That giant sucking sound…

That giant sucking sound...

In the middle of election night, after I had stayed by the television to taste the bitterness of the end, I awoke with these words in my head, “that giant sucking sound.” And I couldn’t identify them for a long time. But lying there I finally did–it’s a line parents in Iowa, where I once lived, would say during spring break, the line referring to most folks leaving the state to go somewhere else. “Oh we all heard that giant sucking sound,” someone would say referring to the lines at the airport. But it really comes from, you guessed it, a political event. “The “giant sucking sound” was United States presidential candidate Ross Perot’s phrase for what he believed would be the negative effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he opposed.” Bill Clinton won that election. Funny how the mind works!!

Well maybe my mind was going that far back, and then connecting to the election in the dead of night–only this time Hillary Clinton lost. This time folks had voted for a man who just might take us on a ride we could not have imagined–one of fear and hate, one of exclusion and denial of the rule of law. We will see. I am told to take heart from a man whom I have honored for eight years and always will. He is my President, he is POTUS to me and always will be. But he is saying take heart, because he must, even though his heart is deeply hurt and he has to work with a man who worked to delegitimize his presidency.

And then Wednesday, it was all about Hillary Clinton and how I had been here before with her, when ironically, she lost the primaries to President Obama in June of 2008, and gave her first “glass ceiling speech.” She had to give another one. WHAT A WOMAN. I am fiercely proud of her and everything she stands for. I would vote for her again should she choose to run for something. But she’s done. Yet, Hillary will always help this country in some way. And if the President-Elect had any guts, he would appointment her to a position, or at least ask her. But he won’t. He’s done too.

Today, I watched the brief look into the meeting that Mr. Trump had with the President. He was calm, though he looked nervous. I guess you could say he was on his best behavior. After everything I have seen of this man and how he conducted his rallies and what he said about his opponent and MY PRESIDENT, it will take me a very long time, if ever, for me to say positive things about him. As a writer, I know–words count and they don’t blow away because you are now smiling a lot.

But there is someone else who needs to examine their American soul in this post-election world. THOSE WHO DID NOT VOTE. How hard is it to take a half-day, if necessary, and vote–once every FOUR YEARS–for the person who can have a profound affect on your life? HOW HARD IS IT to try to get an absentee ballot? If fear kept you away from the polls because of the things Trump said, I get that–he threatened the people of Philadelphia–“those areas” and we knew what he meant. But if it was just laziness or an inability to decide whom to vote for–you have no idea the privilege you have given up. To live in a country where what we saw today–POTUS meeting with the one who won the election, and beginning the HAND-OVER process–that’s our freedom, our democracy, the American way. No coup, no guns, no deaths.

Maybe the lesson from this election will hold over for the next—-VOTE and don’t believe the polling. Don’t let some numbers convince you that your vote won’t count. YOUR VOTE ALWAYS COUNTS. Otherwise you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and hear “that giant sucking sound” your candidate losing, your ability to exercise one of the most valuable gifts on the planet going away, utilized by someone else who did bother to vote.

Photo Credit TIME

15 thoughts on “That giant sucking sound…

  1. Hi Beth! I too have been having a kalidescope of thoughts and feelings since Tuesday night. At first I was incredibly embarrassed for our country and for those who elected such a horrible man. But after more and more news is surfacing that shows that nearly 50% of Americans didn’t bother to vote, I’m almost more embarrassed for them. After all, we know there is an entire subset of people who are racist, sexist and homophobic, but what about all the others? Are they apathetic or simply lazy? Do they feel so bad about our country they don’t care? I think those questions go more to the heart of what happened than anything else. I’m going to do my best to follow that line of thinking in the days to come because until we wake people up, it isn’t going to get any better. I’m big into acceptance of what “is” but that does NOT mean that I won’t do everything I can to make sure that change happens. ~Kathy

    • Yes, what about the others? My two neighbors, female, voted for him. Why? They don’t need a job. They are women!! But maybe racists who hated that we had a black POTUS. I also think that watching certain news programs doesn’t help and just listening to them talk, they are drinking the cool aide. So appreciate your thoughts, Beth

  2. Hi Beth. Yes, these are some difficult moments to understand. President Obama constantly reinforced how important it is to vote. He described, that in his last election to the White House, there were districts that he won by a handful of votes. During one of his last rallies, every time anyone in the audience began to boo the competing candidate he would say,” Don’t boo, VOTE!!!” I listened, and I thought my fellow Americans did as well. I am not patting myself on the back, it is a given privilege for living in this country. But I don’t understand how so many of my fellow Americans didn’t react the same way. “Next time”, they might say. I hope we are all in as good a position as we were on Tuesday to supply that support to a candidate who we believe in, “next time”.

    • We do Kim. We keep going. Trying to figure out what that looks like. If Hillary started an email coalition of some sort, I would join in a minute and do what I can. Maybe she will. Beth

  3. Oh Beth. This is all so shocking. Then listening to Hillary’s concession speach, l admired the hope she encouraged. Her love of our country and a peaceful transition for us all was foremost on her mind. Unlike her opponent who wouldn’t think once about taking down the country. Even with his win, I fear for our country. School kids are already chanting prejudice.
    Your blogging was restrained. I hope it will be as simple as the next vote. But 4 years is a long way off.
    Let’s be united in hope and prayer.
    Pat

  4. yes these are the bleakest of times for many of us. four of us from my book club got together to vent-support and otherwise hold each other’s hand. and then we got to talking about what needed to be done–what we could do–to keep the most vulnerable of our neighbors safe during the inevitable shredding of the safety net. So we have targeted what we want to do and are doing some research in how we can accomplish it. Our motto: stop stewing. start doing. Pass it on.

    • Excellent, brave and I thank you. I just wrote to a woman near me who had a great letter in the LA TIMES. I am also gathering 3 more to form a group for a similar purpose. We have to stay connected and fight back, Beth

  5. I can’t believe I missed this post the first time, Beth. You are dead on and since this posted things have gotten even scarier. We have turned the country over to a petulant man/child with a twitter account and no sense of decency. It is beyond sad and scary but, we have to put our faith in the checks and balances we have and hope for the best.
    Great post.
    b

  6. I’m reading this post 2 weeks before inauguration day – and I still can’t believe what happened. Every day I become more appalled and nervous. And I’m like you – I can’t believe how many people chose not to exercise their privilege to vote! I hope for all our sake that things go better than I predict, but I’m still worried.

    • I know, Shelley. I am very worried about many things–healthcare, hate crimes, social security. You name it. Thanks for writing. I will be marching in LA on the 21st. That’s a start, Beth

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