This has been a very difficult overnight and morning for me. I’m a passionate liberal with dreams of a Star Trek type future. A future where the accumulation of wealth is no longer the driving force in the culture, where race, creed, religion, sex, are no longer on anyone’s minds or even an issue. People are only interested in the advancement of humanity as a whole and exploring our infinite potential. So in light of our recent election, I’m a little bummed out.
This election and its results are indeed different than the ones in the past. This is the first time I can recall that I’m genuinely afraid for people I know and people I love. In the past it’s been disagreements about rhetoric and some minor domestic policies, but I always thought the candidate had what they felt was the best interests of the people at heart. This time, I’m not so sure.
I’m not sure because for the first time I feel like the country has elected a person who wants to put his own ideals ahead of the American ideals. The people have elected a person whose own greed and lust for power have overshadowed any humanitarian or altruistic virtues I’ve come to associate with the office of the President. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are at the core of the American value system. We’ve almost always looked to Presidents that reflect those values and help to attain those lofty goals, by moving us forward into better times, domestically or economically.
But then, is this President-Elect a reflection of America? Is it possible that this shining light on the hill has devolved into a xenophobic right wing white men’s Christian conservative values country? Is the Election of Donald Trump a true reflection of this country’s underlying distrust of women, of homosexuals, of immigrants, of persons of color? Is it underlying any longer? I’m afraid that it is no longer underlying. I’m afraid we liberals were complacent and blind. I’m afraid we were arrogant in our expectation that people in this country are generally good and want equality and liberty for all.
I’m angry that the election of this man happened. I’m angry that I have to be fearful for my friends and family. I’m angry at the people who voted for a TV celebrity rather than for progress. I’m angry at broadcast television for never providing any in-depth political reporting about anything, leaving a gap in information. I’m angry at Cable News for constantly focusing on the wrong issues and talking about them to death. I’m angry at the failure of newspapers. I’m angry at the amount of disinformation that has been allowed to seep into American culture. I’m angry that somehow, facts aren’t facts anymore because of how they make you “feel”. I’m angry that someone’s opinion matters more than the facts. I’m angry because I just don’t think going backwards is anyway to move forward.
I think social progress is essential to healthy National growth. Fear has never been good for social progress or social justice. Historically, fear has led to Pogroms, isolationism, extremism and divisions so deep that it takes generations to finally heal. A populace that is terrified of their shadow will do just about anything to protect itself from any perceived threat, real or imagined. The President Elect played those fears like a harp from hell and the people, uninformed, disenfranchised, and isolated heard music.
I had a few lines from the movie Gladiator go through my head this morning as I listened to Donald Trump’s speech. “I think he [Commodus] knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate; it's the sand of the Coliseum. He'll bring them death...and they will love him for it.” In this case, the Coliseum was the Media, the debates, the constant onslaught of “news” stories and a man fanning the flames of fear against a woman with ideals of hope and courage.
Right now, I’m still upset though. I’m deeply disappointed by the voters. I feel as if the hopeful America I believe in; the one for progress, inclusion, possibility and equality has taken a step backwards toward tyranny, religious extremism, and the extremes of conservatism.
Yet, I should stop there. I should stop and be reminded that this is a wake-up call. This is a klaxon call for us to open our eyes to the troubles within our deeply divided nation and really start to work to fix those problems. We must not flee in despair but plant our feet firmly in the ground and use our woken voice to do what we can to fight any policy or legislation that threatens the freedoms of any American. A crime against one is a crime against us all and we must be resolved to resist any attempts to limit our liberties, our lives or the pursuit of our happiness’s.