All day I’ve been feeling like someone close to me has died. It started, of course, around midnight last night when it was becoming obvious Trump would likely win the election. I went to bed, fell asleep actually, but woke around 3:00 am to go to the bathroom and on my way back to bed I took a look at 538.com on my phone and although Trump hadn’t quite got all the electoral college votes he needed he was almost there, with Clinton having no chance. I couldn’t fall asleep so I watched a movie on Netflix until 5:00 am dozed off and got up about 8:00 this morning (having made sure I wouldn’t hear the 8:00 am news with Trump making his acceptance speech) feeling such a sense of loss.
I’m Canadian – I didn’t, couldn’t, vote in the election but that didn’t mean I didn’t have a personal stake in it. Like everyone else around the world I will be personally affected by decisions this president-elect will make and there is no reason to believe he will make a 180° turn now.
David Remnick said what I was feeling and fearing:
All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.
Thomas Friedman was also direct:
Donald Trump cannot be a winner unless he undergoes a radical change in personality and politics and becomes everything he was not in this campaign. He has to become a healer instead of a divider; a compulsive truth-teller rather than a compulsive liar; someone ready to study problems and make decisions based on evidence, not someone who just shoots from the hip; someone who tells people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear; and someone who appreciates that an interdependent world can thrive only on win-win relationships, not zero-sum ones.
I can only hope that he does. Because if he doesn’t, all of you who voted for him — overlooking all of his obvious flaws — because you wanted radical, disruptive change, well, you’re going to get it.
And I just got an email from a Canadian friend who got the following from a Canadian friend of hers:
This morning I feel like the loss you feel after losing a family member in an horrific accident. I guess we have. Careful reflection will be needed in the grieving process to be sure it is not instead a fatal epidemic.
Feel free to pass on the message and to join me in this time honored expression of grief.
So I’m passing on her message and while I may not wear a black armband I’m certainly feeling the loss.