Trying to think of any witty way to sum up this last week feels impossible. I’ve seen it all on social media – people describing the five stages of grief, feelings of sadness, frustration, fear, disappointment, anger, loss – and in my own way I guess I’ve felt all of those things.
All day after the election results, Jack was very very fussy. I chocked it up to post-election misery (dude, I feel you) but every once in a while I’d remember that he doesn’t speak English nor is he yet capable of grasping the weight of the election results (or the concept of an election generally) but I couldn’t figure out what his problem was.
And then, I nursed him. Just like I do every night before dinner.
Rest in peace, boobs.
Guys. The kid sprouted four teeth at once. Four. On the top. To accompany the existing two on the bottom.
NO WONDER HE WAS SO FUSSY. He had new teeth! Four of them, in case you forgot already. All at once!
I’d half joked with myself the night before, as I rocked my inconsolable baby in the dark of his bedroom, that he was beside himself with woe for the way the results had come in. He’d worn his Hillary onesie to vote with me in the primary and with his dad the day before in the general. He’d been awake with us for each of the three presidential debates. Maybe by osmosis (or my breastmilk?) he had truly developed an appreciation for the gravity of this election. The first woman president. The most qualified and capable presidential candidate in anyone’s lifetime. She was going to win no matter what, but especially since she was running against a toxic, hateful clown with the political knowledge and leadership skills of a back zit. And then she didn’t.
This outcome of this election was, there is truly no fair way to fully describe how it felt, but it was devastating. Profoundly disappointing. Heartbreaking. It brings fear to the hearts and souls of people and their families all over the world. These statements aren’t exaggerations by any stretch. Since the results came in, over 400 incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment have been reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Just by running his campaign the way he did, Donald Trump normalized sexual harassment, xenophobia and racism before he was even elected. By electing him as President of the United States, people in our country effectively signed on to his way of thinking and treating people.
After his results came in, I felt let down by so many people. Let down by him because of his lifetime full of hateful and unfair business practices, his complete lack of respect for women as human beings, his plans to register Muslims coming into the country (a la Japanese internment camps) and, honestly, it would be impossible to name everyone he has attacked. I’ll leave that to the New York Times.
But I truly felt like a stranger in my own country. Every single person who voted for him 100% was saying that his hateful way of living life and leading the people through racist, sexist and xenophobic dialogue wasn’t a deal breaker. This was ok with them.
Even putting together this post is exhausting. I can only barely stand to listen to the news anymore because it is constantly dominated with the most recent transition flub or science denier being named to his cabinet.
But in Jack’s world, unbearable diaper change boredom and new tooth aches and pains were the worst of it. I felt like I’d been given a good dose of perspective – I can’t spend another second of time or ounce of energy feeling sad and scared about the future. First and foremost, even though I’m a woman I don’t in any way have it as bad as most other people who will be negatively affected by his administration and their actions. But more importantly (to me, anyway), I need to start setting an example for this little face full of new teeth. He needs to know that our new pr(nope sorry can’t do it still) is not an example of how to act under any circumstances.
I need to set an example for him. I need to keep him safe and help lead him down the right path. And I need help doing that – his dad, our families and all of our friends will play a role. His neighbors and future schoolmates and teachers will play their roles. We all need to work harder starting right now to combat any efforts to roll the country back into the stoneage, and to spread love and light instead of strength. Wish me (and my boobs) luck in this new tomorrow.