Sunday, November 13, 2016

Election week 2016.

I can't not address what happened this past week on the blog. I tend to keep this running, fitness, training, and health related for the most part but I can't not share what I am passionate about and what is consuming my mind space at a given time and this past week it was the election.

Georgia has early voting, something I never experienced before and was a little confused about at first, but it is essentially just voting before election day. So on Tuesday, November 8th, I'd already cast my ballot and awaited with the rest of the country (and world) to see what the results would be.

As tired as I was, I thought it was going to be a historic election and a moment to think back on when I was older "Where were you the night of..." type of thing. I remember exactly where I was and who I was with and what happened the night that Obama was elected President in 2008. It was my first year of working at GE and I was taking a training class at our Crotonville learning center - I had voted via absentee ballot. We watched the election poll numbers come in at the bar appropriately called the "White House" on the Crotonville campus. Unfortunately, that week, the lodging on site had booked up and we were actually staying at a hotel a few minutes down the road. So before the official results had come in, my friends and I had to leave to get on the bus to take us back to where we were staying. We were excited and full of energy at the thought of the first black U.S. President and moments before the bus pulled out, one of the managers of the program popped his head into the bus and told us, "Hey guys - it's official, Barack won!" and we all cheered and celebrated and it was an amazing moment.

I met some friends at a bar on Tuesday evening to watch the results and we sat anxiously seeing the polls come in, and became more and more anxious as moments went on. It was sad, but still hopeful at about 10:30 when I went home and switched to watching the TV at home. I had been texted with some friends in disbelief at the early numbers and the last message I remember reading, even at that hour was, "It's still early. I'd still put money on that Hillary wins in."

At some point I fell asleep and woke up around 1:00 a.m. with the TV news coverage still on and in a daze. The TV was telling me that Donald Trump. A reality TV star, disgusting human being, racist, entitled, hateful person, who makes my skin crawl to even just look at or hear speak, had been elected President of the United States of America. Clearly, this was a nightmare. My blood pressure was rising in that "fight or flight" response when you perceive a threat and I moved to my bedroom, unable to fall back asleep immediately, but also still in a bit of a sleepy haze.

Around 4:00 a.m. I started tossing and turning. I couldn't believe it. My whole body was physically responding to the thought that these election results were true. I scanned Facebook but tried to sleep more. Eventually around 6:00 a.m. I stopped trying to sleep. I lay in bed on Facebook horrified at what I was reading. Scrolling through message after message of disbelief, anger, fear, and sadness that my friends were posting. I used the "Sad Face" reaction more times than I have ever combined before. Some of the more vocal Hillary supporters on my feed had just gone silent last night when election results were going poorly.

It took me a while to get out of bed. I didn't want to begin a day having to accept that what happened the night before had actually happened. I have so many feelings around this election and I didn't really have a set goal of what I wanted to say when I started this blog. I just knew I had to address it and move on.

Part of me isn't surprised. Since I moved to Atlanta, I have witnessed and become more aware of the hate and racism that is in our country. No, Atlanta itself isn't that racist. I just have talked more with friends, been exposed to different media sources, had to face uncomfortable things in myself, and seen how my friends and others have reacted to the changes in me and the conversations that I now start and the articles I now share.

This election wasn't just about race though. He is a threat to women. To immigrants. To the disabled. To anyone who wants clean air to breathe and considers our environment to be a priority. To the LGBT community. To our entire country. He has already put in place advisors and policies that will reverse the progress our country has made over the years. It disgusts me and repulses me and I have a hard time even putting it into words. He and his campaign are only one threat in this thing, because half of our country voted for him. People I considered family and friends, saw these vile things that he represented and still chose him to be fit to lead out country. The only Presidential nominee to be endorsed publicly by the freaking Klu Klux Klan, was voted for by half of our country.

They knew the threat he was to LGBT community, black community, etc. but when they weighed the candidates, they chose him anyways. I've been seeing claims from people left and right, "Just because I voted for Trump does not mean that I am racist!" So you're saying, you're not racist - you just don't care about these groups of people and what it would do to them. It disgusts me.

I don't really know where to go from here or how to wrap things up. I am trying to be positive. I am trying to focus on the good stories I hear instead of browsing through the feeds of things like "Day 1 in Donald Trump's America" that shows the stories of hate people have experienced by people in the name of Trump.

Some moments it feels soul crushing. Some moments I feel empowered to unite and move forward. There are slight silver linings I see at times and I focus on those. I focus on my Muslim friends expressing the support they've felt. I focus on the states and politicians who vow to keep fighting and protecting rights. The community groups that are coming together. The compassion and greater awareness I've noticed in individuals who didn't feel it before.

Times are changing and we're all either along for the ride or helping to navigate. I am working to turn my anger into drive. My anxiety into a plan. My moments of happiness into something I can spread. I am reading everything I can from both sides and both points of view. Trying to learn and understand more and see what other people see.

I won't ever forget this election and this week. Not for the reasons I had wanted. But nonetheless, it has been quite a week.


  1. It's certainly an unforgettable time for this nation and for the world, but hopefully the uprising of soul searching & accountability that comes from this is just as unforgettable.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this election. I felt much the same way as you Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It was hard telling my 7 year old that Hillary lost.

    I'm glad you're turning this into something positive. We all need to. Stay safe!