Were close-knit. It helps ease the pain: Seattle mourns Trumps victory

In the most liberal of cities on the left coast, residents tell of their sadness and anger at the election

Heavy, grey skies and steady rain perfectly reflected the mood in Seattle on the day after election day. The weather of funerals for a city with a broken heart. A deep funk had descended. Parents dropping children at school, commuters waiting for the bus and customers in coffee shops spoke in hushed tones, sighing and shaking their heads.

Michael Foote, 70, a Bernie Sanders supporter, was sheltering under the awning of an organic supermarket, selling the Real Change street newspaper. Trumps really creepy, he said. You wouldnt want to be in the same room with him. Why did he win? His celebrity, wealth, his scaremongering and bigotry. His customers were depressed and despondent, he said, but he knew one who wouldnt be. A woman had bought a paper just before the election, only to give it back to him once shed read it in her car. She said: You can keep the $2, but Im afraid the only real change will come if Donald Trump is elected president.

Trumps surprise victory floored many in this most liberal of cities, which overwhelmingly voted Democratic, along with other states on Americas west coast, dubbed the left coast. As darkness fell, sadness turned to anger. Hundreds filled the streets at an anti-Trump rally, venting their frustration, shouting, not our president. The demonstrators dispersed after an unrelated shooting outside a nearby 7-Eleven shop left five people injured and brought scores of armed police and helicopters to the area.

Langstin Hendricks, 24, a business studies graduate who works in retail, was wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to the demo. Im very disappointed in the America were living in right now, he said. A person who is racist and sexist is representing what we stand for. It makes me mad and sad that 50% of the country wanted him. I fear what will happen. Trump doesnt respect government or the military and hell have the nuclear codes.

A Democrat supporter in Seattles Capitol Hill neighbourhood during an anti-Trump protest. Photograph: Ted S. Warren/AP

As swaths of the divided nation celebrated, despair cut across age, race, gender and religion in Seattle. Washington states largest city is booming, thanks to tech titans such as Amazon, Microsoft and Expedia, and prides itself on its progressive soul. The $15-an-hour minimum wage, same-sex marriage and recreational use of marijuana have all been legalised recently. In Tuesdays elections, voters also approved tighter gun controls in the state.

Earlier in the day, pupils at two high schools staged walkouts in protest at the presidential election result, brandishing banners saying Fight it and Save our future, while passing motorists beeped horns in support and passers-by high-fived them. The school district received many calls from parents worried about the rhetoric of the election and a letter was sent to families saying it was expected that all children be treated positively and with respect without fear of bullying or intimidation. Counsellors were made available for teachers and pupils.

Emily Duncan said: My 10-year-old daughter asked me what the result meant for her. I said I hope it wont affect her, but I feel that Trump has made it OK to be racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic. I told her if one of your peers bullies anyone in any of those ways, you need to stand up for them.

Duncan, 31, was at work in a chocolate shop in Pike Place Market in the city centre and said she had felt on the verge of tears all morning. Ive cried in the last three elections for three different reasons. I really believed in Obama and then this. As soon as Trump got nominated, I knew hed win. Its like a cycle with presidents, eight years of good and eight of bad. What pushed me over the edge with president-elect Trump and thats still very hard for me to say is when he said he would punish women for having an abortion if it became illegal. (He later said that he would hold the doctor accountable, not the woman.)

She added: Now I read Nato is putting 300,000 troops on alert to face Russia and weve given the nuclear button to a child. I wish I could say itll be OK but I dont believe that. Im in shock. I saw it coming but its the hope that gets you. Duncan said the sense of community in Pike Place Market, which also houses a food bank, preschool, medical clinic and accommodation for the elderly and those on low incomes, was comforting. It eases it a little, being part of such a caring community.

Anti-Trump protesters march down Seattles Second Avenue. Photograph: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Popular with tourists and locals alike, the market overlooks Elliott Bay with its trawlers, cruise ships and ferries to nearby islands. The atmosphere was subdued as people browsed among stalls selling everything from cheese and meat to jewellery and antiques. Even the fishmongers tradition of throwing salmon to each other before they wrap it for customers failed to raise many smiles.

Rebecca Eider manages a news stand in the market. Its very quiet, people dont want to talk about it. Were in a bubble here in Seattle, she said. Theres a lot of people of different views between here and Boston. Right from the beginning the media didnt ask the right questions; they thought Trump was a joke. If they had done, it could have made a difference.

A few minutes walk from the market, a handful of people were standing outside the worlds first Starbucks, opened by the Seattle company in 1971, sipping lattes and cappuccinos. They were listening to Amelia Claire Bolyard recite an election day poem shed written urging people to journey forward, strong, compassionate and united. Bolyard, 40, an artist, church minister and Bernie Sanders fan, said she felt a physical pain in her gut when she heard the result: I had to do something to help relieve peoples anxiety. Every time I read it out, Im near to tears. To me, Trump corrodes the integrity of our people with his behaviour.

Meanwhile, at City Hall, a 200-strong crowd gathered to hear mayor Ed Murray speak. Despite the election of a president who has demonstrated outright misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism, racism and authoritarian tendencies, he said, Seattle would remain welcoming to immigrants and minorities. Seattle is the same city today that it was yesterday guided by equality and inclusion and openness, he said.

Earlier, Murray, who led the effort to legalise gay marriage he himself is gay and married said he would defend the rights of LGBTQ people: The president-elect has said he wants to turn back some of our gains. We will not lose the things that weve gained, the rings on our fingers.

His words may be some comfort to leadership consultant Larysa Slobodian, 50. Trump does not represent me, not as a small business owner, on healthcare; as a woman on culture; or as a lesbian on my rights to marry and be equal, she said. What does it say about this country that its acceptable to act the way he does and to say the things he does, and still get elected?

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/12/seattle-mourns-trump-victory-close-knit-pain


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