Post Election Healing – Our Auto-Immune Disease

Play

America wakes up as divided as she went to sleep. He has handily won the Electoral College. She appears to have won the popular vote. The latter is electorally irrelevant and statistically insignificant. The country is rent in two.

For this piece, I hope to write to us, meaning all of us – backers of Hilary, Donald, and the tiniest slice who are still undecided (a little levity there!)   I will use “quote marks” to signify the unfortunate language of division that has become so rooted in our vocabulary and our minds.  I will say “we” when I mean progressives, and I will say we — without quotes — when I mean ALL of us.  This language of division illuminates but it also obfuscates aspects of reality.  I think it might help us to be more conscious of how our words shape our underlying understanding of our ongoing illness (and struggle for wellness).

when two parts of our body politic have been attacking each other for years, often brutally for the past 5-15 months, each deeply resistant to the other? Today, a half feels vindicated, finally able to move the body in the right direction, while a half feels lost, unsure of whether to resist or give in.  The tiniest of margins in our winner-take-all world means all 3 branches have been ceded to one half of our warring-against-itself body.* So, the body remains on high alert.

Monday I wrote 3 prescriptions for us: (1) Listen and include. (2) Be civil. (3) Become more fact-based.

I think today is a big day for all 3, but I want to focus on the first.

To young people on “our side,” many of whom felt disenfranchised by Bernie’s loss and now may give up entirely. And to listen to all those against whom the president-elect “doubled down” – immigrants, Muslims, etc. People need to be heard. I worry about young people, because their social and moral minds are still developing. I teach them every day. I note how last week’s cover story in Newsweek documented what I have observed — their alarming rates of anxiety and depression. We need to hear them, as this event is a shock to their systems of understanding, belonging and difference.

We need to listen to ourselves and our “allies.” My wife, a warrior if ever there were one, asked me this morning, “What are Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages** of grief?” It feels that way, as though someone has died. (But to my core message and metaphor: we are ONE body, and we are in processes of both sickness and healing. We are NOT dead.)

Human animals process by talking, crying, laughing, wailing, running and cogitating: seeking explanations. It’s healthy for us. It allows us to find how to change: the courage to re-enter “the fray,” the serenity to accept what we can’t change, and the wisdom to discern the difference.

We need to listen to Trump supporters. Many of “us” did not hear the level of their pain, anger, and alienation. We need to listen as a response to our auto-immune condition. They seemingly “attacked” and defeated “our” cells and antibodies, but we cannot intelligently forget that they felt under attack. Whether we work, worship, or walk with them, we need to help them feel heard. As humans we long to be heard.  It’s also pragmatic:  We need to listen, because “their” elected officials who control all three branches will be listening to them. We need to listen so we can reason and ask reasonable questions. We need to listen, too, so that we also can be heard. The two sides have been talking past each other, in a series of “yes, but’s,” until it got so bad that friends literally quit listening to each other.

One of my students led our class to a wonderful video of civil listening.  It’s 10 minutes long.  It’s really worth watching and listening to.

Please feel free to use this space as people do so beautifully (and unlike so many other sites) where people listen and speak, to respect each others thoughts and especially their FEELINGS in this first day of healing.

Lead with your best.

 

*If the judiciary is still theoretically non-partisan, litmus tests of the post-Roe era make that true only in name.

** Kubler-Ross nailed that deep change is not rational. You don’t “think” your way through the loss of a loved one. Our emotions — and our expression of them — is what heals.  Listening is important to each of them.  Her stages were:

Denial (is there a recount possible?)

Anger (at Trump, Comey, FoxNews, even Hillary, and any number of other scapegoats)

Bargaining (not sure with whom)

Depression (watch for the signs, especially with kids, of removal, lack of motivation, prolonged sadness)

Acceptance (knowing what we can’t change, constructively moving to change what we can and must)

 

Photo:  LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-election-new-york-20161108-story.html

 

51 responses to “Post Election Healing – Our Auto-Immune Disease

  1. Dan, thank you for this thoughtful piece, really helpful at a time when those of us who are parents are waking up this morning wondering how we explain what happened to our children. And thank you to Jen for her incredible and brave work.

  2. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Dan. Rosalind and I are physically sick this morning, depressed, disoriented, and feeling that America will revert back from all the progress we’ve made over the last 8 years. One lesson from history is that when democracy is weak, that is fertile ground for authoritarians to take over, promising order and safety. If we look at the cycle of obstruction from the Republicans, making it difficult to accomplish even the most basic governmental functions, that weakens democracy. Frankly, I always thought the tactic was unAmerican, caring more to discredit the President than support the health and well-being of the country. What is the cause of the pain that so many felt? Is it fact based or myth based? There is nothing like the big lie, white is black, right is wrong, little errors are big sins and crimes… For the country, I hope that Trump succeeds. Yet, the damage to our American way of life, expressed by the supreme court, will be effected for generations. I think your noble idea to try to understand what the Trump voters were going through is worthwhile and productive. It is also productive to have a clear analysis of how they came to their orientation. If it was not fact based, then what is there to understand? While some may be hurting because of their local economy, most of them are not. But they have been subject to the intense propaganda of a drum solo of big lies which nothing to counter it. There is a principle in advertising in which the selling point is based on identity rather than what is in the customer’s best interests. That same principle was a dynamic in this election. Appeals to a kind of “your getting a rigged system which is screwing you” as a factor of class identity generates the action of voting against one’s own best interests.

