Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trumped

I'll get back to the weekend rundown soon, but obviously I couldn't ignore all that has happened in America in the last 48 hours.  So here goes...

I am a registered Republican.  I have voted for the Republican candidate for president every single time since I was 18.  It all began with an afternoon in my dorm room as my roommate and I filled out absentee ballots and both voted for Bob Dole.  Yep, I started out a loser.  But that's okay, it happens.  So clearly I was pretty well-ingrained in the party, even if the past few elections have been weird and made me wonder just how right I actually lean.  And then came Tuesday.  For the first time ever, there was a Republican candidate who was so repulsive to me that I simply could not vote for him.  What's more, I voted for someone whose husband I disliked when he was in office, and who has become quite the center of corruption in her own right.  That she was the lesser of the evils is extremely concerning to me.  Both candidates were awful, no doubt.  But I voted for Hillary because I felt that her main advantage was that she could do the job.  Maybe not do it exceptionally or entirely honestly, but she could do it and America as we know it would remain intact.  She had seen the position from a wife's perspective, so she knew what it entails.  She's dealt with major foreign figures.  She seems to be a human being with some sort of intact heart.  I know many people would question that after Benghazi and everything, but when it comes down to it, while I think she made some very questionable decisions in her career, on a personal level I would still trust her to, for example, be around my kids and not scar them for life.  Horrible decisions aside, she's still a decent human being on some level.

Instead, we have a president-elect with very little political experience, a short fuse, and a missing filter.  Anyone that took elementary school social studies knows that our government is set up as it is for a reason--there are checks and balances to ensure that no one gets too much power.  So while I know that along those lines he cannot do too much damage, I still fear for what America will become under his rule.  I worry about him meeting with foreign dignitaries and going rogue, even for a moment, and instantly creating an enemy.  I worry about the fact that so many of his businesses have gone into bankruptcy, and yet we're trusting him to help this country's economic state.  I worry about the culture of hate, division, and bullying that he has consistently stood for, and how it will play out now that his election has validated it further.  I simply can't comprehend how someone that talked about deporting an entire ethnic group, building a wall to keep another group out, and has name-called countless people has become one of the most powerful people in the world.  He has the potential to make a complete mockery of one of the most storied positions in history.

I know that many voters were concerned about their guns and potential Supreme Court picks, and I know Obamacare is a goner, but I simply do not know what they are actually expecting him to do to make America better.  He has not been clear on his plans up to this point, and again, checks and balances are only going to let him get so far anyway.  He might ruffle a few feathers with the old-school politicians, which might be good, but the renegade thing is scary in its own right.  I truly hope he can reform things a bit, but again, how much can he really do?  President Obama had a lot of plans and was clearly very capable, but how much of the big stuff did he actually accomplish in eight years?  Obamacare, yes, but beyond that?  Even with Congress on his side, it won't be easy, and he probably won't want to tick off voters too much if he has plans to stick with this for the full eight years.

As a parent I find all of this extra troubling, as kids are well aware of his bullying tendencies, and in spite of all they hear about how it's wrong, the bullying poster boy is now going to be our country's leader.  I feel even worse for parents of girls, girls who looked up to Hillary (despite her many faults as a role model, mind you) and saw yet another case where a powerful woman lost out to a less-qualified buffoon of a man.  That has to be disheartening and very hard to explain.

Even worse, all of the hate that has been the hallmark of his campaign and inexplicably drew so many people to him (out of fear, I imagine) has now been legitimized.  With the current divisions within society, I only see this problem getting worse, not better.  I don't see us uniting as his "Make America Great Again" slogan would indicate.  I just see more divisions going up because that seemed to be his platform and so many people bought into it.  And sure enough, so many hate crimes have come to light in just the last day or so.  Rainbow flags getting burned here locally, an African-American doll in a noose in Buffalo, and countless other acts of racist graffiti around the country.  Somehow, Trump's win signaled to the crazies that it's okay to express their feelings, no matter how inappropriate or incorrect.  They're wrong, clearly, but this is what so many people have hated to see championed, and now it's happening.

And truly, I understand the unhappiness of the people who have been protesting in cities around the country, and the people who insist that Trump will never be "my President".  I feel pretty awful, too.  It all seems like a joke, or more likely a horrible nightmare, that our country is going to be run by a sketchy, arrogant businessman whose greatest recent claim to fame is a long-running reality show.  But the fact of the matter is that he IS going to be president and we need to find a way to make that work.  The protests and anger are only going to incite more unrest, and ultimately I think that gets in the way of us working together as a country, no matter who is running it.  Clearly we are nearly divided as a nation based on voting numbers, but this is our reality now and if we want this country to function, we need to find that common ground, unite on that, and move forward.  Many people have expressed a need for a "mourning period" before regrouping, and I think that's fair.  The America we woke up to on Wednesday was moving in a very different direction than what we expected it would be, and we need time to adjust. 

In the meantime, I explained to Jacob that the best we can do is pray.  If we're all so worried about this bad person taking over, we can pray that God protects our nation and gives him wisdom to govern properly.  We can be the examples of "Love Thy Neighbor" that Trump's policies may negate.  From our friends, family, and neighbors to local and national government, there are a lot of people that separate us from the office of the Presidency, and that's a lot of layers that Trump will have to dig through to touch our lives directly.  So ultimately, I will try not to worry about him.  I'm not thrilled about four years of watching his speeches and seeing him all over the news.  I was actually looking forward to him fading back into the background after this election was over, and now he will be more prominent than ever.  Who knows what will come out of his mouth during the next four years?  There could be a lot of explaining to do for parents like us, but I truly hope God gives him the wisdom, humility, and amazing advisors he needs to govern well.  I hope he can accomplish some good while he's there, even if some of it comes in the form of the rest of us reevaluating our own goodness and encouraging each other to be nice to compensate for his or others' shortcomings. 

This is certainly not how I pictured things, but God is bigger than this and there must be a purpose here somewhere.  Even if it's just to teach our kids how NOT to treat other people.  There is so much more I could think and say about this, but for now, just be nice.  Love one another, fight for justice, and show respect for authority figures, but don't be afraid to find better role models elsewhere if you need to.  Donald Trump is one man.  A very important one, no doubt, but we need to focus closer to home if we really want to make a difference, for now and for the future. 

God bless America.  We need Him now more than ever. #ImwithHIM

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