Seven days later

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It’s now been a week since Donald J. Trump stunningly became the 45th president elect of the United States.

Although I have never been an addict – except for freedom of speech and perhaps chocolate – I imagine that for those in recovery, the first seven days are the toughest. After this past week, I now have an even deeper respect for those going through a 12-step program of any kind.

No one predicted this presidential outcome. Especially not the numerous “professional” pollsters, who got it so wrong and whom should, tails between their collective legs, disappear ever after into galactic oblivion.

It’s not that I had any love affair with Hillary Rodham Clinton. In fact, I often didn’t like her. But certainly I respected HRC’s intellectual stamina, her continuous tight grasp of complex concepts and information and her capabilities as an attorney. I also admired her ability to continue standing while weathering thunderous storms, both personal and professional, which would have brought most mere mortals I know to their proverbial knees under such crushing weight.

Liking a politician is neither necessary nor required for any elected position. What is required though, at least for the highest office in the land, is a high level of intellect, a base line equilibrium temperament, and a passing (as in C-grade level) understanding of the US Constitution), none of which Trump appears to possess.

In the middle of the night following the election (3 am to be precise), I woke up with an intense start and thumping heart palpitations. In my semi-conscious state, I thought I was having a nightmare about the election, only to realize it was no nightmare, but the new reality with which we are now faced.

As further sleep would be impossible, I turned on the 24-hour news and waited for dawn and HRC’s concession speech. After 25 years of practicing law, it would be the first time in my life I ever wept while watching a speech.

I wept not for the fact that she lost, though there is that. Nor did I weep for the fact that a woman didn’t crack through the glass ceiling. I wept because somehow this already-great country managed, not by popular vote (HRC won that by a margin similar to that which JFK did in 1960), but to elect through its wholly antiquated electoral college, a man who never served in the military, had zero government, public or diplomatic experience, and worst of all, continuously expressed during the campaign his racist, bigoted, misogynistic views and utter nonsense about building a border wall with Mexico on Mexico’s peso.

In the days since, some Europeans have made some striking parallels to Trump’s rise with the rise of France’s Marine Le Pen and her Nationalist Party, and also to the Brexit vote. While there may be some similarities to the causes which have resulted in Le Pen’s popularity and the Brexit vote, given the size of the US and its place on the world stage, there is little doubt that the ramifications, or rather the trembling aftershocks of Trump’s win, will be felt in the US and internationally, and felt hard, and in all likelihood will be excruciating.

During the next four years I will do my best to continue the important and necessary fight to maintain free speech (and perhaps consume less chocolate). And though religiously agnostic, I will also regularly pray – to anyone listening or available – for the continued good health of the eight remaining US Supreme Court justices.

Julie L. Kessler
Julie L. Kessler is an attorney based in Los Angeles, a freelance writer for several publications, and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight.”
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