Republicans are not to “blame” for Trump. The DNC colluded to put forth a flawed candidate who did nothing to appease what voters apparently wanted: a job boost and any kind of change. Add that with Democrats not turning up to the polls and there is enough “blame” to go around for everyone. The same power that Democrats, and the country to some degree, fear in the hands of Trump was made that way over the last eight years. The left needs to take a look in the mirror.
Additionally, not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist or a bigot or a misogynist. That said, Trump is. He is a racist. He is a bigot. He is a misogynist. By voting for him you elected those things to the White House. Just because you say you cast your vote for his policy does not mean you can ignore what he has shown himself to be. You, in your small way, gave those voices a seat at the most powerful table in the world.
Along those lines, to those saying “Give him a chance to prove himself” I respond by saying he has had chances. A 70-year-old man has an established worldview and pattern of abusing others for his own personal gain. To suggest now that he has more power would somehow make him more restrained seems doubtful at best. And a week in to his transition he has named a white nationalist as his chief strategist. He has floated Joe Arpaio and Dave Clark for Secretary of Homeland Security. A man of pink jumpsuits, criminal contempt charges and deportation raids; and “blue lives matter,” “fix the ghetto not the police” rhetoric, respectively. His top choice for EPA administrator denies climate change. Trump had a chance to surprise me, and he did not.
I find it entirely possible, probable even, that he conned those who did vote for him. At least those who believed when he said he wanted to “drain the swamp” in Washington. His cabinet front-runners include Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and political lifer, for Secretary of State or Attorney General; Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, for Secretary of State; Forest Lucas, founder of Lucas Oil, for Interior Secretary; and Steven Mnuchin, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 17 years, as Treasury Secretary. From lobbyists to the political elite to his own children, his Oval Office shows very little radical change. His proposed tax plan also most benefits the richest of Americans, and may even hurt the poorest.
But even if this administration does follow through on the economic promises, the social cost may be too much. I am a straight, white male. I can’t speak to living a day in the life of a black man, a Muslim woman, a Latino family or a LGBTQ teen. So I won’t. But I can listen, and I hear a lot of those voices saying they’re scared. It’s scary when the KKK celebrates Trump’s election. It’s scary to read that the FBI reports an increase in hate crimes against Muslims this past year to the highest point since 9/11. It’s scary to hear Trump promise to deport 2 million people. It’s scary when the Vice President-elect advocated for spending tax dollars on conversion therapy as the governor of Indiana. Again, I don’t know anything about the challenges facing these groups. But that should make me more prone to listen, not less.
I don’t want to see eight years of white working class individuals feeling ignored and angry erase the progress made to help others who have felt ignored and voiceless for decades, or even centuries, in this country.
Finally, as skeptical as I am of this man and nervous about what policies his government could enact, I have been encouraged by the desire to have fierce resistance to anything that might wipe away that progress. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, ProPublica and many others have seen a swell in donations. In a perverse way Trump’s election may have shaken us to action. I can only hope that fire doesn’t die out.
It’s been a week since I learned Donald Trump would be President. The moments of absolute dread keep ebbing away, but my adversarial skepticism remains sharp as ever. Equally important my desire to ensure social equality does not regress has been stoked to a new high.
Thank you for reading,