I just so happened to accidentally take a day off the day after the election, forgetting about the election entirely. I’d arranged to switch a Saturday shift with a coworker to get the day off for Jacob and Katie’s wedding last month, leaving me with a six-day work week when it came time to cover her day. On top of that, I’ve been taking advantage of as much of the double-pay overtime they’ve been offering as I can, so without that day off, I would’ve gone into work something like 13 straight days without a full day off. The fact that it happened to be the day after the election worked out pretty great, too. It allowed me the full evening to go vote and watch the results.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I find the results disappointing, to say the very least, and I have a lot of thoughts on just how we came to this point and why. Frankly, I don’t really feel like rehashing them more than I already have elsewhere, but suffice it to say they’re not good. I think a lot of people let a lot of despicable behavior and statements slide. I think a lot of people chose to take Donald Trump at his word without doing any other independent research–and in 2016, when most of the people voting do have access to reputable information, ignorance is a choice.
Like a lot of other people who wanted a different outcome, I’m thinking a lot about where we go from here, particularly how I can use my time (and sometimes money) in a helpful, constructive way. Getting involved locally isn’t much of an option as I have too many things, like a wedding and freelance writing, that need my attention. I kind of hate the thought of social media and writing being the best I can do right now, but without letting other things slide or missing deadlines, that’s the best I can do right now. But I’m also looking at where I can donate money or even where I can spend it–one of my favorite quotes, paraphrased, is about how people essentially vote with their money for the kind of world they want to live in.
The conversation that seems to be dominating today, at least in my circles, is the rise of fake news sites. While I don’t think that’s the only thing that went wrong here and we should’ve been paying attention to this much, much sooner, I’m glad something is coming out of it. I’ve seen too many posts–from both sides–in the week since the election sharing news from less than reputable sources. I’ve even seen people defending the way they voted with misinformation, and that’s something sad and scary that should stop us all for a second. There are a few pages lurking around my Facebook feed I’ve been meaning to purge from it, and now is as good a time as any to actually do it. I recommend everyone else do the same. The best way to end this problem is to stop feeding into it and to fight back with reputable sources when we see it. Granted, you’ll always have people who ignore this and choose to believe whichever sources back up their opinions, but I’d rather challenge those when they happen than ignore the whole thing altogether.
It’s been difficult and scary sometimes watching how the new administration has been handling things. I have some very real, serious concerns about a Trump presidency, the same ones I’ve had since he announced his run in the very beginning, and I go back and forth depending on the day and the biggest news story of that day with whether this is going to be a disaster or whether we’ll be mostly okay–not great, but not terrible.
The concerns so many people in the country have right now are very real and should be listened to and taken seriously, but at the same time, even in the aftermath of the election, there was such a sudden burst of good news in the personal lives of enough people I know that the spiritual side of me couldn’t write it off as coincidence. The very next day, I chose my wedding dress and Terra’s brother and sister-in-law had their second child together, a boy they named after Terra and Dom’s father. A cousin announced an engagement, on top of the other three weddings, including my own, we’ll have in the next two years. Two totally unrelated couples who have been struggling to get pregnant both announced pregnancies on the same day. People started new jobs and new relationships, and all of this in the span of a week–most of it within a few days. This certainly isn’t to sugarcoat the state of things and suggest that everything is gonna be great just because my Facebook didn’t completely suck for a few days, and to do so would be totally unfair to the numerous groups who may face some serious challenges in a Trump presidency, and that’s understating it.
But it does have me feeling a little more optimistic.