Three Election Thoughts

I went to bed around 11 when the outcome seemed obvious, woke up around 2 and couldn’t resist making sure it was really true, then lay awake in bed for the next few hours trying to process it. I can’t remember another time when I found it so hard to even catch hold of a coherent thought. Here are my three best attempts.

  1. A lot of us are saying this isn’t the country we thought we knew. Look, here’s what you thought you knew a day ago: if you picked 100 people across the country at random, about 49 would vote for Hillary, about 46 for Trump, the remaining 5 or so for someone else, and things would trundle along as usual. Now it turns out that one or two of those people that you thought would vote for Hillary actually voted for Trump. That’s a big deal, and it has huge consequences, but it’s not like you were wrong about all, or even most, of those people, your fellow Americans. This is still the same country that voted for Obama twice. You were just wrong about one or two people out of 100, and anyway you don’t know what they were thinking.

  2. One thing that *is* different is that the world looks a lot more uncertain now than many of us are used to. So let’s stop saying, like we know for sure, that Trump won because of racism, or misogyny, or stupidity, or whatever you’re absolutely sure is the reason. You were absolutely sure yesterday that Hillary would win, and look what happened. If we’re entering a very different world, let’s not reduce it to easy judgments, or leave the responsibility to figure out that world to other people.

  3. Let’s not forget too that the level of anxiety that many of us are feeling now is closer to the level of anxiety that many other people feel, and cope with gracefully, every day. Yes it sucks to lose your Certainty Privilege, but we’ve probably been unusually lucky to have had it up until now. Right now I am coping with my own uncertainty by hanging on to the things that I am genuinely certain of, like how my sons, age 9 and age 7, deserve better than Trump. Going to try to make this a better world for them. Onward.

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