NOTE: This post contains part of the editor’s note that has, throughout the 2016 election cycle, been added to the end of all blog posts concerning Donald Trump. The Huffington Post has chosen to remove this note going forward. In this blog post, I am appropriating an excerpt of this note for my own purposes, while respecting the editors’ decision.
It’s official: Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States.
Through the Electoral College, the system that determines our next President―the same system that gave us President George W. Bush in spite of his losing the popular vote ― Trump has seized the 2016 election away from Hillary Clinton. Outside of an unprecedented decision on the part of the electors to deny him the office, we can expect him to become the leader of our country’s executive branch come January 2017.
That much, I believe, a vast majority of Americans can agree upon.
What it seems we cannot agree upon is how to handle the news.
As of November 9th, people across the country have begun protesting Trump’s victory. The hashtag #notmypresident is picking up steam on social media. While it is true that millions are currently sharing petitions to overturn the election to reflect the popular vote, or to persuade Obama to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court unilaterally (which he probably cannot do), the overall goal of these protests, I will venture to assume, is not to undo the results of an election that we detest. It is a statement of outrage that a deeply unqualified, dangerous, bigoted demagogue has won the election, and that our systems failed to prevent this outcome. In short, it is a refusal to normalize the politics of Donald Trump.
And the normalization process is well underway.
Already the messages of “unity” are setting in; memes are chocking up this election to a simple difference of equally respectable and reasonable opinions; Ben Carson is bloviating on Facebook about “being kinder to each other”; Trump himself just criticized the protests as “very unfair,” before retreating into a vague message of “coming together” while calling the protests “small.” And let’s not forget about all the fluff pieces that are coming out, the clear message being that this election is just like any other and no damage has been done.
I understand why someone like, say, President Obama is not in a position to criticize Trump’s victory. He has an obligation, as the executive, to uphold the constitution and allow for the peaceful transfer of power. But the press, and those of us who voted against him, who knew what was wrong with him and repeated it over and over again ― that he has advocated for banning Muslims, that he has called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, that he has bragged on tape about committing sexual assault, that scores of women have accused him of committing the acts he was caught bragging about, and much, much more ― we have an obligation not to forget who this man is.
This is the man who, when one of his supporters said, “We have a problem in this country; it’s called Muslims... When can we get rid of them?”, responded as follows: “We need this question. We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. A lot of people are saying that.”
This is the man who put out fullfull-page in New York City’s newspapers calling for the death of the Central Park Five, five teens of color accused of raping a jogger. This is the man who, as recently as two months ago, over ten years after the five were exonerated by DNA evidence, has insisted that the men are still guilty.
This is the man who has demonstrated his abject contempt for women so consistently and conspicuously that to single out one incident here would do an injustice to all the others.
This is the man whose future Vice President, Mike Pence, is one of the most virulently anti-LGBTQ politicians today.
This is the man who has, up to this point, refused to acknowledge, much less condemn, this violence that is happening right now.
And this is also the man who won. Not because there was a difference of opinion between equally amazing and unprejudiced people, but because millions of Americans, abetted each step of the way by voter suppression, opted to strip the kind-faced veneer off our country’s true, white supremacist, patriarchal ethos ― even if it meant electing such a profoundly unqualified, unethical and cruel man.
There will be many in the coming days who insist there is nothing to worry about. They will say that the fears of the most vulnerable Americans are unreasonable. Do not believe these people. Their fears are reasonable. Yes, Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. And he is also, as the Huffington Post Editor’s Note has said throughout the election, “a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther.”
The only thing that has changed is that he has won the election. We cannot allow that to normalize him.