    Again, your calm wisdom in what feels like a storm is truly helpful. Thanks! Robert Fritz

    1. Robert,
      Thanks for your wonderfully wide-ranging reflections.
      I feel broken-hearted that SOME people (I am trying to not paint with broad rollers, because the splattered paint is killing us) were so manipulated, as you put it by validating their sense of victimization/identity.
      I do not understand (so I guess I have to listen different and better) how a man who had used everything to enrich himself and his family could be entrusted by people who have seen their wages destroyed by a largely free market system. It seems like the fox is guarding the hen house.
      I truly pray that he will govern for all America.
      I am not naive, though.
      Best to you and Ros.
      Dan

  3. Hi Dan,

    It felt like a cancer has been removed. It sounds harsh, but I’m glad of the outcome. I did not vote for either party, but voted for a system. Let,s hope it works!

    I feel bad for Jennifer, but she will make her way, her way.

    Love Vic and Dad

    1. Thanks, Dan. Dr. Wayne Andersen and I have a new book out: Identity. email me your mailing address, and we’ll send you one.

      The very best to you, Jennifer, and your family… RF

    2. Mr. Granholm, it appears that you’re Jennifer’s father. I’m intrigued as to why you thought “a cancer had been removed.” Could you tell us more what you mean from this? I think it helps the discussion to have additional points of view and your is especially interesting. Thank you. I’d also like to hear more of your thought on other “leadership” blog posts from Dan. The Trump victory, thank goodness, expunged these topics – White Guilt and White Privilege – but I’d love to hear your thoughts on those items and how they relate to “leadership.”

  4. Dan,

    Very thoughtful piece. As I think about the importance of “listening”, as you suggest I become very concerned
    . Who, Dan? Who? Who do we “listen” to?

    The even present, corrupt MEDIA is completely out of control. All sides are wrong and are attempting to influence the American people with lies, untruths and spin. Your stated in an earlier writing that the American people need to become morre educated with the issues and events. Really? The good hardworking, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens CAN’T!!! When do they have time? They simply do not have the time. They also cannot obtain information as it is presented by the evil out – of- control MEDIA as every bit of it is a lie being spun to force some issue or another.

    Let me present a very scary thought….. control the 1st Amendment! Have your attention yet? As dis-tasteful as it can possibly be, the time has come!

    I am saddened by the outcome of this most ridiculous facade called the election and this is not the first one that has depressed me. My reasons are very different….

    1. David,
      I think you have hit on really deep issues in this complex election. With all our KNOWLEDGE, right at our fingertips, we are starved for wisdom. We (THINK we) don’t have the time to listen to each other. But we find time to listen to 140 character of Twitter (literally bird sounds!!!) and we have time for the numbing the multiplication of online entertainment. We watch sports, porn, fashion, Kardashians, “reality,” instead of thinking about REALITY. We listen to echo chambers of people who think we like we do. We have time, but we don’t choose well how to use it.
      And the “media” you despise has become an algorythmic broker for eyeballs and ad revenues. We just watched our democracy become just another show, because we seem to want a show. I don’t think we can blame “them” or “the left” or “the right,” not without blaming ourselves.
      So, our work is to rebuild through patience (we DO have the time if we so choose) and listening to each other (you could convene listening sessions among your good workers, or your neighbors, or your church).
      I am glad you gave me a chance to speak and shared your impassioned thoughts.
      Best,
      Dan

  5. Dan,

    Thank you for your thoughts on this ‘morning after.’
    I, along with many in our nation and around the world, dreaded what that might look like should he win. I just shared on Jen’s twitter that there is a physical heaviness I feel along with an enormous sadness. Yes because Hillary lost, but also because I feel as if our nation lost by electing hate, and all those other monikers attached to him over the past 17 months.

    I was holding onto a hope that our nation would reject hate and embrace love, goodness and honor. I needed that hope after losing my Mom in October to an 11 year battle with lung disease, and then losing my Dad 2.5 months later to a massive heart attack. I needed that hope. The hope that was kept from us through the obstruction of the Republicans to President Obama’s work these past 8 years. I believe in the goodness of my fellow Americans, but the President-elect brought out the worst, muddied the love & kindness & goodness and honor of our nation. And I grieve, all over again as if I’ve lost another loved one.

