Transcript

602: The Sun Comes Up

Note: This American Life is produced for the ear and designed to be heard. If you are able, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Prologue

Ira Glass

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. OK, so much has already been said about this week's news. And so what we're going to do today is very simple. We have people from all over the country, all walks of life, absorbing the news and getting to talk about what they are feeling and thinking. Some of these people you may agree with, some you will not. This has been a year where it feels like the two sides are so radically far apart. But of course, we all live here in this country together, we are all facing this future together-- what are we feeling right now as we do that? And I'm just going to start right in on our first stop.

Act One: South Florida

Ira Glass

Act One, Southern Florida. Our producer Miki Meek met these two police officers. They were both Latino, both voted Obama in 2008, then Romney in 2012, then Donald Trump this week.

Miki Meek

It was Thursday, middle of the night. And I was in the parking lot of a restaurant in South Florida, where these two officers were taking a short break. The news of President Trump had been out for exactly 24 hours, and they were still in shock. The results came in just as they were checking out a burglary at a local business. They turned and said to each other.

Alex

This is almost as good as the Dolphins winning the Super Bowl. You know?

Miki Meek

Yeah, I didn't know. I looked at the Miami Dolphins. The last time they won the Super Bowl, 1974.

Nick

We never expected anything. Just all of a sudden it happened.

Miki Meek

This is Nick. He and his partner Alex said they'd talk to me as long as I didn't use their real names or say what police department they worked for. Also, we had to kind of hide behind their SUV, just in case other cops drove by. Nick and Alex aren't supposed to talk to the press. But like a lot of police officers, the last couple of years have been pretty rough for them. And hearing Donald Trump be called President Trump, it calmed them. Here's Alex.

Alex

Right now is what we're thinking of, it's-- he's going to install members of his cabinet that are going to be more law and order.

Miki Meek

Then Nick jumped back in.

Nick

It was actually just a relief, like saying, God, maybe now there's a change in directions. Maybe now it's not OK to go out and riot in the streets and burn down buildings, saying, [BLEEP] the police. Maybe there will be hope. Maybe somebody's up there that could change that and say, hey, enough is enough.

Miki Meek

Here's an example of how they're treated. The night before, on election night, they stopped by a restaurant. There were a lot of people standing around the TV, and Trump was on, giving his victory speech.

Nick

And we asked to turn up the volume so we could listen to whatever was said. And one particular person said, no, we're not going to raise the volume on the TV.

Miki Meek

Someone else reached over and turned it up for them.

Nick

That person got extremely upset and said, why are you raising the volume for these people? And the person just shook their heads and walked away, like in disbelief. Like, I can't believe we've got to let these cops listen to what the president has to say.

Miki Meek

Like, what's the emotion that you felt?

Nick

It's kind of like, for many years, you're kind of like down under a rock. And then finally you kind of get used to living down there. You go to any bar, you go to any gathering or barbecue or anything like that, and the first thing, hey, what do you do for a living? And you're like, here we go. And it's like, the last thing I want to tell people is I'm a cop. I'm a firefighter.

Miki Meek

Is that what you tell people now?

Nick

Firefighter. What else do I tell people? I sell pharmaceuticals. I don't even know. I come up with the weirdest things. But people's demeanor immediately changes.

Miki Meek

What does it look like?

Nick

They're just like, oh, oh! Everything changes. Even if they're holding a drink, they'll put it down.

Miki Meek

Although Nick and Alex were both Obama supporters in 2008, they felt let down by the president and the Democratic Party. They didn't like how policing issues had been handled over the past few years.

Alex

It was a lack of support. Obviously it was 100% a lack of support. Basically right now, when a police officer is involved in anything, we are guilty until proven innocent. You're supposed to be for everybody. You're the president of everybody.

Nick

And then during this election, the way he ran and the way he supported Hillary, and Hillary's number one thing was, hey, let's bring on victims of these shootings, let's bring the Black Lives Matter, let's bring out artists that sing against police.

Miki Meek

We're good guys, they kept saying to me. We're not all bad apples. Both Alex and Nick are upfront that Trump has done things that trouble them. All the stuff he's said about women, it shocked them. And also--

Nick

He's inexperienced. And I think he's very hot-headed. And when you're a man of the power that he is now, any wrong decision could cost a lot. Is he the answer that we're looking for? Who knows?

Miki Meek

But for the moment, he feels like their best bet.

Ira Glass

Miki Meek.

Act Two: Metro-North Train

Ira Glass

Act Two, Metro North Train. OK, so next we head north. One of our producers, Neil Drumming, talked to somebody who was not happy with the results of Tuesday's election at all and was trying to figure out how to brace herself and think about the coming days.

Neil Drumming

Wednesday morning, my friend Janelle posted a comment on Facebook. Janelle's a stand-up comedian, so this stood out to me because it wasn't at all funny. But it was a thing a lot of my black friends had been saying on social media in the hours after the election. Her post read, "All the older black people I've spoken to this morning, including my mom, are not surprised. Straight of back, and calm as [BLEEP], so I will strive for the same."

The next day, I called Janelle to ask her about it. She was on the train headed into New York to do some gigs.

Neil Drumming

What did your mom say? Or what did you ask her, and what did she say?

Janelle

Well, my mom is, like, one of those people that stresses out over the littlest [BLEEP]. Like, she watches-- she checks the weather where I live and tells me when storms are coming.

[CHUCKLING]

So I called her thinking she would be freaking out. I mean, I was freaking out.

Neil Drumming

Wait. What kind of state were you in, first of all?

Janelle

Oh, I was-- I didn't sleep all night. Like, I was really feeling real stressed. Like, physical pain stress.

Neil Drumming

And then so, when you called your mother, like, how was she on the phone?

Janelle

She was like, good morning!

[CHUCKLING]

I called her thinking she would be even worse than me, and she was so chill that it was surprising. I called her, and I was like, can you believe this? And she was like, you know where we live. That's what she said, you know?

Neil Drumming

She said, "you know where we live"?

Janelle

Yeah.

Neil Drumming

Janelle's mother means the United States of America. When she told Janelle "you know where we live," she meant, in a country with a history of racism that runs so deep, you as a black person should not be shocked by the results of this election or anything else you may witness in the near future. Stay cool.

Neil Drumming

Like, I've heard that sentiment a few times now, and does it make you feel better? Or how does it make you feel?

Janelle

It's kind of resigned. I feel like that's how black people are. We're just like, this is how it's gonna be. And you get little moments of reprieve. Like, I guess Obama here and there. But it always comes back. Like, we're just always waiting for the shoe to drop. And it's an ever-present thing that we have to deal with, this feeling of being just always, this [BLEEP] is dangerous is how I feel, you know. [BLEEP] surrounded. So, half the country now, literally half the country, I don't know who the fuck is sitting next to me, closed mouth smiling about this [BLEEP]. You know what I mean?

