Post-Election Hangover

Being a pessimist is supposed to be a bad thing, but it usually works well for me. It protects me from a lot of psychological turmoil. For instance, by holding dress rehearsals of the worst that could happen, I was able to wake up the morning after the election without an emotional hangover. I hadn’t spent the night high on hopes of a Clinton win; if anything, I was stone cold sober. I just didn’t trust the predictions that she was going to win. The polls looked too close to call it one way or another.

I was so sure that there was a very real possibility that Trump might win that I went to bed at 9 on election night. I had no interest in spending the whole evening stress eating and biting what little was left of my fingernails. Unfortunately I woke up around 1:30 and decided to check the results. Even though I’d been expecting it, it was still a shock when I saw how many electoral votes Trump had. I kept checking the news and people’s responses on Facebook as if somehow it would turn out to be a mistake. There was this disconnect between my intellect and my emotions. My mind was registering the reality but my spirit was wailing, “No! It can’t be!” Even though it hurt, like picking a scab on a wound, I made myself stay up for Trump’s victory speech. I didn’t get back to bed until 3:30 and I had to get up three hours later for work. I’m surprised that I got back to sleep at all.

Having Trump win was almost a relief, not just because it proved that my instincts were right, but also because it ended the suspense. Anticipating something that you fear is usually worse than coming face to face with it.

But I won’t lie, it is also deeply upsetting. What is hardest to swallow is the feeling that millions of Americans agree with Trump about women, sexual assault (“Boys will be boys.”), reproductive rights, immigrants, refugees and Muslims, torture, a free press, civil discourse, and, most of all, the importance of being honest. (I still can’t fathom how his supporters could harp on Clinton’s supposed dishonesty while Trump was repeatedly caught in half-truths, reversals, and out-and-out lies.)

I spent the first few days after the election in denial—except for when I would suddenly jerk “awake” and remember that he really was going to be our next president. (Actually, I still have that reaction whenever I hear or read the words “President Trump.”) I kept imagining his supporters gloating, and indeed, a lot of them have been, especially on social media. What pissed me off the most were the comments about how Clinton supporters/liberals/Democrats should stop their whining and get over it. As if they would have reacted any differently if Trump had lost.

Right now I feel like I’m in a holding pattern. I’m still expecting the worst, but I refuse to go down the road of crying, “The sky is falling!” just because the clouds are hanging low on the horizon.





Mommy Tracked

I am way overdue for calling your attention to one of my favorite web sites: Mommy Tracked, which is dedicated to “Managing the Chaos of Modern Motherhood.” It is not a feminist blog per se, but it displays what I think of as the spirit of feminism. It is not afraid to call out society for its transgressions while at the same time putting a personal face on the issues that face modern women (not just mothers). It’s neither liberal nor conservative, pro-working moms or -stay-at-home mothers.  What it is, is honest.

I particularly enjoyed Meredith O’Brien‘s recent article on Sarah Palin, “Sarah Palin: Rogue Not Rouge.” In it she addresses the sexism leveled against not only Sarah Palin, but also Hillary Clinton, as they attempted to enter the world of politics. I don’t agree with Palin’s views on many things, but I recognize her many accomplishments and admire her for the example she sets for other working mothers. (Funny how no one talks about Clinton being a working mom. Maybe it’s because she only had one, or because her daughter is grown?)

Other columnists on Mommy Tracked include Risa Green, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, Leslie Morgan Steiner, Wendy Sachs, Kristy Campbell, and Christie Mellor. There are also comics by Betsy Streeter, a survival guide, a section for working moms, news, book reviews, and groups and forums. And don’t miss signing up for the newsletter; it’s worth it.