If You Can’t Process the Election Results

Somewhere in the sometimes eye-roll inducing pop-feminist rhetoric that lives between my ears, there lives a plea for women to stop apologizing all the time. Can’t remember what we’re supposed to say instead: excuse me? You’re in my way? Fuck off?

Saying sorry connotes submission. It perpetuates latent guilt that lingers and makes you seem weak in the workplace. But removal of superfluous sorries is meant to pertain to learnable, earnest mistakes, or when you’ve done nothing wrong at all, or had an opinion for merely existing. Even when used “correctly,” despite its good intentions, sorry can still fall flat on the hearts of those grieving.

Yet the only thing I have to say right now is that I am sorry. I am sorry for the data that exposed a racist-tolerant, homophobic-tolerant, xenophobic-tolerant and sexist-tolerant America. I am sorry that there are Americans so frustrated with the state of our country and political policies that they made history with those numbers. I am sorry that they felt like they couldn’t say these things earlier — that someone had to speak their mind for them. I am sorry that people did not vote as a way to protest both candidates because they felt conflicted.

I am sorry for every person who identifies as a minority, who feels more alone in this country than they have ever felt before. I am sorry for those who didn’t feel like a minority at all until this morning. I’m sorry for the generations below us and the ones above us. I am sorry for my mother.

Something that we as women are supposed to say is that “it’s going to be okay.” You can add “honey” if you’re feeling especially maternal. We are going to be okay, for every reason Leandra already said. We can handle four years, and we can use that time to get involved, take action and make important changes. We are resilient. We have to be. But right now, at least this morning, it is also okay to not be great. To mourn, to press mute. To be sorry.

And then tomorrow: a new day.

Photo by Verena von Pfetten via Instagram

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  • That’s all me and my mother and my friends kept saying last night to one another, across coasts and in different countries, even: I am so sorry.

  • Can MR post something about what we women can do to “fight back”? Organizations to donate to, to volunteer with? That would make me feel a little better today.

  • Ed

    Thanks for writing this, I just had a question from my 7 year old daughter – “Does Donald Trump call girls fat?” I explained to her that he says terrible things about lots of people and he is not kind and he is not someone we should listen to, inside I am screaming with rage that his ugliness, his vitriol and his angry little ideas are now unleashed and I live in Ireland, I cannot imagine what it must be like for little kids in the states whose parents are Trump supporters trying to navigate this hatred. What a bloody awful day.

    • Alice

      Makes me so angry for you little girl and ALL the little girls in the world. I wondered too when I was making my own breakfast today what American parents would be saying to their children over breakfast. I hope the next generation don’t feel uninspired. I hope they still understand the impact they can create. I hope they don’t think it’s okay to bully. I hope girls don’t grow up thinking they can’t report sexual assault because a man with double digit accusations can make it to the White House so who gives a stuff, right?

    • RoseRev4

      Yesterday I picked up my niece from school. She excitedly told me their 1st grade class got to vote and she chose Hillary. Today she was confused why he won

      • Rebekah Novak

        My five-year-old daughter too, “no but Mom, they said at school that Hillary won.” 🙁

    • Snr Capon

      Oh come on… And how do you explain your little girl about the migrant crisis and the horrible pictures of wars in the middle east…? you know? the wars that secretary of state clinton, president bush and obama, created? how do you explain to your little girl that little kids die everyday in the European seas because of politics that clinton validated…?
      How on earth, can you compare what somebody said 15 years ago with real wars and human crisis “right now”?
      If this is how narrow feminism is, the I really understand why nobody wants to hear about it anymore…
      sorry but we saw things way worse here in Europe and everyday on tv !

      • kellymcd

        Playing the “I’ve got it worse than you” game is ridiculous. Don’t downplay someone else’s upset to feel sorry for yourself. I don’t disagree that the refugee crisis is terrible. I don’t think anyone does. The point these two commenters above are trying to make is that they’ve now been questioned by their children, who are beginning to shape their own identity and thoughts about themselves, to explain why a man who seems “bad” in their mind is in power. You really think a 7 year old can grasp was in the Middle East at her age? NO. I’m 26 years old and still have trouble understanding it all. But what she can grasp is hearing a man saying he thinks women are fat or nasty and wondering why he has a position of power and respect. THAT is what the feminism angle is in this election.

