“What do we do now?” I walked by a middle age woman and man comforting each other on the corner near my office this afternoon. She looked as shell-shocked as the rest of us, so I’m guessing she’s also feeling the stun of the election.
Yes, I’m shocked. And scared. And angry. And just very, very sad. Part of the sting is the sheer whiplash of the last 36 hours: starting the day brimming with excitement and ending in total despair.
Oddly, I feel a need to remember this, even though it’s so awful. Something about cataloging it all helps.
As I mentioned, woke up yesterday morning ready to LEAP out of bed. I was so excited. I told David I had the same jittery excitement as a child on Christmas morning. I just wanted the day to start!
Yesterday was a beautiful day. I gave a presentation to law students at Hastings and felt energized by their clinic work for low-income seniors. Walking back to BART, I thought, oh, I should take a photo of City Hall. I’ll want to remember the pretty view from the day Hillary was elected.
Later that afternoon, on the commute home, I jumped back in the world of inspiring Hillary posts. I didn’t even realize that some of the polls had already closed. When I started to check the news around 5:30, I felt began feeling uneasy. The return map looked way more red than anticipated.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” David said when he picked me up. At this point, Trump was up in all states. Watching the returns at home, John King was sirening a Clinton warning as he pulled up the Virginia map.
VIRGINIA??!!! At that point, the anxiety really kicked in. Then, some relief. They hadn’t counted Fairfax and Prince William County. Hillary quickly took the state.
But still, it was looking bad. Ohio and Florida were slipping fast. Our election night plan was a victory party for the new mayor. Suddenly I just wanted to crawl under the covers.
No, I thought, this will be fine. The other states are probably like Virginia-they count the rural areas first and then get all the info, and Hillary wins. (SO MUCH NAIVE OPTIMISM. What was wrong with me?) We decided to gather with friends, rather than wait anxiously at home.
The victory party was beautiful. The Rusten’s hosted at their studio and it was decked out with flags and balloons, tons of food. Though there was no denying-the mood was tense. They projected a return map on one wall, and each time I checked, Trump’s numbers ticked higher.
I nervously devoured enough taquitos to feed a family.
And then thankfully-a glimmer of hope. Stockton was about to start a new chapter.
With an overwhelming majority, Michael Tubbs was elected mayor.
I hope that when I look back on the misery of election night, I’ll remember the electrifying energy of his supporters. Michael had a tough job: address a crowd of hundreds, watching their country in election night chaos and remind them of hope for their city.
He did that and then some. He’s a visionary. His speech was gracious and motivating and reminded us all that there is much work to do, and much room for progress. I’m so grateful we could witness his words and his victory.
Sadly, for the country, we know the rest of the story. When they called Wisconsin for Trump, I went to bed, exhausted and terrified.
It’s unbelievable to me that this is real. That this happened.
Eventually, hoping to have the energy to mentally sort this out. For now, think we all just need some quiet. On the train to work this morning, I totally broke down. The views of the water were so beautiful and I felt complete despair.
Proceeded to cry a lot-in my office, on BART, a bit in a meeting-trying to lean in to grief and process it all.
After the past year and a half of noise and anger, hoping we can all take some time to be quiet and reflect. The task of working toward progress won’t end in January-it’ll just be more difficult. Hope we all grant ourselves some grace and time and peace from now until then, so we can be clear-headed and calm.