Why Doesn’t My Partner Care About the Election Results?


He says I need to calm down

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

man and woman holding hands

Q:I am a privileged white woman who, like many (if not all) of you, is now terrified and sickened at the reality of a You-Know-Who presidency. My (also privileged, also white) husband thinks I’m overreacting, and keeps suggesting I stop reading all the “Day 1 of You-Know-Who’s America” stuff, because I’m just getting myself worked up over nothing and, “It’s all going to be fine.”

This is a man who, before now, considered himself a feminist in that he believes in equal rights for all and choice for all (to choose whether or not to change your last name, for example, or to choose whether to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mother). He adores me, is over the moon for our daughter, is genuinely one of the sweetest, most empathetic, kind, gentle, and intelligent people I know. And here he sits, rather blatantly turning a blind eye to all the public hatred that has cropped up, because America elected a president who not only sanctions this behavior but encourages it and thinks it laughable.

I want to vomit. I don’t know how to approach a conversation about this with him, because I get stonewalled as a crazy harbinger of doom every time I so much as hint at speaking about the election or what’s happening in the world around us. I’m heartbroken. We have a daughter. She’s young enough that hopefully, HOPEFULLY, she will get through the next four years none the wiser, but who’s to say there won’t be (ever)lasting repercussions that screw with her?

I’m not sure what my question is. I guess a good start would be, how do I engage in a conversation with someone whom I care deeply about but who simply put, doesn’t want to hear it?

—Anonymous

A: Man, Anon, if that isn’t everyone’s question this week. I know it’s mine. How much harder, though, to have that “everything will be fine” guy living in your own house and sharing your bed.

First up, you need to find someone other than your partner to help you mourn. Right now, it ain’t him. You can’t rely on him for emotional support and comfort about this, and that’s fine for now, but needs to be fixed eventually. Not because you should turn to him for every emotional need (NOPE), but because this signals a couple of other things.

First, it points to an issue with your communication. You’ve probably already figured this out: telling you not to worry doesn’t make you stop worrying. Saying everything is fine doesn’t make everything fine. On this relational level, it doesn’t matter if he sees the magnitude of your concerns. He’s gotta find a different way to deal with the stuff that bothers you that he doesn’t understand. Because, guess what! Dismissing someone’s fears doesn’t make them go away! It only adds frustration on top of that fear. So, he doesn’t want to talk about politics. You can still have a conversation about being dismissed, and how you’d hope for him to instead respond when something’s bothering you.

It also signals a narrow perspective on social injustice. Long-term, it’s incredibly important for him to recognize the full weight of struggle and fear that he’ll never endure. That’s crucial for anyone, but especially shruggy white guys. Making him do that will be frustrating and exhausting, but just imagine how much more frustrating it is for marginalized folks to listen to his mouth. This, frankly, might take a lot of time. Empathy is tough.

And just so I’m clear, it’s not your job to make your partner a better person. But it’s everyone’s responsibility to encourage those closest to us to have broader perspectives and be better concerned about others.

As far as how to do that, well. Like I said above, I’m facing this question, myself. Trying to weigh how much to say, how to say it, when to take a break and shut-up. And in my experience, it all sort of depends. Maybe your partner is a facts-and-figures guy, or maybe he needs to read personal accounts, or maybe he needs you to connect the dots and show him, “If you believe in this kind of equality, do you see how that applies to this other situation?”

I’m going to bounce this over to the readers now, because a wild hunch says lots of us are thinking about this very thing. Guys, how have you handled these conversations? How do you get through to someone who isn’t interested in hearing what’s up and insists that everything is “fine”?

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTIONPLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • Another Meg

    One way to show that everything sure as hell isn’t “going to be fine” is to show how things have already changed just since last Tuesday. Hate crimes and teen trans suicides have both spiked, for instance. There are government and non-profit programs that are led by people who think they won’t be funded next year, so they’re winding down instead of continuing to provide services, or they’re pumping the breaks because they just don’t know what to expect. There is already an impact. That might be a good place to start.

  • LadyMe

    Sometimes people who say “it’ll be fine” are practicing denial out of fear of facing the facts. No idea if that’s the case here, but if it is the case I’ve found that sometimes the denial comes because they feel the problem is too big to do anything about, but if you can help them see that there’s something they can constructively do, it breaks past the nihilism of “nothing we can do, this is how things are”. That’s a very particular scenario though.

    • Cleo

      Came here to say just this. One way to start the conversation, if this, LW, is your husband’s attitude, might be to come home and talk about some step towards activism you took during the day.

      ex:

      Hi, husband. I feel really good about myself today because I called my Congresspeople to ask them to take a stand against the appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist because he’s a white supremacist. Their aides told me that they’d pass the message along and Congressperson Y had actually signed a letter condemning the choice.

      or, tell him something that he can do to help you take a stand.

      ex.

      I’m going to pack my lunch to take work all week and donate the money I would have spent on lunch to Planned Parenthood/the ACLU/Southern Poverty Law Center/The Trevor Project/American Immigration Council/the Sierra Club. This election has made me aware how many people count on X group’s services. Would you want to do that too?

      I have found that men are more receptive to worry when the worry comes with concrete solutions or steps – not that we, as women, should sublimate our perfectly valid feelings of worry, but when we’re trying to bridge the communication divide with someone (male or female or genderqueer or otherly gendered), it typically works best when we try to speak their language.

      • Justine

        And there is still time to make enough of an impact to get Stephen Bannon out of the way. His appointment isn’t set in stone. That is a very constructive action.

  • CMT

    Obviously you know your partner best, but is it possible he’s saying it’s going to be fine because he thinks that’s helping you? Based on the details, it sounds like that’s probably not the case in this situation, but I have encountered some people who have responded this way out of a motivation to make me feel better.

    • Greta

      Yes to this – a very real possibility! My partner saw my blood boiling as I was on facebook the other day, my eyes beginning to pop, and a growl coming out of me, and he reached out to me and said “I think it’s time to get off Facebook for the night.” He’s not saying everything’s going to be fine, but it’s his way of supporting me and doing what he views as helping me: reducing my exposure to things that make me rage. Sometimes I want to rage and I want to be angry, and sometimes I start hyperventilating and work myself up into a frenzy and I need someone to reach out and say “let’s put the phone down for an hour and breathe deeply.”

    • Jess

      We’ve had enough wallowing in despair for other reasons to have gone through “What to do when Jess is upset” and it does not include telling me it’s going to be ok or telling me why I don’t need to feel bad.

      But it definitely started there.

  • Amy March

    I don’t think it’s fair to call all of this privilege. It’s really hard to watch someone you love suffering. Stopping reading things that are making you terrified and sickened isn’t necessarily a bad idea. I agree with Liz about the communication aspect, but I’d also say give him a fairer shot. You say “before now” he considered himself a feminist- is that true? Does he really no longer consider himself a feminist or is he just not meeting your standard anymore? Are you going to be terrified and sickened for 4 years? Probably not constantly. I think this is a very hard thing for many people, but not wanting to panic and stew in information is not an invalid or unacceptable response, and accepting that his way has its merits too (personally, terror and anxiety prevents me from acting, it doesn’t spur me on) might help you move through this together.

    • Violet

      Yes, not everyone has to process upsetting news the same way. My husband really wanted to talk about it when I got home from work Wednesday. I did not; I was too overwhelmed. I don’t begrudge him for wanting to talk, and he was visibly very upset by the outcome, but I just couldn’t handle too much of a discussion because I needed a break from being upset all day. And home was where I wanted that break. So we sort of compromised, without realizing it. First we got into a nice ole argument about him wanting to talk and me wanting not to (cause that’s how we roll), then we realized we just wanted to handle it differently and he let me decompress while he read news articles. Once we just realized that what helps him doesn’t help me, and visa versa, we were fine.

    • MC

      What makes me worried is that she feels like she can’t talk to him without being seen as crazy or overreacting – even if his way of trying to make things better is more avoidance/denial than hers is, he needs to acknowledge that her worries are valid. It could be that he’s just having trouble communicating this correctly, but it could also signify some deeper issues regarding how he views women & emotions.

    • higheredisscrewed

      I think the privileged thing is saying that everything is going to be okay.