    Like Jen has said, it’s going to take some time. I’m still grieving other losses. My heart hurts today.
    God bless America.

    1. Carrie Ann,
      Yes, we feel such a loss. These are our feelings.
      You have borne such a heavy toll. I am so sorry to hear that.
      May your suffering help you build bridges to others’ care, and perhaps along the way you will evoke compassion in and from those “others.” I think we have real work to humanize each other, and your heartfelt sharing helps.
      Wishing you deep healing.
      Dan

  6. Dan, well put. Listening to all parties whether their opinions are agreed with or not, and moving forward with a positive attitude has never been more important.

  7. If I thought DT was really going to listen and DO something for those feeling disenfranchised, I would be fine. But I don’t believe that at all. He has shown that he only cares for himself — and it doesn’t matter who he tramples on to get where he is going. His supporters will get trampled along with many many others. That is the real heartbreak.

    1. Annette,
      And as a great psychologist, don’t you think we have to do what you’re doing — own our feelings. One senses Trump NEVER learned how to do that. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.
      I’d love your take as a gift therapist on how we take our sadness and our fear (as you expressed that the fox will “trample” or devour the very sheep who welcomed him in) and turn them into useful action — healing for ourselves, those around us, and ultimately our country.
      Maybe it’s time for a guest column?!!!
      Dan

    2. Annette, they aren’t disenfranchised, they just lost. The winner needs to do nothing for the losers. Liberals NEVER EVER try to console the losers when they win. Why must we? President Trump only needs to worry about those supported him. The rest get another chance in 8 years. Try harder, do better and reach Americans with policy ideas they love is the advice I can give you, and watch President Trump’s policy initiatives get implemented one after the other. Every single one.

  8. I am glad for a forum with set expectations of civility. My basest buttons have been pushed and I do need to check myself. I woke up with a 9/11 feeling this morning.

    I feel as the Trump voters do. This has been a government for others. The corporatocracy and its declared “citizens” will continue to have their needs met either way. Voters are taking a chance on a fat cat opportunist, because they see no alternative. The ethics and mores of a leader is a luxury to ponder when you have four kids and are working at Taco Bell.

    I’m a person in the sciences, not civics. Politics is a circus to me. I have never seen a carnival barker in charge. Will he lead us to become victims of outside aggression because there is no diplomacy to be had? Will he and Wall Street raid the treasure? Or will he simply be an ineffective figurehead, with empty promises, while allowing the Republican Party to reinvent themselves?

    These are questions and not answers I have.

  9. Dan
    Thanks for these thoughtful words. You have described exactly where I am today and helped me find a way to what’s next. I pray we will all find a peaceful and calming way through this. We love this country warts and all.

  10. Thanks Dan for your thoughts! I want to take your suggestions and believe this will work out, but I’m having a hard time believing that this actually happened here in our Country. The system is broken as evidence by “their” success last night, but also how divisive, nasty, and so wrapped up in self our nation has become. “We” absolutely need to listen and start the healing to somehow raise hope that we can be better as individuals and a society.

    This will take some time but there is HOPE!
    Thanks again Dan
    David

  11. Yes, but how do we “deal” or listen to those who have embraced the bigotry and hate of so many of the Trump contingency. There is no bargaining or middle ground for that. However, thank you for your insight. I guess we just need to keep reading these kinds of articles as self-medication. I myself wrote a paper on the 5 stages, many years ago in college. Didn’t even think about it until just now. These are definitely uncharted waters for us.

    1. Barbara,
      It’s hard to listen to people “who have embraced the bigotry and hate.” Really hard!!! But all the people we have labeled “bigots” have retreated into their fear and defensiveness; who wants to be called a bigot? I have race-tainted thoughts, but if someone calls me a racist (a label on me, not a questioning of some of my thoughts and perhaps unintended or ignorant behavior), all my defenses go up.
      So, NOT listening gets us nowhere (other than self-satisfaction). I’d encourage you to watch the video I attached. Watch what happens at the end. There is no perfect resolution. Certainly not total agreement on key policy issues. But there is human respect. And we can imagine that people can BEGIN to hear each other.
      Maybe in time we can reduce abortions and greenhouse gases and illegal immigration and xenophobia, but right now each “side” has retreated into its righteousness and refuses to do the hard work of being ignorant, which is required for learning. Everyone’s already right, so what’s to learn? That’s somebody else’s problem.
      Or is it?
      Thanks for contributing!
      Dan

  12. Thank you Dan for your efforts to help us through the disappointment of this election. I feel the same way as so many have said they feel. I am going to hope and pray that the President Elect is going to listen to and accept the guidance of the sensible moderates of both parties and end up being a better leader than I’m able to think he’s capable of at this time.

    I would like to commend Robert Fritz of his words of wisdom too.

