It has now been almost two soul-sucking weeks since Election Day. What follows are the most common statements which I have seen expressed from people and camps eager to move on and put this toxic election behind them.
But we should not move on. We should remember everything that has happened and everything that was said and use it as fuel. If we as a nation escape from The Darkest Timeline with a country that is still worth calling home, it will be because we never forgot what was said and done by Donald Trump this past year and fought the creation of the America which he envisions every step of the way.
“We’ve endured worse than him.”
Response: Have we? This is a man who supports nuclear proliferation, who reportedly asked three times during a foreign policy briefing why we can’t use our nuclear arsenal. He has indicated that he would consider a registry for all members of a certain religion. The North Carolina KKK had a parade to celebrate his victory. His proposed tax plan would cut federal revenue by 2.6 to 3.9 trillion dollars after accounting for theorized economic growth (and for the small-government folks out there, would also raise the deficit by $5 trillion). ISIS released a statement heralding the election result as a great victory for their cause. In the words of The Economist in their endorsement of Hillary Clinton, “We would sooner have endorsed Richard Nixon [than Trump]—even had we known how he would later come to grief.” So you tell me: have we endured worse?
But all this misses a larger point as well: It is technically true—there have been other bad presidents and not one of them has ripped up the Constitution and replaced it with a royal decree. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that the bar to clear should be higher than “worst-case scenario.”
“Let’s wait and see.”
Response: Fuck that. I absolutely support peaceful transition of power and working with the administration to pass good, fair, and just laws whenever possible. Like it or not, Donald Trump will soon be the president. But “waiting and seeing,” acting like this is the same as any other election or giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, risks normalizing a man whose campaign statements included encouragement of violence towards minorities and graphic descriptions of his preferred method of sexual assault. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said it best:
“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans.”
Trump has appointed a self-admitted white Nationalist as his chief advisor, has a Vice President who opposes U.S. advocacy for the decriminalization of homosexuality abroad (a “crime” for which people are literally stoned to death), appointed a climate change denier as the head of the EPA transition team, and has nominated for Attorney General a senator whom a Republican Senate rejected for a federal judiciary appointment because he was too racist. What, exactly, are we waiting to see?
“Everything will be okay.”
Response: Obviously I’ll be fine. To quote our own Gabe Gunnink, “I am an upper-middle class, college-educated, white, Protestant male. I’ll be ok.” But for any other community, for members of any other group, they are now living in fear for their lives and livelihoods. And they should, because the country which they live in just told them that they are unequal members of American society. This is not new, but rarely has it been illustrated so starkly as it was on the eighth. It does not seem like a coincidence that hate crimes have risen sharply in the days since the election. So yeah, maybe everything will be okay, but only if the people who know better work tirelessly against the forces of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and hatred which Donald Trump has unleashed on Americans not fortunate enough to be born a white male.
I am not prone to political hysterics. Generally speaking, I trust the system’s ability to keep those I disagree with in check. But this was not an ordinary election, and the only way to survive its repercussions with a country worth preserving are through extraordinary efforts from those who want to be on the right side of history.
To the barricade.
After working in Washington, D.C., for two years, Andrew Orlebeke (’10) is in graduate school in Seattle, Washington, studying public policy. In addition to public service, he has a passion for traveling and an abiding love of sports.