Tuesday was awful.
I got some pretty lousy news at work (suffice to say: head tilts are evil. Never doubt this), but besides that, everything felt wrong that day. When I got home I sat in the parking lot for a good twenty minutes and did nothing. When I got in, I went to sleep. Something was wrong and I didn’t want to be awake to face it.
I even messaged three with, “Today sucks. Trump will probably win.” I don’t want to claim some sort of clairvoyance or something (not out loud, anyway), but as I was feeling that way, Trump was winning. People showed up enthusiastically to vote for him. And lots and lots of people stayed home, perhaps feeling like Hillary would win without them, and perhaps feeling that it really wouldn’t matter either way. And all of them were wrong, but they did it anyway.
I hadn’t doubted, not for a second since early in the Democratic primary, that Clinton would be nominee. And once it looked like Trump would be the GOP’s, I never once doubted that she would be president. But on Tuesday, half-jokingly, and half-seriously, I started to believe that he would.
Last year, Canada finally woke up and decided, seemingly as one (the… 60% of us, at least, who cared) that Stephen Harper must not be reelected for the billionth time. He had run an openly racist campaign. They had just implemented some sort of “barbaric cultural practices” hotline to report scary Muslims to the government and a lot of other dog whistles and nonsense that I’ve pushed out of my mind (unwisely). Quebec, some time earlier, soundly decided that the openly racist Parti Quebecois should no longer run the province. Alberta got an NDP Premier, after years of Conservative leadership.
Canada is not a utopia. We still do and believe terrible things. 40% of the popular vote went to Harper, in spite of (and because of) the racism. We probably have as much secret entrenched misogyny as the US apparently does, and we have the Canadian form of racism where we pretend that we aren’t racist and laugh at how backwards the US is while they actually *deal* with their race issues (kicking and screaming, but still). The federal government led by the beautiful JT just defeated a bill that would have closed beastiality loop holes, banned dog and cat fur, and shark finning.
Who. Is. Pro. Those. Things.
But we recall the energy as we waited in line with about a hundred other people for an hour, ready and determined to kick the jerk out. That energy had been absent for a decade while people stayed at home or listened to anti-French and anti-intellectual rhetoric rather than paying attention to what was happening to the country, but finally, enough of us mobilized.
The story I told myself was this: the conservatives can’t win, never again, because Trudeau will bring in electoral reform (gahhhhhdammit Justin. Do that now) and if they only appeal to racist, angry white people, they’ll never have enough votes. They will be forced to change and suddenly we’ll have more options, more competitive politics, and the Liberals too will finally have to step up their game.
In America, it was even clearer. Obama won twice because of his enthusiastic base. Trump was unwisely catering only to the feverish Republican partisans, and there weren’t enough of them. And Clinton was the most qualified candidate to run in recent times, and one of the most qualified candidates to run ever. It didn’t matter that people didn’t like her. They couldn’t possibly fail to see that even if they hated her, she was a far better option than Trump.
And once she won, it would send yet another clear message to Republicans: the politics of hate don’t work anymore. Change.
But he won. He won because white people voted enthusiastically for him and some of them are now saying, “I refuse to be called racist because I voted for Trump my personal politics my rights you aren’t better than me blah blah blah” and some of them are spray painting slurs and swastikas on people’s property and ripping hijabs off of women.
He won because a bunch of people stayed home. Some of them are now saying, “It’s not my fault, come on, would Killary really have been better? She didn’t earn my vote and neither did he or anyone else, even Harambe. The political establishment is garbage and nothing will change that.”
The first group of people are almost hopeless. I won’t say they’re outright hopeless, but they’re almost certainly going to try to reelect Trump in 2020 no matter what he does. And some of them will try to reelect him because of any of the terrible things he might do.
The second group of people are unfathomable to me. We have them here, too. The silent, apathetic, nihilistic 46% of eligible voters. What are their lives like?
I hadn’t realized how much the first female president of the United States being elected meant to me until I saw this.
So we’re to endure 4 years of Trump. I would break out the American Idiot and all of the angry Bush-era Michael Moore documentaries, which I honestly thought I would forever be able to revisit as a reminder of when things were at their worst. Welp.
Instead, I’m going to watch my favourite redemption movies. Disney has a bunch, DreamWorks has at least one, Groundhog Day is the best thing ever. Those will have to do for now.
These things are also helping, and I’m sure there’s more from these fine people and other fine people in the days and years to come:
Seth Meyers talking about his mom noooo
Laci channels some rage. APU don’t look at the comments. Or, look. Look right at them. See them for what they are.
Jay Smooth, who I hadn’t heard of before this one got shared everywhere but he’s great.
Three isn’t a fan but even she would appreciate this from John Green.
Samantha Bee’s take on anything will be a light over the coming years.
As always, Propane Jane on twitter is the best commentator on American politics and if she and more people like her were properly represented in the media, this would not have happened.