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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

A Dark Day

By Phil Plait

So. It has come to this. On Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, we will be inaugurating President Trump.

I am sickened by this more than almost anything else I have experienced in life. There is no way around this: Trump tapped into a racist, misogynistic current in this country. Perhaps there is more going on, with effects both subtle and overt that added up to his surge in the end. But the hatred, the othering he mined is there. This is no surprise to people of color, women, or those who have been religiously persecuted. They’ve been warning everyone for years. I heard them, but maybe not enough. Not clearly enough. And like many others I didn't see the extent and depth of that current.

These are dark times, and for the first time in my life I seriously fear for the future of my country. Even when George W. Bush was elected I didn’t feel this as deeply as I do now. Trump is a monster.

And yet, I see some hope. Whereas we had one woman of color in the Senate, we’ll soon have four. Kate Brown was elected governor of Oregon—the first time an LGBTQ governor has ever been elected. And the fierceness of the people I see in my social media means that many will fight whenever this new regime tries to undo the progress that has been made these past few years.

I will be among them. At this moment I’m not sure what it will take. At the very least it will mean listening to those who have been and are likely to be oppressed, and making sure my own voice amplifies theirs. This is something we all need to do, now more than ever.

This will be a colossal struggle. We are facing a sheer cliff of horrid potential disasters to be wrought by the Republican control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, from Supreme Court nominations and regulations on climate change, women's rights, and health care, to economic decisions that can increase the polarization of our nation and further depress the poor. Even freedom of the press is at risk.

Despite all this, here is what, for the moment, I cling to: Tens of millions of people in the United States of America didn’t buy the bill of goods Trump was selling. His election is a tremendous blow, to be sure, but we are still strong. This is our new reality, and what we do next will shape our nation, the planet, and the people on it, for decades to come.

Make sure you do good. We'll need every bit of it we can get.

See more of Slate’s election coverage.

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