People who know me know that I did not take this Election laying down – until the results came in. Then I literally wept for my country while also drinking an entire bottle of wine straight from the bottle (why use a glass when the world is coming to an end, amirite?). It wasn’t my best day.
The truth is, while I was excited at the idea of our first woman president for its mark on history, I never particularly liked Hillary Clinton. While I worked to register voters, which I volunteered for through her campaign website, it was a nonpartisan effort, and when her campaign called me to ask me to campaign for her I turned them down not once, but three times. They finally stopped calling.
I never felt Clinton was the right person to run our country. You all know the reasons why – the private server, the missing emails, the threats to national security. They didn’t sit well with me. And even though many (many) people accused me of it, I did not support her because she’s a woman. I don’t base my politics on genitalia because that’s stupid. I supported her because I had no other choice – which I understand is the reason that many supported Trump. We all felt like we had to pick between two evils (we deserve so much better, don’t you think?).
As I sincerely tried to drink the election away and hopefully turn back time (you can never find a TARDIS when you need one), I was not mourning a Clinton loss. I was mourning a Trump victory. I have spent the past few months furiously posting to Facebook and Twitter all of the terrible things he has done and will do. The reality is, while they weren’t enough for people to not vote for him, for me they were the most important. He literally stands for everything I am against down to my very core. To me, a vote for him is a vote for everything I morally oppose. So it’s hard when my country says yes to those things. In my mind, I can somewhat understand it, but in my heart? I felt utter betrayal by not just my fellow countrymen but the people closest to me. I put my faith in the American people and they failed me. It was utterly devastating.
Here’s my main issue with Trump: he is unAmerican. I found it so disheartening that people who professed to be patriots placed the least American candidate into office. Yes, I think he’s a racist, sexist, blah blah blah – you know the drill. And each one of those things is enough for me to find him unqualified to run our country. But the constitution? No. That is sacred. And he has no respect for it.
Our first amendment grants us three rights: freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of religion. And he has violated each of them.
- When peaceful protesters (emphasis on peaceful here – I am not talking about protesters who attached Trump supporters. That is not OK.) attended Trump rallies they were verbally and sometimes physically assaulted. For exercising their right of free speech, often by simply being there. And Trump not only didn’t denounce it, he encouraged it. That’s a constitutional violation of our first amendment right of free speech.
- Trump regularly enticed his audience to boo and verbally assault the press at his rallies. A democracy only works when the press has the freedom to hold elected officials and those vying to be elected officials accountable. And while I agree that the media in general was much harder on Trump than any other candidate (although I counter they also have him a shit ton of free advertising), that does not give him the right to intimidate them. And intimidate them he did, to the point that they had to be escorted by police into and out of his rallies because they feared for their safety and physical well being. That’s how a dictatorship works, through intimidated and threats, even threats perceived. Attempting to influence the press in such a way is a constitutional violation of our first amendment right of free press.
- Trump has said he wants to ban Muslims from entering our country and wants all Muslims to register. Our country was literally founded on the basis of the freedom to practice a religion – any religion – without persecution. That’s why the Pilgrims left England to settle in America. It is one of the founding principles of our country. Banning anyone based on religion is a constitutional violation of our right of religious freedom.
I hold our constitution so dear and the thought of someone leading our country who doesn’t respect it and won’t hold it up literally makes me ill. And the fact that many people close to me voted for him left me in despair. Because I think he’s a danger to the very principles of our country, of the American way, and of our American values.
I no longer feel safe in my county. Trump is supposed to make us safer, but now that he’s in office I see emboldened the men who think it’s OK to verbally and physically attack women. This isn’t a baseless fear. It’s already happened to other women in public. I have spent my life fending of gross men who feel they have the right to make rude comments to me. Now I fear it is going to get much worse.
Of course, I find all of the other things that he has done to be repulsive. But his supporters easily swipe those away. They have been hammered to death and I won’t rehash them here, except to address that I don’t agree with him on moral grounds. I don’t find him to be of Christian values and am equally perplexed by the religious people who were able to ignore the many pieces of evidence of his lack of moral character. And while I do not believe Clinton lost because she is a woman, I do find it hypocritical that the same people would have called a woman who was married three times and had five children to three different men to be of ill repute. But boys will be boys is the justification. It’s a clear double standard.
If a candidate similar to Trump had run, I probably would have supported him or her. If this candidate was able to speak his or her mind and address the large group of middle class families that have been ignored for the past 20 years, but had been able to do so respectfully, he would have been a contender. If a candidate was able to be direct without personally attacking in irrelevant ways (because calling someone a big fat pig has nothing to do with anything) it would have been appropriate behavior. If a candidate who didn’t have a documented history of racially discriminating and sexually assaulting women (by his own admission) it wouldn’t have set off so many people’s moral alarm. If we had a candidate who wasn’t so morally corrupt, this election wouldn’t have been so divisive. Because it came down to either siding with Trump on policy or opposing him on moral grounds. Either way, we didn’t want to hear the other side. The Trump supporters were able to justify his behavior and the Trump opposers weren’t able to hear his ideas. That’s going to make it really hard to unify the country.
The difference is the thoughts one has when they see a Trump sign in a yard. For me, I think that person doesn’t care about equal rights or violence against women or racism. In fact, I often assume they are racist, sexist, white, and uneducated (and, if I’m honest, too stupid to know better). But the problem is that I know these people. I’m married to one, my parents are them, my in-laws are them. And these are good people. They are white and for the most part did not go on to college, they sometimes say things “off color” as we would say, but they aren’t full of hate. So this image of a Trump supporter as a swastika-wearing, n-word calling red neck doesn’t match. And that’s confusing.
On the flip side, Trump supporters proudly wear their hats and put signs in their yard. To them, this means they aren’t sheep (I know because I was called one on Twitter). This means they are standing up to an establishment that doesn’t care about them anymore, that wants to bleed them dry. There are too many who really are racist and white nationalist or white supremacist, but that’s not the majority. The majority are tired of being shit on.
The irony here is that both sides have a lot in common. If we took a moment to realize that one group doing better doesn’t have to come at the cost of the other, and if we joined forces, we would all benefit. Of course, I suspect this is the thing the “establishment” really doesn’t want us to realize, because if we joined forces they would be left with no power. Our inability to come together is what gives them strength. Our weaknesses are constantly exploited and we all end up losing in the end.
I don’t actually think Trump will do the things he promised. I don’t think he has a basic understanding of how our government works. I think he’s the biggest liar and extremely insecure. These are also reasons why I think he’s dangerous. He’s already backed out of his top three big campaign promises: building a wall and making Mexico pay for it, setting up a special prosecutor to jail Clinton, and repealing Obamacare. Why? Because it’s not that easy. Because we have laws that have to be followed. Am I surprised? No. Do I think his supporters will care? No. I thinks they’ll justify it away just like they did everything else.