Neil Drumming

And you travel a lot, right? You're on the road in all of these towns.

Janelle

Yeah. I feel like I'm not under siege, but yeah, I just don't feel safe. Whereas maybe before, I had forgotten. That's what happens. You forget. And then this [BLEEP] happens. And you're like, oh yeah. We know where we live, like my mother says. Like, that's basically what she was saying, like, oh, you forgot.

Neil Drumming

I guess if I was you, I would feel genuine-- I mean, I'm concerned myself. But it's like the notion of going around these towns. Like, you're going to see a lot.

Janelle

Yeah. I mean, I feel like for most black people, it's not that it's Donald Trump. It's what he represents. You know what I mean? And so there were those-- people have already, they're coming out of the woodwork. You know, there's already been reports of people walking around with black face, walking up to people saying [BLEEP]. Like, we can say that now. Just [BLEEP] jerks-- he represents jerks. They [BLEEP] hate their life and just mad at the world and want to lash out.

Neil Drumming

Do you feel emboldened at all? Do you feel bolstered at all by what your mom said? Like, I mean, not just is there a silver lining for you, but are you confident?

Janelle

It just calmed me down. I'm not, like, oh, now everything's going to be fine. I'm still like, people are just on alert. That's how I feel. Like, my body is just on alert. You know what I mean? Danger, danger. Like, that's how my body feels.

Ira Glass

The story from Neil Drumming.

Act Three: Trump Tower

Ira Glass

Act Three, Trump Tower. So we've all been witnessing this historic campaign and this election together. But some of us have front-row seats on that. And our producer Karen Duffin went to talk to somebody who actually knows the man who is going to be the president. Here she is.

Karen Duffin

Last week, a few days before the election, I spent an hour inside Trump Tower, where Donald Trump lives, talking with a friend and neighbor of his, a guy named George Lombardi.

George Lombardi

I mean, you're here. I wish your audience can see. I've got two pictures here, one of George Bush, Jr, and one of George Bush, Sr, with myself. I've got also Rudy Giuliani. I've got also the Pope and the Dalai Lama. But anyway--

Karen Duffin

His living room is littered with pictures of famous people. I couldn't see any of Trump from where I was sitting, but they've been friends for over 25 years now.

George Lombardi

In June of last year, I said, Donald, are you really serious about this, for president? And he goes, yep. I'm determined. I'm going to do it.

Karen Duffin

So he signed on to help his friend out. He organized volunteers for Trump. And when we talked last week, he told me something that at the time seemed to me and probably every pollster in the country a little like wishful thinking.

George Lombardi

There might be a big surprise on November 8.

Karen Duffin

Do you think there will be?

George Lombardi

Absolutely. I wouldn't be surprised if we get 48 states.

Karen Duffin

Really?

Trump did not win 48 states. But when I called George this week, it was, of course, a very different conversation.

Karen Duffin

So, do you want the chance to say, I told you so, Karen?

George Lombardi

No. Absolutely not. No, no. I mean, honestly, the margin was so small that if I have to give, you know, really responsibility for the victory of Mr. Trump, it's to the Almighty God. Because only God could pull something like that, frankly speaking.

Karen Duffin

Have you spent time with President-Elect Trump since the victory?

George Lombardi

No. I saw him here in the building just as he was walking away from the building going to the Hilton for the speech. At that point, it wasn't yet 100%.

Karen Duffin

George told Trump, hey, we're having a victory party in the building, and you should come.

George Lombardi

He looked at Melania and says, well, maybe two minutes. But then the Secret Service said no, you cannot go in this suite. We check the premises first

Karen Duffin

He said, Trump looked at Melania, said maybe two minutes, but the Secret Service said no.

George Lombardi

So he said, OK, sorry. I'm a slave of these guys now.

Karen Duffin

As Trump walked away from him, George says, he seemed serious. Mike Pence too. Like, the gravity of what they might be about to take on was finally sinking in.

George Lombardi

The size and the magnitude of the job ahead, leaving basically the best city of the world for the next four or maybe eight years.

Karen Duffin

How do you think this is going to change him? Like, who do you think he's going to be in four years as a person?

George Lombardi

Mr. Trump and President Trump are going to be remembered as completely different people.

Karen Duffin

George says he can already see this. In Trump's acceptance speech, at the White House with President Obama.

George Lombardi

It is not the same man that did the campaign. It is a different man.

Karen Duffin

Are they going to let him keep his Twitter account?

George Lombardi

Oh, I don't know. You have to ask him that. I have to go.

Karen Duffin

No problem. Thank you.

George Lombardi

Thank you so much.

Karen Duffin

OK, take care.

George Lombardi

Bye.

Ira Glass

Karen Duffin did that story. Of course, Donald Trump has started tweeting again.

Act Four: Los Angeles

Ira Glass

Act Four, Los Angeles. So the day after the election, the board president of the Los Angeles Unified School District put out this statement. "As students and staff arrive at school today, we know there may be feelings of fear and anxiety, especially within our most vulnerable communities. The district is providing additional supports to those who need it." Latinos make up 74% of the student body there. Our producer Jonathan Menjivar checked in with a teacher who he knows.

Jonathan Menjivar

I'm going to let you eavesdrop on this conversation that happened this week.

Angelina

So, I mean, is it OK if we just talk normal, Jonathan?

Jonathan Menjivar

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Of course.

Angelina

Yeah. So, you know, it was a school night last night. So we had to go to sleep.

Jonathan Menjivar

This is my cousin, Angelina. I talked to her the day after the election. She's a kindergarten teacher. She teaches in this bilingual program at a school in LA, in Highland Park. There's lots of immigrant families. So Wednesday morning, she got up and learned that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. She had 10 parent-teacher conferences scheduled that day and a full day of classes. So, the first conference, she and the parent sit down at 7 o'clock in the morning, and they both start crying.

Angelina

We only have 15 minutes to talk. So we kind of said, OK, we're going to do this for five minutes, and then we're going to talk for 10.

Jonathan Menjivar

This is how every conference started-- a download on the election, sometimes with crying, and then they'd talk about how the five-year-olds were doing. It was hard to avoid the historic news.

Woman

[SPEAKING SPANISH]

Jonathan Menjivar

It's sad what's happening, this mom says. Angelina says, it's hard, it's hard.

Woman

[SPEAKING SPANISH]

Jonathan Menjivar

But I hope that something good comes out of this, she says. That something good comes out of this, Angelina asks. I hope that he doesn't do everything he says he's going to, that he does something good. We need to think positively, that he'll do something good.

