Despondent

So I’ve been sitting here staring at an empty screen for a disconcertingly long time, trying to figure out what to write tonight. It seems I’m still speechless over yesterday’s US election results, but I can’t possibly write about anything else. I don’t usually write about serious things here1, but I’m just despondent over this.

de·spond·ent /dɪˈspɒnd(ə)nt
adjective
in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.

“Despondent” is the word that I kept thinking (and feeling), from the time that the election returns started to show that Donald Trump was on his way to victory last night and all through the day today. And when I just looked it up to see what its precise meaning is, I see why. Loss of hope and courage. Being a Canadian, I’ve watched this election campaign with a feeling of helplessness – I can’t vote there, but I knew that the outcome of the election will profoundly affect many good people, both in the US and around the world. And now that what I feared has come to fruition2, I do feel hopeless. I feel hopeless, I think, for two main reasons. First, I’m afraid of the things he will do – his appointing of a Supreme Court justice is one of the first things that comes to mind. Same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to have an abortion are Supreme Court decisions that could be overturned. Not to mention deportation of immigrants, banning Muslims, suggestions of nuclear proliferation being a good thing, climate change denial, etc., etc. etc. It makes me very sad to think about the very real consequences of these things on real people’s lives. The second thing that makes me feel hopeless is that there were so many people who were feeling so disenfranchised that they were willing to sign off on misogyny and racism and hate as they voted for someone who they felt heard their voice3. And it baffles me why people who feel like the economic and/or political system has failed them thinks that a rich, white, straight man who is not good to his workers, who has off-shored the manufacturing of lots of the stuff his companies make, and who uses shady loopholes to avoid paying taxes (which, by the way, are needed to run the government that this guy campaigned to run) is the guy that’s going to fix that for them. What makes me feel even more hopeless than that is that for some people, it was more than just being willing to turn a blind eye to that hate, but that they actually believe those hateful things themselves.

Anyway, here’s some stuff that other people have written that I’ve found particularly interesting:

  1. Usually because it takes me time to ponder and process what I think about serious things and by the time I’ve decided what I think about it, the rest of the world, with its 24-new-cycle/140-character commentary, has long since moved on from the topic. []
  2. I usually like being right, but today I kept thinking of all the times that I said I was afraid that Donald Trump would win and then someone would say “He’s not going to win! He’s a joke! It’s too ridiculous” and I would say “But he totally could win.” This is one situation where I really, really wish I had been wrong. []
  3. Or at least that seems to be the prevailing theory of why so many people voted for Trump, despite what the pre-election polls said. []