Then you remembered. The nightmare is real. An unqualified man who stirred up the worst impulses of America and the rest of the world – racism, sexism, homophobia and more – is now the most powerful person on the planet.
Hopefully you didn’t also wake up to a slew of poisonous hate mail, like I did. I made the fateful mistake, like almost every journalist in the world, (and, for that matter, the Trump campaign’s own internal pollsters) of believing the data and feeling sure Clinton would win. I even wrote what I see now was a smug and sneering post reassuring readers that there was no way Trump could ever sit in the White House.
I was wrong. But one thing I’ve always prided myself on – certainly something I now pride myself on far more than my ability to pick elections - it’s resilience.
Resilience and a cautious optimism.
Stay with me.
Marilyn Monroe once said that sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together. And it’s up to every single one of us to accept that whether we like it or not, against all our better hopes and instincts, reality TV star from Manhattan won this election fairly. The people decided. It’s not a dream. It’s not going to change. And it’s now up to us to do everything we can to keep hate from trumping love.
"Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together"Marilyn Monroe
It’s the responsibility of each of us to look at the things we fear most about a Trump presidency and find ways to combat that divisiveness in our own lives.
Did you cringe at his hateful rhetoric against Muslims? Contact the Muslim Woman’s Association and ask what you can do to help foster kinder relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Did your blood run cold when you saw the women who came forward with their stories about being groped by the soon-to-be Commander In Chief? Get in touch with your local sexual assault crisis centre like CASA in Australia or Care.org for women affected by gender violence worldwide and find out what assistance they need.
If you balk at Trump’s plans to increase coal production at the expense of the environment explore the websites of the Australian Conservation Foundation or The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and help preserve a piece of our own beautiful country and ocean. Eventbrite and Seek’s Volunteering job search have countless ways to do good in your area.
Talk is not enough any more. Use this shock to act on your words. If you care like you say you do, do something.
And on an even more micro level, it has never been more important to be kind to the people in your immediate community. And yes, that includes, now more than ever, your friends and family who supported Trump – in the U.S. or here in Australia. Stop doing what I did - sneering that only stupid people would vote for him. Push back against the lazy, patronising categorising of “college-educated voters” and “non-college educated voters”. Try to look past – at least momentarily - the ugliest of Trump’s fearmongering and look at the people he was trying to reach. People who feel truly disenfranchised; have lost jobs, are paying too much for healthcare, or who are sending their children to dangerous, deadly wars. Whether Trump can actually help these people with his sensational promises is an enormous question mark but those grievances deserve our respect.
There simply hasn’t been enough respect all round.
In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton said that democracy demands participation, and not just during an election. It’s real people’s lives. It’s not a game. It’s not a horse race. If you care about the world, get right back on that horse and forget about racing it – but ride it as hard as you can to make the world better.
I’ll leave the last word to Michelle Obama, somewhat paraphrased. Now more than ever, we need to go so goddamned high we touch the sky.