Opinion: The mo(u)rning after

Matt Poe


It happened.

I guess when you look back on everything that transpired in this year’s election, it’s no surprise we reached this point. I mocked it, you mocked it, we all did. Still, it happened.

There will be countless takes and columns today about how we should have known this would happen and what a disaster of epic proportions it was to underestimate the “suppressed” white movement that allowed him to win the presidency.

But we’ll talk about all that another time. We’ve got a four-year window to do it and hopefully not a day more.

What happened in this election was a result of millions of pissed off people voting for the first time in a long time, maybe ever. They voted for someone who they believe represents their ideals and beliefs. They voted for someone who they believe will make things better for them. They also voted for someone who has never held political office or a position in the military. They voted for someone who has not spent a single day of his life living the way many of them do.

I had someone message me on social media last night after I gave my support to a friend because she found the strength to talk about her sexual assault. That person told me the following: “You’re not a female, please do not try to generalize and speak on behalf of us.”

That is his America in a nutshell: where a person cannot empathize or support someone because they are not the same skin color, gender or sexuality. That is who you voted for. This is what you asked for. That is your America because it is not mine.

Illusion is a powerful drug – but here, I digress. There will be more columns to write.

Anyone who reads these knows I stir the pot, but only if I feel it is factual and keeps us honest. There are so many angry things to say to so many people about how this possibly could have happened. But instead, I’ll opt to fight this a different way.

Let’s take a moment to breathe and use what happened in this election as a teaching point. This election showed me how the current political climate of this country has filled the air with so much negativity and hate. I know I repeatedly made fun of that same political climate on many occasions. Call me what you will.

It showed me how far I thought we had come and far back we’ve gone.

So today, maybe just for today, let’s pause. A great friend of mine eloquently put it like this last night: “This is the type of election that’s going to make me kinder to my neighbors. The hate has reached the Omega Point.”

How poignant, yet, how simple.

Lord knows I struggle to be a nicer person on a daily basis, as if that is some monumental task or achievement. Maybe it had to take something like this for some of us to wake up. Being the pasty white guy I am, my life will hardly change much since he got elected. Do not pity me.

Empathize with the women, minorities and LGBT people in this country who feel genuinely terrified for what may come. Listen to them. Try – actually try – to understand what it is they are saying.

I could rant and complain and moan and bring every negative comment out of my arsenal about my feelings toward him being elected. Would it help? No. I’d be no better than the people for the last 16 months who championed him for doing the same thing.

Do not engage in the Facebook wars of political argument; do not feed the trolls on Twitter. Do something positive. Spend some quiet time with yourself, however you enjoy it most. I’m going to go on a run and read a new book I picked up. I’m going to watch some hockey and have a beer.

Today and for the next few days, I am ready to just listen. Because right now, there isn’t much else to say.

Matt Poe is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].