      Everything is not going to be okay. I teach college, and I have students with DACA status. They are almost surely going to lose their work permits. Even if they don’t get deported, things will not be okay.

      I have Muslim colleagues who are on temporary visas from countries that are on Trump’s list. They may well lose their visas, and with them, their jobs. At least one already had his wife cursed at in the grocery store after the election–after 5 years of living in the US with no such incidents. Things are already not okay for some people, and things may get worse.

      Putting one’s head in the sand can be a good coping strategy… for those with certain privileges. For those without those privileges, the terror and sick feeling is going to be basically constant.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      I was also gonna say there’s nothing wrong with tabling something. The election just happened.

  • Lexipedia

    I’ve got a little bit of this reaction from friends/family/partner. I think that what helped was thinking carefully about what to say and articulating myself in a clearer way than “OMG EVERYTHING IS FALLING APART” and informing him about each awful thing I heard or read. Slowing down and thinking about how to connect with each of these people has opened doors.

    For example, after two days of me crying, partner sent me a NYT article talking about how Trump will likely not be able to accomplish many of his worst policies he proposed. Instead of responding with “AHHHHH YOU ARE WRONG, LIST ALL OF THE BAD THINGS” I breathed for a second and thought about just how to get my thoughts across, using specific examples about my concerns and fears, vs. generalizations.

    It worked so much better and has really helped us have further discussions, and also helped me learn about how he processes situations like these. I’m a stream of consciousness person in my personal life, and he is a much more contemplative, quiet thinker while processing his thoughts and emotions. I cut through the denial by trying to communicate on his level, also by not assuming that me telling him about every single article or tweet or conversation will have the same generalized impact on him as it does on me.

    • Elisabeth N

      Yes, agreed! I think that people both process differently, but also articulate feelings differently. My husband said to me last night that he wished we could stop talking about Trump and that it was nice to be at work all day where it wasn’t a constant part of the conversation. I got really upset at first and my initial reaction was that he was saying we couldn’t talk about this for the next 4 years. But after pushing a bit more, I realized he wasn’t saying he NEVER wanted to talk about Trump and his impact again, but that he needed a break that day and felt like he’d be ready to talk again tomorrow. That seemed much fairer, and I think we both learned–I need to make sure I’m not making assumptions about what he means, but he also needs to be careful that his words accurately reflect his meaning.

      So anyways, sometimes I think it’s also helpful to make sure you’re both understanding each other and that what someone is saying–particularly when it comes to feelings–is accurately representing their meaning.

  • CTL

    My husband has been the same way: saying it will be fine. But he deals with anxiety and panic attacks on a day to day basis, so I know that not looking at the news and telling me this is his way of keeping his anxiety at bay. The fears are absolutely there there, though.

    • Anonymous

      Hi ok piping in to say that my partner got really irritated because I was “it’all be fine”-ing him. But honestly, I felt too shell-shocked to rage or cry or analyze or forecast or even really think. I suffer from anxiety attacks and I knew that thinking or taking about the election results right away was not going to end safely for me. I just needed some space to get the swirl of my thoughts together. It’s only been a week, you guys! Let’s remember to be compassionate and give each other the benefit of the doubt. People react to news on different timelines.

      • CTL

        Exactly, some people need more time to process and take some self care so they can manage this in a thoughtful way that will make a difference. I’ve seen many people on social media (ugh, especially) condemning people for not being angry enough, not expressing their rage the same way as they themselves were doing… that’s not how everyone processes bad news.

  • Leah

    http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/15/13595508/racism-trump-research-study>This Vox piece, while infuriating for being on the side of “try empathizing with the shrugger”, talks a little bit about how we can talk with people who aren’t seeing what we see. It’s certainly not perfect, and I felt angry reading it, but I also think it’s on to ways humans do change their minds.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I can see why it was upsetting to read – I find it pretty frustrating when journalists really hammer out a point of, “You just don’t understand how these people feel. You’ve been ignoring these people, that’s why they’re so upset” because HELLO JOURNALIST. YOU have been ignoring these people, and THAT is why they’re so upset!

      Also, like, we know? We know they have feelings and those feelings weren’t being addressed. But we prioritized the feelings of people who were *actually* marginalized, because for some reason that seemed more important!

      Anyway, rage aside, thanks for sharing. It does make very important points!

    • A.

      What’s hard about this for me is that it seems to once again puts the onus on the oppressed to build bridges with their oppressors. I know intellectually that this piece may speak a lot of practical truths about how to productively speak to bigoted people, but that doesn’t make it easier to swallow. :-/

  • CatHerder

    I got two things to say that are not really related.

    1. My partner is much more upset than me. Angrily upset at times and condemning everyone who voted for Trump as monsters. I grew up in a rural area of the Deep South and while I think that people who voted for Trump are supporting monsters, I think that he doesn’t understand how their experiences of America and the world are alien from his. He definitely thinks I am being unsupportive because I refuse to say that everyone who voted for Trump is evil and actively destroying America. I am not sure how to support him without agreeing to something that I do not agree with.

    2. Possibly unpopular opinion incoming! Warning! While reading the letter, I got to the statement about the husband being a feminist and I could not stop thinking: Feminism is not about choice. Feminism is about dismantling the patriarchy and increasing choices is a side-effect of this process. Being cool with women making decisions about their own names and staying at home is a marker of very tepid feminism if that is the full extent of their commitment to the cause.

    • CMT

      I agree with your second paragraph. You gotta back it up.

      • Jess

        Yes on that second point. Anybody can (and lots of men do!) play lip service to feminism “Sure, I like women, and I want women to be able to go to work or stay home, and I don’t mind if somebody doesn’t take my last name”

        But… are they enabling workers to take paid maternal leave? are they actively hiring and promoting women? are they fighting other menfolk on rape culture? are they supporting pro-choice organizations?

        • Natasha Romanova

          I think you have to keep in mind that many men (and women) are not in a position to do much other than just be supportive – they may not have the time or resources to spare towards donating or volunteering and may not be in a position work wise to make a difference.

          • MC

            But if you can’t do that then the LEAST you can do is listen to women & other marginalized people when they tell you about their worries and fears and believe them. If you aren’t doing that then I don’t think you can call yourself a feminist or ally in any good faith.

          • Roselyne

            I know way too many ‘feminist’ men who ‘support’ their wives working but don’t step up to do the actual crappy work of parenting/household care/elder care/etc. Meanwhile, their wives work full time and then do most of the caretaking work, because someone’s gotta do it…

            Like, to be clear: volunteering or donating is important. But a ‘feminist’ man who doesn’t step up at home but wants all the credit for being ‘supportive’ is a grade A poseur.

          • G.

            This. I know plenty of men who claim the label feminist, far fewer who live it.

            One example of someone who does is a guy who, upon learning there was no paternity leave policy for his organization (not uncommon….), wrote one, proposed it, and convinced the people in charge to implement it (this is where the rubber meets the road as he could have been fired but went forward anyways). He’s on paternity leave as of this week, pulling his weight at home, as he has for years (and as a former roommate, I know his cleaning habits!). He’s the one I look to as a standard, in part because it gives concrete evidence to those who say it’s impossible. It’s not, but it requires active work.

          • Jess

            That’s very true.

        • Roselyne

          Also, ‘women should have the choice between working and staying at home’.

          Ok, great. *slow clap*

          But, like… are you stepping up to do half the housework? When the kid is sick and can’t go to daycare, are you taking your sick days to stay home with the kid half of those days while the kid’s mom goes to work? When the 3-month-old is up 4 times in 1 night, how many of those times were handled by the dad? Are you researching daycares and calling to get on waiting lists and visiting potential schools that you’ve researched (as opposed to the mom calling and the dad tagging along)?

          It’s super easy to give lip-service ‘support’.

          It’s harder to show up and wake up in the middle of the night and consistently do the housework and take the sick days and clean the vomit and research the daycares and do half of the actual WORK relating to parenting that, in turn, make it FEASIBLE for a woman to work full-time while having a family. That’s what actual support looks like.

          • Jess

            This is it exactly. Like, how you work your home has to reflect what you’re saying.

