The anger, hostility, sadness, apprehension and general feeing of hopelessness that pervades America right now is astonishing. Astonishing, because USA is a seasoned democracy that considers itself leader of the free world. Election verdicts are accepted, maybe grudgingly, with a lingering heartache if your side lost, but life goes on. However this time around things are different. The demonstrations refuse to abate, discussions seem endless, people refuse to let go of the anger. Inflamed emotion is spilling over a collective cauldron of disbelief. Donald Trump is President-elect.
Like most of America, my excitement at waiting for results morphed into rabid unease before finally dissolving into wretched helplessness as I watched state after state turn red. All logic pointed to a game lost but I stuck in front of my flickering TV waiting for some miracle. But no, Wisconsin did not turn blue and Pennsylvania went red. That left me, much like most people I know anguished, astonished, ambushed, atrophied.
An unexamined life is not worth living said Socrates and I have been wondering why these results have impacted so many of us so viscerally. I’m old enough to have lived through multiple elections now; in fact the results of the last one in India (my home country) were especially hard to swallow. But once out, ideological differences notwithstanding, most people wished the new Prime Minister well and let democracy win. I’m afraid with this election, I cannot find it in me to wish Trump well. Many of us cannot.It’s been fascinating to see how parents anguished over breaking this ‘news’ to their children. I have several friends who had to console crying kids at home because their little ones were scared at the idea of a Trump presidency. Definitely a first in my lifetime. I will not get into the details of how qualified, sane and right Hillary was for the job because that’ll take away from what I really want to say here. And all my experience tells me this is not a regular conservative vs liberal argument. On one hand it can seem to be a complex and layered equation but on the other, its as simple as telling day from night.
Pundits are now falling over themselves trying to identify gaps they missed, Trump supporters (can’t say conservatives, because many conservatives are not Trump supporters and many Trump supporters are not conservatives) are clapping their hands in glee and liberals are being told they are undemocratic people living in their cocoons… sore losers who ought to move forward as if this were just another election. Except that it wasn’t.
I could really write another blogpost on all the reasons why Trump is so despised. But I’ll succinctly postulate that the abysmal standards this campaign sunk down to was 99.99% Trump’s doing. He consistently showed himself to be a repulsive bully, racist, xenophobe, misogynist and by inference therefore, a despicible human being. Everything we don’t want our children to say, think or do, he did. I can never forgive him his deplorable attitude towards women, my friend Stacy cannot forget his categorical dismissal of climate change. My son finds it abhorrent that he always called his rivals names and that his 9 year old muslim friend was crying on the school bus the whole time after the results. A family I know in the midwest is still stunned that he referred to his genitals in the primaries and that he was incredibly insulting to Ted Cruz’s wife.
These are pertinent enough reasons to question a candidate’s fitness to be POTUS. Trump is a role model alright, but he is a role model for everything we do not want our children, spouses, families or neighbors to be. Yes there are people who elected him in, they are disgruntled with the way things were. They want a change. My reading is that the blue collared American white male (yes, male) is unhappy with/scared of the rapid changes America is embracing. Black president? LGBT marriage? Furore over police shooting a few African Americans? Legalizing marijuana? Women’s reproductive rights? FEMALE PRESIDENT? That’s where it had to stop.
Instead of shaming liberals and telling people like me to extend a hand to Trump supporters, to ‘feel their plight and bridge the divide’, media and pundits would do better telling Trump supporters to expand their blinkered horizons. They want me to support a POTUS who said he would throw his opponent in jail if elected, that he would not accept results if he lost, that the media is partisan, the system rigged. But now that he has won, all is hunky dory. I am supposed to endorse and quietly watch as this bombastic sexual assaulter, third grade reality TV star with zero policy knowledge, zero record of public service takes on as the supposed leader of the free world.
Sorry, not going to happen.