I remember my mother’s disgust sixteen years ago, as she convinced me to vote for George W. Bush because we deserved a “moral” president. Yesterday, alongside my father and in all of her self-righteous hypocrisy, she voted for Donald Trump.
I wasn’t politically minded then, and truth be told, I wish I weren’t now. I don’t believe I ever will be again. Not here, anyway, in America. My hope for this country is gone, taken away by one sleepless night of shock and horror. What might have been yesterday, will, today, never be again—at least not within the remainder of my life’s years, and perhaps not even within my daughter’s.
Yesterday, we had the promise of a Supreme Court that we could count on to uphold our most basic of civil rights and freedoms: The right for all of us to marry who we love. The right for women to decide what is best for themselves and their bodies. The right for minorities to be treated equitably. The right to demand that our government not be bought and sold by those with the fattest wallets. The right of the sick to receive healthcare regardless of pre-existing conditions that a for-profit industry deems too expensive to treat. Today, those rights and countless others dating back decades are in peril, with a promise to fill the hijacked vacant Supreme Court seat (and those to come in the next four years) with conservative justices aligned to overturn them.
Yesterday, we held the opportunity to elect the first—albeit flawed—female president. A woman called the most qualified candidate in history, even by the most critical of her opponents. Eight years ago, the most resounding cry of those against an Obama presidency came from those who shouted that he didn’t possess the experience needed. Ironically, today, those same hypocrites have chosen a man with precisely zero experience.
Yesterday, sixty million of us believed in the common decency of the majority of Americans—that we would not, could not, elect a man whose rapaciousness and narcissism, whose misogyny and crassness, whose bigotry and hatred, whose bullying and vile words were tweeted or tumbled from his own lips on a near-daily basis. We believed that—as my mother claimed in 2000—morality mattered. Today, we discover that very nearly half of the voting populace—now unmasked—have shown themselves to be ignorant or craven or just plain ethically bankrupt. We find that, despite all of your theological assertions and staked claims of the moral high ground, you enthusiastically chose the most openly obscene, dishonest, and immoral presidential candidate in our nation’s history.
Yesterday, we knew how to politically disagree with one another, while still holding on to the faith that our opponents could be honorable people. People like John McCain, Mitt Romney, and John Kasich. I may not have always agreed with their policy positions, but today I would give anything to be calling any of them my president-elect.
Yesterday, we thought that everything would be okay. Today, many of us do not. That people we know, admired, and even love enabled this disgrace is far, far more disturbing than the mere prospect of one presidential term. We’ve lost much more than four years. We’ve lost faith in friends, our families, and our fellow man. We’ve lost the lifelong conviction that, ultimately, good will triumph. We’ve lost hope. And that is debilitating and paralyzing on a scale that for many of us, today, seems insurmountable.
Yesterday, we were told that Donald Trump is a monster unfit to lead this nation. Today, we are being told that we need to give him a chance.
Donald Trump will never enjoy my respect or my loyalty, regardless of what he accomplishes in office. That ship sailed when he called Mexicans rapists and criminals and called for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. It reached a distant horizon when he mocked a disabled reporter, and vanished entirely when he condoned torture and encouraged violence at his rallies. It sank when he claimed that “he alone” could fix America. And it became utterly irretrievable when he described in disturbing detail how he sexually assaults women. In my eyes, and in the eyes of many, many millions of people, Donald Trump is not only unqualified to hold office, he is unqualified to be a respectable human being.
Yes, Donald Trump is the last dying gasp of an era of white male supremacy. It will almost certainly not endure another generation—I’ve seen the goodness and idealism of our youth. It’s just a terrible tragedy that death rattle will echo long enough that many of us will not survive to welcome the world they create.