Wow. What a week, am I right? Like many people out there, my world was rocked by this year’s election results, and not in a good way. To those who voted for Mr. Trump, congratulations. To everybody protesting already, I hear your fear and your anguish (indeed I feel it acutely). However, the man isn’t even in office yet.
You can protest the fact that Donald Trump won the election by the Electoral College and not the popular vote. That is your right. If you favor the popular vote, then you should make your voice heard. Please try to do it in a way that does not involve hurting people, damaging property or lighting effigies on fire. It undermines the message you are selling and give people who would deride that message a reason to name them riots instead.
Not to mention, I feel like it is probably a lost cause. When Al Gore lost similarly back in 2000, it went all the way to the Supreme Court and they ruled in George W. Bush’s favor. Why? Because the Electoral College is how America chooses its President. If you are interested in learning why, you should definitely watch this video on You Tube. I think it offers a little bit of perspective.
Please understand, I know that your anger and fear are real. Donald Trump campaigned on fear and hatred against Latinos and Muslims at the very least. He will probably install extremely conservative Supreme Court justices who could undo decades of progress for African-Americans, women and the LGBT community.
Why Did This Happen?
I doubt that these are the reasons that people voted for him. Perhaps these are the reasons that the KKK and other white nationalist groups supported him, but by and large Trump voters are hurting economically and scared of the rising Islamic Terrorism around the world. Like him or not, Trump came out with a message that said I understand that you have been hurt financially over the last many decades. That message is a good one, even if he wasn’t always politically correct in the way he said it. On top of that, he came out forcefully against Islamic Terrorism.
Let me say this right away: people who are afraid of what Islamic Terrorism will do to America are not racist. They are scared. When Democrats come out and call them racist for these justified fears, it only serves to make them angry and reinforces the idea that the Democrats are privileged and do not understand anything that is important. At least, that’s how I understand it from talking to people who supported Trump.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some real issues in our society concerning race. The criminal justice system springs immediately to mind. This should be addressed, as should many other issues. Here’s the thing- the President has NEVER been the change maker in this country. They have signed the bills, often because it was politically expedient.
Where Barack Obama Went Wrong
Perhaps Democrats and others on the Left made the assumption that because Barack Obama was a black president that he would fight more, but he is merely a politician. He did move on LGBT marriage rights, because the people made it clear that it was what they wanted, but on other things not so much. Nobody on the Left really pushed him for expanded background checks after so many mass shootings, so he never fought for them. He said some poignant words and then went back to what he thought was possible and helping his political donors (sorry, all politicians do it guys, honestly, I doubt Trump will be any different).
This is not unique behavior for American presidents. This is the rule (LBJ would have never signed the Civil Rights Act if Martin Luther King Jr. and millions of others hadn’t pushed him). For those of you who blame Republican obstructionism for Obama’s failures, you are only partially right. He probably wouldn’t have been able to do everything he wanted. However, could Barack Obama have fixed the lead pipes that still taint our national infrastructure? I think so. People care about lead poisoning in children when they are reminded of it on a regular basis. It seems very likely that if he had continued to visit Flint, Chicago and other communities that have been affected by this that something might have been done by now. Thus proving, we cannot count on ANY president to advocate on our behalf.
So, Get Off Your Butt and Do Something
Come January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will be your president. My president. America’s president. We must hope that he will not govern in hate as he campaigned. In his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning, he said he wants to rebuild American infrastructure and work to help the Veterans in America. I think those are things I can get behind. My recommendation is to support him in the things you agree are good.
I also think it is reasonable to plan for the event that he advocates for policies that would harm. This is where you, the American citizen come in- whichever side of the political divide you land on. Wear a safety pin so that those who feel unsafe in an environment where hate crimes are on the rise know at a glance that you will not judge them for what they look like or believe. Volunteer and help raise awareness for the issues that are important to you- do as much good for your community and your family as you can. And when Donald Trump is no longer President, no matter who succeeds him, do not stop. Every president needs to hear the voice of the people and every community can benefit from your help.
Back to Writing
So, now I will get off my soapbox. I had to get that off my chest.
I will be doing a book signing on December 1st from 3:30 to 6:30 pm at the Whitman County Library in Colfax, WA. Stop by and see me. I might even be handing out bookmarks, I just need to design and order them.
Please remember, in these times of division and chaos to hold on to the things you can. Love fiercely. Communicate with those who have opposite views. Maybe if we can understand each other’s points of view we can become a stronger nation through this.
Keep reading. Until next time, peace be with you.