I’ve been sad and angry and overwhelmed since the night of November 8th. I’ve cried and missed work and alternated between furious and hopeless and been both at once. I’ve even blamed myself for the results of the election because I let myself prematurely write a tweet about electing the first woman president. (My elementary school teachers regularly told me I’d be the first and I wanted to thank Hillary Clinton for making it seem like I failed because I was too young, not because I turned out to be a huge disappointment.)
I’ve been all those things because the 2016 election results are garbage. Because I’m angry that I’ve now lived through the Electoral College taking the presidency from the Popular Vote winner TWICE and this time by a margin so massive it embarrasses the entire institution. Because the election was meddled with by foreign powers and no one cares. Because the man who will be president tomorrow is a bad man, a stupid man, an ignorant, hateful, and petty man. Because misogyny won. Because fake news won. Because women and POCs and the LGBT+ community and disabled people have lost massively. Because people still insist that Bernie would have fared better. Because people are demonizing Clinton for losing, for running, for daring to try to serve her country further in the highest office. Because no one is adequately interrogating what they read and believe. Because the arts are going to suffer. Because the environment is going to suffer. Because real living human beings are going to die.
Today I am all those things, but I am mostly sad. I am enormously sad. Because, while President Obama’s politics do not align with mine perfectly and while I disagree massively with many decisions made while he held the office, I never once doubted that he had the best interests of the American people in his heart. Obama is educated and smart and supremely well-spoken*. He reads for fun and because he believes it helps him better himself. He’s a phenomenal writer. He loves his wife and his kids and his dogs. And he has always, always struck me as kind.
I just keep thinking about what the last eight years have looked like with the Obamas in the White House. How proud they have made me feel just by doing the best that they can with what they have. Eight years of congressional obstruction and we still got the ACA that saved my life. Marriage equality. A stronger economy and corporate regulation. Environmental protections. A record number of clemencies.
And it makes me happy and proud and miserable. Because our future looks nothing like the last eight years and the people I live and work with are responsible for it. I hope that we’re overreacting. I hope that it isn’t as bad as it seems. I hope and I hope and I hope. But I also #resist. I refuse to normalize. He wasn’t popular, he isn’t qualified, and he doesn’t have a mandate. And I will take whatever action I can for as long as I can to try to prevent him and those who have put him in power from destroying an America that functions for all the people who live in it.
After eight years, I am still surprised frequently that I lived to see the first black president. I lived to see the first black president. I lived to help elect the first black president. I lived to re-elect the first black president. I lived to see the first black president.
And I hope I live to see the second.
*I know that isn’t a compliment white people should direct at black people and I keep Googling, trying to figure out if it’s ever okay to say, but I would feel like I was leaving out one of the things I have loved most about him if I didn’t. Obama’s speeches have always been phenomenal, his off-the-cuff answers are sharp and thoughtful, and his actual speech-making is stunning, elevated without ever sounding pompous. I’ve never heard a president more skilled.