America’s been shot through the heart. And who’s to blame?
OK enough of that.
Yesterday, I posted about how the people of various nationalities reacted to the news that Donald Trump is now the President. As of yesterday the sheer magnitude of that fact had not sunken in yet, as I proclaimed 2016 to be the most bizarre year of my lifetime, thus far. Today, as I take to Facebook and see how my American friends who live in the States are reacting, I can’t help but get slightly annoyed at the whole lot of them.
After the initial and completely understandable cries of shock, there immediately followed a squabbling of the sort barely fit for a second grade schoolyard.
Deport the Bernie Sanders supporters! It’s all their fault that people don’t like Hillary!
Those of you who voted third party are no longer my friends! Fuck you this is all your fault!
No, it’s the people who didn’t vote! It’s their fault! How could you not vote in such an important election!
It’s all old people’s fault! Young people voted Blue! Fuck old people!
No, it’s young people’s fault, for not having voted more!
How dare you care about principles? Being principled is being privileged! It’s the hipsters’ fault!
Stop talking about Bernie Sanders! Us moderate Republicans who never wanted Trump in the first place are going to rally to him now if all you talk about is a Commie who promises free stuff for everyone!
Yes, Trump being President is a scary reality that few people anywhere thought could ever have been possible. But now it is a reality, and this squabbling will get us nowhere. Do you know what else is a reality? There is a giant portion of the country which is outraged, and wants to make sure that Trump is not able to enact his vile, hateful policies and campaign promises, destroying the world economy in the process. That is also a reality, and squabbling over whose fault it is, raising hackles and alienating every single person who shares your goal of opposing Trump, but did not decide to vote exactly the way that you did, will get you precisely dick.
There are a million reasons why Trump won. For decades, the US has had one of the lowest voter turnout of the developed world, due in large part to the fact that it is an incredibly complicated voting system, as well as intentional measures to suppress voter turnout, exacerbated by the repeal of key parts of the Civil Rights Voting Act. Meekly letting that skate by, and accepting it as a fact of life, does not then give you the right to turn around and scream at people who didn’t vote in this particular election. Maybe, instead, acknowledge that the voting system is at best flawed and at worst designed to have as few people as possible voting, and make fixing it a cornerstone of your platform going forward.
Do not condescend to progressives who didn’t like Hillary Clinton. Some voted for her, some voted third party, and some didn’t vote at all, but they are adults who made their own adult decision. The American political system allows for third parties and for people to decide whether to vote their conscience, or vote for the lesser of two evils. Do not pretend to love democracy, and then scream at adults who choose to not employ their democratic vote the way you see fit. Maybe, instead, acknowledge that the United States was founded to get away from monarchies and aristocracies, and that in this election people finally had enough of it. Enough Bushs, Clintons and Kennedys. Enough telling us that it is this person’s “turn”, as if anyone has a fundamental right to the Presidency. Acknowledge that it is time to return to actual representatives, who represent the people, and listen to those people when they have concerns, instead of telling them to shut up, heel, be a good dog and vote no matter how poorly represented, or how ignored you feel.
I do not think that the majority of the country actually wants Trump to be President. I think that Trump (accidentally) capitalized on this fragmentation, and bickering, and squabbling, and rode a wave of extreme right wingers who came out to vote for the very first time and tipped him straight into the White House. If you actually want to prevent him from enacting his loathsome policies, continuing the very squabbling that won him the Presidency is most likely not going to do it.
Putting aside left vs right policies for one second. Can we all agree that it should be easy for every eligible voter to vote, across the entire country? Can we agree that it should be no more difficult than buying a cup of coffee? If my pathetically organized home country of Italy can make it that easy, the US certainly can, if they have a mind to.
Can we all agree that allowing giant corporations to buy elections is the antithesis of democracy?
Can we all agree that people actually want to be heard, and represented, rather than insulted, and condescended to?
There is a unique opportunity here to unite rather than to fragment further. Regardless of how differently you would have acted if you were in another’s shoes, I beg you to not let that stand in the way of uniting with those people under a common goal. This has happened, there is no going back, so maybe you can use this as a lesson and an inspiration to fix a broken system. You can find so many allies and together, stronger, you can fight for a political system in which people participate, and feel included, and feel represented. United, you can put enormous pressure on your representatives, whether they have an R or a D next to their name, to not allow Trump to run roughshod over the country.
Or you can keep pointing fingers at each other and bitching until you’re blue in the face, while Trump skips along unawares doing whatever he wants in the face of a fragmented thus nonexistent opposition. There’s that too.