    I voted for Governor Granholm twice and believe she did an excellent job at a very difficult time for our state and country and have never regretted my votes for her.

  13. Hi Dan,
    Excellent article. I feel your pain and disbelief. Now is the time to heal & unite, true. But the vote shows a glaring split on racial/ethnic lines, something that may be far harder to deal with. Mr Trump won the white vote by a large margin but lost black, asian & hispanic vote by larger margins. I hope your country can overcome it’s glaring divisions, but this election has shown that Mr Trump has “made America great again”: unfortunately great for the wrong reason -Division and real hate.
    As a Brexit voter, politicians around the world should have realised that you ignore those who feel marginalised or taken for granted at your peril.
    I watched the election live on the BBC through the night here & heard Mr Trump’s victory speech. Oh boy 2017 will be different!
    Love to you Dan & all my american relatives, [seems you’re still revolting!],,
    Phil

    1. Phil,
      What do you mean we’re all “still revolting.” Couldn’t help but smile at the double entendre. We feel a bit revolting to ourselves these days :-). Split, as you say. Auto-immune as I say.
      I think it’s a time for us to turn to Gandhi and MLK. They always preached love. They were hardly wimps (and certainly never bullies).
      I just think we need a higher discipline. More listening. More patience. Firmer resolve. Clarity about our vision and our values.
      We’re lucky to have critics like you who from across the pond try to hold us to the high standards that mark our beginnings and our “best selves,” as I like to say.
      Much work to do!!!

  14. I came to this post through Jennifer’s post on Face Book. Listening is a good skill. The issues of concern to the Trump voters are many. Trump’s words had a cathartic effect on those who felt powerless. I think of political person who have at times thought that if people saw how bad the far right is, if the far right takes over, then that would be the end of the far right.

    A great problem with politics is that the effect of a policy decision is often far removed in time from the result obtained. Those who study human behavior say that the benefit or pain must be close in time for people to make the connection. Now that the economy has been repaired to a big extent, Trump and his supporters can take credit for improvements best explained by President Obama’s work. The typical trend with republican administrations is that they unleash the beast of private business by deregulating, which then causes a boom and bust. If you can remember that far back think of Reagan’s savings and loan debacle. Think of George W. Bush’s failure to regulate financial derivatives, although that intentional neglect started with Bill Clinton.

    Trump made a large set of American’s feel good about being themselves. Listen to Trump better. He said he would save Social Security and Medicare, but he never said how he would do it.

    In politics the five stages of grieving do not well apply. Acceptance is not the same as accepting the death of a person significant to you. There is no second opportunity to have that person live. Acceptance is possible for some persons when it comes to politics, but for others, it results in what we saw when some republicans declared that their goal was to prevent a second Obama term of office through preventing the passage of legislation Obama thought would be good for the country.

    Not all we hear from the Trump supporters makes for desirable policy. I do not think that one side is as guilty as the other, if we are fair with ourselves.

    1. I always enjoy your comments, Mark. I think the one about “remoteness” in time is especially on point. Let’s see if the Congress and President do take away all the health care protections of Obamacare, and let’s see if people care. Let’s see if people lives improve if a wall is built on the Rio Grande. Let’s see if he governs for all, or whether he he reaps the anger he has sown.

      I don’t know why you don’t think this is like grieving a death. This election is OVER! It’s dead. It’s gone. And at least my emotions run the gamut at the irreversibleness of it.

      As with a death, we can have our autopsies, as we should. And our Irish wakes and sitting Shiva that bring us together and remind us about the nobility of our cause. We remember how the lady fought like a courageous general — and gave an acceptance speech a JEWEL of steely nerve and principle and humility. We can only suspect from all he showed that our president-elect would not have shown such perspective and such grace. Heck, he was suing before it was even over. (See, I’m letting my anger out.)

      But we can’t bring her back to life. We must move forward, asking what our values mean now. Inclusion is one of our most cherished. It is American and it is democratic and it is Democratic. So, I hope we act big and try to include. Give people the respect to ask hard questions and be open to challenging answers.

      Thanks for always making me think!

  15. I woke up and could hardly breath and couldn’t stop crying. Thank you for this article but I am very worried about the transition and when all the things Trump promised start happening. I am retired and hope people who like me don’t lose all their social security. This is the most horrible election I have ever watched. God help us and the US.

    1. Adara,
      If Trump goes after Social Security he will endanger ever sitting member of the House. You will knock me over with a feather if you show me Paul Ryan allowing a bill to slash social security to come to the floor.
      Having said that: stay active. Share your views. The one thing I know about elected officials is they like being elected. If they will lose votes, they will listen. You watch what happens when the wide array of people (unfairly) labeled as “uneducated white voters” hear they and their parents are going to lose their social security or medicare.
      Stay awake, stay active. Ask great questions!
      Dan

    2. Adara, President Trump stated to the dismay of myself and other conservatives that “entitlements are off the table.” Unlike democrats, President trump keeps his word unless we can convince him of the need to reform all entitlements before democrats make them bankrupt.

