will live to see a woman residing in the White House as Commander in Chief. After 240 years as a democracy the world looks up to (and btw, America is and always has been great), there is something quite sad about this, don’t you think?

Another reason to mourn.

And please do not say to me, at least not for a very long time, this wasn’t the woman to break that glass ceiling. Because to me and to many others, she was.

The concerns many of us have are impossible to spell out in this limited space. But a sampling of things topping my list are:  The Affordable Care Act, Roe vs Wade, climate change, LGBT rights, discrimination of all kinds, racism, immigration, jobs and living wages, education, the environment, our role in the world and how we are perceived (it matters), and yes nuclear war.

I am worried. Many others are worried. We have worried before, worry after elections is normal, but this time there is also fear, so much fear.

The other day I noticed people making the statement and using the hashtag, #NotMyPresident. Dear hubby even said to me, he’s not my President. I understand this sentiment, believe me, I do. But I do not agree with it. Donald Trump will be my President. If you live in the US, he will be your President.

So the bottom line is yes, I want him to succeed because I want my country to succeed. And I wish him well (but I admit it’s hard, and I do so only because I care about this country).

Perhaps I’ll make it to the acceptance stage some day. I want to. As they say, time will tell.

But right now, I am incredibly sad and disheartened.

I am still in mourning.

I feel like that proverbial tiny, lonely flame that’s nearly been snuffed out, but somehow keeps flickering.

images[1]

I’m confident that in time, that little flame will burn brightly again because there is much work to be done, and now I know I have to help get it done.

As Bill Maher stated in HBO’s Real Time season finale Friday, November 11,  2016, “We’re (the Dems) still here.”

And we are not about to stay quiet. (I hope you do click on the above link and watch. It really is funny and we need some humor about now, no matter which side you’re on).

This country will be okay. Its people will be okay. I will be okay. I believe these things to be true. I have to.

But right now, I am still in mourning.

 

Words of encouragement from Hillary Clinton following defeat
Still inspiring others even after heartbreaking defeat. Image via Planned Parenthood Action Facebook page

 

Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for your decades of hard work in public service. You achieved great and honorable things inspiring many along the way, including me. We still need your voice, so don’t stay quiet too long.

Onward…

If you live in the US, how do you feel about the 2016 Presidential election result? 

If you live outside the US, how do you feel about it?

Note:  As always, I welcome all viewpoints when shared respectfully.

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US flag featured image via Wikimedia commons.

 

41 thoughts on ““Still In Mourning” – Reflections on the 2016 Presidential Election

  1. Nancy – First off, let me just say that I’m so glad that you published this post. Like you, I am going through stages of shock and dismay over the election. Unlike you, I do not wish our new President Elect well, I see no reason to. He’s a xenophobic, racist, narcissist, who is also woefully unprepared for what the job entails. He has no idea what he’s gotten himself into and has no idea what he has signed on for. He is in way over his head and it’s going to negatively impact all of us. If he had a strong moral compass and leadership qualities, I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but this is not a man who leads, this is a man who dictates. I love my country and I’m terribly disheartened by what we are now facing. To be honest, the morning after the election, I felt the same horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I felt when I was diagnosed w/breast cancer. With all of that, I intend to face this issue the way I faced my breast cancer diagnosis and I am already working on learning how to become an advocate for civil liberties. I intend to call my Senators and Congressman every day as PE Trump announces a new member of his team who I believe is a racist or unqualified. As Bernie Sanders said the other day, we need to raise our voices because this is our government. Maybe I missed Bernie the first time around but I’ve learned my lesson and will be listening to him now. Thanks, I needed to get that off my chest (Oh god what a horrible pun that was, given my mastectomy, but you know what I mean). #Together we are stronger.

