What a wild ride hey? I never imagined that a Reality TV show host and the scammer of Trump University and things like Trump steaks would win the presidency, but then we have had actors Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger too. What this goes to show is that if you have right sound bites at the right time, you can possibly win vast sums of people ( for good or for bad ). It seems Americans follow after one word "change" like a blind dog and it doesn't matter what the candidate stands for as long as they are offering something greener on the other side and upsetting the status quo.
Many assumed, as I did, that the progressive stance of Obama had, then the outcome, and voter turn out he had during his campaign, meant a progressive change for this country. But, when heaven didn't descend on earth over these 8 years, nasty ideals like "diversity awareness", "kindness", "freedom of press and speech", "women's rights" and "LGBT rights" and so much more became a lexicon of a language that was weighing us down. And now all that has made us a Democracy could be under attack. Political Correctness became worse than a curse word. To the Trump supporter, these kind of values became like a costume or disguise, if you will, of corrupt leaders that really weren't working on our behalf even though they talked like they did. This is how those who voted for Trump really felt. They weren't being told the truth in their minds because what was being said didn't match their reality, and they rather hear the truth from a bigot and all his filth than no truth at all. I've heard this time and time again "He may be crazy or a loose canon BUT, at least I know where I stand with him". I don't agree with that perspective nor do I agree that he is telling the truth, but I see where they are coming from because on their end, they believe him. He spoke to their needs and fears and their was a big under-estimation of how big that particular contingent was.
Trumps message of returning to protectionism, bigotry, racism, and misogyny suddenly became not such a big deal and less deceptive than political correct talking points that kept a system hedging toward Socialism alive in the mind of the Trump voter. It may have been a bigger deal, ironically, in the not so distant past...say like the early 2000's. But today it was a white wash. All white noise and we stomp feet "WTF?" Paranoia about a woman like Hillary being a criminal mastermind evidenced by emails that FBI has since cleared had to be bad (even though the American people hadn't read them)...why? Because so many felt American life was still bad and not going anywhere (forgetting the days of Bush that brought us there). So, it didn't matter that Trump reeked havoc over two lame ducks, Obama's birth certificate and Hillary's emails--all cleared by overseeing agencies. In addition, a large amount of these people probably had no real life reference of discrimination, poverty and bigotry in a way that changed their life either for that lexicon to matter to them. So for most Trump supporters, it is my belief that if it wasn't going to be emails, it was going to be something else. Why? These middle aged folks had already made up their mind back in October according to exit polls. It was time to go backwards, time to go to the place and time where things were "great again". Not the deceptive "forward" coming out of the system already in place. After all, over many years, everyone of us have given the government poor ratings. We have all cried the system is rigged. We built the pathway for this very message by being so nonconstructive with our government. Remember the government is OUR government. Even Hillary's message was that Trump and others were against the middle class, right? But, ironically, we cried the entire government has been rigged through trickle down economics and people bought by corporations for years now, yet we have a House Majority that keeps that system in place as best they can. These kind of folks have the ground floor. We have cried about a government rigged for the rich and powerful but Hillary just didn't offer enough dramatic change to that system for the Trump voter. So all the alarms us progressive having been shouting ("Danger, Will Robinson!") was all white noise to Trump supporters. They heard it all before. For progressives, think of it as on par of Republicans voting for someone only for the reason of being "Pro-Life". To them, that is what they saw us doing on things like LGBT rights and anti-discrimination and the like.
What did the winning candidate have to say? Change by going to backwards to protectivism branded as "Make America Great AGAIN". Again, means going backwards to something that once was. A standard very conservative line but masked cleverly as change. How often do we long for the "good ole' days" especially economically after all the upheaval? This is how Trump won. At that very line item, by and large. What did the losing candidate have to say? Adaptation, re-working what we have and making better outcomes. The standard democratic line with no offer of real change. And even though Hillary presented plans that more Republicans saw as doable than Obama's plans, there was not the complete overhaul to tickle the ears of those desperate for change--even though an unprecedented amount of Republicans supported her over Trump.
