Michele A'Court: I lie awake and worry about Trump world

The President-elect of the United States and his third-lady Melania Trump.
MARK KAUZLARICH/REUTERS

The President-elect of the United States and his third-lady Melania Trump.

I slept badly the night they elected President Trump. There were several contributing factors. First (let's say it again because we're going to have to get used to it) because of those two words: "President Trump".

Second, I'd started drinking at 5pm which, given the circumstances, showed remarkable restraint but it never leads to restful slumber. Note to self: pull back on the booze. Soon. Ish. Between now and inauguration.

Third, the cat, sensing the household gloom, brought us the gift of a live mouse at dawn. My husband took them both out and locked the cat door. I went back to sleep and dreamt that the rodent was orange.

Donald Trump is not the leader of a movement in the traditional sense – his skill was in capturing pre-existing anger.
CARLO ALLEGRI

Donald Trump is not the leader of a movement in the traditional sense – his skill was in capturing pre-existing anger.

I'd already woken earlier in a panic about the Roosevelt Room. After years of watching The West Wing, House of Cards (which now seems like a rom-com) and Veep, I've come to think of the White House as a place I visit. "Oh my god, he gets to redecorate!" It's the small things that bother you in the small hours.

And there was another dream about the coming moment in January when the outgoing President and First Lady welcome the President Elect and his third lady, broadcast live. In the nightmare, as Michelle Obama graciously (but with a look in her eyes) holds out her hand, Trump instead grabs her in the place he says he likes to grab women. And then everyone grins and shrieks, "Locker room banter!"

Awake then and sweating, I made myself imagine her using all the force of her perfectly-toned upper arms to punch him in the face, then turning to say, "When he goes low, we go high." It helped.

In the morning, I thought about Rosie O'Donnell and wondered what it felt like to be so publicly hated by your country's president. Or to be one of the women who have named themselves as victims of the sexual assault he has bragged about committing. Or to be Latino, or Muslim American, or gay.

To cheer myself up briefly, I imagined being Trump. Feeling pretty terrific today, but also tired, and having it slowly dawn that now he actually has to do this bloody job. We know he loves making the deal, but is less suited to the follow-through. Pretty casual about bankruptcy.

He's not the leader of a movement in the traditional sense – his skill was in capturing pre-existing anger (at joblessness, poverty and political elitism) while simultaneously capturing a mainstream political party that had lost its way. A wagon was thundering towards Washington, Trump threw himself on board and arrived at the White House.

After months of digging down into why so many Americans are angry, I understand why they voted for him. But I suspect that this born-into-privilege tax-dodging narcissist will not be their hero for long, much less four years.

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This doesn't bring me any joy. Because there are two dangerous things that are about to happen. The first is that – with a Republican Senate and Congress to work with - he will be able to keep some promises. The second danger is that he will not be able to keep them all.

Trump's promises are somewhat different from the usual ones politicians make. Unequivocal, specific. There's no "work towards" or "try to". Which is why they've sounded so attractive.

Build a wall; smash ISIS; put Hillary Clinton in prison; throw out Obamacare (with the frighteningly less specific "replace it with something terrific"); ban Muslim immigrants; put Muslim Americans on a register; stop trading with China; halt globalisation of manufacturing; and sue the women who accused him of sexual harassment.

Plus his VP's promises: overturn Roe v Wade; "punish" women who have abortions by forcing them to hold public funerals for the foetus; legislate against gay marriage; and treat homosexuality as an illness to be cured.

Clearly, someone like me thinks many of those promises should not be kept. But not keeping all those promises is also dangerous – think about what happens to the anger then. What happens when Donald Trump turns out to be what he really is - part of the establishment, another representative of the elite that so many Americans just voted against? Someone who makes his home in the swamp instead of draining it. They'll be even angrier, and they've got guns. There's a chance they won't be looking for a do-over at a polling station.

Yeah, I know. Sounding like an hysterical woman bleeding out of my "wherever". You know what? I wish. I'd like to diminish all this, and soothe. Or cheer-lead the coming "shake up" like an increasing number of my social media acquaintances. Or say it is all going to be ok. But I don't think it is.

What we can do as global citizens is speak up. Offer our voices. Also, our ears. Engage with, rather than dismiss. Try the opposite of Trump. Which is kindness.

 - The Press

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