Trump: One Teacher's Perspective
It’s been almost 2 weeks since the post election shock of learning that Donald Trump will be our next president. As someone said recently, the fact that Trump was even a contender to be commander in chief of the U.S., attests to the fact that our democracy has been broken for some time. If one can get past the fact that this reality show star is set to move into The White House, with very little if any experience to do the job or the heart to love all segments of the American population, are any of his supposed plans (such as building a wall and profiling Muslim Americans or punishing all women who had abortions) really even feasible? Most of the talk, however nauseating defies all logic—what would it do to our economy, to future generations, to the hard working people who have kept this country going? Like what the actual fuck is going on?
As a teacher, could I go to a job interview without the education and character necessary and bribe my way into getting hired? Could I also (on my way in) make a racist comment to the school secretary, mock a disabled student in the hallway and tell another teacher I’d like to grab his crotch? No, I’d be told to leave and never come back. Yet, we have this kind of inane behavior coming from our president-elect—one who is supposedly a role model to children and his wife waives it off as ‘boy talk.’ Apparently, there are very little prerequisites to the job besides being rich and running your mouth in a crude and unprofessional way every chance you get. In my mind, this just shows yes, literally anyone can become president.
And while most people don’t think that Trump is qualified for the job (and some voted for him simply because they hate Hilary), even the most conservative people I know are scared of the havoc that will ensue due to this dangerous wild card; even prominent Republican and religious leaders have distanced themselves from him and spoken out publically about their fears. It has actually surprised me in talking to conservative acquaintances in my community (sometimes hesitantly at first) about how they feel—even people who voted Trump felt that they were voting ‘anti-establishment’ or anti status quo. Would it now be easy to just unite against a fascist leader? Unfortunately, the answer is not that clear cut to many people—even those who have the same ethics and values.
Just recently, I attended an Anti-Trump rally in my own small town. I was surprised at how many different views were displayed and the range of feelings on the issues, even amongst those who share almost the same exact view on the election. I even had one guy in our community (who is also anti-Trump) tell me “to hell with your protest, and just deal with Trump in office.” First, I had to correct him in saying it was a “peaceful rally,” (not a protest) and second to say that it’s quite condescending and disrespectful to judge how others choose to raise their voice in solidarity against hate. There are also reasons to stay informed, even if you can’t get out and rally—there quite a few interesting and insightful reads on blogs and news sources that highlight the forces that brought Trump to presidency. No matter what way you choose to raise your voice, it’s not fair to judge how others decide to react.
After talking to people at the rally and those in my community, almost everyone could only agree on three major points:
#1 The presidential campaign was an embarrassing shit show circus that defied all logic and grace.
#2 Most people are tired of dishonest, sleazy politicians who do unethical, hypocritical things.
#3 Many people find it embarrassing that we ended up with one really horrible choice and another so-so choice and feel our democracy is broken.
As well known contemporary humor writer David Sedaris so poignantly remarked before the election (in reference to undecided voters):
“On Undecided Voters: "To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”
For a bigger global perspective, I decided to reach out and ask some of my friends in other countries how they viewed the election. A friend in Sweden said:
“It’s incredible that so many Americans think that a rich businessman coming from a rich family in a wealthy area will care about poor people.”
Yet another friend from Sweden remarked:
WHAT THE FUCK??!?! Are they insane? Did they skip European history class in high school! Deeper thoughts are the educational system MUST be improved so everyone can afford to get a higher education.... Why are they PROUD OF THIER IGNORANCE??? Another thought is it is the democrats fault by putting forth Clinton over Sanders.... Beds have been made.... Revolt or sleep in misery... Just a few thoughts from my hospital bed in Stockholm.
A friend from Korea had this to say:
Actually I try to gather real facts on him without misunderstanding. But according his past sayings, it is so dangerous to have a former business man as a president. We already experienced this through former president Lee Meyong Bak. He just swept away everything; he is evil. We Koreans are also very concerned about his people working with us, but people need to live the world to share; I only pray to God and gives blessing to Korea and America.
It’s been somewhat comforting to hear that the rest of the world is seeing this and feeling compassion for the American people. It can be comforting to think positively “we’ll get through this together,” until I remember that my perspective is based on white privilege; however, as a woman, I am scared of what could happen to women’s rights. I’m ashamed to say that although I am now planning to attend the Women’s March in January, and have attended a small rally in my hometown recently, this is the first time I’ve been seriously politically active since college. While there is no excuse for not taking an active part in politics, I believe most working Americans have been simply spending most of their energy trying stay afloat under the massive amount of debt, stress and work load that most Americans have become accustomed to.
Yet, many people are waking up and realizing that we do need to take an active part and raise our voices.
And then there is the Bernie heartache. I have never been one to feel passionate about political candidates, but I definitely felt “The Bern.” I think he was the first candidate in which I felt that I would truly be voting my conscience for the first time ever. He was the genuine article—for the people through and through. He is a real guy, a good person and an intellectual.
In the post election confusion, there is one thing I know for sure: shit’s complicated. There is in fighting between democrats, republicans and many people who actually should be on the same side—actually, they are on the same side but the contentious nature of this election has brought out a lot of ambiguity—not everyone is simply united against a common enemy.
And in the end, the real enemy is rich vs. poor and love vs. hate. I do believe that in the midst of this election, people who raise their voices should not be called “cry babies,” and told to “just accept it.” I don’t buy this at all. I am a firm believer that however you decided to exercise civil disobedience is up to you as an individual—and every little bit counts. Every little act of resistance, whether it’s sharing a meme that speaks out against hate, or on the front lines of a protest—we can all do our part to speak out against the direction our country is currently going in. In the aftermath of this disaster, I think of this quote to guide my own personal path to resistance against the hateful rhetoric of our current president elect:
“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems—not people; to focus your energies on answer—not excuses.” –W.A. Ward
Photo Credit: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83057948@N07/
Heather Douglas's Recent Posts