Woman

[SPEAKING SPANISH]

Jonathan Menjivar

So, after Angelina's morning conferences, the kids arrive for school. She picks up her class from the spot where they line up. And one of the kids, he yells out, Donald Trump is president.

Angelina

Then when we got into the classroom, another student said, I'm really afraid because he's going to build a wall. And then another student shouted, he doesn't like brown people. And I have a mixed class. These are not just Latinos in my class. I have a culturally, ethnically diverse classroom.

And one of my students approached me and said, I'm really sad. I'm leaving the school. And then I said, where are you going? You know, kids move schools. And I said, where are you going to another school? And he said, no, I'm going to Mexico. And then I said, when are you going? He said, I'm going right now.

And I thought it was kind of like an imaginary conversation. So I said, oh, are you going on vacation? He said, no, I'm leaving because Donald Trump is the president now. And I'm leaving, and I'll never come back. And I'm really going to miss you. And I just was shocked.

Jonathan Menjivar

Angelina doesn't think this kid is actually leaving. It's just a five-year-old digesting the news.

Angelina

And it was constant. It was all day long. And so I had to tell the students, you know, you spend your day at home, and you spend your day with me. And you're protected at home, and you're protected at school. Nothing bad is going to happen to you here. As long as you're home. I mean, you know, I can only speak for home and school, that everything is going to be OK.

Jonathan Menjivar

Angelina says she doesn't know the immigration status of her students. It's just not something you're privy to as a teacher. Trump has said he wants to end illegal immigration entirely. The question is, will he deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here-- something he said during the campaign but seems to have backed off of now. In the absence of information, the kids and parents, they're filling in the blanks.

Woman

It's like, it's hard to believe. How could this be?

Jonathan Menjivar

This is another one of the conferences. This mom told my cousin that she has an autistic brother. You can see it when you look at him. So Donald Trump's imitation of a disabled reporter--

Woman

It's not OK. It's not all right. Yeah, it's not all right. He's just-- who is he to talk to someone like that?

Angelina

So I've been crying all day with all the parents that I meet.

Woman

Yeah, because it's hard, you know? I have my 11-year-old. And it's hard to explain to him-- he's just, like, how did he win, Mom? And he says, you said he wasn't going to win. And then I said, you know, he just doesn't have that much power, though. I told him, you know, just stay calm. And you know, he's worried about people getting deported, mainly families getting separated. It's just ridiculous.

Angelina

Yeah. OK. Let's do our conference. Thank you. Thank you.

Jonathan Menjivar

Angelina told me that this day, processing all of this with the parents, was exhausting. She crawled into bed as soon as she got home.

Ira Glass

Jonathan Menjivar.

Act Five: Long Island

Ira Glass

Act Five, Long Island. So next we have two guys for whom the election was not just about choosing a politician. It was about choosing the new boss. Producer Stephanie Foo hung out with them and recorded their conversation.

Stephanie Foo

It's the day after the election, and I'm sitting in a diner in Long Island with two Army officers. They're both in the same unit in the reserves. They both have other jobs, but they could be deployed at any time. They've worked together for about two years now. One of them voted for Trump, the other voted for Clinton.

Stephanie Foo

Why do you like each other.

Chet

I don't know. Why do we like each other?

Tom

We disagree on almost everything.

Chet

You know why? Because I know that he'll have my back, and I'll have his. Regardless of what he believes, although it's ill-founded, most of it, he's awesome. I'd give my life for him.

Tom

I'd save my own life. Nah. He knows we're good.

Chet

We're good.

Stephanie Foo

I'm not using their real names in this story. Tom's the Clinton supporter. He's eating a stack of pancakes and is wearing a periwinkle blue button-down shirt and matching V-neck sweater. Chet is the Trump supporter. He's drinking a double shot of whiskey and wearing flannel over a Millennium Falcon T-shirt. These two guys have a text chain going with a couple other officers in their unit. Sometimes they're planning training exercises, but mostly I get the feeling they're just complaining about their girlfriends and sending each other South Park memes. On the morning after the election, Chet texted Tom.

Chet

I say, hey, you doing OK, Tom? You didn't have an aneurysm, did you?

Tom

I go, I'm practicing meditative breathing, preparing for the end.

Chet

So then I respond, ha ha, it'll be fine, buddy. I saw this coming.

Tom

So, and this is where I say, so did I. That doesn't mean it's going to be fine.

Stephanie Foo

Lots of people feel like their lives are going to be impacted by this election. But this is the person who could deploy these guys, sending them to risk their lives in combat. And on this point, they agreed. One candidate was way more likely to do that.

Tom

Who's more likely to send us someplace?

Both

Hillary.

Stephanie Foo

Hillary Clinton had talked about establishing a no fly zone above Syria. And both men agree, that sounded like a big first step towards war with Syria. Here's Chet.

Chet

Listen, man. I was in Iraq, and I was in Afghanistan. As far as I'm concerned, I don't need to go to another [BLEEP] country to fight another [BLEEP] civil war. Let those [BLEEP] people work it out. It sucks.

My question is, it's not that we shouldn't help people, it's at what point, man? At what point do I need to keep helping? At what point do we as Americans have to keep helping the rest of the world?

Tom

I tend to agree with him that I don't want our forces there. But I do not agree with the isolationist policies that Trump is putting forth. I believe that a strong American footprint internationally is important.

Stephanie Foo

So that's the big picture. But the small picture is, they both think that under Republican, more money might come into the Army. Maybe their unit will get more money for training, for supplies. But then there's the issue of the recruits. The most recent numbers I could find, in 2008, 65,000 members of the armed services were immigrants. Chet and Tom's unit is really diverse. And Tom's worried that that could change, that fewer people would sign up to the US military as a path to citizenship.

Tom

You're looking at-- what, I don't know how many soldiers I've met that still weren't American citizens.

Chet

But he's talking a very small minority.

Tom

No.

Chet

So you're fear is--

Tom

They don't get citizenship because they're--

Chet

Your fear is that we would get less of those--

Tom

People that would be invested in America.

Chet

If Donald Trump is president.

Tom

Yeah. They're saying, all right, this isn't worth fighting for anymore. They don't care about me. And I have a lot more faith in them to vote for the next president or to participate in the American process than a lot of people that were born in the United States.

Chet

Yeah, me too.

Stephanie Foo

And then, of course, there's the biggest question of all-- the actual, for real, apocalypse. Lots of people this year have questioned whether Donald Trump is too erratic to be trusted with the nuclear codes. Tom's worried. Chet's not.

