Just a short addendum, and then I’m going to shut down the part of my brain that thinks about these things (or try to, at any rate).
I had students in my class today in tears over the results of yesterday’s elections. Young people (girls, with some major identity issues to begin with) who are terrified about the future of the country. Petrified that they’ll lose their rights, or that friends will lose their rights. Sickened that the nation has essentially endorsed a man who … well. Who represents some of the worst that American males have on offer.
Now, these are teenage girls, I’ll grant. It isn’t like hyperbole and overemotionality aren’t the standard operating procedure. I wouldn’t have anticipated a reaction like that, but it’s not hard to understand it, either. Most of them can’t even vote, but that’s hardly insulation against the all-consuming house fire that this campaign season has been. But it’s exceedingly difficult to picture the same reaction swinging in the other direction; that is, young boys (or, okay, girls) crying over a Trump defeat.
And I can peddle platitudes, and I can share my optimism (such as it is) and I can acknowledge their fears (many of which I share). But words kind of feel empty when the future generation is looking at you with tears in their eyes, asking in despair how this could happen.
And the fact is, this shouldn’t happen. A disagreement in ideology is one thing. A healthy thing. Uncertainty about the future is normal in a time like this. But fear — real, visceral fear for the future, or even for their safety — that shouldn’t happen.
Then I come home, and I see protests springing up in major cities across the nation (and it turns out, one is scheduled for my neck of the woods tomorrow). And I think, holy shark. This shouldn’t happen.
Trump came out with a pretty positive message in his acceptance. Clinton came out with a similar message, as did Obama. Move forward. Work together. Heal. Unite. This is all good, but for a lot of people out there, the message clearly rings hollow.
This shouldn’t happen.
…I don’t have any answers tonight. I just know this shouldn’t happen.