    1. Claudia, I am still in shock, as are many. But this is our reality now. I wish Mr. Trump well because I love this country and when I say I wish him well, I guess I mean I hope he realizes the magnitude of the job now before him and I hope somehow this will make him less reckless (oh the irony in using that word, right?) and more thoughtful. I am quite worried about what is ahead for this country. I fear we’re in for a bumpy ride. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  2. Nancy, I’m mourning and disturbed and so very worried. I also feel powerless. I’ve called my representatives–and I live in a blue state–and donated to the causes I believe in, but it didn’t bring my power back. I listen to NPR about how chaotic the transition team is, and it appears that Trump was never prepared to win, and yet he did. And now I fear for us, and especially my children and grandchildren. My candidates have lost before, but I’ve never felt this level of threat. Bill Maher also talked about our country as a bad roommate situation–living with someone you abhor, and that is how it feels to me. I don’t recognize the people who voted without consideration of the consequences, the outside forces that created fake news on Facebook, the people who just don’t care to be informed, the man who would overturn Roe v Wade and just assume a woman can “drive to a another state”.
    In the last month I lost my father, and now I lost my country and I fear for my family and it’s not hyperbole.
    This won’t end well. I just hope the damage isn’t too great.

    1. Kira, I am disturbed and very worried too. I agree, I don’t think Mr. Trump ever planned on winning. I thought Bill Maher’s video was pretty spot-on. I understand why many people voted the way they did on a certain level, but on another, I just do not. I cannot get past the vulgarity (among other things). I am feeling quite disheartened and so disappointed. I’m very sorry to hear about your father. I have been thinking a lot lately about what my dad would’ve thought about this mess. I miss his wisdom. Thank you for sharing.

  3. The election result shook people to their core because it makes us realize that the dark is rising in America. We always thought Americans have ideals, sense and generosity and it is no longer true.

    1. Fran, I still believe Americans have those things you mentioned, but I certainly get your point. Don’t give up on our country and fellow citizens. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Nancy, like Claudia I do not wish him well. If he does well, we will see the end of decades of painfully slow (and inadequate) progress on environmental issues, human and civil rights issues, education, climate change, health care, etc., etc. One columnist aptly likened it it a return to the 19th century. His success could consign millions more to more toxic chemicals in our air, water and food – not less – potentially causing millions more cases of cancers, heart disease, learning disabilities, you name it. I’m not sure I want to live in the world that he, and his spineless Republican cohorts in Congress, want to inflict on the rest of us.

    Like Claudia, this felt horribly like learning of my cancer diagnosis. It’s a sick, dark feeling that never goes away, a reality that one can look away from but not ignore. I, too, have been greatly disappointed in numerous elections but it’s never, ever felt like this.

    I’m scared – scared as one who recognizes the importance of the ACA, scared for our nation and scared about both the near term and long-term effects this will have on all of us and our nation.

    I do appreciate that you had the courage (as well as the need) to post this. I’m glad you’ve opened up the topic and, in doing so, have created a safe space for some of us – and possibly a learning space for those who don’t see what the big deal is. Thank you.

    1. Julia, The fear out there is very real and understandable. I am still hoping reasonable minds will prevail, even in Washington, DC. Both parties have some major work cut out for them, as do we all. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Nancy: I, too, am very happy you published your post. I am also grieving. I have started taking action by signing every petition against everything/everyone Trump has proposed and am budgeting for monthly donations to the ACLU. I will soon be calling all my US representatives, but I am in a blue state and am optimistic I am represented well.
    I am most fearful for all the women in the US with breast cancer. If the Healthcare Reform Act is defeated most of us will be unable to get new health insurance since we have a ‘pre-existing’ condition. Women will not be able to get free mammograms or free pelvic exams or free colon cancer screening.
    I am hoping everyone participating in this blog will continue to share ideas on how you are coping with this tragic election loss and also share steps you feel we can take to overcome the hate and fear this administration is already spreading.

    1. Jan, I am hearing that important parts of the Affordable Care Act such as the pre-existing condition component, will likely remain, but we shall see. I don’t know what Trump is actually going to try to push through – on anything. No one does and that’s the scary part. Thank you for sharing about actions you are taking.

  6. I did not vote for Trump but I wish him well and am not surprised by the outcome of the election. I can see why many people are grieving but I am not. I respect all presidents of the United States and will never use the phrase “not my president.” There are things I don’t like about Obama, but that doesn’t mean he’s not my president. There are things I don’t like about Trump, but I still respect him as my future president. Hopefully people will keep getting involved with the issues that matter to them. Just because the election is over doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done (as you and your readers obviously know).