    • emilyg25

      Somewhere in the archives of this very site, Meg wrote an excellent takedown of choice feminism: https://apracticalwedding.com/2013/10/letter-from-the-editor-feminism/

    • Meg

      Also “choose whether to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mother” made me laugh because it makes it sound like those are the two options. Mom or Mom.

      • Jess

        I wasn’t gonna point it out but like… yup. Woman, your place is bearing children! (I’m sure that’s not what LW was trying to imply, but I’ll take my laughs where I can get ’em)

    • Anon

      Not saying that I disagree with you at all (I know you’re right in fact), but I have to admit also struggle with your first paragraph in ways more like your partner, even though I know that completely writing off 47% of the country (or whatever the final number is) isn’t conducive to actual change.

      Because you know what? Anecdotally, the Trump supporters I know say and do TERRIBLE things when it comes to racial and social justice, to the point that it can’t simply be excused away by economic anxiety (and even then, is it ever an excuse?) At the end of the day, all of them voted for Trump not out of fear for jobs but because Trump promised an America that made them feel comfortable, which is one that is based on white male supremacy.

      Honestly, like your partner, I also find it very, very hard to separate these repugnant examples from the idea of a Trump Voter, in general. I have lots of anger, fear and it’s hard to not want to condemn them all for either explicitly having these views or implicitly supporting them.

      If you have any advice for how to get more to your perspective, I’d appreciate it. :-/

      • LadyMe

        I was watching a John Stewart interview this morning on youtube where he was talking about how the left is furious when the right tries to turn muslims/blacks/gays/etc into a monolithic entity but right now some parts of the left are portraying the right as a monolithic entity. It might help to think about the variety of people and motivations you know (see also the huge variety between stan for HRC and grudging vote) and realize that the same variety is present on the other side.

        • Anon

          But that’s the exact problem…the motivations I personally know are all “Make America Great Again” in the sense of feeling more comfortable with white supremacy. I also know one person who doesn’t love what Trump says, but could never vote for Hillary because she’s pro-choice. None of these reasons endear me to the cause, to be perfectly honest.

          Also, when my husband was scared to leave his North Carolina hotel room the day after the election because he was legitimately terrified he’d be targeted for his skin color due to a newly empowered group of KKK members in full hood being spotted nearby…it’s very, very hard to have empathy. I’ll admit that.

          • LadyMe

            It is hard. And I don’t expect everyone to have empathy right now. I swing back and forth between hating the lot of them and trying to remember that there have to be *some* of them who are there because lack of exposure or understanding or something that I can do something to help rectify. And right now, I have the privilege to be less afraid for my personal well being than others. So if I can harness that to make the world less scary for others who are more afraid, I will… at least, that’s what I’m trying to do.

        • MC

          The thing I can’t get over is that even if many Trump voters didn’t vote for him BECAUSE of the awful racist, sexist, Islamophobic etc. things he did/said – they all decided that wasn’t a deal-breaker. Regardless of their intent or reasons for voting, their actions helped to elect a man who is appointing a white nationalist as his chief strategist and who is “mulling” the idea of a Muslim registry and threatening a deportation force. I can accept that people had many reasons for voting for Trump but that doesn’t excuse them.

          • LadyMe

            It doesn’t excuse them, and we shouldn’t excuse them. I certainly don’t condone it. I read a story (can’t find the link again, will edit if I do) about a guy who grew up in a rural area where the school had literally 2 asian students and 0 muslims. He said they had more teachers who were convicted sex offenders than minorities. And while I don’t agree, I can see how if you were raised in that environment, racism et al might not seem that real and pressing to you because not only do you not experience it, you don’t really know anyone who experiences it.

            I am furious that Trump is elected. The fact that they are trying to use Japenese internment camps as justification for a muslim registry blows my freaking mind because HOW??? Like, what even.

            But if I can take that perspective, that there is variety, that I can’t just immediately write them all off (unlike the people Trump is hiring, who I can and have written off), then I can put myself out there to try to educate them, and help keep that burden off other lefties who are most struggling and most in fear right now, and maybe I can help make the world less scary in the future for those who are struggling now.

          • MC

            Yes, I agree with this, & I saw that article too & thought it was really interesting. I just wish the national conversation was less, “Let’s stop blaming Trump voters for their votes, some of them are working class so cut them some slack.” and more, “Hey, racism can take many forms and voting for someone who is openly racist is one of them!” In a perfect world…

          • Steph

            Amen to everything you just said!

            “But if I can take that perspective, that there is variety, that I can’t just immediately write them all off (unlike the people Trump is hiring, who I can and have written off), then I can put myself out there to try to educate them, and help keep that burden off other lefties who are most struggling and most in fear right now, and maybe I can help make the world less scary in the future for those who are struggling now.”

            Before this election I was guilty of both not doing enough to help marginalized people (many of whom would have had continued challenges even if HRC had won the election) AND sitting in my liberal ivory tower and immediately writing off others whose voted republican as “stupid” etc. Both of these things brought us to the reality we are in now (in my opinion) and I intend to do my part to make things better going forward

        • Amy March

          I don’t think Trump voters are a monolithic entity at all. As they continuously demonstrate, there are an endless variety of ways to be hateful.

      • CatHerder

        I don’t think my perspective is “correct” and something one should try to work towards. I just can’t hate people for making bad decisions. I think of all the times that I made bad decisions (those 45 minutes of being Libertarian after reading Atlas Shrugged, I’m looking at you. Also, the shitty things I said and did growing up in the South that still make me cringe.) and I can’t hate people for voting a certain way, even if I hate the outcome and the candidate. I think I probably should, but I just can’t muster rage, all I have is fear.

        I am terrified by the Trump presidency and what it means for my friends who are PoC, queer, trans, immigrants, economically vulnerable, and in any other way marginalized and so vulnerable to all this mess. I can’t protect them, at the end of the day, and it makes me feel useless and helpless but I can’t scream at people that they are monsters because it makes me feel like shit and doesn’t change their minds. So I ask my friends to step up in real ways (let’s go to a solidarity event, let’s donate to charities, let’s talk to our family members who we can still stand about why we are scared and angry not because we lost but because we fear for our lives and the lives of the ones we love) and that is the only way I can feel any control right now.

      • Jess

        This article reflects a lot of what I hear. I can understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t support it and I can’t accept it.

        Because they are looking past so much (often their own!) racism and sexism and xenophobia and anti-LGBT+ and dismissal of deep poverty.

        http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/11/16/13645116/rural-resentment-elites-trump

        • Justine

          But if half the county is earning $30,000 or less, then half the country is pretty much in poverty. As natural-born citizens in poverty themselves, I think they find the Left’s greater concern for undocumented workers over actual citizens a bit galling.

          And that’s part of why they don’t categorize Trump’s message as racist. They don’t think asking people to come into the country legally is a racist stance. As far as xenophobia, the Trump supporters I know are looking at Europe and some very serious problems with refugees there. When Trump says he wants to put a temporary ban in effect until they can be better vetted, it doesn’t sound like racism; it sounds reasonable.

          BTW, Trump has defended LGBT rights and marriage all along, so you can’t really say that’s driving his supporters. Yeah, Pence is another story, but he isn’t president.

          This video from an independent reporter with The Young Turks pretty much echos the Vox article and provides even more insight into how the media ignored what was going on in the heartland. The economic struggle is serious and we didn’t address it.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfxJXEV2-fk

          • Jess

            The points you bring up (having reliable income at a rate that enables you to afford the cost of living, seeing issues in Europe as reason to turn away all Muslim immigrants and refugees, and legal immigration) are true concerns, and I can understand how they don’t ring of racism to people who agree with them.

            I don’t really agree that people voting for Trump did so because he took a pro-LGBT+ stance(ish), since it is a major focus of his running mate and the party in general right now, driving not just the presidential election but also the congressional elections, which went convincingly that direction. Anti-LGBT sentiments are something I am hearing a fair amount about from people who voted Trump, regardless of his individual stance.

            I get and am sympathetic to the economic concerns and do truly believe that the Dem. Party (and independents) did not focus on ways to make the people who are concerned feel heard. I am worried as we move forward that neither party put together a plan that I believe will address the struggling middle class and rural areas. Storefronts and small businesses are being run out of my city, and I am concerned.