Tom

They'll be fine. He's not going to drop nukes on people. I don't know. I think he's incredibly uneducated about it.

Chet

So, here's the thing about the codes that people don't realize. It's not like he has a piece of paper in his pocket. It's like, here are the nuclear codes. It doesn't work that way. How it works is, there's a military officer that walks around with what's called a Football. That officer, he's got more experience than I do. And at the end of the day, if the president goes off the handle and says, nuke these guys because I don't like them, we're taught, in the military, as officers, that we have a moral obligation to refuse orders that are not moral. So if my commander tells me to do that, and it is not moral, I have an obligation to tell him to [BLEEP] off.

Tom

So you tell him to [BLEEP] off. And then he goes, OK, you're out. So he, as the president, has somebody else [BLEEP] take that Football from you. And then he looks at the guy and goes, are you in, because this guy's fired.

Chet

Except the guy--

Tom

At the very best, he's fired or he's going to jail.

Chet

So you're telling me that Army or Navy or Air Force officers of Major or Lieutenant Commander or whatever rank, guys who have been in the military for 15 years, are just going to go ahead, who have children and families, are just going to pull the trigger because Trump decides one day, you know what, [BLEEP] them, I don't like them, nuke them?

Tom

You're counting on the moral character of every single one of these individuals.

Chet

Should we not? Because that's what we're trained to do.

Tom

But this comes down to trust, right?

Chet

It comes down to trust. Absolutely.

Tom

Say I am working for a man that I completely trust. I haven't been informed of the situation at all. And he comes in and he says, this is what's got to be done. More than likely, I would probably do it, right? So I mean, I can't--

Stephanie Foo

But do you completely trust this man?

Tom

Me? No.

Stephanie Foo

Sitting with these guys the night after this divisive, awful election was actually really reassuring. Not the part about possible nuclear obliteration, but it's the way they talk to each other. They disagree on everything, but they like each other so much. They work together great. They get stuff done. So many Trump and Clinton supporters, we just never talk to each other for long enough to realize we might actually get along. In this moment, when nobody seems to be listening to anybody with a different point of view, when each side vilifies the other and thinks the other side is going to destroy this country, it was calming to watch conflict play out in this way that was devoid of rage and judgment and hurt, that had each person continually acknowledging the other person's humanity. After this year, I could use more of that.

Ira Glass

Stephanie Foo. Coming up, a Trump supporter explains to us the difference between gloating and simply celebrating. And a foreigner wonders if it's time to leave this country. That's in a minute, from Chicago Public Radio, when our program continues.

Act Six: Times Square

Ira Glass

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Today on our program, The Sun Comes Up, people around the country reacting to the news this week in all kinds of ways. The name of today's show came from President Obama's speech the day after the election.

President Obama

Good afternoon, everybody. Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video that some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people, regardless of which side you were on in the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun would come up in the morning. And that is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true. The sun is up. And I know everybody had a long night.

Ira Glass

We have arrived at Act Six of our show. Act Six, Times Square. So on election night, a young woman named Blair Imani tweeted this around 11:30. Quote, "I'm scared today will be the last day I feel somewhat safe wearing my hijab." I got her on the phone the next day, and she told me that she wrote that after walking through Times Square in New York. Four guys walked past her, probably on their way to the Trump victory party, which wasn't that far away. They were wearing red "Make America Great Again" caps. She had never seen groups of Trump supporters together like that.

Blair Imani

You know, whenever I see men in red hats-- just because of this election, not before. But you know, because of this election, I kind of tense up and I wait to see what's on their hat. And when I see that it's not "Make America Gay Again" or, you know, a parody of Trump's campaign, I kind of feel a knot in my stomach. And so when I saw four white men walking towards me with "Make America Great Again" hats, I was just kind of feeling the anxiety.

Ira Glass

And were you seriously debating not wearing your hijab.

Blair Imani

I always will have my head covered. Today, actually, I went and I bought some hats.

Ira Glass

Wait, so you stopped wearing your hijab.

Blair Imani

Yeah. And tweeted a picture of myself with, like, hashtag Muslim Girl Camo.

Ira Glass

Camo, like camouflage. She's done this in the past sometimes. Like, when she has to fly, she'll wear a hat instead of a hijab on the plane. On election night, there were other people tweeting things, like, quote, "My mom literally texted me, don't wear the hijab, please, and she's the most religious person in our family." And quote, "My mom and sister are actually having the conversation on whether or not they should continue wearing hijab for their own safety."

In the days since then, Blair says that she's seeing more and more red hats around New York. Like, Trump supporters are feeling bolder now that he's won in this super-liberal city, which is weird for her. But at the same time, other strangers are being especially nice to her. Before she switched to the hat on Wednesday, an older white woman on the train made a point to sit next to her and smile at her.

Blair Imani

There was a couple of situations like that, like when I was in the checkout line getting the hats, the woman noticed that I was getting hats, and she was like, yeah, this is bad.

Ira Glass

Do you think it's going to start to feel safer to wear the hijab around New York City?

Blair Imani

I think-- I'm going to be optimistic in saying that I think yes. So I'm hoping there will be more people, like the old woman today who reached out to me to just kind of make eye contact to smile. And that's really my hope, because that's kind of-- that's what I feel like America should be. And I feel, despite what the polls show, that more people in America are good than are bigoted and awful.

Act Seven: Nicholasville, Kentucky

Ira Glass

Act Seven, Nicholasville, Kentucky. So Donald Trump has been vague and even contradictory about some of the changes that he wants to make once he takes office. But there are some very specific things he's promised over and over. One of our producers, David Kestenbaum, talks to somebody who's life seems like it definitely will be affected.

[PHONE RINGING]

Man

Hello?

David Kestenbaum

Hey, is this Billy?

Man

Hold on a second. Billy? Billy?

Billy

Hello?

David Kestenbaum

Hey, Billy.

Billy

Hey, what's up.

David Kestenbaum

Billy Webster is 45 years old. He lives in Kentucky, works for Hallmark, setting up the card displays at a local Walmart store. His favorite cards are probably the Star Wars ones.

David Kestenbaum

Is there a "sorry you lost the election" card?

Billy

No, I've never seen that, uh-uh.

David Kestenbaum

Billy voted for Clinton, so he had the usual shock when he saw that Trump was going to win. But he also had this very specific thought watching the TV that night. What is going to happen to my health insurance? He gets his through Obamacare.

Billy

What can you do about it?

David Kestenbaum

You hadn't thought about it, but basically, we all decided your health insurance the other day.

Billy

Yeah, basically. Uh-huh.

