I Will Never Get Over It

image of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from the second presidential debate; Trump is standing and speaking into a mic with his back to the camera; Clinton is sitting on a stool, looking at him with disgust
[Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America.]

"Get over it" is a phrase I hear a lot lately—virtually any time I mention Hillary Clinton.

When I write, for example, that her policies might have saved a woman's life, or protected the planet.

These are not incidental things to me.

But they are, apparently, incidental to the people who react to my insistence in pointing out how presidential politics are a matter of life and death by rolling their eyes; by greeting my relentless reminders that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were indeed very different candidates with heaving sighs and an admonishment to "get over it."

I will not get over it. I will never get over it.

I won't get over it because I refuse to modulate my anger for others' comfort—as I recognize quite keenly that many of the people telling to me "get over it" want to silence me to salve their own regret, for failing to support Clinton altogether or for undercutting her by indulging grossly negligent narratives about her.

I won't get over it because I have not an infinitesimal modicum of desire to let people who promoted the dangerous, ignorant message that Clinton and Trump were "the same" find refuge from the stark truth that they were hideously wrong.

I won't get over it because I have no truck with the idea that I should concede anything to Trump supporters, least of all their belief that I should get on board with the sadistic agenda of the Russian nesting doll of character defects that currently inhabits the Oval Office.

I won't get over it because I manifestly refuse to indulge the corporate media's urge to whitewash what happened during the election; to participate in the institutional forgetting that is central to normalizing the Trump presidency.

I won't get over it because this nation made a damnable, deadly mistake—and concealing it, rather than confronting it, ensures that we will make it again. And again.

I won't get over it because the 2016 election was a referendum on how America values women, and that makes it personal to me. My country chose an explicitly misogynist serial sexual abuser over an explicitly feminist candidate who has spent her career advocating for women and children, and who is the most qualified person ever to seek the office of the presidency. I am not inclined, nor should I be expected, to "get over" that.

I won't get over it because she won the popular vote by three million votes, which makes us the majority, and makes our values the ones by which we should be making policy.

I won't get over it because I can't. Because every hour of every day, there is some fresh new hell to resist, just a ceaseless onslaught of devastating policy and shameful behavior, each indecency a pointed reminder that it didn't have to be this way.

I am not nurturing a grudge, nor am I sucking on sour grapes. I am rationally angry about the outcome of the election, for reasons of which Trump's dumpster fire of a presidency reminds me each day.

Because I did my homework; because I read every factsheet and every policy proposal; because I listened to every one of Clinton's speeches and/or read every transcript; because I watched every debate; because I read every interview; because I read her State Department emails; because I read her autobiography; because I paid attention to what her staff and surrogates said; because I listened to people who worked with her and for her, and who had come to know her because of something she'd done for them quietly, away from the spotlight; because I did my due diligence and then some on this candidate, my brain is an entire card catalog of data on Hillary Clinton's campaign, her record, and policy proposals.

Every time Trump says, does, endorses, proposes, or signs anything, I know what Clinton's position would have been. Every time he nominates someone, I know what Clinton's administration would have looked like. Every time he comments on some piece of shit legislation Congressional Republicans are conspiring to unleash on the public, I know what Clinton would have said about it.

I have a pretty damn good idea what she would be doing if she were president, and I have a pretty damn good idea what she wouldn't be doing. I have a clear picture of the differences in what our domestic policy would look like, and of what the diplomatic differences would be.

I don't know these things because I'm a mind-reader. I know because she told us.

They are stark, these disparities between what is and what could have been.

They will mean the difference between life and death, for countless people. Why should I "get over" that? How can I? Why would anyone want to?

I'm still not over Al Gore "losing" to George W. Bush in 2000. Despite the suddenly fashionable nostalgia for Bush, his presidency was a ceaseless nightmare. He was not the harmless goof with some objectionable policies here and there as which he's being remembered. He was then the Platonic Ideal of Modern Conservatism—a corporate shill with the demeanor of a country bumpkin, who could hold together the unholy alliance between Big Money and Big Religion.

And with a Republican Congressional majority and a never-ending stream of media mouthpieces willing to demonize anyone who dared to dissent, he tumbled headfirst into fulfilling every last one of the conservatives' wishes, like a malevolent genie pulled out of a bottle in oil-soaked Texas.

He was tasked with building conservatives' very own El Dorado, and, by the time Bush left office, there were more than twice as many billionaires in America as when the Supreme Court escorted him in, while the country experienced widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and food insecurity. We saw towers fall because of his incompetence, and we went to war on two fronts. Thousands of Americans died; tens of thousands of soldiers came back injured; millions of Iraqis were killed, wounded, or permanently displaced. We watched an entire American city drown; saw those for whom conservatives have the greatest contempt turn to their government for help in a time of crisis and quite literally be left stranded.

Bush took this nation to war on false premises; played class warfare with gilded tax cuts; vengefully outed one of our own spies; played vicious wedge issue politics; demonized immigrants, people of color, LGTBQ folks, women, atheists, and liberals; enacted harmful educational and environmental policy; defunded social programs to fund defense; nominated appalling Supreme Court justices; promoted avarice above social conscience; relegated philanthropy and empathy to little more than cute, clichéd memories; held in contempt compassion for those in need; delighted in ignorance; reveled in xenophobic nationalism; pillaged natural resources in the acquisition of private wealth; sold the rights and privacy of We the People piece-by-piece in massive government-underwritten giveaways to Big Pharma and Big Energy and Big Agriculture; wrote more than 1,000 signing statements and used countless National Security Letters to undermine the rule of law; cast aside habeas corpus like day-old bread; treated the Geneva Conventions and our Constitution like suggestions.

All while calling people who disagreed America-haters; telling us that if we weren't with him, we were with the nation's enemies. His supporters wrapped themselves in the flag and declared themselves the True Patriots, the "Real Americans," so it was all but impossible for dissenters to express their abhorrence of conservative policy without seemingly attacking America itself—thus making it that much easier for a conservative president to turn America into a place the people they called the "America-haters" really, genuinely risked hating, by ridding it of everything that we love.

Does that sound familiar? It should.

And it was partly because I never "got over" Al Gore not being my president, never "got over" comparing what was with what could have been, that I had zero illusions about what was at stake in the last election.

I am certain Gore would have made mistakes. I am certain I would have had to spend some of my time criticizing his policies and advocating for him to do better. I am also certain that his presidency would have left this country, and the planet, in unfathomably better shape than Bush's did.

I am not "over" the catastrophic results of Bush's presidency, and I never will be.

Suffice it to say, I will not be getting over the last election anytime soon, either. And, frankly, neither should you.

Elections have consequences. And one of those consequences is people like me, who appreciated them in all their gravity, never getting over it and never shutting the fuck up about it.

Get over that.

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