            To that extent, I really understand people who abstained. And I have spent a lot of time trying to understand that people dont feel their words hold coded racism, even when I see their words causing hurt and fear and pain. It’s one of the reasons I focus on disagreeing with individual statements I don’t agree with rather than accusing people I know of being racist all together.

            I hear varied perspectives, and I continue to try to understand them better.

            However, I refuse to show tacit support of statements I find abhorrent (such as slurs, threats or support of violence, refusals to support Trans people in my direct community).

          • Amy March

            Fully aware there are plenty of white people who voted for Trump who don’t “categorize Trump’s message as racist.” That’s the problem: it is; they don’t get to decide it isn’t; and if you are down with registering Muslims you are racist, plain and simple.

          • VKD_Vee

            YES

      • Justine

        Anecdotally, the Trump supporters you know are racist, but anecdotally the ones I know really are not. They had a laundry list of thoughtful reasons for their vote. It really came down to how you wanted to weigh out concerns.

        So, I just can’t get behind assigning attributes to half the population. It always bothers me when people start announcing how a different group thinks. Like when religious fundamentalists say that people are atheists because they want to get away with bad behavior and not be judged by God. They genuinely can’t think of any other reasons for atheism, but they are wrong.

        We simply can’t pin specific motivations on half the electorate. They aren’t even here to talk about their decision on how to vote. APW demographics skew to the Left, so we have to realize we are somewhat of an echo chamber.

        Also, since fully half the population in America makes $30,000 or less, dismissing economic concerns is a nonstarter.

        • Ashlah

          I can accept that people may have voted for Trump for reasons other than racism, but it is a fact that Trump’s bigotry wasn’t enough to prevent them from voting for him. His sexism, his racism, his xenophobia, etc. may not have been motivating factors for all of his voters, but they weren’t disqualifying factors either either. My most charitable view is that every single person who voted for him, looked at all of that and said, “That’s okay. I’ll vote for him anyway.” And that is disturbing and distressing to me and many others.

          (For the record, my least charitable view is that Trump had zero coherent plans and barely a consistent policy platform, so the only reason anyone would vote for him is because his bigoted blowhard persona and discriminatory promises appealed to them. And also women in charge are scary).

          • Justine

            I meant to answer you, but it showed up below Jess’s post.

        • I suppose the charitable interpretation of the economic insecurity argument is that though the (narrow) majority people on the lowest end of the financial scale actually voted against Trump, people higher up may have thought that Trump represented the best choice for people less fortunate than themselves.

    • Nell

      I had a boyfriend who used to like saying “I’m a feminist because feminism is believing that women are people, too.” I know that he was (sort of ) being flip. . . but NOPE THAT’S NOT FEMINISM! That’s like, the bare minimum requirement for being a human being.

      It’s easy to be feminist until it causes you to question your privilege and your power.

    • Lawyerette510

      “Feminism is about dismantling the patriarchy and increasing choices is a side-effect of this process.” All the yeses for this!

      As for your first paragraph, do you think talking to him about the commonality of your views would help? I’m guessing you are hip to the systemic issues that resulted in racism and sexism (plus total lack of qualification, jokes about sexual assault, pending lawsuits for fraud, a long track records of cheating small businesses, etc) not being a deal-breaker for so many people, and also how patriarchal narratives have demonized HRC for decades and dissuaded many (mainly white) people from voting for her even if they were anti-Trump. It seems like that would be a common ground that could make him feel heard, while also looking at the nuances that need to be explored and ultimately dismantled if we are going to move this country forward towards intersectional feminism, racial justice, disability access and inclusion, LGBTQ equality, and freedom of worship and faith for non-Christians.

  • JC

    Because the election results feel so black and white to me (This outcome: BAD. Other outcome: GOOD.), I’m finding myself surprised at the shades of reactions from myself and loved ones. I called out my parents the other night for their “everything is fine” gambit, because everything is most certainly not fine, but when my boyfriend is getting heated over some horrible comments by the GOP, I want to tuck into bed and watch Gilmore Girls. I told him that some days I couldn’t really stomach how angry it would make me to talk about it, and he understood and let me be. I was deeply annoyed with my mom after our conversation because it felt like she tried to prove to me that she wasn’t as complacent as she sounded the first time; then I realized that I could hold her to it, and I’ve now introduced her to a few new names in national politics and we’re talking about where we’ll each be volunteering. I don’t know how to help you, LW, and I don’t know the right way for you and your husband to react separately or together, but I do know that we don’t all react the same, we bring our long complicated relationships with us, and I’m trying to figure it out just like you.

  • sarah

    Just chiming in to say I have a similar by slightly different problem. I’m mixed (white/Native/Jewish), and my black husband told me essentially the same thing, but also that I had to stop talking about it with him (which made me FURIOUS). When I brought up my feelings, he said it was traumatic for him to talk about and I was hurting him by continuing to freak out.

    I feel like we are at a dead end on discussion. I’ve tried to be more nuanced and less “sky is falling”, but he seriously will not talk about it and gets angry if I do. I cannot NOT pay attention, and I need him to at least acknowledge my pain too. I also am a lawyer who represents Native tribes, and am sick about how much policy/regulations work we’ve gotten done over the last 8 years will be erased. So each day after work, I’m pretty upset. Any ideas?

    • Violet

      I’m not sure it’s accurate to say you have to stop talking to him about it. You can do what you want. But I think it is fair to modulate your expectations about how satisfied you’ll be with his responses, when he’s unequivocally asked you not to discuss this with him. Not that you can’t discuss it, but he doesn’t want to be your audience. So… discuss with other people in your life?

    • Liz

      It sounds like you need someone else to lean on for this specific thing. Any friends you can call?

      • Amy March

        Or other ways of processing the pain and upsetness? Can you take an exercise class after work, build in meditation time in a park on the way home?

    • Cleo

      Could you tell him that you respect he’s asked you not to talk about it, but you feel like your pain because of your background and the work you do, is not being acknowledged? And then give a list of a few concrete things he can do to acknowledge it (whether it’s let you rant about work and how the election is effecting your daily work life or him giving you a hug and checking in on your mental state, etc.)

      Also, internet round of applause for what you do for work. I’m sure it’s been a really tough few weeks and I hope you keep fighting the good fight.

    • RShay

      Uff. Yeah, hard as it may be, you gotta let him process on his own. He is telling you what he needs (to not talk about it) and why (its hurting him to talk about it with you.) I’m sure that stings, but it sounds like you need someone else to lean on for now.

    • Lexipedia

      As a policy person, who has made some serious strides in the past eight years, my office has some regular cry-fests about the likelihood that all of our accomplishments will likely be eliminated under the new administration. So, solidarity on that. Do you have coworkers you can lean on?

    • VKD_Vee

      I’m black and my husband is white. We’re both devastated by the Trump win, and we talk about it a LOT. But there have also been fights between us when I’ve said I simply CAN’T watch the news with him. Or I shut him down when he’s worked up over the latest horrific headline because I CAN’T hear it.
      I don’t want to dig my head in the sand but thinking about the President-elect, and how it’s going to effect the world isn’t good for my mental health. I have to be able to take those breaks for self-care because it literally does feel *damaging* (“traumatizing”? absolutely) to be surrounded by it constantly.
      Basically, he’s very upset and very angry – and I’m really glad about that. I just can’t be the one he works through that with all that time.

      Black men were already dealing with a pretty heavy burdan even before the Trump upset. It’s the shittiest feeling knowing how many racists were empowered, emboldened and legitimized last week. I live in fucking Canada and am trying to sort out professional counselling for myself because I cannot fucking deal with the world right now. If your husband tells you that discussing/over-discussing is traumatizing for him ..believe him.

  • MC

    I’m married to a white guy who is also a high school US government/history teacher, which is a blessing/curse because he shares my fears and concerns post-election and knows things can get so much worse. Here are some of the things we’ve talked about when friends say, “Well, maybe things won’t be so bad,” or the like:

    – Many liberals like to look back nostalgically at FDR’s presidency, during which a lot of good things happened, but the US also put Japanese-Americans in internment camps – so that was not a great time for all Americans
    – During the Reagan administration, not only were conservative tax codes created, but thousands of people were suffering from HIV/AIDS and Reagan did not do anything. Thousands of people died because he refused to take action. The economic changes were good for some, but not everyone was “okay”

    Your husband may be right that your family is likely going to be fine, but many folks cannot take that for granted. And especially with the normalization of sexual assault & blatant sexism during this election, it’s quite possible that this will affect women for the next few generations, particularly depending on what policies are put into place. Maybe let him know that your fear is not only for your family, but for everyone in our country that will be affected, and that you don’t want/need to be reassured or comforted.