  16. How should we listen to the irrational horror stories that have been generated by Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones + InfoWars, Breitbart.com, Fox news etc. Many of the virulent anti Hillary crowd have relied on and thrived on that incredibly outrageous narrative for many years. I suspect that it emanates from some other – more basic- objection. Abortion might be the real driver. I do not believe that we can ever get to an acceptable compromise solution for abortion. The pro lifers insist that their choice must be everyone’s choice. How do we get past that wall?

    1. Janis, abortion is very hard, perhaps the hardest. I don’t know.
      How do we get past Rush and others? Slow everyone’s panic. Ask questions about verifiable facts. Ask respectful questions. For instance, I really wonder, honestly wonder, why some of my wealthy (Christian) Michigan friends are so mad about immigration. I want to ask more. Why does it get THEM so upset. I expect they will say, “it’s about law and fairness.” And I get that. Why shouldn’t someone in line get in first? And I would still ask, but how does it tie to their anger? I would ask, do they know how many people Obama turned away? I would ask, do they know how many immigrants are criminals (I’d have to Google to find the data myself; I don’t know)? I would ask: Do they really want to send them all home? I would ask a lot more questions.
      I don’t think this is easy. I think it’s hard.
      Thanks for weighing in.
      What do you think? How do we advance?
      Dan

    2. Janis, Rush Limbaugh is an icon of ours on the right. Sort of your Rachel Maddow although she’s not in the same league. A brilliant man and huge enemy of the left. I’m going to tell a secret – only because the left isn’t capable of doing it. If the left listened to Rush Limbaugh they’d understand what our strategy is to defeat liberalism and make it a fringe ideology. He is frankly the finest political mind in the country. I challenge you to listen to Rush for a couple days and make your own judgment. He might just get you out of the funk you’re in. He’s is a wonderful man.

  17. What a wonderful day in the best country on earth, America! No crying, no healing necessary, no wipees and no auto-immune reaction needed. It was a spirited race and we have a loser and a winner. President Elect Donald Trump was the victor and to the victor go the spoils as they did when Obama won in 2008. Let’s not treat Americans with insulting pity by seeing them through the “soft bigotry of low expectation.” We expect Americans, even liberals, will get up from the loss and move on as they do EVERY 4 years. This task is no more significant this time than it was in 2008 when Obama won and 50% of Americans lost in their best and noble attempts to defeat him. But liberals will insist it is. It is usually this way when liberals lose. They can’t admit, ever, their ideas lost. Their candidate was bad. That Americans rejected them and have had enough of their last candidate. No, the Victor must be blamed and made the reason for all the “healing” that now needs to be done. Poppycock. Democrats got whipped and republicans won. It’s is no more complicated than that. Now, adults deal with that. And the winners set out to DO exactly what secured their mandate from the American people. I have never been more hopeful for this wonderful country, America. I’m thankful, also, that this got us off the “white guilt” baloney. Think with your best brain.

    1. Jon,
      I LISTEN to you. Offer you 4 points and you simply repeat insults and untruths.
      Out.
      Forewarned: further points that do not engage will be trashed.
      Best,
      Dan

  18. Today was tough, certainly. But as I drove myself to school to face my 90 7th graders I could think of only one thing – what are they thinking? This will be their President during their formative years through high school. How are they feeling? I was overwhelmed by my own shock and sadness.

    Science class doesn’t always leave a lot of room for feelings, but this morning we started our class with a writing warm up to answer the question – how do you feel? Their responses blew me away. As you said, our best learning comes from our listening. My scholars are so wise and so mature, their feelings are complex and full of passion. I may not know the answer to whether their welfare benefits are going to change or if they are going to still have health care, but I do know I learn most from them when I simply listen.

    I didn’t have much to say today to my scholars, I spent most of the day fighting back tears reading their responses. Thanks for always leading Dan, even on the days that make us sad.

    1. Hello Emma, what a gift you gave to the students to give them a chance to express themselves. As seventh graders, they hear little bits here and there. And when parents understandably are very anxious, fearful, sad or angry, kids pick that up. Heck as parents it’s hard for us to figure out how it all fits together.
      Imagine being your students students ages, 12-13. I’m so proud of you for giving the science a break for a little and giving them a chance to express themselves.
      They give you hope. You give me hope.
      Keep up the great work!
      Dan

  19. Thank You, Dan……You pen with the same insightful and soothing words that I remembered when we worked together at Wayne County so many years ago….God Bless!

