My Six Emotions a Week after the Elections

After getting curious about my feelings, here's what I'm finding.

Last week a record number of Americans voted for our next president.

Obviously votes are still being tabulated, but we now have enough legal votes counted to safely predict that Joe Biden will be the 46th president.

There are feels, y’all. So today, I’m getting curious about those feelings that have come up this past week. I’d like to share those with you here, and invite you to share with me how you’re feeling at the end.

1) Relief

The first feeling I can identify is relief. Relief that the seat with the most power in our country will no longer be filled by Donald Trump. I still feel like we’re being punk’d, and cringe to think about future generations looking at that strange time in their history books from 2016-2020 when, wait, who was President?

It will forever feel like the “Two Truths and a Lie” game that my children’s, children’s, children will get wrong.

Nope, sorry kiddos, “Donald Trump” was one of the Truths! (The Lie? Oh that’s Will Smith III. Though folks loved the grandson of Jaden, we could never convince him to run).

But yeah, I along with 75 million other voters exhaled a massive sigh of relief that finally we don’t have to succumb to the rambling nonsense, outright lies, cruel manipulation, and myopic policies that mirror all of the Don’s business adventures: fake “success” up front, followed by predictable failure and bankruptcy in the end.

Okay, moving on.

2) Joy

Joe Biden was my least favorite of the Democratic candidates. So I can’t say that I’m thrilled he’s got the job. But what does fill me with joy?

The idea of our president once again being a person of compassion and thoughtfulness.

The idea of our country being led by someone who has a heart for people beyond just the rich and powerful.

I’m filled with joy about a Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman to fill the role… and… she’s not white! That is simply delightful. Representation matters.

3) Sadness

Once the relief ran through, and the joy subsided, then the sadness came.

Yes, this election obviously was about the removal of the most inept person to ever be our president. You know how, in cartoons, there was that guy who stood on the side of the stage with a really long stick with a hook at the end? Like a massive shepherd’s staff or something? And when the person on stage was horrible he would hook the guy around the neck and yank him off stage?

Yeah, that’s the image that comes to mind this week.

With more than half of our country standing on the edge reaching out and scooping Trump off the stage of liberal democracy before it’s entirely ruined.

But then we look up at the other side of the stage and what do we see?
The other half of the country angry as hell.

Because they still wanted this guy in office.

And that makes me really, really sad.

I can’t recall the exact breakdown, but I think Trump gained votes in every single demographic. Which means there weren’t that many folks who witnessed these past four years and said, “Ah hell no. We won’t make that mistake again.”

And I don’t get that. It really makes me sad.

4) Despair

But even worse than the sadness is the sense of despair I feel coming.

And the despair comes because those on the other side of the stage, the ones furious at us for dethroning their King, not only did they still want him as their Leader, but they truly do not understand why we don’t as well.

In other words, the reality they live in is such that “Trump as a great president” is not an opinion, it’s an obvious fact. They don’t just think we on the left are wrong, they think we are delusional.

They think we’re ignoring what is plain and obvious: Trump--who, sure, said crass things from time to time--obviously was great for our country and deserves four more years.

The despair for me comes in the continued realization that we don’t just live in a divided country, we live in two different worlds. With two sets of facts. Two visions of truth.

I’m not sure where we go from here if that is what has happened (and is happening).

5) Anger

I’m so mad at what I perceive as willful ignorance and intellectual laziness by those who claim that Biden’s win is inexplicable at best, and fraudulent at worse.

Every day this past week I’ve quickly and easily chased down the answers to any and every “story” that has been presented as reasons why the elections were rigged.

Friends, it’s absurd. It takes little to no effort to understand things like:

  • Why Biden caught up in battleground states when Trump had such big leads.

  • Why Biden flipped states that had been red for decades.

  • Why so many mail-in votes were disproportionately Biden votes.

There’s nothing “fishy” about it.

And good gravy, the number of “stories” about “proof” of election rigging and fraud. I’m pissed at not just how stupid these stories are, but how quickly and easily one can uncover their preposterousness--but how so few people are caring to do so!

Instead they pass them on to their friends and family, who then shares it, until it takes a life of its own and suddenly people believes there is a pile of “evidence” proving fraud.

When really it all boils down to the same four or five easily disproved situations.

But they don’t care. They see what they want to see. They believe what the headline tells them.

And it’s driving me nuts.

(Sidenote: I’m also trying to be conscious of how, four years ago, myself and many on the left were absolutely convinced that Russia stole the election for Trump. This is helping me to give some grace and space. The data shows that when your person wins, your confidence in the election’s integrity is high. When your person loses, your confidence is low. Losing is hard, and we are prone to seek answers for it. Blaming it on rigged elections is an easy target for all of us.)

6) Fear

Finally, though I try and keep this particular feeling at bay, it is creeping in here and there.

No, I’m not afraid of another civil war.

No, I’m not afraid of a hostile Trump exit, followed by uprisings around the country.

No, I’m not afraid of America becoming a communist country.

I think what I’m afraid of right now is that, yes, totally, Trump was absolutely repudiated... but Trumpism?

That seems alive and well, and almost guaranteed to continue.

I fear the Republican party has entirely been reshaped these past four years in really scary ways.

I fear the culture that created Trump, and then the culture that Trump created, is growing.

My sense is, while people might’ve been fine getting rid of Trump because he proved incompetent for the job, come 2024 they’ll just find a better person to take the Trumpian-reigns. Same underlying ideas and beliefs, only with a leader who’s better at the game.

An analogy might be lung cancer.

Imagine a packs-a-day smoker who develops lung cancer, then goes through treatment and successfully beats back the cancer into remission. However, if they don’t actually make substantive changes to their life, the cancer will just come back.

I feel like Trump has been a cancer. And while last week’s election served as our final blast of radiation, knocking him out, my sense is that many Americans have no intention in quitting smoking.

And that scares me.


Okay, there it is, the six emotions I’ve found swimming inside me this past week.

How about you? How are you doing?

What are you feeling?

Feel free to share with me below in the comment section.

(And thanks for letting me share).

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