  • Alex

    This is a great article, completely reflects my feelings this morning. This is so difficult to process, but being sorry is exactly how I feel.

  • me

    As soon as I saw this post from Amelia pop up, I started to tear up (yet again).

    I knew she’d have some words of comfort & wisdom to share on this darkest of mornings (mournings?) ….

    Oh, and speaking of mornings:

    What started out as a dark & rainy day in DC just turned into a sunny sky. The new day’s already begun …

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    As a black woman and a Muslim American I feel betrayed by this country and my fellow citizens. And it’s even more disheartening to look at the demographics of who voted for the person. He got 55% of the white female vote. 55%! That is shocking and appalling.

    • Alison

      Same. It’s such a profoundly disappointing lack of solidarity. This is why we need intersectional feminism more than ever. I’m interested to see how Leandra’s call for a 4th feminist wave shapes up.

      • Me too. I really hope she is part of leading this movement.

    • I’m Cuban-American, and I too feel let down by this country. It makes me feel threatened that so many people are still so far behind in mentality. The “silent majority” spoke this election, and it turned out they were all racist, homophobic, misogynist, and hateful.

      I don’t believe that people voted for him because of his policies. I believe that secretly, all of those people agreed with Trump’s views on the world. They were just not willing to publicly admit it.

      • ValiantlyVarnished

        I sadly agree Denisse. I think he merely said what a lot of people think and they felt validated and emboldened in their bigoted views

      • BK

        100% true. It’s naïve to assume that voting for a candidate because of their policy position is not preceded to some extent by approval and endorsement of their values.

    • zoe

      i am so sorry. i wish he was not my president. this white lady is very ashamed of her demographic group today and please know that i don’t agree with that majority. This country is for all of us including all races and ethnicities and religions and I think we white people need to do a better job at making that known and accepted every day.

    • Snr Capon

      I’m European and I feel US citizens did the right thing. We have the hope that Trump won’t be neo-liberal and neo-colonialist like the 4 precedent presidents. You may not realize, but we’ve seen Hillary laugh while she was destroying Libya. You may not realize, but we’ve seen 5 million migrants coming in Europe because their countries have been destroyed by US wars all over the world. You may not realize, but some trash talk is NOT to be compared with the 500.000 people who died those 6last years because of Clinton/obama wars. You may not realize, but we were this close to have a new war with Russia because of the Ukraine crisis (thank you clinton and Huma).
      You may not like the man, but get over yourselves, they world did not like clinton, in fact the world HATED clinton just as much as bush.
      You call yourselves ‘progressive’ and ‘liberals’ but while you get offended by some talking, your candidate and your politician murder people by hundred of thousands AND YOU CLOSE your eyes????

      Somebody said “as a muslim” here above… well the bush/obama/clinton wars are responsible for more than 3 millions of muslims deaths, three millions!!!. Do you think it’s ok? I certainly do not!

      You really think that opening borders is an act of “humanity” for clinton? absolutly not, the only reason is to bring low wage workers in the US. there is nothing about “love” or “humanity” . Since when free trade deals are about humans and workers…?

      I don’t see how feminism can fix the globalisation, the economical recession or the neo colonialist wars the USA start all over the place…

      Please, try to have a wider point of view that just the woman point of view.

      It’s only four years, and maybe he won’t be as bad as you think. and remember, there is a senate and the house. Just like Obama, he won’t be able to do half of what he promised and in 4 years people will be even angrier…

      • ValiantlyVarnished

        That was me dear. I’m the Muslim. And I have every right to be worried about a man who thinks Muslims should have to wear patches on our clothes and carry special IDs like this is Nazi Germany. Like you stated- you are NOT in America. So you have ZERO clue what it’s like here for minorities or POC. And if you are tired of the “woman’s point of view” (that’s your misogyny showing there, btw) find another site to troll. This is after all a WOMAN’S website.

