I have gotten texts asking me if I am watching ‘her’ on CNN. Or did you see ‘her’ on Rachel Maddow last night? I can’t do it yet. I can’t watch her. I can’t deal with what might have been.

The past ten months have been a horrifying blend of disbelief, anger, panic, resolve, and disgust. I have watched as what I thought to be true about my fellow Americans has been destroyed.

Oh, I have never been a Pollyanna; I know the depths of racism and sexism that exist.

What I didn’t understand was how many selfish and unconscious people there were: how many Americans were so willing to toss aside the welfare of their fellow Americans because they wanted an abstract “change” or because they didn’t “like” Hillary Clinton, or because she supposedly was no better than he was.

I have watched as good work has been dismantled, as protections for our air, water, and land have been rolled back, as oil, coal and other energy producers celebrate their opportunity to profit at the expense of our planet. I watch as Betsy DeVos eliminates protections for young women who are sexually assaulted on college campuses.

I cry as Dreamers are devastated by their lack of security and a place to call home.

I rage at an attorney general who has made it his business to make Black people less safe and gay people more vulnerable. The world is mourning the America of the past.

Whatever imagined fears I might have had about a Trump presidency pale in comparison to what is. Trump is a dangerous buffoon, incapable of critical thinking, incapable of being a leader; a racist, sexist clown sits atop our government, and it is every bit as horrifying as the analogy suggests. Trump is unfit and has made it a game to undo everything President Obama did, from Obamacare and the Paris Accord to ending the protections for DACA and banning Muslims entry — to the many other changes that gave us hope and a dream for a more equal future.

To live with this, to live with the rise in hate crimes, to live with the sorrow that so many feel as they say good-bye to family members, to live in fear of having your health care stripped from you or a loved one, is to live with the knowledge that the America you knew, even with all its faults and need for change, may never be again. This is hard to bear.

To watch Hillary is a powerful painful reminder of how Americans penned this story. Their narrow fearful focus led them to forget what has made this nation great.

Racism, sexism, xenophobia, and paranoia aren’t what has led us to enjoy the respect from around the world. Our compassion, our ability to embrace our differences, to celebrate our unique heritage and our willingness to open our doors to those seeking a better way of life, was the tale we once told. No longer.

And so I can’t watch Hillary — yet. I will buy her book and on a day when I feel more hopeful, when I believe that the end is in sight, I will sit down with a glass in hand and read about how an amazing, courageous woman endured and came out on the other side with more grace than I can ever muster.

Hillary Clinton, it is not your fault. It is ours.


-Jan Harrison

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