Disbelief, disappointment, and fear, and why our work is more important than ever


Hi everyone. I usually don’t post except on Mondays, but I can’t sleep right now and I need to process the feelings of disbelief, disappointment, and fear that are swirling. I know just this week I said that things will be OK, that the Apocalypse is not coming, that no matter who is elected president, we will continue to do our work to build a stronger community. But I can’t feel those words right now. I just feel awful. And I don’t know how helpful or even coherent this post will be.

How did this happen? How did we get here? I am in a state of bewilderment. This is mixed with sadness and a profound sense of loss and grief. I know many of you are feeling the same way. We as a sector fight on the side of justice and inclusion. We are all invested in the kind of ideal world we want to build—many of us dedicate our lives to it—and because of that we feel things more deeply. To see our nation choose walls, divisiveness, xenophobia, sexism, and demagoguery over love, hope, diversity, and community is devastating.

And it is disappointing and painful that we wasted a critical opportunity to make history and inspire and give hope to millions around the world. The opportunity will come again, I am certain, perhaps even as soon as four years, but right now that seems so far away, so unreachable.

I also feel fear and dread. There will be those who say, “Your candidate lost. Get over it” or “It’s just four or eight years.” I don’t think they understand what may be at stake for a lot of marginalized communities, who are hurting, who are in fear for their and their children’s futures. I took a break from watching the news to read to my three-year-old and tuck him in, glad that he has not been affected by this election. We have a friend, though, with an older son who has been asking for days if he might get deported. He’s seven. I am fearful not so much for myself and my family, but for our friends who are Muslim, who are Latinx, who are Black, who identify as LGBTQ. One person I am close to, who is African American and who has been witnessing for years the injustice out there, told me, “I don’t know what safety looks like anymore.”

In light of all this, I don’t know how I can focus on work today. How do we have meetings, write grant proposals, run programs, enter names into the database, answer emails. How do we get back to normal when so many of us feel so distraught for ourselves, for our clients, for our entire society. 

I hope you are doing OK. But it’s OK to not be OK. It will take us a while to process this loss. Like in grief, we will go through phases, including anger and sadness. And we each process in different ways. Some of us need to talk and be in community. Some of us just want to be alone. If you need to focus on your work, that’s OK. And if you need to just stay home, or be with your family, please do that. If you feel like crying, you’re not alone. Half the country is in mourning. Let’s check in and be sympathetic with each other, but let’s allow each of us to process—or not—in whatever ways that are best for us.

Right now, I can’t offer much encouragement, because I honestly just feel like crap. I’ve had presidential candidates I supported who didn’t win, but I’ve never been as affected as I am by this particular loss. I know that eventually we will pick ourselves up, will continue our work, which is now even more urgent. We have to protect the progress we have made in marriage equality, gender equity, anti-racism, inclusion, climate change, and other social justice areas. We have to rally even more vigorously to mobilize our communities. We have to prepare now for the next election cycle. Our work to advance civic participation and social justice is more critical now than ever.

Eventually, like we always do, we will rise, and we will continue to build a stronger, more inclusive community. But right now, let us take care of ourselves and each other. Let us all allow ourselves to feel whatever we are feeling and do whatever we need to get some degree of healing. It will take a while; this is not a normal election loss for many of us, and we shouldn’t act as if it were.

I’m thinking of you, and I’m thankful for your work and for the community we build together.


91 thoughts on “Disbelief, disappointment, and fear, and why our work is more important than ever

  1. Quailallstar

    America has voted. Nothing really to be disappointed about given another 4 years of Obama-like policies would have further ruined this once fine country of ours. This is the beauty of the United States; the people voted and their voices have been heard. #imwithhim

    1. Coleen

      Actually, Clinton won the popular vote – so America didn’t vote Trump in, 276 people in the electoral college chose the president.

    2. SophieB

      Colleen is right–the people did speak and voted for Clinton.

      But, I also have to say that while you are free to believe whatever you want, I find it inappropriate to choose this time and this place to express those opinions. Can you not understand that this is a place for support and comfort for those of us truly grieving over the reality of the election results and its implications?

      1. JKoz

        ‘support and comfort”?!? What are we, eight years old? It’s an election, not a funeral. Vu is being a bit overly dramatic and histrionic. I suspect he’s trolling you with this post by getting you to emote and then bond. Face it, we all got screwed when the powers that be put the screws to Bernie. But we surrendered meekly to that outrage and thus today have to pay the price for our lack backbone.

        1. Bellasmom

          Agree! Why was Bernie’s situation glossed over? I wanted the campaign to be completely done over after I realized that it was corrupt on both sides. What a loss to have had him lose the Democratic candidacy.

  2. juliuson

    I am very grateful for your post this morning. It was much needed and I thank you for taking the time to write and share it. You helped me shake it off and get up and keep working today – which is, after all, what we do.