    1. Lindsay, If nothing else, this election might be a big wake-up call for a lot of people to get involved or at least to pay better attention to important issues. Complacency doesn’t work. And the people who stayed home might decide never to do that again. Thank you for adding to this conversation.

  7. I watch all day in Australia and could not believe what I saw unfold.. unbelivable… however what troubles me the most is how such an unsutable candidate even got to represent the Republicans???? One thing I am gratful for in Australia is it is compulsery to vote so there is no staying home and hoping things turn out ok as you do not like either candidate…. Trump as president I believe brings fear to the whole world, he feels unstable and not someone to look up to… i would feel ashamed if he was representing my country… i think difficult times ahead..

    1. Helen, Unbelievable, that’s the word I keep using. You are so right about the Republican candidate selected out of the pool being quite questionable and yes, how did it happen? I didn’t know voting in Australia is compulsory. I don’t think that would work here, but it is a very interesting concept. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this as someone who is watching from afar. It’s a small world these days and what happens here affects many. I don’t know if I feel ashamed, maybe. Embarrassed yes. I feel good knowing I did not vote for Mr. Trump. Mostly, I feel worried. Very worried. Thank you for sharing, Helen.

  8. Thank you Nancy. Yes it was a shock like my cancer diagnosis, 9/11, the day after both LA riots ended. I have been a Democrat since Jimmy Carter, when I realized that there are Polititians that do speak the truth. Then I realized that the most important thing was to stand up for human rights and dignity.
    How could anyone vote for That Man! I had heard him on HowardStern’s show for years and heard his brain content. Not much! Just a spoiled man with no regard for anyone else.
    I couldn’t believe that people could not see what I could see! She was not my favorite but she was destined to be the first female president and stepped aside for Obama. I will miss him and his family greatly, btw.
    Now after reflection for a week, I find myself consumed with the results, still shaking my head in disbelief. My choir that I belong to was jubilant that he won, happy that he was anti-abortion. My craft group was elated because they hated Hillary My Bible Study group was elated because ‘She was evil’ and they could still keep their guns and basically go back to the values of the 50’s.
    Lots of my family was for him, but I thank God that my husband, my daughter and her husband felt the same as me. I refuse to believe that I was wrong.
    I will continue to go to my groups and church and hold my head up high and pray for our children and our country. Life will get better and I will be there with a shoulder for the other voters to cry on when all gets said and done.

    1. Claudia, President Obama will be missed by many. People often see what they want to see I guess. Keep holding your head high and be proud of the way you voted. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Thanks for this Nancy. At the moment I’m too angry with America (where I was born) to respond clearly. One thing I will say is the plea for reconciliation sounds awfully hypocritical coming from Republicans who apparently will allow ANY indecency to be spoken or enacted in their name without apology.

  10. Thanks for this post Nancy. I thought you might like to get the view of a friend from across the border in Canada so here goes.
    When Trump first threw his hat in the ring everyone up here laughed. We laughed and laughed until it became clear that he was not an anomaly and not a joke. His words portrayed an ugly side of America that few of us thought still existed. But we didn’t panic because we still believed that Trump would sink himself with his hateful views. We believed that there was no way our American friends could ever support the kinds of things that Trump was advocating. As the election progressed disbelief gave way to despair. Many (but sadly not all) Canadians realized that should Trump be elected, he would take America back to the dark ages in terms of civil rights and worse, maybe even drag Canada along for the ride. Trump has now made it acceptable for hate mongers and extremists everywhere, including Canada, to raise their ugly heads with feelings of impunity. So even though Trump is now your president, the problems he presents affect us as well. He has exposed a festering underbelly in both our countries which is disturbing in the nth degree. I agree with others who say that they are experiencing the same sense of doom they felt at their cancer diagnosis. I’m suffering feelings of powerlessness, fear, anger, and betrayal, that I just can’t shake. I think the worst shock for me was when one of my American relatives, who I love and respect, told me to “stop being a cry baby and get over it”. If caring about my planet is being a cry baby, if having compassion for my brothers and sisters across the border is being a cry baby, then so be it, I’m going to cry until the cows come home even if he isn’t my president. Anyway, don’t lose heart America. Over half of your population did not vote for Trump. You have been through many wars and and many challenges. You are a strong and compassionate people and I know that you’ll overcome this challenge as well. As Claudia Ey suggests, hold your heads up high and move forward strong and proud.