  • Mrrpaderp

    Step 1 for me is to take a break from talking about this with friends and family who aren’t where I am emotionally. It’s just too raw right now. That rawness leads to taking his “it’ll all work out” to mean “IDGAF about social justice,” which is unfair and untrue. The fact that people process the election results and aftermath differently, the fact that people are trying to protect themselves from feeling what I’m feeling, doesn’t make them wrong or bad or mean they lack empathy. Some days you just have to get by.

    From there, idk. At some point I will have enough distance from the shock and horror I’m experiencing now to think about what their reaction says about them. Do I really think they don’t have the same values I do? Have my values changed as a result of the election – do I feel the need to be more active in my local community – and are they meeting me where I now am? How do we go about discussing all of this?

  • Alyssa

    My fiancee isn’t staunchly in the “everything’s going to be fine” category, but he is in the “let’s wait until he actually gets into office and see what happens” camp. He understands my frustration and how the election outcome impacted my experience as a woman in this country (although it took a few tries and a lot of explaining), supports me in protesting and processing the results in a way that make sense to me (like going to the Women’s March with me in January or by donating to orgs), but while he’s concerned, he’s not going into Panic Mode quite yet — at this point he’s convinced that Trump won’t be able to do nearly as much as he thinks he can. While it’s not the reaction I was initially hoping for in a partner, it’s definitely helped me process the results in a calmer way while still being able to be upset about it. We do have an escape plan ready in case we need it though — that was actually the first thing we talked about when the results came in.

    • Sarah

      I agree with finance to a degree. Obama was in office two terms and some during that time some pretty scary anti-abortion legislation was passed at state levels. The president is only one person, though this particular new one is especially scary. Let’s see this site and others talk about the effects of down-ballot elections in 2016. Before I get jumped on, I know I’m saying this as a white US citizen in a heterosexual marriage but doses of reality help me. I truly hope gov’t inefficiency will stop some of Trump’s campaign blustering from being a reality.

      • Amy March

        I think its possible for “nothing is okay we are all doomed” and “maybe he won’t be able to accomplish much because he obviously has no idea what he is doing” and “lets hope he was lying about some of this stuff” to all be true and reasonable reactions for different people at different times.

        • Alyssa

          Yes; I definitely have been feeling all of these, usually simultaneously.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          They’re a rotating cast, those thoughts.

      • emilyg25

        Down ballot races are precisely why I’m so upset about this. Progressives have lost so. much.

        • Eenie

          Yes. I think similar stuff will be passed at a state level AND now the federal level.

      • MC

        The thing is that so many scary state laws are challenged and ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court – and the Senate Republicans just spent almost a year denying Obama the right to appoint a judge which means at least one will be appointed by Trump. That’s a major thing that keeps me from feeling alright about the election in the long-term.

      • Another Meg

        One major difference between Trump and Obama to keep in mind- We had a Republican-held House and Senate during the Obama years, so we got Republican-backed bills. We STILL have a Republican-held House and Senate, so we are going to keep getting Republican-backed bills, but now we don’t have a Democrat in the Executive branch to veto the really bad bills.

        • Cathi

          Well, Obama had a Democrat-held congress when he first took office. The 111th (I think? The ’09-’10) Congress had two Democrat majorities. Then the 2010 election happened and we had the big Tea Party Republican upset. Then he had to deal with the Republican majorities for the remainder of his presidency.

          If progressives can get anywhere near as riled up right now as conservatives did after the ’08 election, I suspect a similar flip will happen for Trump.

          • Another Meg

            Thank you for the correction. And also for the light at the end of the tunnel! We can take back the House and Senate in two years and put the “balance” back in “checks and balance” which will be rad.

  • RShay

    Its been rough navigating talking to folks about this. All the folks! The folks who are scared and angry too! Part of that is because we are all at different stages of processing. I have found just turning my communication skills up to 11 has helped. Telling him how you need to be supported might help. Saying, “I know you are hopeful right now, but I am scared. I need you to support me by doing X.” Maybe X is listening. Maybe it is shutting up. Maybe it is giving you 30 minutes to do a kickboxing workout in the living room. Maybe it is giving you his blessing to go cry with another friend over a bottle of wine. For whatever reason he isn’t picking up on how to support you right now. Tell him what you need. Give him a road map to support you. Good luck and all the love.

    • CII

      This is great advice. I needed to do this last night. My husband was very interested in discussing this NYTimes article – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/opinion/trump-defeated-clinton-not-women.html While I thought it raised interesting issues, there was a point where I had to say “I just disagree – this election WAS a defeat for women in a lot of ways. I appreciate this article raises interesting points, but I just am not in a good place to discuss it further right now.” Once I said that, he realized that the “X” I needed was for the conversation to stop, whereas previously he really hadn’t realized that I was feeling so upset. He’s not a mind-reader, after all (neither am I).

    • Abby

      100% this. I’ve been oscillating pretty wildly between various stages of processing, and each of them requires different handling. For instance, during my manic, fired-up let’s-fix-this stages I need to talk to people who support me channeling that energy towards positive change, but I also need gentle reminders not to torpedo my entire life/career in the process. During my sad and exhausted stages, I need to be held, and reminded to put down the internet and go to sleep. And I’m sure these are just the beginning of a million more emotional states that will take hold over the next few days/weeks/months. The self-awareness of identifying and voicing our own needs, as you highlight, is going to be so so key to just keeping ourselves together (and then finding the strength to push back).

  • Sarah

    UGH shruggy white guys.

  • Daisy6564

    My partner and I are also experiencing a bit of strife but from a slightly different angle than you and yours. For my husband, Trump’s election confirmed what he already thought: that people are basically terrible and selfish. He keeps saying things like “we are on the brink of another Civil War” and “its time to burn America down.”

    I, on the other hand, have to keep believing that people are basically good. I have to. I also do believe that we have a system set up that will equalize. I believe, to paraphrase MLK, that the arc of the universe bends towards justice. This is a setback, not doomsday.

    We are due to have a child this week. I can’t start his or her life (and continue my own) thinking that people are essentially terrible monsters out to get those weaker than them. I am going to fight and call my senator and march, and raise my child to fight injustice. But I also need to retain some perspective, realize that the world is not going to burn down, and hold on to my deep belief in America and the basic goodness of people.

    • Violet

      I mean, this probably won’t help you, what with a child due this week, but philosophers have been debating this (the condition of man, ie. Hobbes vs Rousseau) for centuries. You and your partner are in good company.

    • Jessica

      Hugs to you! You know what is super awesome (and super terrifying) about having a kid? For the first while, at least, you get to teach them EVERYTHING. That means you get a shot at putting a good person out into the world, and you get to teach your kid to recognize goodness where it does exist.

  • Anon for this

    I am definitely not your husband, but my husband is more upset than I am and I have struggled with how to respond. I struggle mostly because my strategy for self-care is to try not to dwell too much. Don’t get me wrong, I think about it a lot. A LOT. But I try very hard to keep myself from spiraling into despair, and he can pull me into that place I’m trying not to go. Balancing what I need to do for me and what I want to do for him can be tough.

    It’s not just about the despair of a Trump presidency, either, for him. He was the rare millennial for whom Hillary Clinton occupied the place that Barack Obama occupied for so many others — she was the politician who most inspired him. He’s dealing with it at that level, too, and I’m really not.

    • Alyssa

      Hillary was definitely that person for me too — I wanted her to win the 2008 primaries SO BAD, and had to rev myself up to get behind Obama. I’m glad I did and I’ve been generally happy with his presidency, but Hillary has held that spot in my heart for a while.

