Let me just say now that I fully supported Hillary, and she didn’t deserve this. Her concession speech was so emotional, and it’s completely beyond me how she got through it without crying. Her defeat speaks to women everywhere, and as bewilderment and fear grip America and the rest of the world, we now need to try and look ahead.
I’ve experienced something very similar to this; Brexit. On the 23rd of June, I voted for Britain to remain a part of the EU, along with 48.1% of the UK. It was such a close result, and it divided people deeply. The whole of social media was buzzing with venom, sadness and anger, so similar to the past couple of days. With this is mind, here’s a short list of things to do to try and make peace with the fact that we now have a tangoed sh*t stain as the President of the US. ‘Murica.
(Disclaimer: I am absolutely in no way saying that we shouldn’t be angry with this result, because it’s very deserving of that anger. What I’m trying to communicate with this is what to do with that anger).
- Try to understand some of the reasons why people voted Trump
It’s too easy to write off people who voted Trump as idiots. This is a lesson I learned from Brexit, and numerous other political disappointments; to a few people politics is simple and they will vote with a lack of understanding. However, the majority of people have much more complicated reasons for voting the way they did. Possibly all bad reasons but reasons clouded by emotion and family opinions and other stuff that makes humans make bad decisions. This comes hand in hand with number 2;
- Try your best not to lash out at voters who didn’t share your opinion
This is something I’ve 100% done, and it was so upsetting. Britain has seen a considerable rise in hate crime post Brexit vote, and this is something to be extremely wary of. Something to understand is that a lot of people voted the way they did (both in voting for Brexit and in voting for Trump) because of widespread disillusionment; feeling left out of mainstream politics because the elite has so much power compared to the poorer, less well educated majority. Even though it’s completely obvious that Trump is one of that elite, when people feel desperate for change, some of the most basic facts are overlooked. As is well known, the US is one of the worst countries in the world for income inequality and can be an incredibly hard place to be poor. It was a mistake of ours in Britain to make people who felt disillusioned and disenfranchised out to be evil because of their misguided attempt to vote for change. They lashed out in return, and it produced dangerous results and stifled conversation and understanding. This will also happen in America.
People will boast and gloat about this result, but don’t take the bait. The majority of people who voted Brexit or Trump will have done so quietly, privately, feeling desperate and angry at the current political climate and hoping for change. We need them to talk to us. We need to explain to them how we could create real change, and how to understand elections and voting so that next time they vote they will be on our side.
- Put your energy into fighting for real change
This election was one of the closest in recent history, and gives serious credence to the argument that electoral reform is needed. Take a look at FairVote and see what they’re doing. If you agree with alternative voting systems, take it up with your representative in congress- find them here.
And if you think achieving electoral reform is unlikely or pointless, think about how a completely unqualified crazy person is now President of the United States and remember that anything is possible(!)
Here is a list of charities doing really good work who need all the support they can get. Pick one or two (or lots) to follow on social media and see how you can get involved and make a change.
If you don’t have the energy to do any of this just yet, you could just sit back and wait for Trump to do something crazy enough to get him impeached. There is always hope.
Sending commiserations from across the pond.