There's no easy descriptor to capture the mood in the INDY's office last Wednesday. Shock? Yeah. Disbelief? Yep. Anger? Definitely. Despair? That too. An admixture of those things, leavened only by a bottle of whiskey and the knowledge that Pat McCrory would soon (probably) be sent home to Charlotte. Had a Donald Trump supporter happened upon us, he would have indulged in no small amount of schadenfreude.
President-elect Donald Trump. The categorically mendacious, proudly ignorant, profoundly unserious, objectively racist birther-in-chief who began his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants "rapists," who bragged on tape about his pussy-grabbing technique, who made goo-goo eyes at dictators and authoritarian strongmen, who is soon due in court over Trump University fraud allegations, who promised to ban Muslim immigration and slandered the parents of a fallen soldier, who claimed he knew more about ISIS than generals, who polls almost uniformly assured us had no chance—that guy will soon have his finger on the nukes and the ability to undo all of the progress made over the last eight years.
In short, America—or, at least, a not-quite-plurality of Americans—screwed up, and screwed up bad, and the planet will be living with the consequences of that cataclysmic mistake for decades to come, if not longer. There are some blows, some self-inflected wounds, from which you don't come back.
So we mourned the country we thought we knew, the country that let us down, that proved itself less than we imagined. We drank and we talked. It was funereal, at times cathartic. But the thing we kept coming back to, the thing percolating in everyone's mind, was this question: Now what?
Or, more specifically: How does the progressive movement—those of us who value economic and social justice, who believe in civil rights and free speech, who think that climate change is a clear and present danger and sociopaths shouldn't have ready access to assault rifles—advance in the age of Trump? How do we push back against the nightmare that is to come? In so many words, where do we go from here?
And so we decided to scrap everything we had planned for this week's issue—news, music, arts, etc.—and focus all of our energy on answering that question, not to wallow in our misery or cower in fear, but to outline a vision of our resistance. In these pages, you'll find stories and essays on the history that got us here and the future of the left, how women and people of color should react to the Trump presidency, and the steps we can all take to fight the inevitable abuses.
Trump won because of a systematic failure: of the disengaged left and pusillanimous Democratic elites, of clickbait-driven media and absent civic engagement, of empathy and tolerance and critical thinking. (Also, the anachronism of the Electoral College.) His election is a stain, his ideology a malignant tumor. Those of us who envision a better country, a more prosperous and egalitarian country, must resolve to never let this happen again.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go refill my glass.
From Nixon to Trump By Barry Yeoman
What I Got Wrong By Jeffrey C. Billman
Poor White Man By Brian Howe
In Trump’s North Carolina By Troy Herring
A Story for My Little Girl By Ken Fine
Portraits of Hope By Ben McKeown
Nasty Women Rise Up By Allison Hussey
To the Women Who Raised Us By Lauren Horsch
The Eyes of a Child By Daniel Klein
Immigrant Rights in Trump’s USA By Elisa Hernandez
Muslim Artists Speak Out By Laila Nur, Saba Taj, and Zaina Alsous
The Left Must Organize or Die By Paul Blest
Activism 101: Show Up By Victoria Bouloubasis
No Silver Lining Here By Paul Blest
Where to Donate By Allison Hussey
This article appeared in print with the headline "Where Do We Go From Here?"