  • librarygirl.totherescue

    I could have written this exact letter – on the night of the election my husband was flipping OUT at a Trump win, and by the next morning was very chill “everything is going to be ok don’t panic I’m done talking.” The thing I have to remember is that this is very much his approach to me freaking out about anything. He thinks that this result is Very Bad; he was horrified at the awful rhetoric being used during this election, and has serious concerns, but he also doesn’t like discussing the awful. He doesn’t find joy or satisfaction in dissecting it, while I need to talk things through. I just have to remember that this isn’t a result of the election; this is a thing I knew about him before we were married. I have to stop myself from framing it as White Man Privilege, and instead frame it as his own reaction to the election.

  • Laura

    This is something I have been thinking about a lot. For me, I get comfort from feeling like I’m doing something to actively support people who are made most vulnerable by this election. Calling my representatives, donating to organizations, getting involved in my community. But my friends and I have also decided to launch an Adopt a Privileged White Man project. Each of us (mostly young, progressive white women) are making a privileged white man our “project” for the next few years with the goal of chipping away at that complacent, “it’ll be all right” attitude.

    For me, this is my dad. Hates Trump, but couldn’t bring himself to vote for a “common criminal.” So he went third party. And he’s part of the problem, because he is a white rural voter in a swing state who hasn’t really had to grapple with his own privilege. He wasn’t thinking about the effects of a Trump presidency on members of minority groups, because he honestly doesn’t really know that many people who aren’t white, heterosexual Christians. Often, people like my dad don’t “get it” until someone they care about spells things out for them. My go-to response is to get loud, get angry, and yell about politics with him. We’ve done it for years, but we haven’t actually changed each other’s minds. So I’m playing the long game. Making things personal, showing him how his actions will affect me as a woman, and making a conscious effort to explicitly discuss the effects of everyday actions/policies on members of other minority groups.

    And as a white person, this one is on us. If Black people, Muslim people, and other minority groups are blamed every time a member of their group does something stupid or wrong, then it’s up to us to acknowledge that we fucked this one up and change hearts and minds among white people. Like Liz said, the strategy needs to depend on the person — facts and figures, personal anecdotes, whatever it takes. It kills me to be gentle and conciliatory with people like my dad who are so blind to their own privilege, but calling them racist and misogynist won’t make a long-term change in their thoughts and behavior. So it’s time for the long game.

    • Cdn icecube

      I’d be curious to hear more about your Adopt a Privileged White Man project. It sounds like something a lot of people would benefit from hearing about (not just those in the USA) as racism, classism and sexism exist everywhere.

    • Lawyerette510

      Yes, tell us more about “Adopt a Privileged White Man.”

  • MrsRalphWaldo

    I had this issue with my husband on election night. I was sobbing and he was rubbing my back telling me everything would be okay. I could only keep telling him that he was wrong, it wouldn’t be okay. His response was to ask me to tell him what I needed from him.

    I think it’s important that your partner be able to understand that they may not be able to solve everything, but brushing it to the side isn’t what you need right now. My only advice would be to have a real conversation with him about your emotional needs right now. While the election is obviously the pressing issue, this (as Liz points out) also relates to your overall communication. It’s totally fine to have different perspectives, but it’s not okay for him to tell you that your perspective is wrong.

  • Dana

    1) This post instantly made me think of a marriage counseling video that I watched a few years ago. In it, Mark Gungor explains that men and women think about and solve problems differently; women see everything as connect, and men see things as separate “boxes”. Obviously, this is simplified, but it might help explain why you still feel the need to discuss the election, and why he has put it way. In this case, it might help to seek out a girlfriend or someone close that also needs to talk it out.
    2) Perhaps he actually doesn’t care that much. I know, this is an extremely unpopular thing to say on this site, but hear me out. The election was last week, and there is not much we can do to change it. However, as others have stated, we can participate in demonstrations, in calling our representatives, and in taking active steps to include those that are marginalized. Meet hate with love! So, if your partner voted, but doesn’t feel strongly enough to take an active role, maybe he feels that his part in this election is done. Or perhaps he is like me, and wasn’t super attached to either candidate, and so doesn’t feel personally wounded by the outcome. That’s fine. Again, get a coffee and go talk to a girlfriend that needs to get it off her chest as well.
    3) Maybe he truly does believe that it will be okay. Again, hear me out. The Founding Fathers specifically designed a political system that would stifle tyranny and bigotry, and would work for the people. There are multiple checks and balances built into our government that make it very slow and difficult to pass many of the actions that all presidents promise while running for office. If the system does not work, then I suspect that our country will undergo a much more important and radical overhaul than a four-year presidential term. This is exactly the time to make sure that our government is working FOR the people.
    4) If you are still with me, I have one last point before I get shouted off this page. Please please please stop posting political articles on APW. I suspect that I am not the only one using pretty flowers and wedding rings to drown out the hatred following this election. Unfortunately, hatred is coming from all sides. Bigotry is defined as “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself”. Refusing to investigate, understand, and respect (not agree with) examplyfies bigotry for all those that hate Trump supporters, as well as those who champion racism and xenophobia. Neither Trump nor Clinton are moral candidates, and both have issues that I agree and disagree with, so I try to understand all sides. This vote was one of the most difficult I have ever made; I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump all asked Americans to put down their arms and come together, and Donald Trump specifically asked Americans to stop hatred in his name. Listen to our leaders: love thy neighbor.

    • Amy March

      If you’re just looking for escapist fluff Style Me Pretty has you covered!

      I can’t even begin to deal with the rest of this nonsense.

    • Lawyerette510

      “The Founding Fathers specifically designed a political system that would stifle tyranny and bigotry, and would work for the people.” is just not true. They created a system that would work for white, land-owning, men. African-americans were not considered full people and generally women had no autonomy and were subject to the will of their fathers or husbands. The lack of confidence in the populace is why the electoral college system was created, and it has evolved to further solidify and magnify the votes of people in rural and suburban areas (mainly white votes) over the votes of those in urban areas (where there is a higher percentage of people of color).

      As for your fourth point, those who voted for Trump knew the racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-muslim, anti-semitic, and xenophobic things he, Mike Pence, and his spokespeople said and did, and it was not a deal breaker for them. They still voted for him. Pointing that out is not bigotry. Pointing out the problems with the people Trump is looking to appoint in his administration is not refusing to come together or refusing to understand the other side.

      For instance, Sen. Jeff Sessions was blocked from appointment as a federal judge because both republicans and democrats considered him to have too strong of racist ties to be confirmed, now multiple outlets are reporting that he is likely the nominee for Attorney General. The fact that this is deeply disturbing to me isn’t because I’m refusing to understand people who supported Trump, it is my being concerned for racial equality and systemic justice.

      Another example is Steve Bannon, my concern about his being an advisor to Trump is based on the content Breitbart has published, especially the content attributed to him, because I am concerned about equality for people of color, women, LGBTQA people, Muslims, and Jews.

      So that’s great that you’re not personally affected by this election and don’t feel your life will be majorly impacted by the outcome. I know that as a white, cis, educated, woman who lives in California and is married to a white, cis, educated man, my life likely won’t be either, but it doesn’t change that the things that Trump, Pence, their advisors and many of their vocal supporters have said and done indicate that they intend for life to get significantly worse for many many people who don’t have all the privileges I do. So no, I will not love my neighbor if my neighbor is ok with that. I will fight tooth and nail to defend those our society has repeatedly shut out and who Trump and his leadership have been telling us they will disenfranchise and target the entire campaign.

      • Dana

        You are exactly right on many of your points. People that voted for Trump knew exactly what he stood for, and “it wasn’t a deal breaker for them.” I also agree that many of the people Trump is looking to appoint have terrible social agendas that simply do not serve the direction that the US, as a prominent world leader in social equality, is headed. I agree that this is a set back, and I agree that we continue to fight for our rights and the rights of others. However, I do not agree that this is the end of America, or the end of social justice, or the end of feminist progress. It is a set back that we must correct.

        The article was from a woman that was having difficulty communicating with her partner. While it’s easy to debate and fight against the media and the nameless/faceless masses of “Trump supporters”, it is something entirely different to stage that fight in your own house. I advocated that she try to understand where her significant other is coming from and why he might not want to discuss the election. Communication is impossible if you can’t stand in your partner’s shoes. I was simply trying to offer a different perspective on his feelings.

