You’re not alone. I’ve had a pain in my chest all day long, almost every day, since the election.

It’s finally getting better, and I think that it’s partly because I’ve started hearing that I’m not the only one feeling like this. Lots of my friends have been feeling sick too. Doctors are reporting that this sort of thing is being seen everywhere.

The results of the election are making us physically sick.

What’s up with that? What’s wrong with us? Are we really such weaklings?

After all, that’s what Trump supporters are asking. They’re mocking the fact that we’re so upset.

But I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with you if a KKK rally doesn’t make you nauseated. There’s something wrong with you if the sound of people doing the “Heil Hitler” salute in honor of your president-elect doesn’t make something inside of you scream out in horror.

The story of a Muslim woman being physically attacked on the street by someone screaming “Trump” should fill you with disgust. You should be heartbroken by the sight of children crying because they’re being physically and verbally abused for the color of their skin by Trump supporters.

But why is your moral outrage making you so sick?

Psychologists and behaviorists [1] theorize that moral disgust is based on the rules we learn as a child. Very early on, we learn what we’re allowed to eat and what to avoid. We learn, for instance, to avoid contact with human waste. We feel nauseated by the things that we’re supposed to stay away from—our body is telling us to steer clear of “bad food”—and rules like this keep us alive.

As we age, these rules are extended to include cultural norms. When people see a video of Neo-Nazis, for instance, they become physically nauseated because they are literally disgusted by what they’re seeing. They’re not just being dramatic or overly-sensitive. The same areas of the brain that are activated by disgust for human waste are activated by disgust at the sight of a KKK rally.

Of course, moral disgust varies along with cultural norms. Obviously, Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon would have no problem with a KKK rally. He might feel nauseated, however, by those ads on tv that so “daringly” star interracial couples.

So you’re not imagining it. Trump supporters are making you physically sick.

And you know what? That’s how it’s supposed to be.

Because you know who doesn’t get sick at the sight of a fellow human suffering? Sociopaths. Serial killers. When they see someone suffering, the part of the brain that’s supposed to freak out just sits there doing nothing.

I keep hearing that Trump won the election because liberals are too damn nice. We’re so fair-minded and kind that we let ourselves get beaten by people who’re willing to fight dirty.

I think that there might be something to that.

At the same time, we’re being told that we should get behind Trump—we should support him—because he’s going to be our president.

At first glance, that sounds nice. It sounds right. It sounds like the kind of unity that liberals are always saying we want. It sounds patriotic.

It sounds like the kind of thing that a rapist tells a rape victim: “Don’t fight back.”

When we complain, they say: “See you deserve what we’re doing to you.”

Some of Trump’s lackeys are saying that he wasn’t serious with all of his threats, so we should just relax. We should walk down the dark alley with the guy who’s threatened to rape us.

I don’t think so.

Every time that Trump says that he’ll be a president for all Americans, I’m 100% certain that his definition of America is limited to Wallstreet and the goose-stepping followers who’ll do his bidding.

Republicans NEVER got behind Obama. NEVER. If they’re telling you they did, they’re lying. They went out and bought guns. They said he should be impeached (Trump himself said it). They never gave him credit for saving the auto industry or digging the economy out of the hole that Bush put us in. They laid in wait—I give ‘em credit for that—and with one election they turned the clock on America back a hundred years.

So yeah I’m sick, because I’m morally disgusted by what I’m seeing.

And I think that it’s even harder, as a woman, for me to fight back. Women aren’t supposed to criticize or to say no.

Last Friday, my hands were shaking as I called up the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (202-225-6371) to complain about the fact that they tweeted a link to an article from the Neo-Nazi publication Breitbart. [2] The woman who took my call asked for my name and my zip code and promised to pass my comments on. She didn’t argue with me or call me names. But still, it was scary, not only because I had to point out that someone had made a mistake, but I had to tell the government this.

This fear, like all of my worry and anger over the outbreak of hate crimes and everything else, translated itself into stress, which in turn has been making me sick.

Taking action helps (see Concrete Ways to Resist Trump). I felt better after I made that call. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I just sat by and let all of this all happen, without doing anything.

I need to turn the fear and anger into action.

I need to learn how to be ok with complaining, with saying “no,” with refusing to walk down the dark alley.

Every time that I feel guilty for not “uniting” behind Trump, I need to remind myself that this unity’s a lie. That the person who’s asking me to make nice is the very person who’s hurting me.

And it’s taken almost a month, but it’s finally stopped bothering me when Trump supporters make fun of me for being so upset. Because I’m not a sociopath. It hurts me to see people being hurt. And I’m proud of that.


1 Paul Rozin, Jonathan Haidt, and Clark McCauley, “Disgust,” in Michael Lewis, Jeannette Haviland-Jones, and Lisa Feldman Barrett, editors, Handbook of Emotions, NY: The Guilford Press, 2008, pages 758-71.

2 As if its publication in a Neo-Nazi journal wasn’t bad enough, this article, which denies climate change, makes basic mistakes with regard to the use of scientific principles and doesn’t properly back-up its claims with citations from credited scientific authorities.