Donald J. Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States. He will be the least qualified President this country has ever produced. But he will be the President. My President. How can this be?
Donald Trump openly espouses the worst that America can offer. Openly xenophobic, sexist, racist, and fearful of the outside world he reflects an America that has always existed and that we have sought to move past. An America left behind by globalization, seeing no benefit from growing trade and an inclusive world. An America angry and resentful for being ignored and told to “keep up with the times” but not being given the tools to do so. This is the America that made their voice heard yesterday. This is the America that propelled this man to heights of power. Not that all, or even most, of his supporters are racist and sexist, but the great majority are angry. Angry at the loss of their jobs, angry at the dysfunction in Washington, angry at a system that does not work for them. Do we blame them for holding out hope for some relief? Are we surprised that they vote for a man who seems to understand their concerns? A few days ago, I wrote that we all have a voice that deserves to be heard and I stand by that. I may disagree passionately with the result, but I am proud to say that I live in a country capable of producing electoral upsets, a country that gives everyone a chance to make their mark.
Does this mean I will accept this result quietly? Absolutely not. He won a free and fair election in a democratic system, and as a patriot I hope he does well for my country. As a free citizen in a free society however I will continue to voice my concerns about this man who is so far removed from the American ideals of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. This is a man who has advocated the use of torture, war crimes, discrimination based on race and creed, sexual assault, and who holds a stunning disregard for basic human decency. I may respect the result and the process, but I do not respect the man.
I consider myself a liberal. I am a lover of freedom, poetry, revolutionary fervor, hope, change, and the belief that ALL people are equal and should be treated as such. Which is why this election result is so difficult for me. Donald Trump is someone whom I vehemently oppose, but the fact remains he is someone who has given a voice to the voiceless and a champion to the downtrodden. Donald Trump is oh so much more, but just because I disagree with this individual man does not mean that the grievances of his millions of supporters are not genuine. How can I, someone who believes in freedom, ignore these millions? Donald Trump, individually, may represent the worst of America, but not all his supporters do. If I truly believe in the promise of democracy, then I should give him the chance to carry out the change that millions voted for.
But how can I? This is a man who honestly frightens me. Our political leaders are not meant to inspire fear, but hope. As a man with four sisters, I fear what his example will do to them. As a Christian, I fear what Trump and the religious right have done with my religion. As a human being, I fear what his newfound power will do to those around me and around the world. America, we have elected our first demagogue. And I fear what is to come.