The first 48 hours as the heart throbs and the tears flow

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

Since we who live on the West Coast are three hours ahead of other states, I was more than prepared to watch the doings and goings-on of the all-important November 8th elections panning out in other regions.

It is customary to have ample food and liquids in anticipation of events that are primarily focused on television. I was ready for a feast, and a toast as soon as the final outcome of the electoral votes would appear on the screen.

The first hour exuded optimism. It showed Hillary Clinton, my immediate choice for the presidency as leading the count.

Commentators however started to state: “As time is proving, a billionaire with no political experience is in dead heat for the presidency.” And the invitation continued: “Stay with us.” I did.

Three hours moved on. It started to become clear: Donald Trump was on the receiving end of considerably more support from the electorate than he did earn – contrary to what pundits and prognosticators had predicted. Several questions besieged me. I could not accept the figures that were looming on the television screen.

Where did the pundits and pollsters from the two major parties get their figures?

How did an opinionated self-announced billionaire with nil political experience and a willful ignorance about government seize the nomination of a major party from a large field of senators and governors, and end up in a dead heat against a well-seasoned Democratic politician?

Why didn’t the Republican nominee fall earlier when he was caught in lies, large and small, and proofs from those who came forward revealed him to be a bully, a racist and a misogynist?

When the last figures came, November 8th morphed into another date. I couldn’t believe I was in tears. Never was I ever moved in that manner in front of a TV screen. But my tears were not shed in vain. I told myself I would still be able to tell members of the younger generation to hope for a lucid future. After all, the future presidency would last only that length: 4 years.

Truth to tell, although I was alone as I watched the scenes from all over the country tell the tale of woes, I started to tell myself: it would have been better if the first major-party female presidential nominee hadn’t been forced to endure a grossly sexist and downright abusive campaign.

Hillary Clinton’s ability to get into the ring day after day against an opponent who dished out a ceaseless barrage of off-the-wall, divisive and dangerous rhetoric was, for me, an awesome feat. I am an octogenarian, having lived on these shores for more than half-a-century of learning what there is to learn and I’m still learning.

I cannot recall a single presidential candidate who has had to endure the lynch mob mentality (“Lock her up!”) and (“Corrupt Hillary!”) all incited by the Republican opponent each time he appeared among his supporters.

Likewise, I cannot recall all other presidential candidates since 1960 who called Mexican immigrants “rapists” as Donald Trump compared African and Latino neighborhoods into war zones. In the process, he promised a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

As the months of the Trump campaign wore on, all sorts of comments served as the brew that kept on mounting as it reportedly energized his supporters, non-college educated white males who accepted his insult-driven politics as a sign of authenticity.

But like all committed supporters of the Clinton campaign, I didn’t consider the Trump remarks that significant. I consoled myself, truth will surface.

The outcome has been out since midnight of November 8, 2016. I am so saddened that Hillary Clinton did not make it to the presidency. It wasn’t just because of gender that I threw my lot with her. I admired her huge courage, strength and rock-solid resolve in the face of all indescribable and incredible hatred and scorn.

My computer’s keyboard is now soaked. But before I conclude, I will never, never take back what I’ve said and written about Hillary Clinton to lead the United States. Not only is she supremely qualified for president. Not solely did I vote for her, but without hesitation, I would join others who would nominate her as Wonder Woman.

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