Today, I’m mostly numb, speechless, and just heart broken. And yes, feeling that the Democrats are largely on the right side of history, and that Mr. Trump is an absolute and utter disgrace, I do find myself disappointed in millions of Americans for the choice they made. I know that’s near blasphemy, and considered “arrogant” to say about one’s countrymen, so I will try to word the following more carefully and more circumspect. So here are the “questions” I struggle with today as a man, an American, and a Christian/believer as I ponder and seriously fear the next 4 years, and the potential of never knowing a liberal Supreme Court in my lifetime. And if some of these questions seem bitingly rhetorical or come with some sarcasm, well that’s just too bad I guess. I am someone who is hurt and disappointed, and just can’t believe such an incredible jackass could ever become President of the United States. So you’ll just have to hear, if not accept, that bias in what follows:
• Did we get what we deserve? Well… in a country that continues to celebrate ignorance – to the point of watching a TV news network dedicated to spewing mis-information – a citizenry that often mocks intelligence and the educated, and is drifting toward the “Idiocracy” that Mike Judge’s brilliant film warns us about? … than yeah, we probably did get what we deserved.
• How do I come to accept and love 60 million fellow Americans who voted for the guy who was endorsed by the KKK, claims he “knows more than the generals” about defeating ISIS, wants to build a wall (when they’ll just build a tunnel), lies about the number of Syrian refugees America has agreed to welcome, degrades and assaults women, mocks fallen soldiers, is a racist and anti-Semite, stiffs contractors right and left in his business dealings, never met a bankruptcy he didn’t like, has no real positive policy proposals for much of anything, and is going to leave much of governing to “extreme 1950’s dad” Mike Pence? If “the public has spoken,” how am I supposed to feel about the state of the American public?
• And how is it you Trump-voting Americans are demanding I now support the man as our new president, when you never paid the same respect to our sitting President? Worse – calling President Obama every name in the book and challenging his patriotism and even his citizenship? Am I supposed to just be better than you were and meekly and humbly follow this barking demand from you? Perhaps I should just be the better person. After all, we naturally root for every president to do well (don’t we?). I just hope this one doesn’t end human history as we know it.
• How am I supposed to accept the false equivalency made by the multitudes that hid behind the ridiculous notion that, “Oh, but at least he’s not Hillary Clinton.” This, an incredibly capable, experienced, and intelligent woman that has dedicated her life to bettering the lives of women and children, working people, health care reform, initiatives on behalf of people of all races and faiths, all while suffering more negative press than has been written on just about anyone else in American history? Am I really supposed to just mildly say, “they have a point because of the damn emails?” I don’t think so. Help me understand how you can see her perceived sins as anything CLOSE to the horrible things Donald Trump has done.
• And when you come to me, once Mr. Trump has given huge tax breaks to the wealthy, and really hasn’t done a thing for all of you who feel “left behind,” and ask for my sympathy and wonder why this is so … why he was so nuts and didn’t come through, just rubber stamping more of the extreme Republican agenda … am I really supposed to comfort you, instead of saying “I told you so?” My Christian teachings and values say yes, but I’ll know in my heart what you apparently did not – this man never cared about you or the people hurting out there at all.
• Am I just supposed to ignore the fact that, YOU ignored the fact that it’s the DEMOCRATS who are out there fighting for increased minimum wages and extended unemployment insurance during the Great recession, and that people of Mr. Trump’s ilk did NOTHING for working people?
• Am I supposed to be glad that “shaking up a broken system” is REALLY going to mean that an unstable person is about to nominate, likely, a fire-breathing conservative to The Supreme Court, who may completely up-end the privacy and sanctity of women’s health care in this country, reverse any decision that protects the environment, deny corporate responsibility for anything, and will certainly decide against any meaningful campaign finance reform?
• Am I just supposed to forget, much like, apparently, the FBI and especially THE MEDIA, that the Russian government and their “elected dictator,” Vlad Putin, openly manipulated information and thus our election? Am I really supposed to forget that THIS is the only “rigging” that actually happened, but barely received headlines?
• Am I really supposed to take comfort in checks and balances, and think “one man can’t do that much damage” in a system of government? Didn’t they think the same about Chancellor Hitler? And when you mock the comparison, doesn’t it really show how little YOU were actually listening to Mr. Trump?
• And looking in my own backyard, how am I supposed to feel about the mistakes and misguided moves of the Clinton campaign? How would this election perhaps been different if, for example, the campaign had run “The David Letterman Ad” (the one where he busts on guest Donald Trump for making all of his branded products overseas) on an endless loop in the upper Midwest? Why did we pull ads in those states? And why didn’t Secretary Clinton actually GO to Wisconsin, like, ever? I want to just resent the “bad guy” and his ilk, but we definitely committed some self-inflicted wounds.
So tell me, as I sit and try to enjoy the last 2 months of a decent man’s presidency, how and where I find a little comfort as I ponder these questions? What shall I do, how shall I react as a great swath of America exalts with glee at the election of a horrible human being who is the least stable person in modern history ever to hold this office? Aside from this essay, I suppose I’ll do it with class (which the Republican’ts would not have), and with faith … but with apologies in advance God, today at least, I’m betting that it won’t make me feel much better.
Todd – First my condolences to you. I know you are a passionate HRC supporter and with a result as shocking as last nights, I know you must be in a state of mourning. In fact you were the first of my Demicratic friends that I thought of when the result became apparent. One of the nice things (at least this go around) with the end of an election is that it seems to bring out the adults in the room. I heard an inclusive and conciliatory victory speech From President Elect Trump and equally gracious and elegant concession speeches from Secretary Clinton and President Obama. As a Republican who did not support Mr. Trump, I still fervently believe it is imperative for everyone to root for the new administration and to take the high road and see what happens. In my view, since Trump is more of a populist then a Republican anyway, there may be some issues that both parties could agree on. I was not a fan of Mitch McConnell when he pledged to work against Obama in his first term. That wasn’t right and as Americans we should all work together to try and do the people’s business (doesn’t mean one has to give up their ideals). Were there a lot of hurtful things said – absolutely. Do we have a big divide over party/race/economic status etc…yes. But we’re all Americans and it would be nice for the first time in a long time if DC could function as intended and come up with bi-partisan ideas to move the country forward. If we don’t it’s bad for all of us and that’s not a good thing for any of us.
Steve, thank you for reading and for your response. It’s good to hear from you. While I appreciate your attempts at unity, and while I will ALWAYS “root for” any President in his/her job, it is very hard for me to root for Mr. Trump the “person,” or ANYTHING Mr. Trump stands for, unless he actually has some way of bringing jobs home (he has NO PLAN). I hope your confidence in America and belief in compromise can prove itself beyond my fear and doubts. But with 3 branches of govt. at their control, Trump and the Republicans are about to put a serious hurt on the long-term health of the United States, the global environment (both political and ecological), and democracy. I pray I’m wrong… but these guys don’t have very good poker faces.
All my best to you and yours. Let’s hope our country can prevent or overcome the worst of what’s to come, and that our best days are indeed ahead.
Indeed Todd, and the best to your family as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Trump the man at all. I’m just hoping Trump the business executive and manager can get some things done that benefits the country (I agree there is no real plan at the moment). I trust he will not end up being as bad as pundits expect – we”ll see and we will all survive I’m sure. Best to you again, always enjoy your posts even though I don’t always agree with your views.