Wednesday morning I didn’t go to work. I was hungover and disappointed. This was November 9th, a day some say will go down in infamy.
I had been out the night before, a friend threw an election party. Yes, a party in Canada about the US Election. This isn’t my usual kind of thing but I had pondered beginning what may very well be the end of times, comfortable and warm or among friends, happy and blissfully numbed to what was happening. I chose the latter.
I guess it sort of did make sense. We had been bombarded with election coverage as much as people in the US were. We get many US channel feeds, shows, and due to our proximity our news programs heavily covered this fiasco contemplating the affects.
Things were merry at first. The TVs quietly streaming the latest poll numbers as people chattered about the seemingly endless campaign, views on the candidates, and consequences of possible outcomes. This was all periodically interrupted by US presidential history questions. The prizes were small bottles of liquor that when won were either downed immediately or squirreled away to be consumed at some unknown time.
We were all hoping for Hilary to win. I would not say we were all supporters but we all knew that she was better than the alternative. You do not have to agree with all her policies but you can’t deny she has the knowledge and experience necessary for the job, unlike her opponent.
As the night went on the chatter ebbed, the glee waned, as things were not going as expected. The numbers were coming in and she was losing state after state. This left us all quietly awed as to what was unfolding. The joy of the evening was gone and people began to make their way home. It was not the end yet though, there was still hope, a chance, that she would prevail.
I got home that night, my head whirling with booze, and went straight to bed. I could not handle listening to anchors contemplate or speculate, or watch the dizzying ticker scroll across the bottom of the screen. It was too much to accept or take so late at night.
The next morning my eyes snapped open as my alarm blared, then closed, squinting at the sunlight streaming in the window. I pawed at my side table looking to turn it off. I did and instead of pressing snooze, took a deep breath, and then went looking for the election results. Out of pure habit my thumb tapped the Facebook icon. I scrolled through, everything there was a little vague. Most people I knew hadn’t started posting things yet but what was there was grim. I, not really wanting to find the answer, then clicked open Twitter. My eyes were burning, my head was starting to hurt, the hangover was taking hold.
I scrolled through, there were many post akin to, “Oh no, what have we done?”. It became more sad and horrifying the more the outcome of this election was becoming clear. The scrolling was giving me motion sickness, I was feeling nauseated and unsettled. I finally just went on CNN to have it spelled out for me. He had won. The vulgar antics, aggressive posturing, and bravado had beat out poise, knowledge, and diplomacy. It was sad, it was disgraceful.
A wave of nausea hit, hard. So hard it got me out of bed, kneeling to the porcelain gods, up-chucking all my sadness and disappointment upon the throne. I wiped the last bit of disbelief from my lips and flushed it away into history. I washed my hands of hope, a frown set upon my face.
For a country that had been insisting that things were getting better, that racism, sexism, and bigotry were on the decline, to elect a person that embodies all of these attributes just shows that that is not the case. Those people exist. They were “oppressed” by the Obama administration and once they had a voice to champion them they shouted at the top of their lungs. They came out in droves, their hatred on their sleeves, waving flags, to make America Great Again.
People bitched and moaned about Hilary and how horrible she is but no one gave a legitimate reason as to why he would be better suited to do the job than she would be.
- What about the emails? – What about them? Sure what she did was not completely above board, I agree, but there are politicians who have done far worse that have gotten away with it. I don’t condone it, I am just saying.
- What about Bill Clinton’s indiscretions? – What about them? He was elected to 2 terms in office while committing those indiscretions but because she is married to him she has to be held accountable for them? How does that make sense?
- She isn’t Bernie Sanders – No she isn’t, she is Hilary Rodham Clinton. I thought Bernie was great, I would have loved to have seen him be the candidate for the Democratic party but sadly he lost the nomination. This doesn’t make her the bad guy. She is just not your first choice.
- She is a politician. – Of course she is, she wants to be President. Until the events that occurred on Tuesday that was how you got the job. You went to school, partook in local government, passed laws, made changes, and then there you were.
- She is a woman – What year is this?
And there is the crux of the issue, she is a woman. Instead of focusing on her policies and her vision for the future people focused on her pant suits and kitten heels. She was often interrupted and talked over by her opponent in an effort to show her weakness but she continued to speak and hoped someone would hear her. All women have experienced this, at home, on streets, in boardrooms. We know the sting, the insult of not being listened to or heard. In one debate he specifically positioned himself behind her, out of her field of vision, as an intimidation tactic, but she kept on trying to make her point. Sadly for women that can be an almost traumatizing stance. She stayed strong though, vigilant in her quest.
Yet despite the vileness of her opponent he won. To the dismay of many, a spray tanned hairball full of bile, has come to power. His xenophobic stance that promotes segregation, mass deportation, and violence, won out over a country that insists it was built upon freedom. He wants to build a wall to keep out all the Mexican rapists, have a ban on Muslims, grab women by the pussy. And people vote for him because he tells it like it is…OH MY GOD. What is wrong with people? He blatantly promotes stereotypes and rape culture and its okay because it is locker room talk. What the what?!
This is one of those few times where I will ask, what do we tell the children? As a culture I had believed kids are being raised on tolerance, inclusion, and nonviolence. Don’t discriminate, don’t be hateful, try to understand. But when a person who is opposed to these values is elected to run the country in which you live how can that be justified. This is where that well meaning lie that all parents tell their kids does a lot of damage, “You can be anything you want to be.” For girls, no matter how hard they try they cannot be anything they want because as a woman you are still pigeonholed and once you try to step out of line you are ridiculed, insulted, embarrassed and made sure to fail despite willpower or determination. With boys you get…see who was just elected. Do what you want, say what you want, be deplorable and you will be exalted.
But the thing is Hilary did win the popular vote. This means that more people did directly vote for her, a majority of people liked this new, progressive course the country was on. She lost the electoral votes however, the key votes you have to win to become president. This will obviously derail many of the changes and advancements that have happened over the last 8 years. And this is what people fear, people of colour, people of the LGBTQ community, the educated. They fear violence, retaliation, silencing. And based on what we saw just at rallies they do have something to fear.
I don’t live in the United States and especially now I am glad I don’t. But living in Canada, so close to that madness, I still cannot help but worry of the consequences. Our countries are deeply intertwined, money, trade, politics, they go hand in hand. This will effect us a great deal. The kids here have seen the political antics that have been going on for the last almost 2 years and we also have the responsibility to figure out how to explain this to them. This is also affecting political practice. 2 women just dropped out of an electoral race in Alberta because of harassment. This is an unfortunately poignant time for this to happen as it shows that this happens here as well, we are not above or separate from this brutish behaviour.
I am chagrined, discontented, and worry about the future that will unfold.