What happened, indeed? Donald Trump was elected President of the what most have called the strongest and greatest nation in the world, and many of us are terrified. My wife cried; my daughter, living abroad, wondered out loud when I would be moving; Canada’s immigration server crashed from the influx of visitors as the election results were pouring in; the markets went into a nose dive; and the Internet erupted into a frenzy.
While campaigning, President-elect Donald Trump made some promises. You may have missed them as they were sprinkled amidst the insults, threats, and sexual assault charges, but they were there. In the course of his candidacy Trump has vowed to repeal Obamacare, every single Obama executive order, remove immigrants from this country, build a wall, threaten countries with the potential loss of visa access, withdraw from the TPP, suspend Syrian refugee resettlement, renegotiate NAFTA and the Iran deal, get rid of gun-free zones, deregulate the financial and other industries and more. That’s in the first hundred days and presumably with the unfettered and obedient help of the House and the Senate. Good luck.
In addition, a Trump presidency, a majority in both the House and Senate, and a possibly meaningful say about the Supreme Court, could very well mean an end to Roe v. Wade, an end to affordable healthcare for millions of people, higher taxes across the board, hits to education, deregulation of industry and the financial sector, an end to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, equal rights, equal pay, equal marriage and many more institutions that progressives have fought for. In some cases, even died for.
Donald Trump won because he got more votes. There were more people willing to get off their asses, go to a polling station, and vote. A right that Americans have because of the sacrifices that were made by people before us. A right that people in other countries envy. A right that we, as Americans, apparently take for granted.
The American people did choose and despite what Trump was ranting and carrying on about, it’s painfully clear that the elections are not rigged and that we have a fair and democratic system by which we elect our leaders.
The flurry on social media about leaving the country, giving up, refusing to believe what just happened, and crying about the poor choices we were presented with will last a few days. Maybe a couple of weeks at best. At some point, we’ll start to see Photo-shopped memes of Trump in Nazi and KKK garb and all sorts of shareable content with bombastic headlines that insult the intelligence of the average reader.
Or maybe we won’t.
Maybe Progressives, Democrats, and Liberals will heed the warning of this election as a call to do something more than sharing a meme on Facebook. Maybe we’ll see people engage in government. Maybe we’ll see Americans take part in the electoral process. Maybe we’ll see more people show up at town hall meetings, making phone calls, engaging their elected officials, protesting, and informing themselves. Maybe we’ll see a nation that cares about what happens in their community and to their neighbors. Then, perhaps, we’ll have a country and government that we can care about. Or you could just post to social media and consider your civic duty, "fait accompli."
Trump tapped into something that people in this country responded to. Regardless of what anyone thinks that is, they voted as if their lives depended on it. Remember, Conservatives supposedly suffered through eight years of being ruled by a Kenyan-born, Muslim, terrorist sympathizing, America-hating black man. We’re going be fine. As I posted on Twitter, “You want to leave? Go cry. The rest of us have work to do."
Now it's time for the American machine to get into gear -- The machine of political protest, free speech, free press, and checks and balances. Volunteer, get involved, run for office, donate to causes and organizations – they’re going to need it. Do whatever you can to make the Trump administration’s life a living hell of complaints, whining, and opposition.
My podcast partner, Tony Trupiano, and I had a few choice words to say on this topic. Take a break and listen to the podcast and if you like what you hear, listen to more.