Frantically trying to find a path to blue on my own make-your-own electoral map, slowly it dawned on me as it did billions that night: it was not possible. What I’d feared since he won the primaries was finally realized. Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.
At that moment, all I could think was “Biff is going to be president.” In Back to the Future Part II, Biff’s character was heavily based on Donald Trump. [Source] For the record, I am eagerly awaiting Doc Brown and Marty McFly to come in and save the day. They have until January 20th, 2017. Seriously guys any minute… But back to reality. “How is this happening?” I’ve heard this statement several times in the last two weeks. That night was a lot of things, but surprising is definitely not one of them. Any person who is a part of a minority group was likely not shocked on November 8th. When I first tell people a few work anecdotes they are often shocked this type of blatant sexism still exists. My shock has turned numb along with so many others. The hate and fear for racial, gender, and religious minorities runs deep in this country.
Excuses I’m tired of hearing:
“Well, she was never very likable, if only she was a better speaker”
Ah yes, let’s blame the woman in this situation while calling the other side sexist. Here’s the thing, when you work in a field with mostly men, there’s a hardening process necessary to cope in these types of fields. And politics is even worse for women. She comes off cold to hide her feelings so they can’t claim she’s “emotional” or “crazy”. Instead she settles for cold and heartless. It is one or the other.
If only we had gotten rid of the electoral college.
If the outcome was reversed and Hillary had lost the popular vote, but won the election: the people currently complaining would be celebrating. They would be rolling their eyes at the Trump supporters making the same claims of a rigged election. Is the system broken? Possibly. But this is our democratic election and we need to stand by the results gracefully and peacefully conceding as Secretary Clinton has done.
When I asked Trump supporters why they were voting for him, often times they would respond they didn’t necessarily like Trump, but they HATED Hillary. And there it is, hate. I’ve never respected this answer. You can dislike her policies, you can think she is dishonest, but hate is not an appropriate or acceptable reason. People say half the people in our country are conscious-racists, alt-rights, and Nazis. That type of generalization is dangerous. According to CNN, just over half the population of eligible voters actually voted and of that 26.3% voted for Trump. [CNN #s] In defense of the 26.3%, I truly believe most people who voted for Trump wanted change after 8 years of a democratic presidency. In my experience, republicans tend to take less offense to politically incorrect statements. Many being white males find it easier to justify away “what he really meant.” They don’t know what it’s like to have someone judge you based solely on your religion or the sexual orientation you were born with or the color of your skin or your gender. So they took a chance on a political outsider not understanding what his rhetoric is capable of mobilizing.
I understand the anger and the depression. However, hate and anger are what most concerns me about Trump. Let’s not turn to anger because then we are no better. Josh Lyman says it best [Side note: President Bartlet, where are you now?]:
Let’s stop making excuses and dig in. It will be difficult for many to speak up during hate crimes. Imagine you are on a bus and someone calls the person next to you a derogatory name. What’s your response? I read a great article suggesting the least we can do is have a conversation with the person being victimized. Treat them like a human being and talk to them-ask them if they need anything. Anything is better than remaining silent. If you live in a bubble, which a lot of us do, you will be shocked and often speechless the first time this happens. Have a plan ready now. Get involved and place your energy towards something useful. Engage in the difficult conversations with Trump supporters but do so respectfully. Donate to organizations you are concerned about. Educate yourself and support minority groups who may need our help. Let it be known that racist, sexist, xenophobic behavior will not be the norm.
Great article to help you start a plan: So You Want to Wear a Safety Pin