There is such a division in our country, that finding common ground seem like an impossibility. Ironically, the one thing most of us can agree on is that we do not want our country to be so divided. As a democrat, I know that my political leanings are very different from most of the people who voted for Trump. Although, I can hardly remember it, I almost feel an ancestral sense of nostalgia for the times when both parties worked together to find solutions that made sense.
Maybe neither side was totally happy, but the consideration of all viewpoints lead to compromises that often worked for our country.
Trump voters, democrat or republican, had their reasons for choosing the wealthy businessman and/or simply not choosing Clinton. I believe I’ve heard most of these reasons and, while I don’t agree with any of them, I certainly feel that most of these people thought they were making the right choice for themselves and for the America they think they should be living in.
Therein grows the (very general) root of the problem: we live in alternate realities, with very different visions and expectations for our country.
So here we are, in the wake of a Trump victory, with a lot of unrest and divisiveness. Republicans, and even some democrats, have spoken out against protesters and urged people to give Trump a chance. It’s a fair request, but only if you ignore history.
It is not possible to bridge the rift and calm the fears that were exposed and fostered throughout his contentious campaign. Trump has pledged to make America great again, but at whose expense?
Throughout his crusade, Trump fueled the fire of his base: white working class people who “remember” an America of their youth and long for the respect and success they feel they deserve. Bigoted rhetoric was Trump’s tool for reaching and mobilizing these forgotten “patriots.” In a way, his stumbled upon strategy was genius in that it won him the Presidency.
But the result of his methods have left a lot of people scared of being deported, losing their rights, and being discriminated against by people who have become emboldened by their new savior’s apparent disregard for basic human decency and respect.
Whether or not Trump believes the things he’s said has little relevance to the people whose daily lives are impacted by the distress and uncertainty he cultivated.
While the sentiment of coming together and healing is nice in theory, it probably won’t happen this time around, especially if Trump continues to do nothing to address the marginalized communities he so heartlessly demonized, belittled, and shamed. Maybe if Trump had shown respect and restraint, while laying out conservative policies, there could have been some hope for sharing parts of a vision for America.
For the rest of us, Trump is the complete opposite of the America we see and want.
He has recklessly fueled hate and division, he contradicts himself wildly, is a casebook narcissist, cannot speak coherently, has no ability to take criticism, and has been accused of countless acts of sexual assault.
Oh, and he selected Steve Bannon, a known white supremacist to be his Chief Strategist.
I believe in Democracy and I had hope for a unified country. However, there is no way that a campaign built on hatred and division can achieve anything close to that. Trump ignited his base by providing a safe space for hatred to be both felt and expressed which, in turn, caused the people who do not support him to continue to live in fear of what a Trump administration could mean for them.
His campaign may not have caused this massive divide, but it unveiled it and justified the prejudices of many of our citizens.
Thanks, Trump, for showing us who were really are… I think that’s all you will ever be good for.