As I stood there, staring into the cold, rainy night of November 9, I was overcome by feelings of devastation and loss, feelings that were impossible to shake. The night before when I went to bed at 10 PM, things had looked bad for the Democrats and they seemed worse an hour or so later when I had stopped tossing and turning and got up to check the returns. Only a miracle could save Hillary, who – just a month before, according to the pundits –would soon be riding a blue wave of electoral college votes, picking up Republican-friendly states that were so appalled by their standard-bearer that they would do the unthinkable and vote for a Democrat. A month ago, many declared the election over and all that was left was to see how big a victory Hil got, how things would be different with the Democrats in control of the Senate (maybe they’d even take the House). It was a giddy ride that turned into a pipe dream. The happy dreams of hollow men. President Trump not Clinton. Or as one of my friends put it: “Four years of grab my pussy.”
My father, George, had worked with Donald Trump in the 1990s. George was usually a genial man who tried to like everyone, but he hated the Donald. After months of working as a copywriter for Trump at a boutique advertising agency called Great Scott, my father started referring to his orange-haired client as “the turd.” Well, Trump had the last word: he walked away from millions of dollars in bills owed to the agency, refusing to pay and ultimately putting Great Scott out of business.
Now Trump – typically, in defiance of all logic, common sense, and decency – has been elected president of the United States. A supreme narcissist, a bully, a misogynist, a serial liar, a sexual predator, a bigot, a man who never apologizes, who admires thugs and dictators, and encourages hate and violence, this is one sick cookie who lives in a fantasy world where he is always right. And he has been chosen to lead our country.
Barak Obama, Michele Obama, Bernie Sanders, and many others have all spoken eloquently on why Trump is dangerous and should not be given the power he will be given. To no avail. He won. What happened to the “rigged election”? If only it had been!
I blame the media, which led us down a garden path with talk of a “solid four-point lead” in the polls and an 81 percent chance of Hilary Clinton winning the presidency and their over-the-top coverage of Trump, making him into a mega-super star whose every utterance was parsed for meaning. I blame the Democratic Party, which was obsessed with the Clintons, and didn’t see the importance of Bernie Sanders, a phenomenon who, as the nominee with an enthusiastic following, could have taken down Trump. I blame the FBI for getting involved in politics. I blame Hillary, who, while supremely qualified to be president, took too much for granted, watching the polls not the people.
But most of all, I blame the American public. Angry and ill-informed, by electing Trump, they showed that all the talk of “American Greatness” is bullshit. The majority that voted for Trump is mean-spirited and short-sighted, seeking scapegoats not solutions, uninterested in progressive ideas, Russian duplicity, or the state of our planet. We are told they feel left behind. If we live that long, let’s see how much further left behind they will be in four years – and who they scapegoat then.
As for me, I haven’t looked at a newspaper or watched the TV news in two days. If I don’t see it, maybe I can believe it didn’t happen. But then, like Mia Farrow in the classic horror film Rosemary’s Baby, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, screaming with an overpowering terror, “This is not a nightmare! This is real!”
I fear for the planet.