Dear Savvy Sister: What to do about Post-Traumatic Election Disorder?

Dear Savvy Sister,

What the hell do I do with my sense of anger and despair? This is unprecedented.



Dear Bereft and scores of other generous readers,

What to do, what to do. On occasion, the Savvy Sister feels as despondent as her readers, and this is one of those occasions. The idea of a President Trump defies believability; we have elected a leader who has no experience, no knowledge of government, and a devolved moral code. And that’s the positive spin.

img_4078The Savvy Sister will allow you a day or two of mourning. I myself accomplished nothing yesterday other than finishing up a good long cry and cooking some frozen vegetables for dinner. Even my little Tyrant crawled up into a ball, fell asleep at 5:30 pm and slept through the night.

But now, let’s talk, point by point.

1    Remember first that America elected this man, and we are Americans. Hold on, don’t argue just yet. You don’t have to respect him or like him or even give him a chance. It feels counter-intuitive, in fact, to give a misogynist, racist, insular man even a second thought, much less a chance at global leadership. Phhppt.

2     A good number of Trumpsters belong in the Basket of Deplorables described by Hillary Clinton. But – and this has baffled me endlessly during this election season – there are also a good number of kind, generous, loving people who voted for Trump. I know quite a few of them, and I don’t understand it.

3     Life goes on. That’s just a fact. In times like this, I often turn to the Hot Firefighter Husband, who possesses tremendous wisdom he only occasionally bestows on me. “Listen,” he said. “We have our family. We have work to do. We need to stay focused, no matter who is in the White House.”

Let’s combine those three truths: Despite our new president being as much of an asshole as a man could possibly be, we have to move forward with our lives, often interacting with regular people who played a role in electing him. That’s not for the faint of heart.

But we are not the faint of heart. We are warriors, and we are committed to what’s right. Did you hear Hillary Clinton’s concession speech? Here’s the part I keep remembering:

Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear. Making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet. And breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams.

We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone—for people of all races, and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone.

So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek.

Did you hear that? It’s OUR responsibility to stick up for people who can’t stick up for themselves. It’s OUR responsibility to represent OUR America – the America that welcomes the poor, the tired, and the hungry. And maybe even a few of the deplorables, the ones so pathetically frustrated with their plights that they voted the wrong way just to get some damn attention.

At this point, I don’t actually want to know how people voted. No one will ever convince me that electing a terrible, narcissistic, inexperienced man was more patriotic and hopeful than electing a flawed but compassionate, brilliant woman. But I do want to know this: Are you willing to help your little slice of the world be its best self? Will you read the paper and engage in current events? Will you teach your children to be kind to everyone despite differences? Will you value all human rights? If you can answer those questions affirmatively, then we share common ground.

It’s our job to move forward. And Husband is right – we must press forward doing our jobs regardless of who is in the White House. And so, Bereft, you must cast your anger and despair into the few shots of whiskey I will permit you to have. Then move on. Our beliefs haven’t shifted, our priorities haven’t changed. We have lost our intrepid leaders, it’s true. Fortunately, they first taught us to pursue life, liberty, and justice for all. Thanks, Obama.

And thank you, Hillary Rodham Clinton. You certainly reached the top. I’ll forever be sorry that Trump grabbed the flag with his small groping hands.

8 responses to Dear Savvy Sister: What to do about Post-Traumatic Election Disorder?

  1. Sandy Pompey says:

    I still have an election hangover……….but thanks for the wisdom

    • tricia says:

      The worst hangovers take forever to dissipate. Just keep your head up and chin forward. We’ll get through this. xoxo

  2. Jennifer says:

    Love the article Tricia. I was just telling my kids the same thing yesterday, but as usual, you are much more eloquent than I am!!

    • tricia says:

      No, just needed to write it down to believe it. Love to you and your kids.

  3. Luce Booker says:

    Bravo Tricia, keep writing we need your words of support

  4. Carol L Harris says:

    I have been jarred and disappointed like so many others
    in our cohort. Actually I have been sickened and concerned for our country’s future. But we have to remember we have survived a lot including Tricky Dick, riots in different cities, wars in various parts of the world, and financial crashes. The center will hold, as will the American people endure. We are blessed in so many ways and need to remember that the American People are good and hard-working. We have gotten through worse things!

  5. Scottie says:

    Great read! As Obama said, the sun will still rise in the morning (I believe I am paraphrasing here).

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