Like almost everyone else, I believed the polls and the polling aggregators. They said don't worry; I didn't worry. I worried a little, only because the unlikely outcome was so awful and unthinkable. I donated money to Clinton and the DSCC repeatedly, but I didn't phone bank. I should have. Maybe it would have helped. But I was pretty confident that we would pull this out, and that on Wednesday I'd be giddy with relief and proud of electing our country's first woman president.
Then the impossible happened. And now that I have finally managed to get some sleep and choke down some food, I'm beginning to get my head around how and why this was not only possible but highly probable. Of course, there isn't one simple reason. This was a perfect storm of reasons, absent any one of which we'd probably have another President Clinton. White racism and sexism. White women who, it turns out, feel their race privilege is more important than their bodily autonomy. Media false equivalence. A Democratic candidate who embodied the establishment, against a Republican propped up by the establishment but authentically voicing (because he really feels it) inchoate anti-establishment rage. Cowardly, opportunistic, dissembling Republican leaders. Pollsters who missed the true story, badly, and those of us who wanted to believe them, so we did. Comey. Russia. Wikileaks. Clinton's strategic missteps. On and on.
Of course, as many writers and thinkers I respect have already started doing, we need to talk about what to do next, and then act. Not once, but over and over and over till we are sick of acting, but still we must. Life as we knew it is now over. It not only can happen here--it did happen here. It is happening. How do we stop it?
Slate has posted a number of articles with concrete suggestions, like this one and this one. We can also donate to the ACLU, and Greenpeace, and numerous other organizations protecting human rights and the planet. Blue Staters and even Red Staters can push their legislatures to do what California's has already done: vow to resist the regime and protect all residents.
If we're in relatively privileged positions, it also behooves us to listen--really listen--to those whose very lives a Trump presidency immediately threatens: people of color, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, sexual assault survivors, immigrants, disabled people. Do not say, "Don't worry, it will be OK." It will not be OK for these people. Do not say, "I know exactly how you feel" and then start detailing your feelings at length. Listen quietly. Offer a hug. Then promise that you will work to stop this shit.
And then stop this shit. Every day.