This country showed what it has always been in this election cycle.
Even as we still await final news and counts, I keep coming back to this one thought. Online I see colleagues and people I admire talk about how heartbroken they are with these results and how close it is, how revealing it is that so many people – with all that has happened in the past 4 years – still support this racist, xenophobic, sexist, morally repugnant, corrupt, ego -maniacal opportunist. And truthfully, I can’t relate to that feeling of being heartbroken. Because this does not surprise me. What I was praying for, if anything was to be shown that I was wrong. For a long time now I have not believed in this branding that this country tries to present itself to be. I’ve just seen too many injustices continually committed in this broken system to believe the hype anymore. The community I surround myself in, whose words and energy I feed off of, they are the ones that have made me want to believe and see different. They are the ones that have made me dare to hope and believe that there has been some change. But call it the pessimist in me, or the realist who grew up in the one blue spot in a traditionally red state (but who grew up sharing classrooms of those who tout the conservative policies that make this state red), but deep down this does not surprise me. I’m disappointed for sure. But not surprised.
Generally, I get annoyed by think pieces, but right now I’m really curious to read the ones that are coming. I really am anxious to read how experts break down what – aside from blatant devotion to white supremacy, racism, and ignorance – could make some of these demographics fall for and align themselves with the rhetoric of the GOP. I confess that around the time that people started showing how un-phased they were with this man putting children in cages and separating families that I knew that appealing to the moral compass of some of these supporters was bleak at best. But I guess the humanity in me, the part of me that believes in the power of story-telling and empathy as a way to establish common ground, really wanted to remain hopeful. So I want to read about this. I want to understand. But at the same time I fear that, because I know that the reality of it could take my pessimism and disgust to even deeper depths than it already is.
At this point I’m not sure where I’m at and how I feel. I’m somewhere on the spectrum between numb and angry with anxiety pushing itself in there too. On a personal level, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s next for me- research-wise and location-wise – for a while. These results, this election season, it’s definitely influenced my perspective on those questions. And just like these results, I guess I’ll soon see what the answer is.