Sure, someone will be elected, but with fierce opposition shown to both candidates, winning isn't the right word to use when half the American population will be pissed off no matter which person gets in. The elected candidate doesn't win, the lampooned parties both left and right don't win, and the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of democracy certainly won't win. Neither do the folk in other parts of the world held hostage to whatever decisions the incumbent makes. Global security and global economics are not factors to be taken lightly anymore.
The other big losers in this election? Civility, decency, maturity, critical thinking skills, and empathy. And if anyone was foolish enough to think that racism and sexism were non-issues, this election brought out both to the forefront. Sexism, especially, reared its ugly head enough to be a central defining feature. Hillary Clinton doesn't smile enough and she's perceived as cold. Seriously? No, I mean, SERIOUSLY? When was the last time any male politician running at any level of office was admonished for not smiling enough? Accused of not being warm enough? And held accountable for offences committed by their spouse? Doesn't make any sense, unless of course a candidate is thought of as merely an appendage to that spouse. (Note: this doesn't mean Hillary isn't acutely flawed herself, or that Bill shouldn't be held accountable for the allegations of abuse directed towards him.)
A good test of sexism is to reverse genders and see if the same standards are held. Picture Clinton saying or doing any number of the offensive words and actions Trump indulged in almost daily, and imagine how long her campaign would have continued. Remember the ridicule Sarah Palin received (and rightly so) for her extreme lack of knowledge? Yet Trump was allowed to continue full steam ahead.
But the most jarring thing for me personally during this election was the downplaying of sexual assault. Being accused by more than a dozen women with credible stories doesn't disqualify one from becoming President. Words don't matter (dismissed as locker room banter), but actions don't either. That we shouldn't take sexual assault seriously was a lesson of this election. So, I take it back. The one clear winner no matter who's elected on Tuesday is misogyny. And depending on the election result, women's reproductive rights, gay rights, and transgender rights are all up for grabs. How sad, and how damn scary. Doesn't feel like 2016 to me at all.
Never before has there been so much palpable anxiety outside of America about who will be elected, because in a world that is now globally connected in so many ways, everything is at stake. But I feel badly for Americans who don't support Trump, yet who may have to live with the consequences right at home. I can only imagine their fear, worry, dismay and disbelief. It's not much of a consolation, but please know that your feelings will be shared worldwide.
Dark times are indeed ahead, and like many people, one of my defense mechanisms for dealing with unpleasantness is humour. So here is my adaptation of part of a beloved Christmas carol for this can't-look-but-can't-look-away-either occasion. :)
Twas the Night Before the Election
‘Twas the night before the election, when all thro’ the world
Not a sane person was sleeping, anxious to see what would unfurl
All expectations were lowered with a sigh and a scowl,
In hopes that a defeated Donald wouldn’t make anyone howl;
But "deplorable" supporters stashed guns in their beds
While visions of revolution danc’d in their irrational heads.
And Hillary in her grief, and Bill in his fear,
Had just settled their brains in case things got near—
When out on social media there arose such a clatter,
People sprang to their devices to see what was the matter.
Away to Windows we flew like a flash,
Tore open our emails (yes, EMAILS!), and threw out the trash.
Except for one message, a beacon for sore sight,
And the only thing that could save just about everyone tonight;
Proclaiming the election a bad series of jokes,
Donald himself admitted to being nothing but a hoax.
So the weary world watched as Americans voted
And hoped never again to see anything so vile and bloated.
VOTE! And please vote wisely. THANK YOU.