  20. I guess we have to listen to white people, because they are the ones that gave the election to Trump. He won every white demographic including men, women, Evangelical, and youth. I thought we had listened to white people enough over the past 200 years, but I guess I am wrong. When you talk about the people with economic anxiety who voted for Trump, you are talking about white people. I’m sure some of them are economically anxious-some with good reason. However minorities have far more reason for economic anxiety and they went for Clinton. When you overlay the demographics of race and economics, it shows that middle-to-upper class whites went for Trump. This is not economics, it’s race. When you are part of a privileged group, fairness seems like oppression.

    1. Mary Lynne,
      Thanks for making an important point and making it clearly and emphatically.
      It is indisputable that RELATIVELY speaking, African-Americans, other people of color, and women have a stronger basis for being insecure and anxious about their prospects.
      You conclude that we ought not “have to listen to white people” because we already know the answer is (not that they are economically insecure, but) that they are racist and sexist (I think that’s your argument; forgive me if I’m mis-characterizing it.)
      There are two problems with that approach: (1) If you call someone a racist (or any other name), you can pretty much forget about them becoming your ally or friend or sympathetic to your concerns. (2) I think there is a really legitimate question in your insightful analysis which is this: “”WE” see Hillary as promoting policies (like tax policy, child care, health care protections, infrastructure, etc.,) that help people who are trying to fight their way up the economic ladder, so tell us what you think Trump is delivering that will really help you?” I believe — just my view of economics and politics — that we want to be in a position in two and four years to ask them: “Has he helped you? Has he delivered what you promised?” I don’t see how we ask them that if we call them racists, sexists, xenophobes, homophobes and every other word that implies that they are ignorant and worthless.
      I appreciate that you feel indignant or hurt and want to say, “shouldn’t they be listening to us — if they want to know about marginalization, alienation and insecurity?!” Yes. Yes. Yes. So, I’m asking us to listen first, listen better, make it safe for them to explain why they would put their faith in the fox to guard the hen house.
      Thanks again for weighing in.
      Dan

  21. Wow, this blog is something else. A lot of people need to get a grip. If it makes you feel any better, you can repeatedly listen to Barak Obama’s calming speech. “The sun did rise in the morning”. Dan, I’d have to agree with Mark on this. This is nothing like losing a loved one. No really grieving process is required here. We can all jump right to step 5, accept that we have new president, and continue to fight for what we feel is right for America. Mark also makes a good point about the separation between a policy decisions and there long term end results, as you duly noted.
    I take exception to your response to Jon. Yes, I recognize gloating when I see it. He certainly could have dialed back on the gloating, but I found no untruths, and frankly found it no more insulting than Mark’s comments. These are both two men’s opinions. But it seems you only want to hear the views the come from your same vantage point. Just maybe, Hilary suffers from this same affliction …just another man’s opinion.
    As far as the election, and staying away from all the he said, she said, at 1am the morning before the voting booths opened, Trump was just stepping up to a podium in Michigan. He knew it would be a fight to the end. I really think Trump wanted it a lot more that she did. I kind of think she felt it was her turn and that she was entitled to it. There was plenty of fear mongering coming from both sides, but Trump was listening to the people, and found a large group that was disenfranchised by the past administration. Hilary knew this, but chose not to engage with these people. She only wanted to impose her view of her future America on them. When she saw that that wasn’t working for her, she insulted them.
    Obama never spoke to me. Just like Joe the Plumber, I knew his view was not mine. He never earned my vote, but when he was elected president he earned my respect. As an America, I have a duty to give him the same chance as every elected president has, to lead as they see fit. I can still disagree with him, but I judge each one of his decisions individually, without dismissing them all as liberal or misguided.
    Trump didn’t win the popular vote, so it’s fair to say there were a whole lot of people he wasn’t speaking to, but deserves their respect. He deserves the respect that all American’s who attain the highest office should receive. He deserves a chance to lead as he sees fit. (As an educator, you might want to remind our young people of that.)
    This is your blog, so you can filter out the voices you don’t want to hear, or you can engage people like Jon. You can try to see the view from their vantage point, and make this a place for all ideas. Shutting opposing views out doesn’t unit the community as a whole; it only widens the divide between us. Even if I don’t agree with your analogy of this being like the death of a loved one, there is a need for healing in this country.
    The sun will rise tomorrow, so let’s all lead with our best selves.
    Mike

    1. Mike,
      Thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

      I admire you for being open to Obama who earned your respect. You set some kind of bar for him, and he got over it. I absolutely respect our voting system, our rule of law. Trump is our President. I understand the SENTIMENT, but I don’t agree with the IDEA of those who believe he’s not their president. I HOPE he earns my respect. The Presidency has my respect. He does not. He could have earned it . . . by sharing his tax returns, by being open about HIS foundation, by saying he would accept the results of the election (would he have?), by not stirring up lies about Obama, by not tolerating unAmerican chants of “lock her up,” and I could go on. I hope he earns my trust. Obama and his wife earned trust over eight years, through multiple crises. I hope you can understand how a man whose statements were proven “false” or “pants on fire” MORE time than they were anywhere near true has not quite earned my trust.