        • Bob b

          You don’t have a clue about nazi get my any. All you care about is what you get for free so don’t compare what my grandparents endured in her mouth any under Hitler to America in 2016.

          • ValiantlyVarnished

            Get back to me when you can write choherent sentences.

  • Alexis Thomolaris

    As always Amelia, this is wonderful. You have a way of interpreting the thoughts I can’t seem to find words for, so perfectly, time and time again! Today, my closest friends and family are in mourning. I am thankful to have them to count on, and to have Man Repeller as a safe place to connect and share it all.

  • Mariana

    Lady (not so) Liberty (anymore)…

  • erin

    The silent majority has spoken. Turns out they had nothing worth saying.

    • Alex S

      Thankfully, they constitute a minority (albeit a large one), as Hilary won the popular vote. If there is any optimism to be had in all of this, the popular vote is it.

  • Gregory Apparel

    Thanks so much for your words of solace. I’m going to go to Union Sq tonight to protest. Hoping that if I surround myself with my peers, I’ll won’t feel so heart broken and be able to heal and move on.

  • Aydan

    The grief and disappointment on the faces throughout my commute this morning, the coffee shop, and work just go to show how disheartened we all are. The fire under my butt is burning and let me tell you, women will rise (people of color and LGBTQ peoples too) above!

  • Im not even American but this makes me so sad.

  • Samantha Lee

    I literally felt sick to my stomach last night and woke up hoping with all hope that it was a nightmare. I have never felt a fear and sadness living in America until last night. Hoping this will encourage us all to get out and fight the good fight. Today I’ve been thinking how I just want to DO SOMETHING but haven’t known where to even begin, Sarah shared a great list of where to start: http://www.yesandyes.org/2016/11/do-about-trump.html


    • Grace B

      thanks for this. maybe it’s a little too late but i’m definitely feeling that our actions ARE important now and sarah always has great resources. it’s just so surreal.

      • Samantha Lee

        I know, I honestly can’t even believe this is real life. Our actions now are more important than ever. Maybe the silver lining is finally we will all stand up and DO something instead of just sitting on the sidelines (guilty).

  • Donna

    I didn’t realize how much I was bothered until someone asked me if I was ok. I guess I’m allowed to be about the results. And angry and confused. Certainly someone found out there was a glitch and the results are wrong. I’ll be ok tomorrow!

  • RoseRev4

    This morning I woke up thinking, this is our new reality. This loss is unbelievable and definitely stings. I didn’t realize how personally and profoundly hurt I’d feel at the loss. As I listened to Tim Kaine’s speech this morning it made me mad. He mentioned ALL her jobs, years of public service and experience and that still wasn’t enough to get her into the Presidency.  I never thought that he would win. I’m also not angry enough to generalize that every Trump voter is hateful or heartless. I know family members and coworkers who voted for him because they felt we needed a change and weren’t improving with the current economic policies. They aren’t as fearful as I am of Trump’s proposed social, environmental and international policy changes.
    My frustration is aimed at the millions of voters who for whatever reason abstained to vote for anything. The voter turn out was low this election. As the daughter of Asian-American immigrants I know the pride and responsibility of doing your civic duty and voting. This is what happens when voters remain apathetic. If you didn’t vote it doesn’t make you brave, not voting isn’t the same as protesting. Abstaining from doing your duty and fulfilling your right to vote as an American citizen is just lazy. We are so lucky as Americans that we have the ability to voice our opinions. It is great to be passionate but real change also requires action. We can’t limit our passion with words or passively using social media. We need to do more. Let’s take this moment to feel our grief but not dwell on it. We still have work to do let’s reflect and move forward.

  • Steph

    First time commenter, long time reader. Thank you for this.