David Kestenbaum

Trump and the Republicans have, of course, promised to repeal Obamacare. And however you feel about Obamacare and how well it's working, there are something like 20 million people currently getting insurance through it. So here, just for the record, is exactly one of those stories. Hallmark, for all its get well cards, does not offer Billy health insurance. The job isn't full time. He says he earned about $12,000 last year. Before that, he was unemployed, and so didn't go to a doctor. Even when stuff happened that really, honestly, you should go to a doctor if it happens to you.

Billy

Thanksgiving Day, you know, I had a big meal at Thanksgiving. And all of sudden, I just got this rush of not feeling good, like my vision started blurring, and my feet tingled and hurt really bad. And I don't know, I lost my hearing. I started having a little ringing in my years. And just, I don't know, kind of like an out-of-body experience.

David Kestenbaum

Didn't your parents or friends say, you should go to a doctor?

Billy

Oh, they always tell you that, yeah. But I couldn't afford it. So yeah, they always tell you that when you're sick and you don't feel good. Yeah, go to the doctor. Well, you gonna pay for it?

David Kestenbaum

When Obamacare came along, Billy qualified for insurance under the Medicaid expansion part of it. It cost him about $50 a month. And he finally went to a doctor who did a simple blood test and was like, yeah, you got diabetes.

Billy

I was ecstatic. I mean--

David Kestenbaum

You were ecstatic to be diagnosed with diabetes?

Billy

No, I'm ecstatic to know what I had.

David Kestenbaum

The doctor prescribed some pills, and pretty quickly, Billy's blood sugar levels went back into the normal range.

Billy

I mean, I felt so much better after that. So it probably saved my life, you know. With diabetes, you can lose your eyesight, lose your limbs.

David Kestenbaum

Trump was never very specific about what he would replace Obamacare with. Billy says, to be honest, losing health insurance would not be the end of the world. It's not like he has cancer, doesn't need heart surgery, though that is certainly the case for some other people on Obamacare. Billy told me he'd have to pay for the diabetes medication himself, which would be a strain, but he said he'd just have to find a way. And if something really went wrong, he's not just going to sit at home and die.

Billy

You know, I'll go to the emergency room. You know, and then the state can pay for it, or whoever else is the people that complain about people like me or whatever that has benefited from this, then they can just pay for it out of their taxes. You know, the people of the state of Kentucky can pay for those $1,000 emergency room bills. I'll never pay. So-- I mean, I'd try to pay them, but you know, I was just being sarcastic.

David Kestenbaum

Going to the emergency room with no money, that's basically the system we had before Obamacare. I asked Billy if he thought Trump and the Republicans might replace Obamacare with something better. Maybe, he said. I should just give the guy a chance.

Ira Glass

David Kestenbaum.

Act Eight: Greenville South Carolina

Ira Glass

Act Eight, Greenville, South Carolina. So, all this year, we've been talking to Trump voters, as their chances went from laughable to striking distance to victory. One guy who was all the way for Trump back in February was Barry Chisholm. His son was too. His son's Dave. Our producer, Zoe Chace, met them back then. They used to call up their local talk show host on the radio and crow about how great Donald Trump was. They were underdogs back then. So we checked back in this week to see how the week was going for them.

[PHONE RINGING]

Barry

Hello?

Zoe Chace

Hey, Barry. It's Zoe.

Barry

What's going on? Are you being safe up there or what?

Zoe Chace

I'm safe.

Barry

Walking around the streets of New York? Good grief. Doesn't seem like they're too happy still, huh?

Zoe Chace

Um, yeah. I do think a lot of people are upset.

Barry

Mm-hmm. Yeah, we're pretty safe here in the South.

Dave

Yeah, I'm wearing my Trump hat today. I'm good to go. I'm getting a lot of high-fives.

Zoe Chace

You're getting a lot of high-fives in your Trump hat?

Dave

We're deep in the deplorable country.

Zoe Chace

Are you guys excited?

Barry

Yeah, but only to the point of celebration. Not like we get satisfaction-- there's a difference between celebrating and gloating. Gloating is you're happy that someone else is sad. You're happy that someone else is stressed. That is not where our happiness or celebratory comes from. It's from the fact that we defended this campaign and we wanted it. And our guy won. It doesn't go past that. I think it's a little ridiculous. I think people are overboard with being that upset, because we weren't even that upset with Obama.

Dave

Yeah, we didn't see-- did you remember all the deplorables out on the street when Obama got elected, punching all the Obama voters. You remember that, right?

Zoe Chace

No.

Dave

No, you don't.

Barry

That's why all these people that are upset-- they don't realize the good that's going to come. They're going to benefit. I think eventually they're going to come around. Honestly, my thing is-- this is where I'll be going forward-- we don't want to be rubbing it in people's faces. I want to show people that this is going to be better. "Make America Great Again" includes all the citizens that are in this country. So when the economy goes, everybody goes up.

Zoe Chace

You just think the economy is just going to go gangbusters now?

Dave

If you do one thing-- well, you get the regulations off, you do the pipeline, you let them drill for oil, you bring the coal back, and Hillary's happy to tell people she's going to put them out of a job. That's all these people have their whole lives in generations. They don't have the luxury of going out there and using their political position to use the State Department to make herself a multimillionaire. These people have to work every day for a living.

Zoe Chace

It sounds like you're still mad at Hillary.

Dave

Well, I'm mad at the way-- no, I'm not mad at Hillary. I mean, you know, it's a difference of opinion. I mean, it's a difference of ideology. And then yeah, well, wouldn't you be mad if people were calling you racist and xenophobe? I mean, good grief.

Zoe Chace

Well, so, what are you so happy about? Like, what's going to happen now?

Barry

Good grief, how could you not be? Look it, we've had a lawless country. The immigration law is a mockery to people who obey the law. You have a president doing executive orders. If you do one thing, well, you get the regulations off, you do the pipeline, and then the repatriation-- there's $2 trillion. They're not going to bring it back and pay 35%. These are business people. They're not stupid. They're not going to hand their money over to a bunch of dopey politicians.

Zoe Chace

See?

Barry

So, if they do--

Zoe Chace

Barry, you still sound mad. I'm saying, you still--

Barry

No, I'm excited.

Zoe Chace

OK, that's your excited. OK.

Barry

Because we have the opportunity to do this now.

Zoe Chace

Are you nervous he's going to disappoint you now? He's not going to be as good as you thought?

Barry

Do I worry about, can he stick to his first principles and the things that he talked about? Of course I do. I didn't say that-- this guy is not like a saviour. This guy is not going to be the answer to all of the problems that this country faces. But can he do some good things? I think so.

Ira Glass

Zoe Chace.