  3. Tanya Gonzalez

    I think a lot of people are up late tonight reconciling this all. Most people want to believe that people are inherently good. For those of us working in the nonprofit sector, we don’t have to believe—we know this to be true. We see/hear/feel goodness everyday in our work. I never thought we’d end up here.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. Brooke Battle

    Thank you for posting — I also have not slept and am gripped by fear. The role of the nonprofit community is more important than ever. I know many will be rocked if the markets do not recover from this election soon.

  5. stephanie

    I am so with you on this. After working through the Reagan years and the Bush years, this makes all that we went through during those amazingly difficult times seem lightweight in comparison to what lies ahead. After I come out from my little ball I’ll be ready, I guess, to get back to work on well, ok, every civil liberty we hope to maintain. Thanks for your writing. It’s a genuinely great read.

  6. abstract668

    Thank you. For me, the message is that misogyny is embedded much more deeply in our culture than racism. I am hurting because people I considered to be brothers and sisters are blaming the woman for her own loss. I am hurting because they are blaming her husband. I can’t even look at Facebook. I can’t face some of my friends. I am old enough to remember losses including 1972 and 1980. Those losses happened to white men, and it took years and many compromises to recover. It was Nixon who instituted wage and price controls in 1970. Now we have a president who claims to be a billionaire and is proud that he doesn’t pay taxes. He is also a symbol of the dangers women face from male sexual predators. We are not moving forward.

  7. Sam Ursu

    Well, right now I’m just consoling myself with the fact that it’s still early days, the president isn’t a monarch, and the people will have to figure out what it is they want beyond just casting a vote.

  8. Lenore

    Thank you for this post. You express my feelings exactly. In time we will get back to normal, or a new normal. We will adjust. We will continue to fight. But right now it is so hard to process. Like you, I am bewildered, saddened and fearful over the future of our nation. I still hope, but it will take time to process these feelings.

  9. Alissa Schwartz

    Thank you so so so much for your post. I was 12 when Reagan was elected and I sensed then the beginning of a Dark Age. What I and others are feeling now doesn’t even compare. This feels like a vote for fascism and has me really worried for our country and the earth as a whole. It makes me feel like we as a people are letting our ancestors down who fought so hard for life, freedom, equality. I will continue to keep on keepin’ on, and I know my friends and colleagues will continue to do so, too. It’s a long, hard slog and we are up for it.

    1. Julia Wade

      I read this comment on Nov. 9, and it absolutely floored me. It’s the most perfect thing I could have heard. “Organize, be brave, and lead with love.” It is exactly how I plan to get through the next 4 years. I shared it with my best friend and every day she posts on FB a checklist for herself, “How to Prevent Trump’s Worst Promises from Coming True” and the last item on the checklist is always “Organize, be brave and lead with love!”
      Thank you, Amy.

  10. Janet Hamada

    Thank you, Vu, for eloquently expressing what so many of us are feeling right now. That little girl in my profile picture was living through the utter turmoil of the 1970s, so I know I can survive this too–but the time and space to grieve collectively sure helps. Take care of yourself today.

  11. Nicki Inch

    As a Canadian, I watched the results of this election with horror and went to bed feeling sick to my stomach…woke up feeling much the same way. I remember having feelings much the same way when we re-elected a man called Stephen Harper to head our government and he brought to the table very similar values as Trump, maybe not as extreme but pretty close.

    We found out that there really is only so much damage a head of state can do in a democratic society, there are checks and balances in place that won’t allow him to completely overhaul the system. Trump doesn’t exactly have the complete backing of the republican party and I pray that common sense will prevail, although I imagine it would only take one or two Trump temper tantrums to over ride that.

    There is only so much of this hate and bigotry that people will take, at our last election Harper’s rhetoric had become even more hateful and divisive as his power had obviously gone to his head, (he’d been in office for 10 very long years) and we chose as a nation that enough was enough. Trump’s appeal will be short lived. There will be a love backlash, and when that happens it will be amazing.

    Hang in there, support those that will need it in these trying times, support each other and work like hell to keep those voices of reason heard.You will survive.

    1. Tammi Edwards

      Thank you for sharing Nicki. I am going to be hopeful that common sense will prevail but right now, my heart is just broken.

  12. Judy Levine

    Thank you for writing. I am trying to process my own disbelief and horror at what is to come. And to be a leader for my staff and our community – in a situation that seems unimaginably dark.

  13. Darren

    Yeah. Before seeing the email notification from Nonprofitwithballs, I was emotional. Thanks to the election results confirming what I had dreaded, I was at odds.

    Rationally, I know we’ll continue to live our lives and we’ll continue working to keep our families and communities healthy and safe. But there’s no doubt it will be harder than it has been. Rationally, the Earth will keep turning; the sun and moon will rise and fall. But I am scared. Will everyone manage to remain rational? Will the messages of this campaign totally mess with the culture we’ve all been hoping to achieve? I wonder if more boys will think it’s ok to be violent. I wonder if it will become acceptable to be a nasty biggot in public again. What will happen at the barrel end of firearms toted by people who thought of themselves as marginalized and now feel powerful?
    I have strong appreciation and admiration for those of you who are working so hard to make the world better and safer and more comfortable for all the communities everywhere. You folks inspire me like crazy!

