Sunday, November 13, 2016

Post Election Stress Disorder - My Take-Aways After A Week of Intense Emotions

Today’s blog entry is going to be painful to write, but I am hoping that sharing my feelings and thoughts will be cathartic for me and perhaps my readers will glean something from it as well.  If you don’t want to immerse yourself in the horrors of the last week, stop reading now.  Spoiler alert: I will talk about who won and lost the election and whom I voted for.  If you don’t want to know any of those things, stop reading now. If you are brave enough to walk with me here, put on your emotional armor and proceed… perhaps a glass of wine will help? (Notice I said a glass not a bottle. Just sayin’)

My first inclination is to refer to my week as a roller coaster ride, but I can’t decide if that is really accurate.  Using the symbol of a roller coaster implies there are highs and lows.  I’m not sure I can find very many real “highs” in the last few days.  However, I guess on a roller coaster, even the high points on the track fill the rider with fears of what’s to come as the car prepares to go down the really big hill.  I will stick with the roller coaster analogy as long as we understand that the ride is terrifying from start to finish even as we move up the hill before going down the other side.

I am going to assume that all of my intelligent readers are aware by now that we just had a major political election, where the US elected a man named Donald Trump as the next President.  If you know that, you also know that a woman named Hillary Clinton did not win the election to be President.  
*Spoiler Alert*  I voted for Hillary Clinton.  

My dread began on Tuesday evening as the numbers on the TV screen were not adding up to what I wanted them to add up to.  I think it was around 9 pm that the realization started to happen…. There really WAS a chance he would win.  I hung on to hope until 2 am when I went to bed as all the Hillary supporters who were gathered at the Javits Center were dismissed to go home.  Nothing would be announced tonight, the man told us.  And then I woke up at 6 am………  and then I saw the news and I REALLY woke up.  

One of my friends later said, “It’s like someone died.”  For me, that’s not quite it.  It is more a feeling of impending doom clouded in fear and disbelief.  I can equate it to the feeling I experienced after 9/11.  And … this was 11/9….  Wow (Ok, that is too creepy!)  Anyway, I don’t want to trivialize what happened on 9/11 by equating my feelings about the 2 events, but let me explain.  One of the things I remember thinking after 9/11 was “How long is it going to be before this isn’t the first thing we think about when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we think about when we go to bed at night?”  I don’t know how long that was for me after 9/11.  Weeks, certainly.  Months, maybe.  Years, no.  4 years?  Absolutely not.  So in that way this is different.  I try to keep reminding myself that it was JUST an election and no one has died.  Yet.  Still, am I going to feel like this for the next 4 years?  How long will it be before the first of many tragedies happen that are a direct result of who is now president?

I have now voted in every election since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.  In the fall of 1980, I actually hung a John Anderson sign in my dorm room window at BGSU.  (Gosh, I wonder where that sign ended up?) I can remember crying when the election went to Reagan, and fearing that we were all doomed to the nuclear holocaust that Reagan was going to bring down on us.  Even that fear didn’t have the impact of the fear I have now.  Maybe it’s because I was just 21 and didn’t really know that much about history and politics and the world back then.  Maybe it’s because as bad as Reagan was, he wasn’t THIS bad.

Every election year since then I have proudly displayed campaign signs for my candidate.  I had Obama signs in my yard - twice.  I had Gore signs in my yard before that.  I had Clinton/Gore signs before that.  Dukakis?  Probably.  I think.  Maybe I didn’t have a yard then? (Do we see a pattern here?)  Anyway, this time, I didn’t put any Hillary signs in my yard.  Isn’t that interesting?  Why didn’t I?  Was it because I was only half-heartedly supporting her?  No.  Was it because I voted for her as a vote “against him” rather than “for her”?  No.  It was because I was afraid.  It was because I didn’t trust Trump supporters not to do something harmful to my house or my car.  Driving through my neighborhood, I saw very few yard signs this year - for either candidate.  That says a lot about how heated this campaign season was.  Perhaps both sides were afraid.  How sad is that?

Now I feel a sense of guilt as well.  If only I had planted a sign in my yard and stood up for my convictions.  If only I had worked at a call-center for Hillary.  If only I would have walked a route of literature drops.  If only I would have sent a letter to the editor.  If only I would have done SOMETHING more.  Maybe it would have made a difference.  Given the numbers in Ohio, that is probably not likely, but I still feel the guilt.  Feeling that guilt makes me want to do something now.  I just haven’t figured out quite what that is.  I’m starting with Blog Entries, I guess.

I have more to say, but it is going to have to wait until another day.

Thanks for wading through this... I'll see you again soonly!


1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I don't think yard signs really sway voters. I know I have never changed my mind over who receives my vote due to campaign signs. It will allow you to publicly declare your candidate(s) of choice, but that's about it. The sheer number of Trump signs up here in Podunk speaks volumes about my area's political inclinations.