America, humiliated

November 15, 2016 Originally published on SFGate

Old message: Fight for the rights of women and children for your entire career, advocate for multiple worthy causes, help millions through foundations, charities, nonprofits, champion all manner of progressive ideas and projects for more than 30 years, and you can become president.
New message: Openly mock and demean women, blacks, Islam, immigrants, Jews, integrity, kindness. Scam and con everyone, do not pay your workers, grope females in the crotch and call them fat pigs, and you can become president.

Old message: Survive scandals and political gaffes with grace and temerity to become a successful attorney, First Lady, state senator, Secretary of State, even as you endure vicious criticism and brutal sexism the likes of which would make most humans wither, emerge intact and stronger than anyone could imagine to become an amazing, intelligent inspiration for women and girls, a singular feminist powerhouse full of kindness and grace, skilled beyond measure to lead the country and transform history: You should become president.
New message: Lose a billion dollars in a year, fail as a scabby salesman of vodka, mattresses, cheap watches, bad steaks, cologne, lurch through six bankruptcies, skip out on millions in taxes, fellate Russian thugs, speak with the skill of a 5-year-old’s vocabulary, deny science and climate change and sustainable energy, promise to destroy the planet, ignore human rights, support violence and conspiracy, and take away the health care of millions of Americans: You might as well be president.

Old message: Kindness matters
New message: Kindness is pathetic

Old message: Love trumps hate
New message: Hate does not care

Not a rich, straight, scared white male? Trump's America detests you.

Not a rich, straight, scared white male? Trump’s America detests you.

Old message: The educated cities and college towns of America will lift and sustain the nation, and lead us forward
New message: The fear and resentment simmering in rural America is will stab us in the heart and slam us backwards
Old message: Inclusion, unity, tolerance
New message: Marginalization, hostility, white supremacy

Old message: Succeed through good work, integrity, compromise, legislative wrangling, thoughtful policy, cogent argument, being kind to your fellow man
New message: Succeed through lies, bullying, cheap tricks, more lies, a record number of lies, nearly everything you say is a lie, insults, taunts, rancid tweets

Previous given: A president you are proud to have as a role model for your kids
New given: Shield your kids from anything and everything this president says and does

Old greeting: Handshake
New greeting: Middle finger

Old bond: Warm hug
New bond: Sucker punch

Old belief: Be whatever you want! This is America: Diversity rules. You are safe and your uniqueness is embraced and celebrated
New reality: Not white? Not male? Not straight? Fear for your life

Old America: Recovering powerfully, economically reliable, unemployment down, markets strong, globally respected, adults in charge
New America: Markets nosedive, millions worse off than before, economically unreliable, globally mistrusted, flatulent, failed, greedy billionaire in charge

Previous dream: Obama’s legacy, preserved
New nightmare: Obama’s legacy, destroyed

Previous call letters: HRC
New call letters: KKK

Previous message: Women! Newly empowered in record numbers, surging forth, transforming the nation and the world
New message: Women! Fat and nasty, slammed backwards 50 years, mocked and tossed aside

Tangible dream: First woman president
Brutal reality: Authoritarian racist white male president

Previous concern: In bed with Wall Street
Current disgust: In bed with Putin

Previous leader: Grace, class, articulation, deeply respectful of the office, humanitarian, globally esteemed, great with kids, adores his family, profound understanding of the nuances of the world, inspiring and generous of spirit
New leader: Graceless, bloviated, zero concern for human welfare, globally detested, children scream and squirm away in his presence, family is a cauldron of snakes, no understanding of any issues or global concerns at any depth whatsoever

Previous certainty: This could never happen
Terrifying new enquiry: How the f–k did this happen

Yesterday: World applauds
Today: World recoils

This is how America humiliates itself. This is how the once-great, always messy, never predictable American experiment suddenly shudders, collapses in on itself, falls to fast and heartless ruin. Don’t believe it? Just watch.

To restate the obvious: Nearly all polls, all pundits, all hopeful and confident ideologies – including mine – were dead wrong. Trump made a mockery of the electorate, the system and both political parties, not to mention feminism, Obama, America’s role in world affairs and the economy – and now the entire nation will pay a price the ignominy and destructive cruelty of which we cannot yet fathom. Trump was partially right about one thing: This really is our Brexit, times 100. But it’s going to be far worse than that. And of course, the anxious working classes who voted for him the most, are going to get slammed the hardest.

There is no silver lining here. There is no upside. Yes, love will regroup, hope will endure, the fight will continue, the backlash is nigh, the heartbroken will gather in progressive havens like California and various urban centers to heal and hold on tight. New strategies will emerge. We will redouble our efforts, our intentions toward compassion and love. They can never be defeated, only shouted down. The Democratic party will rebuild into… something. We must resist the temptation, as always, to drown in fatalism.

But let it be known: America has hereby forsaken a significant portion of its greatness, grace and stability. In electing Trump, we have humiliated our forefathers, dishonored authentic masculinity, disgraced our women and brought fear and violence to our children. We have invited the demons of authoritarianism and cruelty to the table. The Trump presidency is going to be unconscionable, disgraceful beyond compare and exceedingly difficult to endure. No one will be spared. And the world, appropriately, recoils.

One thing is certain: America’s place in the world will never be the same. While we might someday restore a bit of our strength and grace, we will not recover from Trump. Not completely. Not ever.

Love will regroup, wounds will heal. But January 20, 2017 will be one of the bleakest, blackest days in American history, and our humiliation will be complete. Hide the children.

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Mark Morford

About Mark Morford