So, that happened.
I’m a Canadian, but I feel like I need to say something because let’s be absolutely real, the financial crisis of 2008 taught us nothing if not, what happens in the USA affects the whole world.
And the USA just elected Donald Trump as president.
I found watching this election night difficult in a way I’d never felt before. I watched the last US election and it was a close race and yet, I never felt the genuine sadness and disappointment I feel now at the prospect of a Romney presidency. I didn’t agree with Mitt Romney’s views,but I also didn’t consider them to be the hateful, xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, and generally incompetent rhetoric that Trump built his campaign on.
And let me be very clear; Trump did build his campaign on that. Brexit might have used racist and xenophobic rhetoric to push them over the edge, but Trump declared his candidacy by calling Mexicans who immigrate to the country rapists and drug dealers and doubled down at every opportunity he got.
But let me also be very clear on this; I know that not everyone who voted for him was actively racist. Trump won because he went to the rural parts of America, the broad stretches of land on those election maps that paint the country red between the democratic dots and told them what they are so desperate to hear; I’ll bring back your jobs and your way of life, I’ll listen to you.
Because those areas, those single industry towns that were decimated by the American economy and forgotten by the recovery attempt, those areas do truly need help. I visited an area just like that here in Canada for a placement, and they have real issues that deserve attention. They need jobs, affordable education, help with sky high suicide rates and addiction and mental health, assessable and staffed hospitals and more.
And they’ve not received a good reception when asking for help. The ‘redneck’ stereotype in America often seems like the last bastion of an ‘acceptable’ stereotype; it’s fantastic that we are seeing pushback against racial and gender sterotypes in our media and culture, but at the same time we tuned into shows like Honey Boo Boo to laugh at a subsection of the American public that needs help. And to those people who voted for Trump because of that reason I want to say this;
I genuinely hope that he does get legislation passed and written to help you. No sarcasm, no tone; I genuinely hope he does and I hope your lives get better for it.
But I don’t think he will. And even as I type that I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t. The Republicans have controlled the house and the senate now for a while and they done nothing but try and pass tax cuts for the wealthy and obstruct partisan cooperation and I don’t think Donald Trump being President will change that.
But it will change things, and that’s why this election has left me so disappointed. A Trump presidency for me isn’t about the fear of getting accidentally nuked. It’s about the people who are sitting home today who aren’t sure if their marriage will be legal come January. The citizens of America who immigrated there because they too wanted to share in Reagan’s vision of a ‘shining city atopt the hill’ who now don’t just feel unwelcome, but unsafe now that the hatred toward them has been validated by a presidential election.
People like me – chronically ill with a pre-existing condition – who are going to lose their healthcare and who are sitting at home wondering what effect this election will have on their literal lives. And I mean this absolutely literally; if I was an American, the repealing of the Affordable Care Act – when Donald Trump and the Republican Party have offered up no clear alternative – would mean I would lose access to the medication I am on, the only thing that lets me function throughout the day and stands between me and having to have my small and large bowel removed.
This is an election that has real and immediate consequences, and the people who are afraid have reason to be. Policies aside, America just elected their least qualified President over an incredibly qualified opponent and the mainstream Republican Party is going to fall in behind Trump and the alt right and that’s the real problem.
I’m disappointed that in 2016, racism and xenophobia won…again.
Because even those people who voted for Trump for reasons other than his racist rhetoric have still just endorsed those ideals with their vote. Trump’s victory says to the world that you can be unqualified for a job, can say hateful and racist things, can threaten your political opponents and be dissmive and bullying to women and others…and that you’ll succeed based on those values and actions.
And that’s really freaking disappointing.
So America, you have a lot of work to do. To Democrats; you have to fight to protect the rights and civil victories that the Obama administration brought. Stay loud, stay on the high ground and make it politically unfavourable for them to repeal your rights. To Presdient Elect Trump’s supporters; you have to hold him and the Republicans to the promises they made re the manufacturing industry and helping those rural, ignored communities, because they won’t do it unless you keep the pressure on them. You threw a brick through the window America, you got their attention. Now it’s up to you to clean up the mess, and put in a new window together.
Because otherwise, you’re just going to be stuck with broken glass and a draft.