    Going into work today I felt completely sad and hopeless. I had to teach in the afternoon and didn’t know how I could. Female/minority pre-med students, 20 years old, devastated and confused, like me. Somehow seeing these awesome young people so upset forced me to be positive and try to put it in perspective. I told them likely none of us would have been there 50 years ago, and we aren’t going anywhere. No one is taking your success, not even if you have to fight harder for it. You can and will still do great things.

    I was surprised it made me feel a little better, and I think they did too.

  • Hayley

    I had a dental cleaning scheduled for today. Last week I’d thought nothing of scheduling it for it today, thinking it would be just another Wednesday. On my walk over to the dentist I glared at every man I saw. Men in suits in groups, laughing and drinking coffee. Men walking dogs, talking on their phones. Men doing nothing except for sitting on benches being men. I was angry. As soon as I was sitting in the dental chair waiting for the hygenist to come over and start the cleaning, I felt like I was about to start crying again. She walked up to me and asked, “How did you sleep last night?” I thought this was a very thoughtful and poignant way of asking how I was doing without stating the obvious or asking me to choose a political side. I said I barely slept and she blurted out, “Same. It was a tough night.” I was so happy to be that dentist office surrounded by an entire staff of professional women and my female dentist. I can honestly say it was my favorite dental visit ever. I would’ve stayed in my home office all day if I hadn’t had that appointment. Going out into the world reminded me that it’s time to pick ourselves up and move forward. We can do this. Also, we all probably need to floss more (I know I do).

  • Quinn Halman

    Over the last 20 years she was the only candidate to use “sorry” in her concession speech

    • zoe

      how interesting!!!

    • Alice

      The only other was John Kerry who apologised for being late to the stage. But damn, she has nothing to apologise for. It’s the voters regretting their vote, or those who voted for a dead gorilla who should be apologising.

  • zoe

    Today my muslim boyfriend and i woke up and my first thought was to check our passports and get out more cash from the ATM. I am a descendant of Germanic Jews who luckily escaped before the 20th century but really, this election has illustrated that except for white men, we are all “other” in some way and we will damn well know it if we don’t already. i am really really sad today.

  • Janet

    I’m still digesting the news because I really didn’t see it coming. However I’m glad to know there are still decent and loving people out there in the US and anywhere else. I hope this result won’t set an example for the next elections here in Germany. Let’s all keep love and tolerance high in our daily life. -.-

  • me

    ((I posted below on Leandra’s election post, but wanted to repeat it here, too))

    G’morning, all…. Just wanted to give a shout-out to all of the MR readers from outside the U.S. who’ve posted messages offering comfort & commiseration.

    On such a dark & shocking day for those of us here in the States, I was (am) so touched by the solidarity that comes from our friends/neighbors abroad. Thank you for standing with us.

    You guys are a big part of what makes MR such a special community.

    Love from a grateful neighbor.

  • J

    The book I am currently teaching my ninth grade literature class is strangely timely after this election. I encourage all of you to read Alan Paton’s “Cry, the Beloved Country” to be challenged, comforted and inspired (maybe in a few weeks after the dust settles). Paton was a South African writer and educator speaking out against racial segregation and division during S.A.’s most broken period of history. While the political situation is quite different (and I am of course not comparing our time to the horrors of Apartheid), many themes resonate for our time and country-the need to reach out to those of different groups, classes, and beliefs. “The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.” Amazing book.

  • Gregg Rodriguez

    I am laughing at all of you sore losers amd scaredy cats. If you need to continue believing that everyone that supported Trump is a vile racist Nazi then go ahead and pretend that my last name is Fischer or Schneider or something.

    The problem with all of you is that you bought into the many lies spewed out from mainstream media and now you’ve got yourself worked up into a scare thinking that Trump is going to hurt gays and women and minorities. 1) If you’re an American citizen nothing is going to happen to you 2) You’re not so important that anyone is going to come after you. Stop posting selfies of yourself crying and trying to paint yourself as the biggest victim because in case you’ve forgotten this is still America and you have rights and no one is going to hurt you.

    You are all delusional weirdos.