    I saw the first lines from this post in my email and my heart broke a little more deeply than it had been. I hadn’t considered how you fine folks might be affected. I hadn’t considered that you inspirational souls would be at odds like me. It’s so unfair! It seems that you’re almost always trudging uphill and yesterday there was a mudslide on that hill.

    Traction will be the devil for awhile. There will be more slips and slides and lots of foul language. But there will be tomorrow. There will always be a chance for better.
    You’re going to be ok!

  14. JL_Laurie

    And please, for all of us, grieve then keep working hard to Make America Great Again.

    Love and solidarity from Canada

  15. Kim Fellner

    Thanks, Vu. It’s hard to process that the lure of fascism can be so seductive to so many of our fellow inhabitants. It makes for a country with different risks, and it will take us a minute to find the way forward. But as you say, we do have each other, and a vision of equity, and we’ll find the courage and imagination to see us through.

  16. April Susan

    Thank you for sharing your grief with us. I have never cried at an election result before, let alone cry for hours. I hurt for the reasons that you have expressed above but also for my friends, even Dems albeit white males, who say “this is just a loss don’t be so dramatic. Life goes on and I can finally kiss my shitty insurance goodbye” REALLY? Are so many unable/unwilling to see the bigger picture…to care for humanity? We need to rally and work hard yes. But there is a lot of grief first.

  17. RobAlex

    I was shocked and dismayed. But I find a strange consolation in finally admitting to myself that I am living in an insane asylum. Trump is just the symptom. He never tried to hide his flaws but people voted for his empty unattainable promises anyway. As someone said below, misogyny is a seemingly powerful human trait since it exists in so many cultures. And women buy into it, sadly. I am old enough that I doubt I will see the recovery from this disaster if one happens.

  18. Beth Sethi

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. You are speaking for so many of us. Until we figure out what next, just being together in our grief and disbelief is comforting. Then together we will move forward and do what we do best – fight injustices no matter the source.

  19. Laura in California

    Thank you Vu. I am equally sick, depressed, and fearful for our country and it’s place in the world. But I must be equally resolved, committed, and organized to ensure that two/four years from now the results will be very different.
    Today we weep, tomorrow we mobilize.

  20. Ann Green

    Thank you, Vu! Your post was a welcome addition to my inbox. Your words are so eloquent. There’s not much more I can add. I’m still in shock, but we need to heal and come together to rise above the hatred and divisiveness.

  21. alananess

    Thank you for articulating so beautifully what i am feeling. We will rise again but I will take the time to grieve.

  22. Janice Klein

    Thanks to everyone – these comments are strong reminders that there are lots of us trying to good stuff everyday. Perhaps some comfort can be found in remembering that more good stuff is done locally than nationally. Here are some of the “local” things that I found comfort in today here in Arizona. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was finally voted out of office. The state approved an increase in the minimum wage. After years and years of being a sure thing for Republicans, we were considered a swing state. And the Arizona Republic (which endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate for the first time ever) folded the paper this morning so that the first thing I saw was a picture of the five beautiful young women who make up ASU’s incoming freshman basketball team (http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/e4463fc60f0c8efc9e9e63939dd066bdaf0958b0/c=28-0-366-254&r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/2016/11/08/Phoenix/Phoenix/636142261764785568-ASU-WBB-freshman-2016-17.jpg)

  23. Sharon Odden

    Thank you for your words this morning! Yes, I too am grieving, not for myself, but for those who will lose health insurance, those who will continue to be marginalized, those who virtually fear for their livelihood in this country! As a woman of faith, I will continue to pray for our country and its leaders! Reading all your comments here gives me hope!

  24. Morgan Mack-Rose

    Last night I went to bed thinking we should all play hooky today. Not go to work, not go to school. Hide under the covers. But I woke with a new resolve. There is too much work to be done.

    We need to drill down to why half of the voting country voted for hate.

    Well they didn’t. They didn’t vote for hate really. They voted for fear. The fear that other’s success will come at the expense of their own. And it has. But it isn’t the success of immigrants, African Americans, LGBTQ, or muslims that have syphoned off their success. It was the 1% that syphoned it off. “Its the economy, stupid.”

    Which makes our work all the more important. To stand together with all of those who woke this morning more afraid of what the future holds for them–deportation, stripping of their rights, persecution and prosecution–than ever before. And at the same time work to connect with those who DID vote out of fear and not hope. How do we give THEM hope too? How do we demonstrate that we can ALL succeed. How do we address the underlying issues of economic inequities that are happening to 99% of Americans.

    What doesn’t kill us, will make us stronger.

  25. ellenbristol

    I have a strong desire to sit shiva, the Jewish mourning ritual. Cover the mirrors, sit close to the ground, don’t shave or groom oneself, and be quiet for a week. Now more than ever we need a strong nonprofit community. Maybe a week of quiet mourning will help us find the courage to move ahead.

