Something scary just happened. Feel scared.
When Donald Trump started to win last night, it felt like the walls were closing in. It was tough to breathe. It felt like my dog died. I wanted to break things. I felt like locking the door and, for the first time in my life, buying a gun and pointing it out the window for the next four years at whatever fascists might be coming. This is the closest we've come to Mussolini and Stalin and Hitler, and it's scary.
People will tell you today that it America electing its first bully and strongman isn't a big deal, or the president doesn't have that much power, or that it'll all be over in four years, or that Donald Trump was just acting crazy so he could win, and everything will be fine. And maybe they're right.
Maybe we live in a different time, when the horrible things that have happened over the history of this world can't happen. Maybe dictators can't be dictators like they used to be, and the days are over when cruel men sent political opponents to prisons in the middle of Siberia to freeze their toes off. Maybe there will be Facebook protests and Twitter storms when and if Donald Trump starts to go crazy with power.
But maybe not. Fascism has happened in a lot of really good countries: Spain, Italy and Germany. It can happen here. When things started to go wrong last night I started to read George Orwell. He wrote 1984, and was one of the greatest fighters against fascism of last century, and he saw it coming. And he told us to watch out for it. Orwell said that TV and mass media actually makes it easier to fool people, because there is a screen and a camera in every room.
And, at a minute like this, it is important to look at the facts in front of us, and see things for what they are. Donald Trump hasn't done anything bad or scary yet. He hasn't deported people or taken press freedoms away or imposed "law and order" and put people in prison.
But if he does, Orwell also is one of the best examples of what you can do to fight fascism. He was a policeman in Asia during the British Empire, and when he saw the racism and cruelty of the British, he quit that. We can all quit our jobs when Trump tells us to do things that aren't right. Orwell picked up a gun to fight the fascists in Spain. We can all do that; if not with guns (please, please not with guns) but with little acts of civil disobedience. And Orwell spent the rest of his life writing about how dangerous fascists can be. We can all do that. We all have Facebook now. We can all write against fascism.
Fascism died in Europe. It might die in America, too.
Maybe nothing bad will ever happen. But you're not crazy or stupid to be really worried right now. And to feel nauseous. And to break something. And to feel like your dog died.