Last week, I wrote my column a day before the election. I, like anyone else who follows the news and polls, believed Hillary Clinton was to become our next president. The Democrats believed it, the Republicans believed it, even Trump believed it. At his election night party at the New York Hilton, there was one sad as hell cake and no free drinks. He probably didn’t even have a speech prepared. But that never stopped Trump before—that’s what his fans love about him. He doesn’t need a teleprompter to spew every xenophobic, misogynist thought that comes to his drug-addled mind. Trump’s belligerent bullying of women and ethnic minorities brought him a huge wave of support, but it also drove so many voters away that, by early November, there seemed to be no path to the White House left for him. So, we were all ready for him to lose.
Or, slightly more than half of us were ready for him to lose—if you consider Clinton winning the popular vote. Slightly less than half of voters were headed to the polls to vote for someone who has no experience in American military or government—an evil, rambling, failure of a businessman. Some of those who voted for Trump had done so loudly and proudly. They had worn their hate on their sleeves like real red state Americans. But others supported Trump silently, and voted for him secretly. That was something polls didn’t predict, and liberals didn’t count on: the coward vote. People who told their friends, family, and local polling places that they were making an informed choice and voting for decency and against fascism. They said they were voting for Hillary, and then covertly cast their vote for Trump. The ballots were then counted. Hatred won.
And why shouldn’t it? 2016, and this campaign cycle specifically, has seen unceasing tides of disgust and hostility from every side. I myself am no exception. Even when I thought Hillary had it wrapped up last week, I was still neck deep in my own contempt for Trump’s mean, moronic supporters. I gleefully imagined redneck militias rising up, guns in hand, and Clinton hawkishly “tamping them the fuck down.” Well, they rose up in large enough numbers with their votes, so their guns aren’t needed, yet. It was progress that was tamped down last week. If you voted to “Make America Great Again,” I wish you the same suffering I would’ve wished you if Hillary had won. I wasn’t about to win graciously, and obviously I won’t be losing graciously. I believe it’s too late for blues and reds to reconcile. We are more than a country divided. The amount of enmity felt by each side for the other is at critical levels, and I feel nothing can be done to quell it.
I am sick, shocked, and filled with an exhausting anger. It dominates my mind and leaves my body broken and empty. When it finally recedes, there’s only sadness left. Sadness for the women Trump assaults, the minorities he will deport, and the soldiers he will send to die in the dirt. Sadness for a country, and for a world whose citizens have peace and love always within their grasp, but are often just outnumbered by the power of hate.