The story you almost received this week was a scathing satire entitled “How to Get Elected President of the United States,” and as you might imagine, it was full of dark humor and biting sarcasm.
I had to get that out of my system, because honestly, it’s hard to see how this outcome could possibly be a good thing.
But – just for something different – let’s try.
Here are 5 ways to look on the bright side during this positively heartbreaking moment in American history:
First, Trump’s rise to power has woken us up to the fact that America is a much more divided country than we thought.
Across the board, many are left shaking our heads in shock and dismay, wondering how this could have happened, why we didn't even see it coming, and what it means for the kind of country we actually live in.
Having our illusions shattered is always painful and disorienting. But as long as they are left intact, their comfort prevents us from seeing what’s really there; and as long as we remain blind to the truth, we have no hope of influencing it.
If Trump had lost, all the fear and hatred and otherness that plagues our country would have been swept back under the rug, where it would have only continued pulling strings behind the scenes. His victory has brought what has always existed to the surface, where at least we can see it for what it is.
It may be a poor consolation prize, but at least this way, those of us who have been the victims of hate and bigotry no longer have to feel like they’re taking crazy pills; because the white majority no longer gets to pretend that everything is hunky dory.
Second, aren’t we all finally seeing how absurd our electoral process is?
I mean, if it only succeeds in creating deep polarization followed by widespread outrage and mass protests, then maybe it’s time to rethink how we go about electing the leader of the free world?
Perhaps years from now, we will see this deeply unfortunate turn of events as the painful kick-in-the-pants we needed to force us to re-examine an archaic two-party system that no longer serves us or makes any sense.
Third, a few great things happened while our collective jaws were hitting the floor around midnight on November 8th.
For a bit of context: in the entire history of the Senate, only two women of color have served, and they were elected 20 years apart.
Last week, Americans elected three women of color to the Senate in a single night.
Nevada elected Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, the nation’s first Latina senator.
California elected Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first Indian-American and second African-American woman senator.
And Illinois elected Senator Tammy Duckworth, the first Thai-American and first Democratic woman combat veteran to approve and reject treaties and decide whether Trump’s nominations for government office are acceptable.
These are not small victories – these are big moves forward. And they are not diminished by the fact that the President-elect is a narcissistic misogynist who must punctuate every sentence with an aggressive, disdainful sniff.
So, let’s all take a moment to give a cosmic high five to women of color in the Senate!
Fourth, the nature of change is like a pendulum.
We start to move in one direction, momentum builds and carries us to an extreme, and soon enough we get a little freaked out by the reality of that extreme, and we start to feel a strong pull in the opposite direction.
You see this already in the protests that have emerged all over the country, especially creative dialogue-fostering ones like the man with the subway post-its, which at the very least remind our friends and neighbors who feel most vulnerable that they are not alone – that much of the nation is appalled and alarmed, and that it’s not just politics as usual.
And this is all taking place just days after the election. Trump hasn’t even taken office yet. Imagine what the next 4 years might bring?
Years from now, when we look back on this embarrassing moment in American history, perhaps we will see this as one of those times when we all started freaking out enough to give a damn, and take action on behalf of justice and general human dignity.
Fifth, now that Trump is in power, his incendiary rhetoric and general outlandishness will no longer serve him.
These things make for a great villain, and a great villain makes for great TV – but what is a villain without a formidable opponent to interrupt and demonize?
Now that he's won, Trump has no choice but to become a politician, which will be hilarious for everyone watching. We’ve seen it already in his acceptance speech, when he VISIBLY remembered the advice of his strategist to emphasize his victory as “OUR victory” and the next step as “healing the divide.”
Of course it is lip service, but that’s what he’s stuck with now: trying to please everyone. He no longer gets to run around spreading hate and playing the villain; now he has to suck it up and play the peacekeeper.
Given the very real possibility that Trump never even wanted the presidency in the first place – that his whole campaign began as a ploy to gain the upper hand when it came time to re-negotiate his TV contract – How long, do you think, before this new set of rules becomes exhausting?
How long before the Highest Office in the Land starts to feel less like a victory – and more like a prison?
At a time when it’s so easy to fall into feelings of anger and despair, I hope you can take a little comfort – or at least a little amusement – in that.