The Day After the Election

6:45 a.m. I wake up and for a split second forget where I am. Then reality sets in, I’m in America – a country I was born in, raised in and believed in. It feels like a breakup. You know, when you wake up and realize that what happened last night actually did happen. The pain settles in – It’s real. It’s going to be hard to move on. I hang out in bed for 10 extra minutes to muster the strength to get up.

7:00 a.m. I step out of my room and into the hallway of my complex to see my neighbor next to me crying. “She didn’t make it”. Oh boy, here we go I thought. I’ve never spoken more than 5 words to my neighbor, a 35-year-old single woman, but here we are, bed hair and in our pj’s, with tired eyes discussing the country that we’ve woken up to. We stayed there for 15 minutes talking.

7:30 a.m. I turn on my car and the radio comes on. I’m surprised to hear music playing. I click through all my presets – all music. Aren’t we in a time of national mourning? How could they be so insensitive?

8:00 a.m. I get to work, a safe place, with coworkers that I adore. It’s a small business that works for local government on garbage and recycling. We are people that have dedicated our lives to educating citizens about the realities and urgencies of climate change. Despite a major environmental victory in the election (plastic bag ban) no one says a word.

8:15 a.m. I hear my bosses whispering in the hall – a place we normally all gather to banter. I try to hear what they’re saying, but am too scared to get up and join. Is this something that will divide our small company? Which way did people vote, and will we be able to look past their political opinions? How will this affect our careers? Our 401k? I have questions but don’t want to be ousted for asking.

9:00 a.m. A call finally breaks the quiet. They ask how my boss is. 99% of the time the answer is “good”. He says, “I’ve been better, I’m in disbelief”. The other end says, “I think we all are”…

9:45 a.m. I’ve been at work for 2 hours and haven’t been able to concentrate on anything but the election results. It’s addictively devastating. Why are we here? Is anyone even getting anything done?

12:30 a.m.  Lunch date with my mom (who read Hillary’s autobio 3 years ago) and she prides me for being a “Democrat” despite my dad’s Trump flag that waves in the driveway. She tries to explain how the Electoral College works and how we don’t actually know who’s in it. Mother teaching her college graduate 26 year-old daughter how this whole thing works. We talk for 2 hours, not giving a damn if anyone nearby hears us.

3:30 p.m. I chat with my boyfriend on the phone, who is Canadian, and we discuss how they’re scared for us too. I begin to worry how this will affect our relationship moving forward. We’ve seen the jokes online. “Maple Matchup”, “just move to Canada”, “marry a Canadian”.  Will people think our love is a joke now?  What will I say to his friends and family when I visit him in Canada?

4:00 p.m. I take a walk with a friend, who is also yesupset and unproductive today. We end up at the CA State Capital to find #YesCalifornia organizers sharing their message that in 2019, we may be able to vote on the state seceding from the union. “We’re all upset with the election results, as you know, and we think it’s time to secede,” the man explained.

6:30 p.m. Drinks with a coworker, where we complain about how doomed we may or not be. We realize what an isolated bubble we’ve been in, born and raised in Sacramento, Calif. Her parents are hard-core Republicans, and we discuss our confusion over our parents (who are both from Asia) support for a president that is against immigration. We wouldn’t be here, we thought… We chat for 3 hours loudly, explaining that staying silent is not the answer.

10:00 p.m. I check the media to see that there are protests happening around the country – violence and anger. I see Facebook status’ from the Trump fans that have been hiding out quietly for the past year. They reveal a message that I’ve heard repeatedly today – we must get behind our new president and stand with him whether we want to or not, for the good of our country. This may be true, but easier said than done.

10:30 p.m. I crawl into bed the same as any other night – not angry, not upset, still grateful. To me, it’s another challenge – each of us are faced with them every day. Our minds create our own realities, and we can either choose to focus on the negative or the positive, but either way, this guy’s our president for the next 4 years. I think the issues stem much deeper than this one man. And I will go to sleep with the same hope I had yesterday – that I wake up again, and maybe the world is a little bit better of a place than it was the day before.

FOLLOW-UP: The next morning, I wake up even more pissed off then the day before. 

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