Making America Great Again

So, you’ve had a day to reconcile yourself to the fact that we have a new president, whom I noted yesterday, was not actually wanted by many of the people who voted for him, according to exit polls.

Both the DNC and RNC were “shocked”, according to the media, by this election’s outcome and are both making sweeping changes to how they operate based on how Trump was elected against all odds.  Republicans fully expected to lose largely across the board, hoping to pick things up a bit during the midterm elections.  But, they swept the nation.

The credit for the Republican win is being handed primarily to Mr. Trump, But the thing is…no one is entirely certain *why* he won.

And, after considering it myself for the past day, I’ve come to some conclusions.

School shootings abound, the Black Lives Matter movement has shown that racism is still alive and strong, America has the highest number of reported rapes in the world today (1 in 5 women are believed to have been raped), we have the highest reported crime rate in the world, our annual murder rate is about 4.7 per 100,000, our military operations over the last 10 years are considered responsible for the deaths of more than a million civilians, our national debt way outpaces our GDP,  we have 46 million Americans living in poverty (1 in 4 infants, toddlers and preschoolers face poverty today), our life expectancy is behind that of other developed nations even though healthcare accounts for 18% of our GDP, our dollar is worth 4% of what it was worth 100 years ago, we have the highest obesity rating of any industrialized nation–

No matter your class ranking or race or political alignment, there are more than enough things to be unhappy about in our nation  Plenty of things which might make you wistful for a better time.

So, when an outsider to American politics says he has a plan to take things back to the “better time”, it’s really easy for him to gain a following.  Because he’s going to shake things up.  And he already has, based on the changes being stated as occurring in the RNC and DNC right now.

Yet, although our nation is troubled, we have made some amazing leaps forward in things like civil rights.  Leaps which might become minor steps in the shadow of the hate-spewing bigot who is our current President-elect.

That’s a big fear.  Because, although we have plenty of issues with bigotry rampant today, we are still a far cry from the segregated America of the mid-60s.

We’ve had a black President for the last 8 years.  Very nearly just elected a female President.  And we have openly gay members of Congress.  Oh yeah, speaking of homosexuality, they can get married now!  You do realize that sodomy was still considered illegal in parts of the US as late as 2003, right?  Granted, a lot of those same states also still had laws on the books against unmarried heterosexual couples getting it on, but still, we’ve come a long way baby!

Yes, Trump is a terrifying man.  Especially when put up against President Obama as a comparison.  I would hardly consider either of the Bushes or Bill Clinton to have been solid role models in their presidencies either.

But Trump’s still more terrifying, because he’s unapologetic.  Well, I mean, he did apologize, sorta, for the pussy grabbing comments, but one of his biggest selling points to the American people was that he is willing to say what is on his mind.  And quite often, what that is, is quite bigoted.  Not to mention the rape allegations, as well as the fraud case and—Look, he’s not a nice guy, okay.

And, considering how many parents were looking forward to telling their daughters on Wednesday morning about how a woman had become President, it’s a really rough thing to find out that the guy who has made a career out of objectifying them is actually the one in charge now.

He is not a good role model for anyone.

But here’s an important thing to consider.  Our greatest moments as a country weren’t started by politicians.  Even the great Abraham Lincoln had no interest in freeing the slaves until he determined it was what he needed to do to repair the Union.  Because that was his focus: repairing the Union (making America great again?).  Half the country had already abolished slavery before the war had even begun.  That was actually a direct impetus for the war.  Not that Lincoln’s impact wasn’t huge, it just wasn’t his movement.  He’s merely the guy who signed the papers to finish that part of it.  It was the American people, like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, who freed the slaves.  Unfortunately, history seems to have whitewashed that a bit…

Trump being elected President reminds us, as a nation, that although we’ve come so far, we’ve still got a long way to go.

However, I refuse to believe that the American people actually want to go back to a time where we would put people in internment camps based on the color of their skin.  I refuse to accept that the American people want to return to a day when women couldn’t vote.  And I know, in my heart, that the American people truly want a country where all its citizens are truly seen as being created equal.

They were just angry with how things have been going and fell in love with a man who said he was going to change things.

Love trumps hate is the message coming out of the Clinton camp right now.  It’s a great message.

It would have been great a couple weeks ago.  It actually would have been a spectacular slogan to bring up the end of the election.

Because a couple weeks ago, the message was fairly hate-filled.  The hate against a hateful man is what caused that hateful man to win.  It was hate vs. hate.  If the Clinton camp had taken control of the conversation earlier and said such a wonderful thing, I honestly believe it could have swayed the vote.

Because love does trump hate, but what the American people were getting before that concession speech, was a message of hatred on both sides.  Which is understandable.  Hate begets hate.  Trump spouted his hate-speak, and his opponents wanted to make sure you realized that he was a terrible terrible man.

But in doing so, they fell in line.  They sounded like him, even if their message was wholly different.

When you say it’s the fault of those who voted third party or of those who didn’t vote that Donald Trump got into office, you’re ignoring one very simple thing.  This race should have never been as close as it was.

Donald Trump should have never won the primary, much less the election.  Sure, it was close, but it shouldn’t have been.  Anyone should have been able to defeat him handily, but they didn’t.

The simple answer is to say that America is a bigoted nation.

I reject that answer.

America is scared.  America is lost.  America wanted change.

And it is the fault of those of us who know better that Trump got into office.  He owned the conversation.  He owned it.  His comments about how he might not accept the outcome if he lost; that forced Hillary to accept the outcome.  She couldn’t call for a recount now, because that would make her look like her competition.

The debates, they weren’t about the policies, they were about personal character.  That means that Hillary wasn’t talking about what she could do to make the country better, she was talking about how much of an ass her opponent was…which, was exactly what so many people liked about him.

Trump won because he was in control of every single portion of this election.  Because the Democrats fell into his trap and allowed the election to be, truthfully, all about him.  He’s all we talked about.

Trump won because he gamed the system perfectly.  He won because he is a showman who knew exactly how to pull the strings.

He won, quite honestly, because we let him.

Because we fell into his narrative of hate.

But now is our chance to change the narrative.  To show that love truly does trump hate.  We, the American people, must ensure that Trump, as our newly elected President, reflects the wants of the people.

I find myself praying that the man who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office this January is a far different man than the one he showed himself to be on the campaign trail, but his history says differently.  And when he shows his true colors, we, the American people, must act.

Because that’s what our country has been calling us to do.  To act.

To let love win.

To let freedom ring.

If we want to make America great, we have to do the one thing America has always claimed as its calling card, even if the reality of it has been questionable much over our spotted history.  We must show love for all people, no matter their color, their creed, or their history.  America is a place of second chances.

Even for hate-filled bigots.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t expect them to act with a little civility.  Especially when they’re representing our country.

Trump’s election is a wake up call, not just for the DNC and the RNC, but for all of us.  If a man like this can become President, we, as an entire nation, are doing something wrong.  Stop passing the blame.  All of us are responsible for him getting to where he is today.  Every single one of us.

Now it’s our responsibility to make sure he doesn’t make things a whole lot worse.

 

 

 

 

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