    1. Lennox, thank you for being able to see, feel and understand how many Americans are feeling right now. My nine year old grandson was so fearful of Trump winning the election he couldn’t sleep. He was fearful bc the color of our skin we would no longer be able to stay in our home or be able live our day to day lives. We had had to explain to our grandson that his grandfather served America so we could rights that Trump can’t take away from us. We own our home and we’ve worked hard to give our children and grandchildren a better life. I have deep emotions over this election and feel we as a country have suffered a major setback. I am an independent, my husband is a republican and we could not vote for Trump. Trump has opened a door to hate that America may not come back from in my lifetime. Cancer Vs Trump they both are unstable and could cause death. Pray for America.

    2. Lennox, I appreciate you sharing your perspectives very much. How the world sees this is a deep concern of mine. It’s a troubling time. I have faith in my country and its people, though it’s been deeply shaken. Thank you for your insights.

  11. Nancy, so much of what you’ve said resonates for me. I guess what I’m most focused on right now is what a critical time this is for our country as we wait to see what unfolds in the coming days and months. We’re faced with so much uncertainly. What can we do? For one thing, we need to watch carefully and be ready to speak out and get involved when we disagree with policy moves whether from the Administration or in congress. We need to consistently let our elected representatives know our views and hold them accountable. It’s always been important that we do this of course, but now we must.

    1. Lisa, You are so right. There’s a lot of uncertainty and we Americans aren’t good at “wait and see.” Your advice is perfect. We all need to pay attention and speak out when we need to. Holding elected representatives accountable is more important now than ever. Thank you for your wise, calming words.

  12. Thank you for this post! Pretty much everything you’ve said is EXACTLY how I feel. I have never experienced fear after an election before. But I. Am. Terrified. And I fear, with the possibility of new Supreme Court Justices being appointed under the Trump regime, the ripple effect of a Trump Presidency will be felt for the rest of my life, and then some. Thank you again for such a real & thoughtful post.
    xx

  13. So glad you went ahead and wrote this Nancy. I’m still in too dark a place to write or even think much.
    I’m torn; I do not wish him well because his successes will be disastrous.
    When he won the primary I was actually glad! I figured such a buffoon would never win so HRC was guaranteed and the ACA would be safe. For me it wasn’t even a matter of Trump so much as I never wanted any Republican in office, given how maniacal they’ve been in their desire to repeal ACA. So this election shook me doubly hard–first as ACA will be gutted and second, that so many people were fine with racism, misogyny, etc.
    This election has rocked me nearly as hard as DX.
    And now with Thanksgiving next week, I ponder whether to even have dinner with some family–who voted for Trump against their own interests, who are indeed quite racist. This election has made me never want to see some of my own relatives again. Ever. I feel like they signed my death certificate.

    1. CC, I wish him well because I respect the Presidency and I am hoping he realizes he is representing all Americans. He lost the popular vote by a significant margin. I am disgusted with the Republican party for pretty much always putting party before country. As well as the way Mr. Trump was always given a free pass. Troubling times. Very troubling. Regarding that ACA, I hope reason prevails over politics. Lives are on the line. Thank you for sharing your concerns and I’m sorry about your family divisions. Reality for many families now.

  14. I could have written this, Nancy. Thank you for stepping up and doing it, especially the part about the true nature of the rigging. I don’t know where I’m going next with this, but I keep thinking of Audre Lorde’s line: “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

    1. Katie,
      Great to hear from you. Yes, the true nature of the rigging…don’t get me started. I love that Audre Lorde quote, but right now all I can think is that the silence of so many Republicans did save them in a sense. So troubling, all of it. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  15. Terrified of what ? President-Elect Trump’s proposals of:

    Keeping us safe from terrorists, violent drug traffickers, murderers, human traffickers.
    Too many of our citizens have died at the hands of illegal aliens, some of whom had been deported several times.
    Protecting the economic well-being of the lawful immigrants already living here by curbing uncontrolled foreign worker admissions.