  26. Brandy Steffen

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel exactly the same and I’m still in shock! What can I do (here on the left coast) to help? Can things change in four years for the better? I hope that we get some positive leadership to help us all through this tough time. Thank you for adding your voice – we all need it today and going forward.

  27. David Lynn

    I think we in philanthropy and nonprofits need to ask ourselves if we have been fighting the right fights. If this is the result, have we been on the right track? Doubling-down on the strategies that we have used in the past does not create change if this was the result. We apparently haven’t focused on the right methods to effect change.

  28. michele

    My heart is so heavy with grief, I literally feel nauseous. I have been telling my husband for many weeks that we need to loop-play the commercial that ends, “We are more alike my friends than we are unalike.” While it is very tempting to jump on the hate-spewing bandwagon, I know I must resist for the greater good. I recently watched a TED talk in which the speaker addressed some root causes of our country’s political divide and made some suggestions for moving forward. I highly recommend the talk.. http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_can_a_divided_america_heal?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=button__2016-11-08#t-1205683. Thanks Vu for normalizing my feelings with an added dash of hope.

  29. Sherry S. Jennings

    Time for white progressive thinkers to wake up. And fight against discrimination IN ANY FORM. We are better than this America. Maybe I have been living in the comfort of my white skin. I’m not comfortable in it any longer. This orange colored buffoon may be president but he does not represent me or my values. Some may be hopeful that the person who takes office in January will be different from the one on the campaign trail. Yeah right. Let’s see if Mr. Smarty Pants can put out all the fires he lit in America or if he can rebuild all the bridges he burned. This is the worst reality show ever. I’m responding to HRC’s call to fight for what’s right. But I cannot yet have an open mind for the Donald.


  30. Debbie Duncan

    Thank you, Vu! Both re-elections of Nixon & George W. Bush were stunning to me. Today, beyond divisiveness and upholding segregation (on numerous levels), there is another level of fear. I agree that the democratic process in this country need serious revising, both parties are, IMHO, not functional except for their own self-serving power-mongering.

    But I am most afraid of the fragile national & global economy – having just skirted a major depression… so far. We are not out of the woods by a long shot. Political instability (Trump’s supporters have widely divergent goals), poorly considered shifts in alliance and policies, isolationism and extremism will dramatically alter the role of the US in very tumultuous times.

    We need to continue to build communication, community and civic education to allow the people and our leaders to explore, brainstorm and craft inclusive and effective actions and solutions to the challenges we face.

  31. Eric Burgess

    We have to believe that old mantra that “everything happens for a reason.” We just have to. We may not know why right now, but in time it will all make sense.

    What this country needs right now is unity, not more divisiveness. It’s up to us to set that tone. And that can only come from the acceptance that everything happens for a reason. Everything.

    1. Mark Bennett

      I have long since shifted from “everything happens for a reason” to “everything happens”. To project reason onto occurrence is to overlook the possibility that a system can topple for no other reason than it no longer has the energy to maintain itself. Carl Jung once stated that an entire culture can be lost in a single generation.

      1. Tatiana Stone

        I like this transition from “for a reason” to just “everything happens”. I think it is important because as humans we spend so much of our energy trying to find meaning and reason in sometimes unrelated things. The danger is that in this quest we may begin to project causation where there is none and thus let ourselves be distracted from analyzing and processing what is just simply happening. At the same time, I think that many people find a great deal of comfort and resolve in the idea that “everything happens for a reason”. For some, the idea that things just happen is too overwhelming and depressing, and for them, I think it is nice if they can keep the inspiration they get from thinking that things happen for a reason while avoiding the possible pitfalls of that philosophy.

    2. erinmalloy

      Why do we have to believe that? I personally find that the most offensive perspective around, having had it delivered to me often during the most horrific times in my life. Who is creating these “reasons”? Death, suffering, etc. are certainly parts of life, but are, luck much of life, irrational.

      1. Eric Burgess

        You’ve never applied for a job, gone through to the final round of interviews and then weren’t picked? Then, later you realize, “well, that happened for a reason because now I’m the happiest I’ve been ever in my new job as … insert title or role here.”

        How about growing up and dating? You never broke up from a relationship only to realize… “ahhh, I see why now.”

        Anyway, the point is, that’s how life works. It’s not an irrational way to go about thinking, it’s actually a real positive way to go through life. Sorta like having your glass half full!

        1. erinmalloy

          Re: job, No, I have never thought it happened for a reason.
          Re: dating, yes, I have said glad that’s over, or “what was I thinking,” and learned from the experience.
          Yes, I’m sure it is comforting to think there is a grand scheme, a master plan that was created with you, Eric Burgess in mind. I just don’t think that this is the way the world works at all! I deeply resent being told that this is the way things are and I MUST believe this. I don’t and I won’t, but I don’t resent you looking at this this way at all.
          My glass is nearly always half full, and when it dips below that line as it did yesterday, I talk to friends and family to fill it back up.

