I was wrong. I was very, very, very wrong. I spent the last year and a half emphatically preaching that Donald Trump would never become President of the United States of America. I have spent the last year and a half making fun of the “rubes” and “uneducated” that so proudly supported him. The term “Trumpkin” has replaced the word “moron” in my lexicon. I have made case after case after case as to why he was not a conservative, a Republican, or a good person. I was completely and utterly wrong. Not because I think he is a Conservative or a Republican or a good person, but because he, his supporters, and those that accepted the lesser of two evils did what almost all of us that were “paying attention” said he couldn’t do.
How amazingly wrong we were. The polls, the pundits, the data all told us that what happened on Tuesday was almost impossible. In the span of a week the Chicago Cubs, Donald Trump, and people like Bill freaking Mitchell made us all look like fools. And do not get it twisted…most of us were in fact fools. We were not fools because we believed the polls or the pundits or the data, we were fools because we refused to see what was happening right in front of our eyes.
While pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators have a whole lot of explaining to do, that is not what is important right now. The fact that most of us were completely blindsided by something that has been festering for decades now and what that actually means is what we need to look at, assess, and remedy.
Our bubbles, echo chambers, personal perspectives, and inability to understand our fellow Americans is why most of us never saw this coming. The belief that Trump’s base was nothing more than an Alt-Right, nationalist, bigot filled movement is why we never saw this coming. The belief that those “poor white bumpkins” wouldn’t be enough to carry Trump to Pennsylvania Avenue is why we didn’t see this coming.
Well the Trump train plowed through America and it still has a full head of steam and it isn’t only filled with people that look and sound and think like the Wild and Wonderful Whites from West Virginia. It is filled with people that have felt unheard and lied to for decades. It is filled with whites, blacks, browns, gays, Christians, Atheists, etc. It is not a monolithic base, but it does have one thing in common…it is angry. And it doesn’t matter if you believe that they have a right to be angry. It doesn’t matter if you believe that their “white privilege” disqualifies them from feeling neglected or mislead. It doesn’t matter if your Facebook feed supports every belief about these people that you have. What matters, just like with people in the Black Lives Movement is that they do feel that way and no longer can we ignore them.
I too have fallen in to the trap of ignoring them. I too, a white conservative that grew up poor have ignored them. Not intentionally, but because I didn’t understand. We can no longer sit in our respective comfort zones and pretend that if we ignore them that they will just go away. They, just like those that feel oppressed by police and the view the justice system as anything but just, won’t just go away.
The crazy thing to me is that the Left and the Right both have this issue. Many on the Right refuse to acknowledge that minorities have experiences, many legitimate that have formed their perspectives and fueled their outrage. Many on the Left refuse to believe that these ardent Trump supporters have real problems that have driven them to follow the song of a pied piper. We, all of us have to stop.
Over the last 24 hours the meltdowns and hot takes and knee jerk reactions have been epic. People were literally in the fetal position bawling their eyes out and threatening to kill themselves. Public figures, actors, musicians, and every day people started to scream about the end of the world, that gays and Muslims and people of color would soon be enslaved again. The very same people that only days earlier found it so disgusting and unfathomable that anyone would question the electoral process have been protesting and screaming “He’s not MY president!” and calling for change to the whole process. Schools like Harvard, Cornell, Yale and others actually let students out of midterms if they were “upset” because of the election. Special snowflakes scream of triggers and victimhood. And of course, half of America, to include Hispanics, Blacks, Gays, etc. that voted for Trump were called racists, xenophobes, misogynists, Nazis, dumb rednecks, and every other name in the book.
Don’t get me wrong, as I have stated repeatedly over the course of the last year there is a faction of Trump supporters that fit in every single one of those categories. And we should call those people out, ridicule them, and send them back under the rocks they crawled out from under. However, most of those that voted for Trump do not fit in to any of those categories and acting as if they do makes these social justice warriors, pundits, famous people, and everyone else, no better than those that actually are full of hate. Not only that but it minimizes the people that actually have real issues we must come together to fix.
When we act as if those that chose to bubble in a different circle are evil, solely because they, for a wide array of different reasons chose differently than you, we do absolutely nothing to bring this nation together. Our collective moral superiority does nothing to bridge these chasms between classes and races.
So, get through all the stages of grief. Accept the new reality. I, like most Americans am worried about what a Trump presidency looks like. I understand the gut punch that many feel. After Mitt Romney lost, I felt physically ill, but after the beer and depression wore off I accepted that President Obama had four more years. I decided to be optimistic and hope that he would exceed my expectations and be the leader that this country needed. Choosing to allow your emotions to take complete control of you does, neither you nor this country any good. The divides between us will not be fixed by castigating all those that disagree with you as an enemy. So take a deep breath. Get over yourself. What’s done is done and Donald Trump will be our next President. Give him the opportunity to do what is right. Call him out when he does what is wrong. But for the sake of the country, and I know it is hard…trust me…I really, really understand…for the sake of us as a people, our children, and future generations, stop the hyperbole and vitriol. Try to understand each other. Listen and actually take heed of what you are hearing. Only then can we come together. Only then can we fix the ever-growing list of problems we face.
We are not enemies. We generally want the same things for our country. We can disagree with how we should get there, but we cannot act as if we are on a battlefield, ready to spill the blood of those we disagree with.
May God bless this country. May President Trump far exceed our expectations of what a President can be. And may this country and its people be greater than it has ever been.