While I do not ordinarily bring my personal politics to the Lille blog, my thoughts and feelings regarding the election outcome were too vast to be contained in a single, personal Facebook status update, and I would be remiss if I did not put them down on paper–this blog being the closest thing I have to a journal. This is probably the second-most personal blog post I have every written (Confessions of a Shop Owner: Part One being the most intimate.) I took this photo yesterday, full of optimism, and posted it to Instagram with the caption: Proudly wearing white to vote today in honor of the suffragettes who worked so hard to ensure that women could do anything men could do–whether that means owning their own business or becoming president!
I fell asleep last night, like most of you, incredulous and appalled, with many questions swirling in my head. How could all of the polls have gotten it so wrong? Everything I read in the days before the election showed an 85% chance of victory for Hillary. Did that, in turn, affect the outcome, giving Millenials the self-satisfying justification to vote for their third-party candidates, or worse yet, to not vote at all? Was it simply the religious fervor of the Bible Belt that remained unpolled prior to Election Day? Or am I so deluded, living in my Portlandia bubble, that I have lost touch with the reality of our polarized nation? Having grown up in the Midwest, I know firsthand how sexist most of this country truly is. I harbored under a debilitating sense of inferiority for being a poor, Blonde, Polish girl for my entire adolescence, made worse by the men who called me “honey” or “darling” and belittled my endeavors on a daily basis. That changed when I moved to the East Coast, obtained my BFA and gained some self confidence–even more so when I moved to Portland and opened my own business. My husband has always been my champion, convincing me that I can do anything. How fortunate I am to have him on my side, and to live in a place that supports small, independent, female-owned businesses. Many Midwestern women are not so lucky, as I have read in the many heartbreaking posts in the Pantsuit Nation Facebook Page. Perhaps I was overly optimistic about the rationality of Americans. There is nothing more I can say about Trump’s lack of qualifications that has not already been said, so I will not rant about it now. Ultimately, it was the relentless fear-mongering that planted (or fertilized) the seed of hatred in so many hearts, and though it’s easy to hate those people right back for putting a demagogue who might destroy the world in power, it’s important to note that they truly believe he can save them. They are simply ignorant victims of propaganda.
As I struggled to put on a happy face this morning for my daughter, who is only 2 years old, and has no concept of dire nature of these perilous times, I tried to find something positive to take away from this election. The Buddhists would say that Trump has given us an opportunity to show our most loving selves–to not react with venom every time he insults a minority group, but rather to take that chance to show the rest of the world that such language is not appropriate, nor does it represent our America. As much as I would like to bury my head in the sand for the next four years, we must be vigilant in our observation and analysis of his rhetoric to ensure that our children do not get the message that bullying and posturing is acceptable. We no longer have a role model for our children in the president, but that is not the end of the world. It just means we have our work cut out for us.