Resisting Despair and Stoking Hope After US Presidential Elections

Months of blog silence means I’ve either been very busy with family and refugee work (yes), moving again (move #20!), ill (the US presidential race), or there’s been a natural disaster (the US president-elect.)


Getty Images © Business Insider

Because I respect differences of opinions (however high pitched they might become in our expression of them), I wanted to insert mine into the global conversation.

Which is unusual – even unprecedented – for me. Over all my years of writing and speaking publicly, I’ve avoided dipping into the political. But I don’t want that silence to be wrongly ascribed to fear, self-preservation, neutrality, lack of interest or lack of knowledge. Politics matter to me, especially my political rights and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to plumb the strengths and the weaknesses of the US system by learning from other systems. In every culture in which we have lived, I have learned from others’ philosophies. I’ve also had chances to defend US policies and politics  when they’ve been misrepresented or misunderstood.

With the election of Mr. Trump, however, I’ve hit something I just cannot explain to anyone, even myself. All these years of learning to “see ourselves as other see us” (Robert Burns), and now I am mortified at what I see others see in us. Granted, I have reason to be hypersensitive to our foreign policies our foreign image, which are reflected to the rest of the world not in our Secretary of State (as some people mistakenly claim), but in our Commander in Chief.

What will his presidency – his cabinet choices, his policies, his conflicts of interest, his Twitter tick, his phone calls – mean nationally and internationally? History is watching. That is one reason of many behind why I wanted to write this piece. My rights and responsibilities of citizenship won’t let me sit quietly or recline into indifference.

So share this Inspirelle Feature Article. Leave a comment here (or on the webmag itself), even if that’s just a word or two. And of course speak up, even if — especially if — you and I don’t agree.


© Melissa Dalton-Bradford and, 2017.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. . . which means, as long you’re not selling it, you’re welcome to share, but please remember to give me a link and mention my name.

7 thoughts on “Resisting Despair and Stoking Hope After US Presidential Elections

  1. Thank you for sharing your feelings, analysis and insights. I agree we have to continue forward with action, even though the despair remains.

  2. Upon news that media called the election for Trump, my first thought was, “I don’t believe it.” I still don’t, though I suppose I will have to knuckle under. I won’t be happy about it, though. I remember, too, when Janine and I traveled to Ireland as Brexit took hold and Teresa May took over as P.M., how the younger folks we met we astonished at how many of their generation did not vote in that referendum. The fact that 40-plus percent of those eligible to vote in this country did not get off their butts to do so, brings those astonishments home in a big way. We’ve embarassed ourselves as a member of the international community and have much ground to make up. Your thoughts and Wiesel’s on despair are heartening. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for writing, and for sharing the words of Elie Wiesel. You also reminded me of David Whyte’s words on despair (if you haven’t read them, I can link to his FB profile–he often publishes excerpts there). I’m still functioning in a sort of numb shock re the election. I wince every time I hear Trump’s name mentioned as president-elect, cringe when I hear his voice. I haven’t yet figured out how to act, but trust I will recognize opportunities when they arise. It’s such a mess.

  4. It’s so good to read your words again. I’ve missed you.
    Now, about that disturbing election, I used to care a great deal about politics. I am a fairly liberal person by some standards and a fairly conservative one by other standards. Trump’s election did not shock me. Wide swaths of people are suffering and they have no idea why. Voters begged for someone to hear them- to feel their pain in the way Bill Clinton could feel and reflect their suffering. Two candidates struck a populist chord. Sadly ,only one of them gained his party’s nomination. While I have historically been in favor of some measure of affirmative action, watching the candidate for the Democratic Party invoke everything from seniority, membership and sex in order to secure her nomination was unfortunate. The best argument against affirmative action I have ever seen. I don’t believe Americans voted for Trump because of so-called identity politics. They voted for a candidate who said loud and clear I know you are hurting and it’s not your fault. It’s devastating what Trump’s tenure in the White House could mean for America and her allies. I hope the good folks of the EU are mindful of their own struggles creating fully enfranchised 21stC citizens who don’t turn to scapegoating and demonizing others.

  5. PS peacock blue ink is Tasha Evans. I’ve commented before.
    PPS in an effort to not write too much in my first comment, I feel like I’ve left a few things unsaid, so please forgive me for being the opposite of succinct. I do not believe Trump’s election reflects a more intolerant America (the narrative that says Trump was payback for Obama being black- Obama got two terms- I would wager he would have won a third, were that possible.)I fear America will be led to become more intolerant as a result of the election, though and that is the biggest tragedy of Trump’s victory. (I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are indeed pockets of racism – most obvious to me in policing and the judiciary. There was a fantastic Saturday Night Live skit about a certain amount of racism that still exists. Google SNL Chris Rock post-election to see it. The skit has a bunch of white people watching the election results with dismay and their back friends’ reactions. There is nothing off-putting in the sketch.)
    I hope that as we look for ways of voicing our opposition to Trump’s retro-racism we find positive ways of addressing people’s concerns over globalization and low quality jobs for those without professional degrees. I have no idea of how to accomplish this. Because without a good education and a strong family base, I cannot fathom how people can move forward economically and regain the American Dream.

  6. Melissa, I’m glad you’ve finally spoken out. For me, having a political view is a core value in making the world a better place. I don’t think we can work with refugees, beautify nature, empower the poor, build humane businesses, or raise strong families without having a point of view & sharing it. Regarding Trump, after the disastrous election I vowed to wait a couple months before ramping up my many criticisms of him that I’ve made studying his business practices for decades. Friends said we need to give him a chance. But now we are witnessing the obliteration of all the good that America has stood for: Truth, freedom of the press, justice, peace, a strong economy, and rights for all including women, minorities, religion, etc. Nearly all my Utah friends have now admitted to me they made a huge and embarrassing mistake. (I’m still waiting to hear from the last few stragglers:) They are gradually admitting that in retrospect Hillary seems so dignified, has a wealth of experience in managing our government, and has done so much good for women and children around the world. Anyone can pretend the accusations against her have a possible grain of truth, but the facts speak for themselves. She has more truthfulness, ethics, & has done more service to the poor & disenfranchised in her little finger than the Donald’s whole body. As America’s reputation sinks worldwide, & Trump’s support from the American people continues to decline at home, we are witnessing a financial & democratic disaster unlike any in our 240 years of history. The future will only get worse. So let’s rise up & take a stand for improving society, not making one of lies, exaggerations, sexist tweets, & incoherent rambling. Trump’s team seem mostly focused on making America “Hate Again.” We need to resist!

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