Yesterday was the anniversary of the attacks in Paris at the Bataclan concert venue and other locations throughout the city. These terrorist attacks in 2015 were provocations intended, as my colleague Juan Cole, a history professor put it, to “sharpen the contradictions” within French society. The goal was to provoke a wave of repression and discrimination against French Muslims, making it impossible for Muslims and non-Muslims to live together in France.
As my friends and I watched the numbers on FiveThirtyEight and CNN’s coverage tick toward a Donald Trump victory, we tried to hold back our tears. I watched the evening unfold with a group of young women around me — all from different backgrounds, all brought together because we were hoping, desperately, that love and compassion and reason would win.
By now, we’ve started to figure out how much of a disaster Tuesday’s election was. The Democratic Party was served one of the most thorough defeats they’ve received this century, and the Electoral College system allowed Donald Trump to win the presidency. This means that a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Senate will likely allow whatever policy proposals Donald Trump proposes to be easily passed.
The first time I remember it happening, I was standing on the rooftop of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I had just finished a 600-mile solo pilgrimage, in which I walked from Seville in the south of Spain to Santiago in the northwestern corner over the course of six weeks. I was taking a tour of the Cathedral of Santiago and on this tour you are permitted to walk along the rooftop and view the old city below. One minute, I am simply standing on top of this cathedral, the next, the building is crumbling around me and I am falling to my death.
Yesterday our country got the first glimpse of a Trump presidency. He spoke about infrastructure spending, a conservative court and the need to come together as a nation. He named his energy and environmental policy transition teams, including a long-standing climate change denier.