    Strengthening our military (Ronald Reagan succeeded with ‘Peace Through Strength’.

    This entire tax proposal shows the advantage of electing a businessman to be president.
    Reduce taxes across the board, especially for working and middle-income Americans who will receive a massive tax reduction: Rewriting the tax code to allow working parents from
    their income taxes child care expenses for up to four children and elderly dependents.
    Ensure the rich will pay their fair share, but no one will pay so much that it destroys jobs
    Eliminate tax loopholes
    Reduce cost of child care by allowing families to fully deduct the average cost of childcare from their taxes, including stay at home parents.

    Repeal and replace Obamacare with Health Savings Accts that promotes choice, quality and affordability

    Create a dynamic booming economy that will create 25 million jobs over the next decade.

    He has proposed plans to make America first and care for Americans first. The amount of Americans living in poverty in the US is unacceptable and has grown exponentially during the last eight years.
    Hopefully Americans will look upon these proposals as positive and give Mr. Trump a chance to implement them.

    Yesterday the Ford Company contacted Mr. Trump and said they changed their mind and to keep their car building plant in Kentucky instead of moving it to Mexico! This is a major victory stemming from President-elect Trump voicing his plans to charge substantial taxes on all imports coming into this country from companies that left America so they’d could pay cheap labor to foreign workers. Carrier Air Conditions who just last week told their employees (some had been there 17 years) that they are moving their factory to Mexico. Hopefully, they will follow Ford’s lead.

    1. Joannie, You and I see things quite differently. And btw, Ford has said Trump had nothing to do with their decision. That decision was made long ago. I am deeply troubled by the election outcome and I do not understand why Mr. Trump was repeatedly given a free pass for yes, deplorable behavior. Thank you for sharing.

  16. I’m so with you on this, Nancy. And I hope for the best, but am fearful. But I also think we have to hold Trump’s feet to the fire. He’s done so many questionable and even foolish things in just this past week — appointing advisors with questionable records and beliefs (look at his VP), tweeting madly about the cast of a musical and a comedy show, and flip-flopping about whether his business interests represent a conflict of interests while he is president. There was a deplorable double-standard in play during the election campaign. I saw a meme that really summed it up for me, about how just his making fun of a disabled reporter should have been enough to knock him from the race, and yet didn’t. Meanwhile, proclaiming “lock her up” with regard to Hillary Clinton. He’s a loose cannon, in my opinion. Not a prospect that fills me with confidence. Hugs.

    1. Kathi, It’s still so distressing and I agree that some of the appointments made are questionable indeed. And now the conflict of interest issues…the list of concerns just keeps growing. I find it hard to even watch the news coverage about the transition. I agree, Mr. Trump is a loose cannon and I cannot figure out why so many gave him a free pass on everything – like releasing his tax returns, for instance. Beyond troubling. I am not feeling confident about things either. Thank you for sharing a few thoughts. Hugs back.

  17. Nancy, like you, I’m a democrat and stand for all things democrat. That being said, Trump and Pence are the most lowly Republicans to run the country. I am scared and cannot help but think that the next four years will be hell. I cannot be optimistic about this, and I, too, am mourning. I alternate between numbness, disbelief, and intense grief. Trump’s homophobic, racist, sexist, narcissistic remarks are unacceptable, and I was naive to think that these remarks would be his downfall. What the hell is wrong with the American people that we thought all these remarks would be acceptable for the leader of the United States. And don’t get me started with Pence….

    The duo make me sick to my stomach.

    1. Beth, Well, I guess we know where you stand! I am still in mourning and cannot understand why Mr. Trump was allowed, and still is allowed, so much leeway. And the appointments he’s now making don’t make me feel better. Thank you for sharing your opinions on this.

  18. Well, I lived through years of child sexual abuse. This is triggering because I know he means harm. And people voted for this.

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