Act Nine: Salt Lake City

Ira Glass

Act Nine, Salt Lake City. Emily Ellsworth is a lifelong Republican. Grew up Mormon in one of the most reliably Republican states in the country. Culturally, being Mormon is pretty much synonymous with being Republican. But like lots of Mormons, Emily found Donald Trump unacceptable. 175,000 Utahans voted for third-party candidate Evan McMullin. Lots more did not vote at all.

Emily decided she was going to vote for Hillary Clinton after she watched the Democratic Convention. She liked her. She liked the message she was sending to women. Because of where she lived, Emily's experience before the election was different from most Clinton supporters. And her experience after it this week has also been. For starters, if your world is Mormon and you live in Utah, there are consequences if you support Clinton. Elna Baker explains.

Elna Baker

Even before Donald Trump won, Emily paid a price for publicly supporting Hillary Clinton. Her former coworkers stopped calling and texting. She and her younger sister are no longer on speaking terms because of their political and ideological differences. Emily wasn't even invited to her wedding ceremony. It was incredibly lonely.

Emily Ellsworth

I didn't think I was being all that radical. I feel that I am standing alone out there, and I don't know who has my back. You feel like you're just very exposed, being out in a field or on an island.

Elna Baker

Emily's not just a casual Republican. Her father was a precinct chair in Utah. And growing up, he would hold meetings in her living room. To her, the Republican Party feels like home-- literally, as in, it feels like the voices coming from the living room. Her dad would take her to election parties and Republican state conventions. As a little girl, she'd wanted to be president. But her mother discouraged her. But still, she figured she'd run for some office one day.

As an adult, she worked for two years for Republican Congressman Chris Stewart and four years for Jason Chaffetz, who was one of the most outspoken Republicans about the Benghazi attack. When Emily decided on Hillary Clinton, she went bigly. She wrote an op-ed entitled "Republican Women Should Join Me in Voting for Hillary." She started the Utah chapter of Republican Women for Hillary, she worked the phones for the Clinton campaign, she did interviews on TV. It wasn't the first time she took a stand like this.

Two years earlier, Emily had been involved in a movement to get Mormon women more authority in the Church. When Mormon boys turn 12, they're given the power to act in the name of God and to speak on his behalf. Girls at 12 get a trinket necklace. Women can't be priests, elders, bishops, stake president, patriarchs, Quorum of the Seventy, Apostles, Prophets. And for the rest of their lives, it's not that women are second-class citizens. It's that their connection to God can be vetoed by a man at any time. Like, if Hermione had to run all her spells past Harry Potter and wasn't allowed to have a wand, she would be pissed.

Emily looked at Hillary Clinton and thought, if a woman were president, it would be hard for the Mormon Church to continue saying a woman can't have authority. It'd send a message to little girls, and over time, maybe more women would demand leadership positions.

Emily has a six-year-old daughter named Abigail. The same way Emily was ushered into politics as a little girl, she ushered Abigail in. They talked about Hillary Clinton a lot. She used Hillary to teach Abigail a lesson she hadn't been taught, that Abigail could become president one day. Then on Tuesday Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, and it was devastating. I talked Emily on Wednesday.

Emily Ellsworth

I did not even send my daughter to school today. My daughter Abigail told me-- she's in first grade-- that yesterday they had a mock election, and she was the only one in her class who voted for Hillary Clinton, and that her friends said-- you know, she said that they tried to get her to vote for Donald Trump. And she just said, I wasn't going to do it. They weren't going to bully me into voting for anybody that I didn't want to. And she took great pride in that.

I was afraid of what her classmates were going to say to her about being a Hillary voter and a Hillary supporter. I mean, I wish I could rewind time. If I had been less excited about it and hadn't talked it up as much, then she wouldn't be this disappointed. And I feel like I wanted her so badly to believe that she could do anything she wanted. And now there's a part of her that does not believe that anymore.

She's been painting pictures and drawing things about being president and has said that she wants to be a female president, that she was going to be next. And today she said, if Hillary Clinton can't win, I don't think I can win either. And I don't know what to tell her, because I want to say, no, you can be anything you want. But yesterday showed us that maybe that is just not the reality yet.

Elna Baker

Let's be clear. Emily voted for Hillary Clinton, but she's not a Democrat. She's a committed Republican, and all her hopes for the country are with the GOP. But this year, she watched her old boss Jason Chaffetz and other senior Utah Republicans, Mormons, un-endorse Donald Trump after the Access Hollywood tape, and then, three weeks later, re-endorse him. It was surreal, she said, to hear them describe it as this moral choice.

Emily Ellsworth

It felt incredibly personal because these were people I had worked with and people who had told me that they really didn't like Trump but here they were just saying, but you've got to go out and vote for him.

Elna Baker

It felt like a betrayal, of her, of women. Which is why she'd hoped Donald Trump would lose and Hillary Clinton would win.

Emily Ellsworth

In my mind, this would have been a true wake-up call that we needed to expand who we were reaching and we needed to let go of some of these ideas that were unpopular with women and minorities and immigrants.

Elna Baker

And now that that didn't happen, what does it mean for the Republican Party?

Emily Ellsworth

They got their pass. And I think that sends a signal to the Republican Party that Donald Trump has it right. It makes me feel that there's not a place for me in a position of leadership in my church, in my party, or in the presidency. I'm not allowed to have the priesthood, I'm not allowed to have the presidency. And it just feels like another slap in the face, that there are certain things that women are just not allowed to have.

Elna Baker

Emily's in a real predicament now. She was so vocal about supporting Hillary Clinton. If she hadn't been, she said, or if Clinton had won and Trump had lost, in four years, she could have run for something. Not president, of course. Something local, something small, a place to start. Now, that's not going to happen.

Ira Glass

Elna Baker.

Act Ten: New York City

Ira Glass

Act 10, New York. President-Elect Donald Trump has made it clear that he's going to be tough on both legal and illegal immigrants. That means many immigrants in this country got scared when he won. Zoe Chace sat in the day after the election with some immigration lawyers who were getting nervous calls from their clients.

Zoe Chace

There are two types of worries in this world. One's based on a real threat, and one's based on a feeling. And this week immigration lawyers are sorting through both of those. This is an email that Cheryl David, a longtime immigration lawyer in New York, woke up to this morning.

Cheryl David

"Hi, Cheryl. I'm in total shock for the election result. I'm literally in disbelief. I slept three hours total."

Zoe Chace

She's reading this to me and my friend Lindsey Gauzza who's also her associate. I spent the day after the election at their office. The email is about one of their clients.

Cheryl David

"Is it premature to ask for asylum in Canada? I'm worried that my own green card will be revoked, as I come from a country that has Syrian refugees. Please let me know your thoughts. I'm in total political disarray. Grazie."