        2. Maryn Boess

          Sorry, I love the upbeat spirit but this conflates “reason” and “purpose.” The reason you weren’t picked for a job is that there was someone else they thought was a better choice. Is there a greater good or purpose behind that? No. Something better may very well come along. But that isn’t the “purpose” for having not been picked.

          But to use the common language about everything happening for a reason … No. Cancer doesn’t happen for a reason. Having a child fall very ill doesn’t happen for a reason. Good things can come out of anything, but that isn’t a “reason.” It’s something that happens, and then what happens after that something happens, at least partly because of how we stand with it. In retrospect we make meaning out of what happens. In retrospect we develop a deeper understanding, maybe, of the role we played in whatever happened. Trump happened “for a reason,” and the reason is that he won more electoral votes. There is always an opportunity to learn and grow from every experience. Not the same thing as there being some kind of “reason” out there waiting for us to stumble into it.

          That said, my heart is always hopeful at the opportunity to learn and grow … stay open-minded, eyes wide open, awake to possibility. Stay tuned …

  32. Heather Floyd Newell

    Thank you, Vu, for saying what so many of us are feeling and for your encouragement. As for me, I will be writing all my Congressfolk today.

  33. Michael Seiwerath

    Thank you for your post. I am devastated by this national news. However, I am thankful to live in the Puget Sound region, where a semblance of civility and reason continues and we have many great local allies, both within and outside of government.

  34. Garold Edwards

    I have unplugged from the news, and my office has become a political discussion-free zone. For now I will focus on the things I love most, and are most important to me: my family, my work, my music, and theater. In the coming weeks, months, and years we will reap what others have sown, but not today. Today I’m focusing on love.

  35. Michael Brand

    Way too many posts in the vein of ‘I don’t know how ‘X’ could vote for Trump”. Well here’s a thought. If you don’t have any Trump voters in your life maybe it’s a sign you need more diversity among your in-group. So make an effort this week to reach out to a Trump voter. Invite them to coffee then just sit back and listen. Talk WITH them, not DOWN to them. Stop with the name calling. The country just got a powerful message last night and it’s one we need to understand.

  36. Mehitabel

    Thanks for posting. I am past grief and shock right now. I have had to get through the past 18 hours literally a minute at a time.

    I don’t generally do this kind of thing, but I’m going to make an offer and an appeal. I have been working for the past year or so doing interim finance and operations management in the Seattle area. I ended my last engagement a few weeks ago, and have been taking a bit of time while casting around for either another engagement or a full-time job. So far, not much has surfaced.

    But after yesterday, I need to be doing something constructive. I need to connect and work with people who are trying to make things better. So… if you, or if anyone you know could use the services of someone with a couple of decades of experience in nonprofit finance and operations (HR, facilities, IT, etc) – please reply with a way to contact you via email, and I’ll shoot you my resume.

  37. Andy Kegley

    As disgusted as I am with the outcome, Vu’s words are a tonic, much as today’s Non Profit Quarterly dispatch. Part of our therapy is owning the problem, and yes, we do own it collectively. We had a sub-optimal but experienced candidate as the alternative to a vastly inexperienced sub-optimal candidate. Here in rural America, the so-called ‘fly-over’ section, the anger and mistrust over all things government, economy and media fueled a brush fire which escalated, and probably isn’t going to be contained by the incoming administration. Hence, our job and respective missions just became more critical. We’ll need to figure out mutual strategies to address the systemic problems at the core, get the foundations on board, as it’s likely government won’t be picking up the slack. Indeed, the gap will expand, hitting those who did the voting yesterday the hardest. Alas.

  38. Ryan McConnell

    Let’s also remember the marginalized communities who suffered under that great hope of all mankind, Barack Obama. He sued the Little Sisters of the Poor – elderly women who have given their entire lives to serving others – because he didn’t want them to be able to live out their religious convictions. He promised to get us out of wars, but instead we are in more now than ever before. He and his secretary of state completely ignored those “deplorables” who live in the middle of the country, many of whom are poor, living paycheck to paycheck, and working hard to keep their families fed and clothed.

    Disagree with Trump’s positions, but let’s not pretend that he is racist or bigoted or a homophobe, any more than we said that Obama was racist or bigoted or anti-Christian because of the policies that he instituted (often by fiat) that we disagreed with.

    1. Webdunce

      Are you kidding? Affordable Care Act mandates that contraception be covered. Despite the protestations from religious groups, we are, in fact, a secular nation of laws not predicated on any one religious belief. Obama offered an alternative – a work around on the contraception issue – that was not enough for the religious zealots. Too bad. As far as the wars go, we are not by any means “in more now than ever.” Our military footprint is the smallest it’s been in years. And as far as middle America, no one ignored them. They were given extensions on unemployment benefits for up to two years, subsidized health insurance, multiple chances to get help with college education tuition and retraining for different jobs. It sucks to be poor, I know this first hand. Never have I expected the president of the United States to pull me out of poverty. There were more programs to help the poor under Obama than any administration in my lifetime. That’s a fact.