      I want to say more about grief, because I disagree with you deeply. I believe it is very much like loss of a family member. I believe humans are tribal, starting with their closest-in family, and working their way out to wider circles. When a pastor leaves a congregation, people grieve. When a child goes off to school, though not dead, the parents grieve. When a best friend moves away, you grieve (see Inside Out, the brilliant movie by Pixar for grief and denial in children and adults). When my father lost his run for mayor and I was in 5th grade (a child, yes), I was literally inconsolable — that night, and then inside my confused mind, for weeks. In that time, I bucked up. I went to school, though I was in a daze. But it was physiologically like a death. It was scary. My world was no longer safe. It would have been good to go THROUGH the stages of grief. There is a science to healthy grieving. Telling people “everything is great,” or as Jon seems to say to those in grief, “Well, my “dad” is still alive, and he’s great, so you should be happy about that.” When I ask “my” people to listen to Trump’s people, I want to hear it all, but I hope some have a little more nobility and willingness to engage in a two-way conversation. (Dennis Marks did this on my Facebook page. He voted for Trump and explained why. I appreciated hearing that.)
      Please don’t underestimate what this feels like for people for whom Trump’s words unleashed great fear. The woman who has been promising to protect them, was vanquished. She was offering them a “path” to citizenship, protection for their Islamist faith, a heartfelt inquiry around implicit bias, clean water in Flint. If you felt you needed a protector and lost that person, would you not grieve? Especially if the person put in charge had made the inflammatory statements he has?
      Today, I have students — adults — who cannot come to class. They are afraid that their parents, aunts, uncles will be hauled out of the country, and they are working through that anxiety. Who will protect them (from Trump’s promised deportations)? They are grieving, Mike. I have seen Muslim students in tears. I have heard international students, from Japan, for instance, from Pakistan and India, very fearful for what this means to the world. There are African American students — far from all — who saw Trump’s leading a libelous charge against Barack Hussein Obama — and who hear about “stop and frisk,” and they are literally afraid. Many of them have been stopped for no reason. Some are angry. Who will defend them? Giuliani?
      So, I began this whole endeavor on Tuesday, speaking to “my” people who are grieving. I invited them to console each other and to listen adn learn. Forgive me. Literally, forgive me, if you feel I am too harsh with Jon, who to my view seems to enjoy pouring salt in a wound, and sending the patient home to be happy. I DON’T filter voices, if they are respectful. But I ask people to listen, as I listen. And if they don’t, that’s fine. There are many other Jon can go to celebrate. But not in my funeral home, not while my people are grieving. Unless, he can be reasonable, which until I threatened to shut him out, he was decidedly NOT.
      It is grief, Mike. You may wish that people grieved like you might. But make no mistake it’s grief.
      Respectfully,
      Dan

  22. Forgive me if this is too long, Dan. I appreciate your essay.

    As I was watching the results come, close to where my three beautiful kids peacefully slept, I casually posted on social media, “What do I tell my children?” A friend took me to task, without saying in so many words that we were all being sore losers and generalizing bad rhetoric to all voting supporters. I replied as a Dad. Here is what I wrote.

    I appreciate and agree with the general tone of your post[, Lori]. You’re right to say that there is nothing to be gained by shouting that half of the country is ignorant or racist because they voted for a candidate they believed in. Informed, thoughtful people who I like and respect supported Donald Trump, but I’m not sure everyone is reacting the WAY they are for the REASON you think they are.

    The side I supported in this election was not victorious, but when I mused, “What do I tell my children?,” I was not pondering how to explain the votes of others. The question for me was how to fit the election result into a dubious context that I, myself, had created for my children.

    As this unpleasant campaign went forward, I didn’t talk to my children about the pros and cons of universal health care. I wasn’t trying to engage them in the meaning of various international treaties, I wasn’t sharing my feelings on science policy, tax policy or other wonky issues that were in play. For my 2, 7 and 9 year olds, I was only telling them that I was not supporting (then-candidate) Trump because of his statements about the faith of some people, about Mexicans, about how women should be treated… In short, I avoided any conversation about the technical “job” of the presidency, congratulating myself on finding a teachable moment to share my values regarding tolerance, inclusiveness and understanding. I reasoned that this was the level at which I could engage with my kids. So my first error was just to underestimate the capacity of at least my older two children.