[CHUCKLING]

Lindsey Gauzza

Revoke my green card because I'm from a country that has Syrian refugees?

Cheryl David

Refugees.

Lindsey Gauzza

Like, that's insane on one hand. On the other hand, it's like, oh, it makes sense. We do hate Syrian refugees apparently in this country.

Zoe Chace

During the election, President-elect Trump said a couple things about immigrants that have freaked out these lawyers and their clients. Keep out Muslim refugees, build a wall-- they obviously don't know if Trump is going to do any of that as president or how that will change their jobs. And they hadn't seriously considered that Trump's views on immigration would become the law-- like, really not. Especially lately, they've been super-excited about Hillary Clinton, Cheryl the most. She's the boss. This is an all-lady office. No men work here. The day I was there, they'd watched Hillary Clinton's concession speech in the dark in Cheryl's office. Sobbing, they said.

Cheryl David

We spend a lot of time together. We talk about this stuff all day long. We've been talking about the election--

Lindsey Gauzza

For two years.

Cheryl David

For two years, every single day. And yesterday we felt so positive. We were talking about a matriarchy.

Lindsey Gauzza

No, it didn't even-- it didn't even enter my mind yesterday that she would lose. It's devastating.

Zoe Chace

The thing that feels like the legit worry is that all of President Obama's executive orders will be repealed on day one. Trump said over and over he would do this. And that will affect a lot of their immigration cases. For instance, DACA-- this is a status for young adults who came here as children illegally, most of them brought by their parents, the Dream Act kids. DACA lets them stay in the country and work. It's renewable every two years. Unless it isn't anymore. Cheryl reads me another email they got early that morning.

Cheryl David

"Hi, Andrea or Cheryl. I'm sure you're getting flooded with emails about Trump and his position on deporting DACA members. What should I expect to happen with my application in future?"

Zoe Chace

They don't know the answer. It feels too soon to have the question. But it doesn't look good for this client.

Cheryl David

Really, the ones that I am a little concerned-- I'm concerned about the DACA, because I think he will take the DACA. I think they're going to end the DACA program. I don't think he'll take it away from the people who have it, but they won't be allowed to renew it because it's an executive order. So I think executive orders are over. And I am pretty straight with clients. I don't sugarcoat.

Zoe Chace

So, what did you say?

Cheryl David

I said, I think that they're going to take it away. You know, why sugarcoat it?

Man

Hello?

Cheryl David

Hello? How's life?

Man

Um, OK. I'm worried about Trump, you know, his policies.

Cheryl David

Uh-huh.

Zoe Chace

He's Jamaican. He's got a green card. Lots of the clients here are in this country legally. They have a green card or a valid visa. But they've committed crimes that make them deportable. This guy's like that. Obviously these are people Donald Trump has said he wants to deport. President Obama has also targeted them. These lawyers think even under President Trump, this guy has a pretty good case to stay here.

Cheryl David

Yeah. I mean, first of all, you're already in a situation where immigration has already come to-- you have come to their attention. So for your purposes, the worst has already happened, and we're taking care of it. And it's not going to get worse for you right now. I mean, you're eligible for relief. There's been no talk of him making it worse for people who are already green card holders.

Zoe Chace

This is an example of the other kind of call they've been getting all day. Just generalized anxiety. No particular reason. Just has my case changed now? Is everything different?

Cheryl David

I mean, are things going to change? I think so. But not for you, I hope. There's no sign that it will change for you.

Man

Oh, OK. I appreciate it. I just wanted a heads-up, you know.

Cheryl David

Yeah, I know. I don't blame you. We're all panicking.

Man

Yeah, I know, you know?

Zoe Chace

Lin says she knows how it is under President Obama. Like, she knows how to react and advise her clients. She knows when they're safe and when they are not.

Lindsey Gauzza

And I've felt pretty confident in the last five years to say, I can take you even though you have a deportation order. You have a path forward. We can get rid of it. We can get to a green card. And come with me, I will walk you into this office. We will have an interview with the government. They will not arrest you. That maybe isn't true anymore. And we won't know until they start arresting people. You know, they're not going to put out a statement saying--

Zoe Chace

Crackdown looks like this.

Lindsey Gauzza

Exactly, exactly. They're just going to start doing it around-- and it's going to be different all over the country. So you're going to have advocates in San Francisco saying, it's happening like this. Atlanta is going to be having a different scenario. New York, who knows? So it just feels really anxiety-inducing for me, and I'm not even the person who is being marched into the government's offices. It's not my life.

We were talking about this a little bit before, but I don't-- it's a terrible feeling to not know how to advise your clients when they call. Usually it's like, if I don't know the answer, I can go to Cheryl. And Cheryl almost always knows the answer. And we can figure it out. We can think about the law. We can look at cases. This, it's like, we don't know. We have lists of clients who are waiting for us to do certain applications we've been preparing to file that now we're not sure if we can. And we're not going to know the answer for a while. I mean, there's--

Cheryl David

And I think we don't know the answer because I don't think he knows what he wants to do, frankly. I think as a president he doesn't know what he wants to do. I mean, I guess he could build his wall and he'll be busy building the wall and maybe forget about other parts of immigration. And once the wall is built, he'll look at the policies, so we might be safe. Brick by brick.

Zoe Chace

A lot of immigration lawyers around the country are worried and confused, and they got in touch with each other this week. Conference calls, webinars, Facebook posts-- they're in uncharted territory, lots of them, and they don't know what to think. Once they have the new rules, they'll get a new strategy. It's the not knowing that's painful for lawyers.

Ira Glass

Zoe Chace.

Act Eleven: Toledo

Ira Glass

Act 11, Toledo, Ohio. So, the youngest person on our production staff is Emmanuel-- Emmanuel Dzotsi. He's 23, grew up in Toledo, Ohio. But he's British. His dad's company would move their family around a lot. His dad worked in marketing. And so they've lived in England and in Belgium and here in the United States, in Ohio. And late on election night, just before midnight Eastern time, Emanuel was the last person at the office. And he got on the phone to his mom, back home in Ohio, and recorded the conversation.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

I called my mom, because after watching America vote this anti-immigrant candidate into the presidency, I had this vague panic, that all of a sudden I wasn't welcome here anymore. We're the only black family in our neighborhood in Toledo. We used to be the only Brits too. But somehow our suburb has more of those than other black people.

And I know this election has been hard on my mom. Our friends and our neighbors tell her of their anti-immigrant views. They forget she's an immigrant because she's been here so long. And they forget she's black because she's English. And they say all kinds of things about Black Lives Matter or the Obamas.