      1. Ryan McConnell

        Lets remember that the right to contraception is not enumerated in the constitution, but the right to religious freedom is (the government cannot establish or enforce a religion… but it is. The government has decreed that women have an unalienable right to free contraception, despite that fact that many Christians (especially Catholics, and ALL Christians up until the 1930s) believe that providing contraception is a grave sin… That’s the government establishing a religion.

        And let’s not hang on to the “workaround” canard. Contraception costs money. So the government said, “you don’t have to provide contraception, but it will be provided by the insurance company anyway – free of charge… it will come from the ether, the magical contraception fairy will provide it… your employees will get it, but it WON’T come from you. Please – people aren’t that dumb.

          1. Webdunce

            Yes, They are factored in. Too freaking bad. Other things are factored in as well such as “free” wellness exams, “free” mammograms and colonoscopies. It’s called health care.

          2. Ryan McConnell

            Then don’t claim that religious organizations aren’t being forced to pay for contraception. There’s no such thing as “free.”

  39. Jane Spickett

    This is for you. I’ve been writing it today in between calling friends who are also vulnerable. Tank you for *your* voice!

    There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken,

    A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.

    There is a sorrow beyond all grief which leads to joy,

    And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.

    There is a hollow space too vast for words

    Through which we pass with each loss,

    Out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.

    There is a cry deeper than all sound

    Whose serrated edges cut the heart as we break open

    To the place inside which is unbreakable and whole,

    While learning to sing.

    ~ Rashani ~

    I *know* the truth of this. Some of you do too.

    I am part of many vulnerable groups: my immigration status, sexual orientation, social class, lack of wealth and the means of acquiring it, gender. I have fought my way out of horrors that can sometimes still threaten to pull me back.

    I am angry. I am grieving. But I will not despair.

    Here’s what I know. I have internal resources. I have community. I have a fierce commitment to people who have a fierce commitment to MLK’s dream. I will do my very best not to let them down, and I will nurture myself and my community.

    This is not a time to just hunker down. This is a time to broaden our definition of family, of who anyone of us claims as ours. This is a time to broaden our definition of tribe, of community. Take all the benefits, safety, wealth, whatever anyone’s “privilege” is and use it. And keep using it. For women, for LGBT people. For people of color. For the undocumented. For Jews and Muslims. For the poor and those just barely getting by. This is a time to nurture ourselves, to care for each other, and to show up for the vision of what this country should and can be.

    I’m singing. Here’s my playlist:

    Meg Barnhouse: All Will Be Well.

    Si Se Puede: Wishing Chair.

    Magpie: Mary Brown, Abolitionist.

    Jan Novotka: The Presence You Are.

    Becky Williams: How Do You Find God? (The Hero’s Journey)

    Carrie Newcomer: Bare to the Bone. Anything With Wings.

    You Lift Me Up: Celtic Woman.

    Kim and Reggie Harris: Wade in the Water.

    Love – Jane

  40. Kim Leval

    Our staff and board are gathering by phone and google hangout today at noon to process, begin to heal and move forward. We are also going for hikes or walks in our different locations this morning. Thank you for your words. We are with you.

  41. Karin Lee Jaffie

    i was totally trying to be ok until you said it was ok to not be ok. i am not ok, ok? dang. ouch.

  42. dunwithitall

    Thank you so much for this post. We are indeed heartsick at this turn of events, definitely not ok, and need time to grieve and figure out how we move forward. But we will keep fighting for the greater good because that’s just what we do. You are not alone.

  43. David Marzahl

    What great posts to read as a loyal reader from Chicago and Illinois (another deeply blue state like Washington). I share everyones’ anger and frustration and the deep-seated need for our sector and activists to find constructive ways to fight what will be another chapter in our battle. If folks haven’t seen Van Jones eloquent remarks of last night on CNN (http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/11/09/van-jones-emotional-election-results-sot.cnn) , I urge you to watch them. Also, there’s a great piece from Inside Philanthropy which talks about How Philanthropy Forgot About the White Working Class by David Callahan

    If there’s one sure takeaway from the 2016 election, it’s that non-college-educated whites are furious at America’s cosmopolitan elite. And well they should be: The white working class has been decimated over the past few decades by economic shifts that elites of all stripes have either actively abetted or barely lifted a finger to challenge.

    Foundations and major donors share the blame for this dismal failure – tending either to ignore a white working class in crisis or bankroll policies that have exacerbated that crisis.

    Let’s start with globalization, far and away the biggest driver of the economic disaster that’s beset non-college-educated workers – not just by shifting manufacturing jobs overseas, but by depressing wages for all lower-skilled jobs, as economists like Josh Bevins have pointed out.

    Can you name a foundation that focuses on global trade and its impact on American living standards?

    Right, me neither. That’s because not a single major private foundation does significant grantmaking in this area. Those nonprofits that raise critical questions about trade, such as the Economic Policy Institute and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch find it a herculean task to raise money for this work. Back when I was in the think tank world, I tried to find grants for a trade initiative – only to give up and shut down the nascent program I had developed.