        As far as the Founding Fathers, I misspoke, and for that I apologize. The Founding Fathers DID created a system that worked for white, land-owning, men, which was actually a huge upgrade in terms of social equality 200 years ago, though by our current standards it’s unacceptable. I should have stated that the Constitution created “a political system that would stifle tyranny and bigotry, and would work for the people”. In the last 200 years, we have fought through several social reforms which have made huge advances in equality for all people, and we are still working through it today. Now, we have an African American president, and women are running for office. That is huge! Not enough, but definitely historic.

        Finally, I disagree with you about the Electoral College. Congress was specifically split into the Senate and the House so that all people and states would be equally represented. In the House, each state has representation based on their population, so that all citizens have an equal vote. Whereas, in the Senate, each state gets two representatives, regardless of population. This is especially important when negotiating resources that cross state lines, like aqueducts, pipelines, mines, bridges, etc. Without these Senators, larger states, like CA and NY, would overrun and bankrupt the smaller states near them. In the presidential election, each state is given the exact same representation that they have in Congress, and it is up to the states to elect their representatives.

        However, the “all-or-nothing” mentality is really starting to hurt our election process. Maine ratified and used a new amendment in their constitution this election that shows real promise toward correcting the difference in the swing states. They reflected their popular vote within the House electors (as best as possible) and used their Senate electors to reflect the winner of the state, so Clinton won the popular vote and got both Senators, but enough of the population voted Trump to warrant him getting one of the House electors, and Clinton got the other. They also voted to use “scaled” voting int he next election, so that voters can rank their choices for office in order instead of picking just one. This system could really help balance the Electoral College with the popular vote, without destroying the equality in Congress. It’s definitely something that I will write letters about in my state.

        Hope this clarifies things, and thanks for your insightful comment.

    • Meg Keene

      NO. We will not stop. If you voted for Donald Trump, please feel free to show yourself to the door.

      On this staff we have: a jewish family, a family with a disabled child who is about to lose life saving care, a muslim staffer, a black staffer, not to mention too many threatened loved ones (immigrants, etc.) to name. I, along with many other staffers, am now up late at night making plans to keep my family safe. We have a staffer having to move across country to make sure her child will have access to care to keep him alive. I’m pondering what it means that a white supremacist and stated anti-semite was just appointed to a top advisor to the president, and wondering at what point I may need to get my children out of the country to keep them safe, and re-locate APW operations elsewhere to get VISAs for other staffers that may no longer be safe in the country because of the muslim registry your dear leader wants to introduce.

      If you voted for Trump, and in your non threatened privilege think that’s not a vote for hate, you’re a fool. If you’re not able to see that your vote threatens the lives of our children and loved ones on the staff of APW, you’re blind. Loving one another means keeping each other safe.

      Please, feel unwelcome here, forever. I don’t ever want to drug you up with pretty things to blind you to the evil you have unleashed on this world. LEAVE.

      • Lawyerette510

        Thank you Meg. I love that you and APW says what it means, means what it says, and takes a stand.

      • Dana

        I had to read your statement twice. Which part of my post do you disagree with? I think you have created a perfect example of a logical fallacy known as a “Straw Man.” As Wikipedia says, “A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.”

        I stated,”Neither Trump nor Clinton are moral candidates, and both have issues that I agree and disagree with, so I try to understand all sides. This vote was one of the most difficult I have ever made; I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place.” You assumed that I voted for Trump (which is incorrect) and decided to demonize me based on this false assumption. I understand that you have a lot on your plate with protecting your family and a diverse staff and a prominent business, but I fail to understand how that relates to the woman in this article asking how she can communicate with her significant other. I attempted to answer the question that she posed. If you have constructive disagreements about points that I raised, please feel free to address those specifically. Do not, however, incorrectly assume my voting position and then attack me for it. “[My] dear leader”? Are we in North Korea now?

        I voted for Clinton, but I do not feel doomed. Congress stifled Obama on important social and economic reforms that were positive for many people, though not perfect. Now, we have a President-elect that is despised by the entire Democratic party and about half of the Republican party, and I suspect that he will be stone-walled too, thankfully. For me, this election was difficult because while I support Clinton’s social policies, I fear that my business will not survive another four years of Continuing Resolutions and Sequestration under a Democratic government. However, I cannot support Trump’s obvious political inexperience and racist agenda. Having doubts does not make me blind, hateful, or foolish. It makes me a human that has to think about the future of my family, just as you are.

        I am pushing for the same things as you, but I am approaching from a different angle. I may make contingency plans, but I will not destroy my relationships or my career until a law is passed that makes it necessary to do so.

        Your comment was unfounded, misguided, incorrect, and hateful. Frankly, it was highly unprofessional. Don’t worry; I will not return.

    • I’m not even going to attempt to understand people who think my Muslim family members are terrorists, or people who believe that because I’m Black, I’m uneducated, unemployed and live in a crime-ridden area. I’m not going to try to understand folks who feel like Trump’s election gives them the right to grab women on the street, or tell anyone who isn’t white to “go back to your country, we don’t want you”.

      Folks who keep parroting this line of “try to understand them” are doing it because they have the luxury of doing so, cause they arern’t being attacked. I don’t, and neither do most of my family and friends.

  • Nell

    This reminds me of an experience I had yesterday at work. I tried to bring up the election to my gay male coworker (thinking – oh hey, we’re both queer, we’ll have all the same feels!) and he was like “I don’t think it’s going to be so bad.” I was floored! He just didn’t think that all of the most extreme reforms that are being proposed are gonna make it through Congress.

    I think that there are 2 issues at stake – one is the practical logistics of whether or not X or Y policy is going to be implemented in its most draconian form. That is, certainly, a matter of debate. Not every bad thing that Trump COULD do will come to pass. But the second issue is how people feel. Do they feel safe? Do they feel welcomed? Do they feel accepted? Those are not up for debate – because they’re feelings. I think a lot of people are comforting themselves by focusing on the first issue and ignoring the second – either because they don’t know how to process these sorts of feelings or because they don’t have a good sense of empathy for others. I think everyone here is rooting for you that your husband is suffering from a lack of tools for processing and NOT a lack of empathy.

  • Fundamentalist Anonymous

    May I offer an unpopular opinion? Politics is not everything.

    The person with whom you disagree—the writer’s husband, in this case—may still be a sweet, empathetic, kind, gentle, and intelligent person, their lack of progressive street cred aside. If your relationship can tolerate “I like the name Chloe; no, I like the name Emma,” it can tolerate “Trump is a harbinger of the apocalypse; no, he’ll just be another awful president.” There is nothing either of you personally can do to change the results of a democratic election (the tone of the country, maybe), but believing that the only reason someone could possibly remain calm in the face of this catastrophe is because they lack information, or because the true nature of the disaster simply hasn’t been presented to them the right way—I would find that incredibly condescending. People may know everything you know and still hold to their opinions. People disagree! It happens.

    I’m not going to say “everything is fine,” because we have elected an ignorant, boorish reality TV manchild to the presidency, but let’s keep a sense of proportion, please. Many sane, courteous, non-racist Americans, not all of them as privileged as the writer, are not heaping ashes upon their heads to mourn the election. Your husband is one of them.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Yes! I don’t like Trump by any means, but I’m a firm believer in not going around looking for problems. Trump *might* be the harbinger of the apocalypse, or he might just turn out to be another crummy president. If he turns out to be the harbinger of the apocalypse, I’ll deal with that then. For now, though, the Earth is still rotating around the sun, gravity still works, and nobody’s being sent off to concentration camps. As such, I’m pretty much going about my life as usual, because what else am I supposed to do? Spend all day crying about different scenarios that I’m concocting in my imagination?

      Granted, in this particular case, I’m definitely coming from a certain amount of privilege. I am straight, middle class, and white–most of the worst possible case scenarios have little direct bearing on me. However, I’m the same way about personal crises that DO bear directly on me. I just don’t personally *get* people who spend tons of time and energy getting upset over elaborate worst case scenarios that haven’t happened yet. Like, I feel for them, but I’ll never understand it.