People talk about ground work. Trump traveled on ground work laid by the entire nation. That was the foundation laid for this election--the government system is corrupt. Who of us in the last few years haven't exclaimed that one? We have been crying about that since the first Bush, some with Bill Clinton and even in Obama's term. Everyone got on that bandwagon for various reasons but didn't back up with votes state wide. Those differing reasons are important as much as anyone's reasons for who they vote for.. When Trump manufactured corruptness that actually wasn't there, the millions who follow blindly after sound bites, bit in to his claims deep about "changing" things to end the "corruption". Maybe they didn't agree with all his points, but hey, he is talking my language. Hillary? She wants to work within the system I want to get rid of because "the grass is greener" somewhere else.
The reality is many of us don't do a lot of research on our candidates and if we did, we would be much wiser in who we voted for locally than just the famed candidates presented in the media. For example, I heard someone suggest today that Trumps' outlandish, bigoted statements and outbursts were free advertisement for him since he didn't have the same money as Hillary. He didn't really mean what he said, assured the Trump supporter, it was just his way of getting a platform so that he was listened to. Indeed, but what did he want us to listen to then? Mostly how he is going to dismantle the present system (desirable to many) but not how he is going to build a new, better one except through a number of scary, backward ways. And when I say backwards, I don't mean it completely as an insult. I also mean it as old, as in the past. I liken it to turning away from conventional medicine and civil rights because of impatience and turning back to leaching, slavery and lynching. Let's go back to the good ole' days when we were happy, is not a new cry especially for older, white Americans. When you have the KKK and Russia supporting you, trust me. You aren't going forward, you are going backwards. The policies of organizations like the KKK and Russia today are old ones that are oppressive and the only leverage they have to spread is for the US to be weakened and fearful like we were in the Cold War.
But hey, you liberals, Trump is only one guy (not really: he will have a VP, cabinet, white house staff, and nominating powers but let's just go with that for a moment) so why are Hillary supporters so uptight as well as our allies? Here's why: Those for the Trump "change" did not hear nor register the threatening ideals he unleashed on others to rise on the platform he now stands. If you are LGBTQ like myself, the first thing Trump said he wants to do in office is over turn our ability to get healthcare as married couples; if you are a free speech advocate, he wants to enact measures to limit the press; if you are a minority in any sense of the word but especially if you are Muslim and Latino, you will face much more discrimination under his policies; if you are a woman (women where were YOU?), he only sees you as sexual object; if you are a foreign ally or near a volatile country, you face the threat of a president with easy access to nukes; if you are a mental health professional, you see a man who reacts to paranoia and people reacting to his paranoia; if you are health care professional or live below the poverty line or have pre-existing conditions, you are about to see the gains made in your health care potentially overturned. (Just a side note: here in Michigan, our own very conservative governor change his mind about Obamacare and created his own version of it so Republicans wouldn't fight against it). Yes, no one argues that premiums are a problem but we are about to lose those gains. That is why we are uptight. It is not because Democrats didn't win the White House, it's because we all have been threatened severely and its been treated as no big deal.
So what do we do next? I'm not sure but I see two options for myself. If the shoe was on the other foot, I wouldn't want a Trump supporter to get hateful on me and I would encourage them to stand up for what they believe in. So that is one option we still have since this time the shoe is on our foot. I am pleasantly surprised to find many Trump supports not as gloating as I imagined they would be. I'm not sure we would have been so kind. So I think it is important we return that kindness and remember it.
There is also the option of leaving the country which I'm thinking about as well. I think at a bare minimum buying a passport isn't out of the question because we just don't know what Trump is capable of doing. Honestly, in my opinion, America really lost it's greatness when we began electing actors for government positions. Actors aren't unqualified in themselves but the ones I've named here are clearly not qualified including this reality TV show host we have now. We started off as a nation of Puritans who were inherently fixated on this protectiveness, backward looking agenda. And though we have heroes and heroines like the Fathers who came up with Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk and many others that have brought us baby-steps forward....this country can't seem to shake this back to the past, clinging to protectivism of our Puritan days. So you have to think about how much you are willing to fight for that. We do have Millennials coming up that weren't out in droves this election that are much more progressive so that is a hope for the election cycle four years from now. It is a noble thought to fight on the local level and maybe this make us fight harder on that level. As a matter of fact, in my next article, I am going to share how electing our officials is going to change dramatically in the future in ways that will blow your mind.
So Stay tuned, and stay encourage. You might feel a little lost as I do but eventually we'll find our way home again. There are still options.