    Now, to be sure, there are some philanthropic dollars available for work on international economic policy, but most of that money flows from corporate funders or major donors from the business world. As I’ve described in the past, the premier Washington think tank in this space – the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a proponent of more free trade – is heavily funded by major corporations and the wealthy. Other think tanks that favor more free trade, like the American Enterprise Institute, have also done very well with major donors.

    So to recap: Even as globalization has devastated whole swaths of the American heartland and reduced living standards for tens of millions of Americans, nearly all the funding for work on this issue has gone to the cheerleaders of free trade, and it’s come from donors who’ve been the top winners from more open borders.

    Of course, free trade has created many benefits for ordinary consumers, and my point is not to say there are easy or clear-cut solutions to this challenging area. Rather, my point is that most funders have either tuned out the negative effects of free trade or been fervent supporters of greater liberalization of global markets.

    It’s not surprising that so few funders seem to care much about the plight of the white working class. National philanthropy tends to be the province of a cosmopolitan elite that is quite removed from the lives of Americans in flyover territory. The liberal philanthropoid class is largely drawn from the ranks of a highly educated meritocracy that’s been doing quite well in the new information age, where nice rewards come to those with strong cognitive skills and access to the best educational opportunities. What’s more, this class is disproportionately based in coastal and urban areas, far away from the heartland zones of despair where wages have plunged and mortality rates have soared. (And which Trump will win today by double-digit margins.)

    Most of the poor people in America are white. But the foundation world has tended to focus on poverty in communities of color, and here, funders really can be proud of the efforts they’ve made and some of the impacts they’ve had. However, while quite a few of these anti-poverty successes also deliver benefits to poor whites, the plight of this group is otherwise not on the foundation world’s mental front burner.

    The major donor class is even more checked out. It’s always important to remember that, when it comes to public policy, the rich really are different from ordinary folks: They are more conservative on economic issues and more liberal on social issues. Surveys show that affluent people are far more likely to favor free trade than lower-income Americans and far less likely to favor efforts to create jobs or raise the minimum wage. Meanwhile, today’s upper class takes it as a given that immigration is a good thing and is increasingly coalescing around an ecological agenda that many lower-class whites view as threatening, especially the millions who work in the fossil fuel industry, long a reliable source of livelihood for non-college-educated whites.

    Donald Trump doesn’t have any real solutions to the plight of the white working class, and many of his proposals would make things worse. Still, the millions who will vote for him today are not entirely irrational: The elites that govern America have failed them, and they are casting a vote against those elites.

    After this election, the philanthropy world needs to think long and hard about what it can do to address the plight of struggling white Americans who feel forgotten. These people tend live in small towns and exurban or rural areas in interior states. Philanthropy, as we know, has never done a very good job of reaching these places and lots of ideas have been floated over time for how funders might do more rural grantmaking. Now would be a good time to revisit that conversation. We’ve written a bit at IP lately, for example, about some of the interesting things funders are doing in Appalachia and in Rust Belt cities. In both areas, there’s room for plenty more grantmaking and creative thinking. The same goes for helping farmers, where there are also some good things going on among funders and lots of opportunity for new grantmakers to get involved.

    Putting new funding into critical work on trade and globalization could be helpful, too. That’s an issue where there’s an urgent need for a more inclusive and balanced debate. It’s not okay that the losers from globalization have so little voice in policy deliberations.

    Ultimately, though, the challenge goes deeper. For a bunch of reasons, philanthropy is a sector that’s especially dominated by the kind of cosmopolitan elites who are now viewed with strong distrust by many Americans. There’s a profound cultural gap between the holders or gatekeepers of great philanthropic wealth and ordinary citizens who live far from the Acela corridor and feel like corks getting buffeted around in today’s economy.

    How can we close that gap? That’s a longer discussion, but I think many of the tools that are now emerging to make philanthropy more responsive—engaging with communities, listening to grantees, and so on—will be an important part of any solution.

  44. gailperry

    Hey folks, I could use some help and support. Over on my Firedupfundraising.com blog, I posted a pretty political “How Will a Trump Presidency Impact Nonprofits, Fundraising and Philanthropy.” Well, the haters and conservatives have pounced on my post and they are filling the stream with their pro-Trump comments.

    If you have any extra energy today, it would be WONDERFUL if you can pls say something in support? I’d appreciate it so much and will not feel so attacked.