    It was only hubris giving me confidence that Secretary Clinton would certainly win, and that therefore I could use her victory as an example of doing well by doing good. Now I wish I hadn’t taken that tack. For me, at least, when I say “What do I tell my children,” it is specifically because of a parenting problem of my own making: I didn’t say anything about “a woman president” or “experience in international diplomacy” or “training on the Senate Armed Services Committee” or “deep understanding of the perspective of other nations and cultures”; I said that a person who espouses mean or racist positions should not be our leader. Yet now I look at the example I was pointing to and he WILL be our leader. I will try to support the new President and hope for his success, but it is going to be hard to square that with what I said before to Raphael, Lee and Aurora (though it won’t matter so much for the littlest one). My two older children were genuinely upset by the outcome of the election, and it pains me that I made the pain worse than it should have been; I had not given them any context to understand the there were arguments being made for and against both sides, even as I felt that the arguments on one side were superior.

    If I could start again, I would have shared my honest thoughts about the many challenges and issues that the next President would have to deal with. I would have allowed my children to demand that I make those topic understandable and challenge me to explain why they mattered to me. By reducing the race to the narrow dimensions of temper, character and, to oversimplify even more, the importance of good manners, I made them more unhappy and diminished their experience in the first presidential election that they will remember. Speaking as a Dad, that’s more important to me at this moment than the perhaps monumental impact of the election results.

    1. Howard,
      My mentor and friend Mary Ann Hastings always told me, “Muller, don’t leave the loss without the learning.” I appreciate your humble and candid sharing, and have no doubt that your children will benefit from a dad who can admit mistakes and learn.
      I hope our president-elect can do the same.
      Best,
      Dan

  23. Listening to the people who voted for Trump as his term begins is a matter of listening to a group of persons who have expectations set by Donald Trump. Will he carry out his stated intention of suing the 8 or 9 women who claim he sexually assaulted them? Will he put Hillary Clinton in prison? Listen to the Trump voters yelling, “Lock her up,” over and over. Will he deport 11 million Mexicans? All these and other actions he said repeatedly are what the Trump voters are and will be saying he must do to meet their expectations, built by Donald Trump. We understand one part of what Trump voters think is what Trump put in their minds.

  24. Dan,

    The election being over, to me is not a death, because I am a person who takes words quite literally unless they are in poetry or some other literary form, rather than normal or standard writing and speaking. It may be my experience working at a funeral home that makes me see human death as different from the completion of an election. To me an election of a public officer is part of the flow of government processes, one thing leads to the next, and cannot be separated neatly. I could ask, what died? The opportunity to have HRC as president is lost, and there may be the association with death, in that something / someone is lost. An election is a thing and not a person. Both kinds of losses cause people to have emotional responses, as if an airplane with an open cockpit, and then an object you hold falls out of your hands and disappears in the clouds. You grasp for it is it falls, but it is lost. You can feel responsible for the loss of a human, of feel that you did not do enough with them while a live. With an election, you can have similar feelings of responsibility for something, even intangible, what if someone had done something differently? The loss of this election is personal to many persons, who had hoped for something directly connected to their life, like health care, equal rights, or justice; and now those things fall away out of your grasp, out of sight. But they are things that can still be obtained through hard work, they are not gone forever.

  25. With all the protests over the election (basically because our youth and certain groups cannot accept that their way is the only way). I have come to the conclusion that our military is doing something that parents cannot do. Our military accepts every religion, every sex, every minority and trains them to work together. Remember, there are a lot of units other than just the fighting units. Yet, every unit works together to get their jobs done. The military has done more to get Americans to work together than any other organization in the USA. All of the organizations (Churches, political parties, BLM, KKK) all add to the division of this country. I sincerely hope that Trump institutes a compulsory military service for every person at age 18 to instill in our youth the importance of working together and eliminate the divisiveness that is overtaking our country. Many people will say, “That has not always been the case.” and that is true. However, that is in the past and the military now is inclusive and not separative. I hope this post gets shared until it ends up in the Trump camp, and some thought is given to this solution. Something must be done to save our lost youth.

  26. Dan, I would add a fourth to your excellent list of items: seek to understand. Try to understand why we had this outcome. And I don’t mean the intellectually lazy and self-satisfying assessment that 60 MILLION Americans are racist deplorables and irredeemable. If they are then it’s the same racists that momentously elected America’s first black President twice. Challenge ourselves to dig deeper. Could it be that ideas and policy plans won out? Americans might be unsatisfied with economic growth beneath the capability of America. Americans might be truly concerned and fed up with immigrants coming to our great country illegally and want it stopped. Americans might want to be sure that immigrants coming from terrorist laden countries will endanger fellow Americans. Americans might want trade deals to work to bring Americans jobs instead of bleed them to the other trade deal signees (this by the way, a HUGE change in conservative thought and mine in particular). Possibly Americans were dissatisfied with the level of corruption in American government that seems to serve them well, but not us.

    An honest “what went right, what went wrong” for both sides is in order. To help us understand where each other resides today after another divisive election (they ALL are and always will be when 60 million Americans win and 61 million lose – only our REACTION if different). It also helps the planning for the most healthy part, how we can WIN next time, by seeking the true answer of why we lost (OR won). Seek true understanding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *