I have a confession to make. I dressed as Donald Trump for Halloween and I am actually really quite ashamed about this now. This whole “Trump for President” thing just seemed like such a joke, or at least a calculated House Of Cards-esque plot by the Clintons in order to ensure a landslide Hillary victory. Every step The Donald took closer and closer to the White House we all kept saying “Surely, this will be when the madness stops” but it didn’t. I will also confess to being a very cynical and negative person, yet for some reason, I still have faith in people and faith that in the end, “the good guy” wins (I blame wrestling and comic books…). I kept thinking that people would come to their senses and not reward or support a bully.
Look, I get that we all share different political views. No one has all the answers and as a very well respected businessman in my home community used to say “opinions are like assholes; everybody has one”. I’m pretty liberal but I get some of the things conservatives believe in; who WANTS to pay tax? Giving tax breaks to big businesses to make your city, province, or country more appealing so they set up shop and make jobs makes sense too (though I’d argue that giving tax breaks to people who don’t make much allows them to spend more in the local economy which makes money for everyone but I digress). I’m also not naïve to the fact that we live in a polarized, partisan world. We all have our teams and sides ranging from the Leafs, the Yankees, the Beyhive or Team Kim vs. Team Taylor.
I stayed up really late on Tuesday night and was saddened to see that “the good guy” wasn’t going to win. I woke up to a very sad world on Wednesday; a world that makes your team more important than common decency. Conservative values aside, how could anyone who has an important woman in his life have voted for Trump? I’m not even going to mention all of the other terrible things he said about other groups but I just keep thinking about my mother whom I love dearly, my niece that I adore more than anyone and all of the other women in my life that I love dearly. A man who was recorded on tape as saying that he will inappropriately grab a woman simply because he is a celebrity is now the leader of the free world. I felt so sad for these women in my life. So sad that “Good” didn’t prevail.
Let’s not start a debate about how Hillary “wasn’t that great either” because in some ways I agree; but she wasn’t a deplorable, disrespectful bully who attacks anyone and everyone that dares to criticize. Last month, I tried to shed some light on WHY people might have been supporting Trump and these were legitimate concerns. I think it is important to acknowledge that these people are hurting and need some change and need to be heard too. Ironically, I learned from one of the many anti-Trump Facebook statuses that one of my best friends from high school is married; we’ve lost touch which is why I discovered such a thing in such a place; but she told me she is married to a man that serves in the US military and they are stationed in rural Missouri. She said that things are “pretty bleak” there and that rural America is “basically the third world”. That is sad and scary as well.
The reality is that Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States of America and there really isn’t much that anyone can do about it. I’ve already gone on for over six hundred words without getting to the point of my article: so what do you do now? We here in Newfoundland can’t do much, though I have made a slight vow to not visit the US in the next four years out of protest. The truth is though that we all need to realize that we can be involved in the political process even if there isn’t an election going on and especially if “our team” didn’t win.
There were a lot of jokes about moving to Canada during this election and I welcome any liberal American to come up North as it would only make us more liberal and I’d be happy with that, but that isn’t a reality for a lot of people. A lot of liberal television personalities had to put on a brave face this week and admit defeat. Bill Maher used his show as a platform to announce to President Trump and those who support him that “We’re Still Here” and urged all liberals to join the resistance. “Roommates can move out, Patriots can’t,” he said. “America needs you, more than ever. Right here with me and the rest of the resistance until we can figure out
how to really make America great again and don’t ever let them forget: We’re still here.”
I spoke with Dr. Amanda Bittner, a political science professor at Memorial University about what the people in the resistance might be able to do. She said that since the election results a lot of people have been talking about donations; not only to political parties but also “to groups that encourage female candidates, like Equal Voice or Emily’s List, or to non-governmental organizations that support folks who need things that government isn’t providing, including shelters, abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood.” She also said that people could “call out racism and sexism when we see it, “on a daily basis and that “[p]roviding a safe space for people who don’t feel safe is incredibly important, and as hate speech becomes normalized, it is important to stop it when we see it.”
People can also become involved by contacting their government representatives and through peaceful protest. Dr. Bittner also notes that simply turning out is “relatively speaking, takes little effort.” This means actually going out and voting. Less than fifty percent of Americans voted on Tuesday. There are a lot of reasons why people become complacent and don’t want to participate in the political process but we all really need to remember that people have died for the right to vote and it isn’t something we should take lightly.
Again, we as Newfoundlanders or Canadians can’t really do much to affect the reign of President Trump (other than not visiting the US while they try to sort their stuff out) but I think it is important to remember the points I have brought up and the things that Dr. Bittner mentioned. I keep saying “This would never fly in Canada” in reference to someone like Trump running for office but the scary thing is that it very well might. Just this week a frontrunner candidate for the Conservative party expressed her support for Donald Trump so we might very well have a battle on our hands in a few years’ time.
I always say that everything I learned in life I learned from The Simpsons and on Wednesday as I listened to “Girl” by Destiny’s Child and sent it out as a Long Distance Dedication to Hillary Clinton and Eminem’s “Mosh” as my anger at the people who allowed this man to come to power grew I also thought of Lisa Simpson as she stood with her dad and Mr. Burns’ workers protested and sang “They have the plant, but we have the power”. This rings true to life. We can’t forget that and we can’t give up hope that good will eventually prevail.