  45. Marianne Gellman

    Deciding what to wear this morning was not a problem – I have plenty of black clothes. I give thanks today that I’m not a youngster. I observe that over the last 30+ years, nonprofits have tended to prosper during Republican administrations, because individuals, corporations, and foundations realize that they MUST step up to pick up the slack created by government agency cutbacks. That gives me some hope. I’m worried about an existential threat to the survival of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and a multitude of federal social service and education programs.
    I fear for the future of the organization I work for (affordable housing), where 99% of contributed income over 40 years has come from grants, and fully half of those are from the federal government. I regret that management has not seen fit to be guided by my advice to put an aggressive individual giving program in place. I can only shake my head at the Board of Director’s sole focus on governance, ignoring fundraising altogether – no one who has enough money to put it where their mouth is, write big checks, and ask their friends to do the same. (I’ll take scant comfort in saying “I told you so.” Sadly, I think the chickens will shortly be coming home to roost.)
    Our colleagues at nonprofits on the Christian right are elated … but it’s a pity that Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and other sectarian causes can’t count on that same anticipated good fortune. I might even caution the right-to-life, anti-LBGT, climate-change deniers not to break out the champagne until they have some certainty about what’s actually coming down the road.
    Thanks, Vu

  46. Philip Arca

    Thank you Vu, for your site, sense of humor, the post. There is an emotional process we must all go through at our own pace. May we all find that path, and the stability to come to terms with a new reality.

    Going forward, I also wonder about the role of the sector if a Darwinian view of the world is truly part of the Trump Agenda. I would hope that we organize, perhaps take off the week in January, close our shops and demonstrate our collective strength and our unwillingness to take on all the negative externalities when a public sector does not work. We do so much to hold the fabric of society together that is not understood nor appreciated. Can we make ourselves more collectively visible — from advocacy groups to housing to mental health to zoos?

    Potentially part of his/this “vision” will be shrinking government with no compunction relative to its impact in real communities, real lives. We all tend to just shoulder more. That should stop.

    And concurrently, I look forward to any other way to take this negative and make it a positive. And would also welcome any way to find some semblance of humor in this event, after some grieving. Someone did say, “we tell our children — anyone can be president. Guess this proves it.”

  47. LA Fernea

    Thanks for this post! It was really needed. I sent it out to our entire staff and many were heartened by it. 🙂

  48. JKoz

    Let this be a lesson. We spend so much time focused upon race, gender and ethnicity that we totally overlooked (or minimized) the economic disaster befalling the white working class. They should be our natural allies yet we continue to belittle them by mocking their culture and hurling invectives such as ‘privilege’. So today we pay the price. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.

    1. Jessica W

      White working class people have long denied the socio-economic disaster befalling minorities, LGBTQ and women. Its goes both ways. Everyone just feels sorry for their own.

        1. Jessica W

          I’m white, upper middle class and Canadian so I’ll be just fine. But unlike you, I actually have empathy for people who don’t have it as easy as me.

    2. Webdunce

      Ironically, the average “white working class” Trump voter earns around $70K a year. This is without a college education.

  49. Marcee Stiltner

    I’ve turned away from all news sources and am blasting out my songs from the 60s, but they, too, make me heartsick. We’re now further from peace and love than we’ve ever been. Right now I feel despair but it’ll soon be anger and energy. As a very small beginning, Brexit protesters are wearing safety pins on their labels to show they are a safe place, and it’s beginning to show up here. I’m going to do the same thing and urge others to as well. That, and maybe a T-shirt that says “I’m old and white and I’m NOT with Trump!”

    Thank you, Vu, as well as all of you who have posted here, for providing a small island of compassion and acceptance.

  50. TanJam265

    I know there is a lot of rawness and gloating that has to run it’s

    course in the next few days, but I can’t help to pose a controversial,

    thought-provoking question:

    Do you think this election was a huge wake-up call from GOD? I am not

    necessarily talking about who the next president is, but more of the

    way we’ve been slipping as a country that has lead to this great

    division of our people. Could it be that all of the lying, bad-mouthing,

    hate-mongering, divisiveness, aggression, lack of respect, abuse of

    women, failing to be better stewards of our land and people has lead us

    to where we are this morning? I work in non-profit and I see the good stewardship all around me. I am talking about the bigger picture.

    Maybe God is saying, “Hey, will you turn to me NOW? You can’t rely on

    mere, fallible, imperfect men and women.” What if we

    all stopped and prayed for our country, our leaders, this world? Would

    we find healing and peace? http://www.tanjabuzzimoriarty.com

  51. Tatiana Stone

    Thank you for this, Vu. This helped me, a lot. I have a had a similar experience: I’ve had candidates I wanted to win not win before, I’ve lived through Republican-dominated governments, and it’s always felt like a set back, but nothing to cry about, nothing to be depressed about. And I didn’t think this election would be any different. Tuesday night I was in such a state of shock that I could not do anything unless I narrated it to myself out loud (I was alone) and reassured myself – “It’s okay, Tatiana. Now it’s time to set out your clothes for work tomorrow. Now it’s time to brush your teeth. Now it’s time to put on your pajamas, that’s right, one leg first, now the other”. I had turned off and created a comforting babysitter to wrangle me through my dissociation. In the days that followed I could barely eat and slept very little, both of which are extremely rare for me. I kept trying to find another reason for this unusual change in me because I kept thinking, “This can’t be because of the election”. But it was.

    The amount of love and outpouring of compassion and hope that I have seen people give since Tuesday night is heartwarming and inspiring and it is helping me to feel better (I ate two whole meals yesterday!). Thank you for your posts and for your particular sense of humor that I enjoy so much.

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