The 2016 presidential election has taken a toll on millions of Americans across the nation. Many are going through the five stages of grieving (denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance) as they have seen their dreams smashed into pieces.
I am one of these Americans. Losing Hillary as the President Elect is not so different from losing a loved one. I had a dream. That dream was Hillary’s dream. She fought for the rights of children and women throughout her career. Women would have preventative health care and control over their own bodies through Planned Parenthood. Women would be guaranteed equal pay for equal work. Women would have a safe haven in a supportive LGBT community.
During the election my grand daughters said: “Look Grandma, there is the next girl president.” And I replied: “When you grow up you can be president too.” We were saddened by the results. When I listened to Elizabeth Warren’s speech to the AFL-CIO I knew there were strong women who felt the same way that I do and who will fight to make sure that Mr. T does the right things.
If I wake up from this nightmare everything will be as it should be: DENIAL. Hillary will be the President. Mr. T does not represent my values. Couldn’t we have President Obama for the next eight years? His demeanor and intelligent dialogue always made me feel safe. He had such a nice sense of humor. Michelle Obama, pulling up weeds in her vegetable garden, inspired the nation to get kids to eat healthier. It told a story about a kind and just administration. BARGAINING clouded my rationality.
I felt betrayed by the media, giving Mr. T’s viscious campaign too much attention. I swore off the news forever. I will never vote again because Hillary won the popular vote and it didn’t count. Hillary’s voice was in my head: “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear.”
And I thought, YES, in two years there will be Congressional elections. And then WHAM! ANGER hit me. I ran into a middle-aged white man wearing one of Mr. T’s red hats: “Make America Great Again.” I froze. I had never witnessed someone wearing these hats in person. I walked away saying to myself: “When they go low, you must go high.” Maybe I will buy a hat that says: “Keep America Great.” But how can that happen? Mr. T has already promised to stack the Supreme Court with a pro-life judge. He is in the process of electing ultra conservative people to key positions. DEPRESSION overwhelmed me. We are doomed.
Friends said: “Wake up. Be pro-active, don’t say that you don’t make a difference. When Mr. T tries to take away Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace fight for it. There is solidarity here in this Country, and you must be part of it.” And then Hillary’s words came pouring in again: “Break down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams.” I acknowledge that Trump is President of the United States. For me to ACCEPT him as my President he must work with everyone, not just the rich corporations; keep his promises to the poor and middle class with regards to equal opportunity; protect the environment; work with our Allies to keep us safe; and, finally, respect everyone in this country regardless of race or sex. “And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams” (Hillary’s concession speech, 2016). Some day that glass ceiling will be shattered and a woman will become President of the United States. It could be one of my grand girls. Hillary has broken the mold and created a path for women to follow in the future.