My Facebook friends saw me completely unload after the election. Sharing article after article, writing up my opinions, posting personal photos and videos of me attending a protest in front of Chicago’s Trump Tower.
I’ve since calmed down quite a bit, but there are sprinkles of anti-Trump rhetoric continuing on my page. And it won’t stop during the next four years.
The election has had a very profound impact on me. I was a strong Clinton supporter, and was strongly opposing Trump. It changed the way I looked at the nation, the election process, and the Republican Party. I’ve reconsidered how I look at the Electoral College; 3 million citizens voting against the president who won the electoral vote is a major cause for concern. It’s had a major impact on my political stance; moving from moderate liberal to a liberal on the far-left. I used to respect the differences of opinions between Democrats and Republicans, but this election cycle completely turned me off the Republican Party. But my biggest concern was best put by John Oliver when he said “Donald Trump Is Not Normal.”
Donald Trump is not normal, and this is a cause for concern. As the week following the election passed, my post-election anxiety slowly diminished. I’m not saying it went away or I was ‘okay’ with the result, but I started accepting that this was the country’s fate. The Sunday following the election, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight reminded me to not get used to the idea of a Trump presidency. Trump is not normal. This seems like an obvious conclusion, but it’s so important that we not forget it. A reminder of some major non-normal moments from this election:
- Trump completely divided the Republican Party. Trump faced opposition by all kinds of Republican leaders and many admitted to voting against the candidate. Further, his platform had numerous inconsistencies to that of the Republican platform. Despite the Republican opposition, he received the Party’s nomination.
- He received well-publicized support from hate groups. The alt-right, KKK, sexists, racists, homophobes, xenophobes. Hate groups across the board supported this candidate. After insulting every minority group in the US, he saw backing from all kinds of bigots.
- Traditionally, he’d be a PR disaster. Trump saw an endless list of scandals and frequently ranted and bullied on Twitter. Though the media often condemned this, it did not change the minds of his supporters.
- He has zero political experience. When Trump took office, he admitted being shocked at how big of a job the president had. In many ways, he does not understand or respect how the government works. There’s a reason precedent is important, but many presidential precedents will be pushed aside during the next four years.
Since becoming President-Elect, Trump has given mixed messages. On one hand, he’s backtracked on many campaign promises, giving some hope that Trump may not be as extreme as he originally portrayed himself to be. On another hand, he still has had Twitter rants and been dismissive of both the press and government agencies. Also, his Cabinet picks are insane, and align with plenty of the extreme promises he made on the campaign trail. So like Trump, his Cabinet is not normal.
And going back to Trump taking a (slightly) less extreme approach since the election, he doesn’t get to erase what he said. The simple fact that Trump won sends a powerful message. Even if his supporters are not themselves racist, sexist, etc., they were willing to accept that their candidate held these views and voted for him anyway. And the most qualified presidential candidate in history (who happens to be a woman) lost to the least qualified man. Just him winning sends the message that our minority groups don’t matter. That damage is done, no matter how Trump decides to lead.
While we have no choice but to accept that he will be our president, we do not need to accept his decisions while in office. Like the days-long protests following the election, it’s important that we make statements when we disagree with his policies. It’s also important that Democrats send a message of opposition in our upcoming local office and Congress elections. We can’t change the outcome of the election, but we can be more vocal moving forward. We were given our freedom of speech and to protest for a reason; we need to use the individual power we do have.
By Linsey Stonchus
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