In the swirl of post-election coverage I won’t go very in depth here, but I felt the need to share my thoughts.
The spark for my comments originate from the article Farewell, America by Neil Gabler. Neil gives up on us as the first line begins, “America died on Nov. 8, 2016,…”, and I can’t help but sigh. I understand the fear and stress associated with a Trump presidency looming over our heads, especially with a Republican Congress at his back, but dead? C’mon Neil. The article closes with a concession that the country is lost and the media must document for the sake of history, which neatly wraps the piece in a shit covered bow. If you haven’t guessed, I disagree with Neil’s opinion.
Of all of the overblown media garbage thrown around, the key to take away is that the 2016 election was one of frustration. A large percentage of this country, specifically those in rural areas, have felt increasingly alienated by our elected representatives. David Wong provides great insight to this idea in his article How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind and I highly recommend you read it. (Yes I know it’s the Internet and we don’t have to censor ourselves, but I didn’t pick the title)
Many opponents of Trump are quick to classify his supporters as racist white men who are afraid of change. Now, it is no secret that the majority of favor in this country has gone to its white residents. Specifically, straight white men. That said, the blanket classification of Trump supporters is unproductive as it detracts from the intricacies of this country’s composition. Trump does have the support of White Nationalists, but not all of his supporters are White Nationalists.
As painful as it is to witness, hatred and separatist thought still consumes citizens in America. Over the last hundred or so years, many long overdue changes have been made to ensure every citizen is offered the same rights and opportunities as their neighbor. Sadly however, landmark laws and optimistic speeches don’t change public perception and action overnight. Cultural norms and old ideas, coupled with the ratings hungry 24-hour news cycle, keep stereotypes and bigotry strong. Changing how some people think is a much more difficult task than changing laws.
Enough attention on the hateful. My focus is on the strength and hope that fuels Americans. We are a prideful people and have achieved great things by working together. Our representative government hasn’t fit its description in some time. Corporate interests and personal greed dominate the lives of the politicians working in our name and it is the responsibility of the citizens to stand up for what we know to be right. The more we illuminate discriminatory action against others, or the abuse of power by a politician, the better our society is for it.
Donald Trump and his appointees will make both poor and successful decisions. They will make decisions that will affect both the United States and our neighbors around the globe. It is by these decisions that the politicians will be judged and replaced if we deem necessary. For too long we have treated our government as a machine that cares for itself with little maintenance. The over corrective votes of the last 35 years have culminated in the Trump presidency and for those of you that share Neil’s despair, now is the time to pay attention.
Whining will get you absolutely nowhere. Conservative or Liberal, your life should be governed by what is good for your family and those with whom you share this planet. Identify the issues that are of great value to you and educate yourself on both sides of the argument. Ideas are meant to be shared and we are incapable of having productive discussion if both parties are shouting. If you are dissatisfied with the behavior of your elected representatives then take action. Avoid the buzzwords and posturing. Break away from isolating identity politics and safe spaces. Some of the best conversations are the ones that piss you off a bit.
America is not dead. We are alive and well, ready to take control of our destiny. Focus, my dear reader, and break new ground.