      • Amy March

        Jeff Sessioms as AG? Stephen Bannon as chief advisor? The bad things are already happening. I don’t think you need to sit around crying all the time but don’t pretend like nothing bad has happened yet either.

    • Gina

      This really resonated with me. My husband is so anti-politics that it took two years of lobbying for me to even get him to register to vote. I know, I know. But that really doesn’t make him a bad person. I go to other people to have my politics talks because frankly, he will just agree with me or listen politely and ask a couple questions, but not engage in the kind of conversation that I love to have about politics. After the election, he agreed with me that we feared for our toddler daughter and volunteered his idea of a couple places to donate money to in this dark time, and then he was pretty much done discussing it. I can’t really fault him for that, that’s how he’s always been. It’s just a bigger deal now than it would be if this were a regular election.

  • SimpleMarine

    Am I the only one whose partner voted for Trump? I am still working through what this means and how I feel about it (and have been for the last year) but I feel like I’m the only one here who is in a politically mismatched relationship.

    • Tulsaloosa214

      My partner voted for Johnson, but we are very politicallly mismatched. Solidarity!

      • SimpleMarine

        Solidarity! This is the first time in ten years that it’s been *really* tough. It’s been such a divisive election, it’s hard to identify and separate my feelings from the tenor of public commentary.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      My partner voted for Trump, and I voted for Johnson. It…wasn’t a big deal to me? I don’t know, I’ve spent my whole life in very conservative circles, so I’m pretty used to not seeing eye to eye with loved ones on things like this.

    • GotMarried!

      i’m about 99% sure my partner voted Trump. He is choosing not to share his vote as he doesn’t want to hear about it if i disagree.
      I’m super pleased, though, that Trump comes up as a topic of discussion in our weekly bible study where we had 4 Clinton Voters, and at least one Jill Stein voter who all despise Trump and make that position very clear. I feel like they are standing up for me and women/POC folks even without realizing they need to!

  • Danielle

    You guys. My sister is being strangely, disturbingly neutral on this topic. We are pretty different in many ways but I thought (?) we were both feminists and had similar ideas of justice.

    Well today I saw her post some dumb things on Facebook that were basically criticizing the Democrats for being too “politically correct,” and causing some of these problems. Which I don’t necessarily disagree with, in the context of *these election results suck and this new administration is disturbingly conservative, racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant, homophobic, etc*. But I didn’t see that context in any of her posts.

    Then we were texting later on and she said some more neutral garbage about how “both candidates were bad”. And I really don’t know how (or if I want) to respond. For more context, she moved to another country several years ago, and doesn’t have to deal with the immediate affects of the election. We’re both Jewish, and I’m queer – she’s not. I tried to tell her earlier how the new administration is already affecting many LGBT people in scary ways, and she didn’t really seem to care.

    I dunno what I’m asking for here. I’m just kind of in disbelief that my sister is actually really different from who I thought she was :/

    • honeycomehome

      One thing I’m finding helpful in these conversations is to say, “This is no longer an election issue. I am not concerned about what Clinton might have done, I am concerned about what Trump is DOING AND WILL DO with the full power of the American government.”

      One of the things that is going to be vitally important during the next four years is to keep the conversation on a) the truth and b) holding Trump accountable for his decisions, words, and actions.

  • Amy Sigmon

    I don’t know how helpful this is, but the next time my spouse gives me the “It’s not that bad” or “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I’ve decided on a response that won’t have him sleeping on the couch. It’s “I understand that you aren’t nearly as invested in his as I am.” (Because in my house, that’s the case, and I have friends and a sister to go with all my ranting right now.) “But, I would really like it if, instead of telling me everything will be fine, to tell me “I’m proud that you care so much. I’ll back you up when you need it.”” My spouse and I have a serious “We don’t have ESP” communication policy, and sometimes that mean I tell him what I need to hear.

  • LikeaBell

    I was thrown for a loop by mismatched election responses in my relationship too, but because my partner and I had such differing immediate concerns (spoiler alert, he’s also got that “narrow perspective on social injustice”):

    So…we watched election night coverage at our friend’s apartment, and when it started becoming apparent that Trump really was winning, my husband (who is white/straight/cis) suddenly just said “Peace out, I can’t handle this right now,” and walked out the door, leaving me, his (also male/white/straight/cis) friend, and our (female/gay/Indian-American) friend stunned.

    We were supposedly watching together for mutual support, and our female friend (who is primarily his friend), was already shell-shocked and scared. He had been sitting next to her the whole night but seemed mostly oblivious to her increasing distress and was talking loudly around both of us with his male friend. After he stormed out, I and his other friend stayed for another 45 mins, then left (after several wordless mutual hugs and “Please, we’re here if you need to be around people” to the female friend—I didn’t know what else to say and felt like we were deserting her).

    When I came in the door, he immediately exploded in a furious rant about global warming and how Trump was going to undo all of the EPA’s regulations and the Paris Climate Agreement, and how we’re all fucked. I mean…true. Totally valid thing to be freaking out about. But…to be so oblivious to your (close!) friend’s experience, when she was RIGHT THERE, and to not seem to have had a thought in your head about the more immediate consequences for your friends/loved ones (seriously, like 80-90% of his/our friends are some combination of female, LGBTQ, nonwhite and/or immigrant)? Eesh. I was really taken aback and disappointed with him on that one.

    I knew from how indignant/angry about it I was that whatever I said at the time would probably be counterproductive (thanks, therapy!), so the next day, when it came up again, I firmly (but in as calm a tone as I could muster) pointed out to him that, while he IS right about how devastating Trump’s presidency could/will be for environmental issues, he has many, MANY friends who have extremely personal reasons to be upset/afraid, and privileging his unhappiness about environmental issues over their emotional wellbeing is going to hurt many of their feelings (rightfully so) and come across as tone deaf. He paused and considered that, and the two of us have since had some more productive conversations about the particular flavor of awful that a Trump presidency represents/could become for various loved ones.

    While I’m still not thrilled w. his initial response (and had some serious “DO I EVEN KNOW YOU?!?!” thoughts off & on afterwards), the way it worked out in the end has given me a sense of strength and positive resolve about working on his #whiteguyempathy skills. Also, being calm but firm and verbalizing that I wasn’t discounting his view before adding my own kept it out of emotional escalation/meltdown territory. Again, thanks therapy, for giving me some more effective communication options!

    Anyway, solidarity with everyone currently dealing w. variations on this theme. I know a lot of us are really thinking now about how to have these kinds of conversations with family over the holidays, and I’m so happy to have this community where we can all glean strategies/advice from each other. And also vent about unrelated family insanity. I LOVE THAT STUFF.

  • honeycomehome

    “I get stonewalled as a crazy harbinger of doom every time I so much as hint at speaking about the election or what’s happening in the world around us.”

    This isn’t concern for your feelings. It’s concern for HIS. Your anger and fear are bothering him, and the quickest way to shut down his discomfort is to delegitimize your thoughts as crazy. Unless you are literally starting every conversation with a raised voice, the problem is not HOW you’re communicating, the problem is that he doesn’t like how WHAT you’re communicating is making him think about.

    I don’t know how you push back against that except with refusing to let him silence you in your own home.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Allow me to tell a story. A year ago, my husband and I were driving on the highway after dark when we suddenly lost all power to the drive train. We were stopped on the interstate in a regular driving lane. It was a legitimate, real, dangerous emergency. My husband was driving. He panicked. Just froze. When I realized what was going on, I started talking him through what to actually do – turn on the 4-way flashers, call 911, call AAA, etc. Eventually, a highway patrol officer came and pushed us to a gas station, and we had the car towed, and we got a taxi to a rental car counter – but I had to make all those plans and decisions. My husband is just bad in a crisis.

    Ironically, I’m the one that breaks down emotionally more often. A few weeks ago it was a carton of milk I had bought just the day before that leaked before I even had any. I went into my room and pounded my pillow and threw my teddy bear in frustration.

    My point is that people can react differently to crises and minor stressors. Just because someone is not making a big show of emotion doesn’t mean they don’t think the situation is serious. And just because someone is making a big show of emotion doesn’t mean they do think the situation is serious. In particular, “It’s going to be alright” may not always be meant as a literal minimizing expression. It can just be a well-meaning but stupid thing to say.