Emmanuel's Mom

Come election time in this country, people who otherwise seem quite normal or rational people suddenly say the most outlandish and hurtful things. And they don't even seem to realize that the things that they are saying are extremely hurtful and offensive to me.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

[SIGHS] OK, Mommy. I don't know.

Emmanuel's Mom

You know, you just feel that the general populace clearly don't want you here. After all, when Donald Trump started denouncing the H-B1 visa as well, that's the visa under which we came here.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

Wow.

Emmanuel's Mom

Yeah. You know?

Emmanuel Dzotsi

I didn't realize until she said it, right then. That's us. Like, that exact thing is us, the H-1B visa. I'd seen him talk about that.

Emmanuel's Mom

You know, we do have our green card. We are legally here as permanent residents. The only thing is, is that our green cards come up for renewal in a year or two. So we have to decide. Either we decide to plunge all in and go for citizenship, or we renew. But then renewal may be difficult. Or maybe just go.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

When she said this, I thought, but I want to stay. I really want to stay. And I want you to stay.

Six months ago, we had a big conversation about applying for citizenship. A few days later, I put in the form. But she never mentioned it again, so I knew she hadn't applied. This didn't feel like the time to bring it up.

Emmanuel's Mom

My more immediate concern is, you know, what's it going to be like living day to day in this climate and environment. I haven't shared it with you, but I had a very nasty experience just last week in the car park at Kroger.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

Wait, wait. How did this happen?

Kroger's is the local supermarket. Apparently when she pulled in, she had to stop suddenly to avoid a guy going out of the store with his kids. Thinking nothing was wrong, she parks in the spot right next to the guy. She was with my kid sister Marissa, who's 16.

Emmanuel's Mom

And he was clearly saying something and mouthing off inside the car. So I stopped. And then he rolled his window down, and then just sort of a whole torrent of abuse at me.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

What did he say?

Emmanuel's Mom

Oh, how I should and shouldn't be driving in the car park and blah blah, and I'm speeding around the car park. And I said, uh, no, in fact. I was actually being very careful. And I said, well, you really don't need to worry. I'm always very careful. And then he started shouting, get away from my car. Don't touch my car. I said, I'm not touching your car. I'm not doing anything. I'm standing here.

And he was just saying, get away from my car. If you don't get away from my car, I'm calling the police. At which point, you know, Marissa started saying, Mommy, Mommy, just leave it. Just leave it. So you know, [INAUDIBLE]. And then it totally just finally hit me, I was thinking, oh my god. And looking at the guy, his face the way-- and suddenly I realized what it was all about it. It was a racial thing.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

You know that trope about immigrant kids translating for their parents who don't speak English? It's true even for parents who speak the Queen's English. My sister translated the situation for my mother.

Emmanuel's Mom

You know, Marissa, she was really going on and on at me. She was just saying, Mommy, why did you bother to talk to that man? Couldn't you have realized? You understand. I said, well, I don't know. Clearly, I'm missing something because I don't see what I have to understand. And she said, he's a white man with his two children. If the police had come, they wouldn't have listened to you. They would immediately have taken his side. And they would have done something bad to you.

And I said, do you really believe that? And she said, oh, I know it. She said, you don't seem to understand, Mommy. I've actually grown up in this country. You haven't. And you don't understand how these people are and how they think. But that's what would have happened to you. And it was just really, really horrible, and it really shook me up badly.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

Then came the words I'd been dreading.

Emmanuel's Mom

I was just thinking, I think it's time for our American experiment to end.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

I was actually thinking you were going to say that. I don't know. For some reason, that was my first reaction to the news, was that's what Mommy's thinking.

Emmanuel's Mom

[CHUCKLING] Well, yeah. Sort of like--

Emmanuel Dzotsi

But I mean, where would we go? Is Britain that much better?

Emmanuel's Mom

Well, the thing is, it's all about the devil you know.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

The Britain my mother grew up in wasn't exactly thrilled with the immigrants streaming in from its former colonies. And Brexit has brought back a lot of those anti-immigrant sentiments in the UK. My mom was born in Britain to Dominican parents. And my dad moved there from Ghana when he was eight. The US is still a place she doesn't understand, especially after what she's seen in this election. She's mentioning fears I haven't heard in a very, very long time.

Emmanuel's Mom

It used to be a regular nightmare of mine, was one of you children being shot dead. Why live here if you don't have to? If you have option to be elsewhere, why choose here? And quite honestly, I've lived my whole life being symbolic black, and I'm quite happy to do that. But really, I suppose I don't feel valued enough by this society to do what it takes to live here and to struggle and to try to make the difference in order to make this place better.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

My mom and I talk about race and our place in the world all the time. My entire life, the message has always been, rise to the challenge. When you're the only one, be the best, and make it easier for the black people who follow you. So hearing this stuff is devastating. She's the one who's supposed to have a good attitude about this.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

[SIGHS] OK, Mommy. I don't know. I think it's all--

Emmanuel's Mom

Were you hoping that talking to me, you'd feel better?

Emmanuel Dzotsi

Yeah, I know.

[CHUCKLING]

Emmanuel's Mom

Don't worry about this country. As they say, a country gets the government it deserves. So you know, good luck to them with it. And you just take care of yourself and just carry on being the decent person that you are. And try to love everybody. And that's all we can do.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

Yeah.

Emmanuel's Mom

OK, my dear?

Emmanuel Dzotsi

OK.

Emmanuel's Mom

Love you, darling.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

I love you.

Emmanuel's Mom

Bye.

Emmanuel Dzotsi

Bye.

Ira Glass

Emmanuel Dzotsi. He's one of the producers of our show.

[MUSIC - "IT SEEMED THE BETTER WAY" BY LEONARD COHEN]

Credits

Ira Glass

Well, our production staff, Susan Burton, Zoe Chace, Sean Cole, Neil Drumming, Karen Duffin, Emmanuel Zotsi, Stephanie Foo, Chana Joffe-Walt, David Kestenbaum, Miki Meek, Jonathan Menjivar, Robyn Semien, Matt Tierney, and Nancy Updike. Research help for today's show from Michelle Harris, Benjamin Phelan, and Christopher Sewtala. Music help from Damien Graef.

[ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS]

Our website, thisamericanlife.org. This American Life was delivered to public radio stations by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. Thanks, as always, to our program's co-founder Mr. Torey Malatia. You know, he's got a new hobby. He bought himself a priest outfit. And he likes to go to bars, walk up to people, stand very close, take out his Bible, take out a cross, and ask for their confession.

Nick

Everything changes. Even if they're holding a drink, they'll put it down.

Ira Glass

I'm Ira Glass, back next week with more stories of This American Life.