When I offered to write a weekly "preview" of the US presidential election for this website 12 weeks ago, I could not, or did not, ever imagine myself having to write the following.
To look back on the suggestion is to recall a different time.
For that time I occupied a version of my America, one familiar to me, supported predominantly by hope, however nameless. This hope was bolstered by a belief in the country's capability and willingness to deny Donald J. Trump the presidency.
My belief, as it turns out, was wrongly held.
Good thing I joked when I could, marveled without real fear when I could, gave a Saturday to attending one of his rallies by myself for what was then, in essence, sport. Something done out of "curiosity". Something to relay to my parents over Skype.
Tonight I watched the results of the election in a narrow and very crowded bar near my apartment in New York City. It was rowdy on arrival, and it quietened, and it emptied out, and in the girls' bathroom — long, for me, a barometer for the evening I am having, for the collective experience of the women with me where I am — we stood in silence, variously inebriated, backs against the wall, anxiously refreshing news feeds on our phones.
Based on everything we have been subjected to in the last 18 months, it is very hard not to feel hopeless at the outcome of this election. The country has made its decision, about which there is not a lot left to say.
To me, the result constitutes an overwhelming assault on equality, stability, and decency. It constitutes victory for an America that is self-interested and irate to the point of studied unconcern about the running of the country.
As a woman, I find Trump’s success distressing. As a 28-year-old, I hate myself for indulging in a peers’ echo chamber of my own construction; as a journalist, for eating a lot of crow; and as a voter, for seeking refuge in something as ephemeral as faith (in what?).
As an American citizen recently returned to the country where I was born, I feel bitterly sad and profoundly afraid for the people for whom the place is already terrible and dangerous.
It is destabilising to begin thinking about all that Trump has said he will do, and to think about all the things he has never said, acknowledged, or committed to. It is alarming to know he will follow Barack Obama into the White House, to imagine Mike Pence in Joe Biden’s place.
“Her path to 270 was this,” CNN’s John King said at twenty minutes to eleven, tracing his finger over the state outlines and graphs once designated for Hillary Clinton on the screen by his side.
The selected tense was sickening, and it felt too soon. At or around that time, one tweet in the dizzying eddy of shock and outrage caught my eye.
“Whatever happens, we have lost,” the African American writer Baratunde Thurston had said. “Half this nation voted for white supremacy, sexual assault, and more. The Klan is happy. We should be sad.”