If you were surprised on election night when news outlets announced Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, you weren’t alone. Protests ensued, celebrities took to their Twitter and Instagram accounts to voice their displeasure, and a wave of confusion and mistrust gripped the country. For those who took offense to President Trumps rhetoric during the election process, it was the dawn of the end of our modern-day Rome. We went from Julius Caesar (President Obama) an excellent orator, author, and leader to Domitian, who reportedly despised anyone or anything not Roman including a public persecution of Jews and Christians. Domitian’s reign was so tumultuous that he was considered an enemy of the Roman Senate and citizens alike.
However, to be fair to President Trump, he was running an election and it was the American people who voted him into office. He, like all other politicians, had a campaign that was managed by experts who wrote a script worthy of an Oscar nomination that resonated with half of the American population. It’s no secret that politicians are coached and groomed to fit a mold which is most likely to get them elected(talking to you Clinton campaign). Unlike the DNC’s campaign, President Trumps campaign officials had their fingers on the nations pulse and discovered that the previous administrations’ base, the young people it had rallied to the poles eight years earlier, was now older and not as enthusiastic. The new generation was no longer engaged, and a politician who reverted back to “politics as usual” made President Trump seem more appealing if not entertaining. The election didn’t have the serious tone of change and hope which was what every American desired. Instead we found ourselves witnessing a jousting match between an entitled lifelong politician overconfident of victory and a flamboyant outsider willing to play outside the rules.
Did President Trump win the election due to unscrupulous behavior? Or was the lack of scruples by both candidates, make President Trump the obvious choice as he didn’t run on the pretense of a squeaky clean image? Ask yourself, who would you have more respect for? Someone who smiles to your face and claims to have your best interest at hand or someone who is upfront with how they feel about you?
Yes, it’s true that we don’t want either trait from our candidates much less our President, but it must be acknowledged that Americans where no longer content with a plastic character from Mad Men (e.g. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz) who seemed to regurgitate the politics of the old guard. Americans wanted and needed an explanation, one that was for the working class, simple and clear, no beating around the bush so to speak. The days of President Obama’s eloquent and poised speeches had run their course. Americans wanted to get to the “meat and potatoes” of their issues, no more long and drawn out dialogue filled with legal and complex jargon. Hence the rise of President Trump.
The question remains, is President Trump to blame for the ills of our society?
There’s no sure answer, only time will tell the effect this administration will have on this country. However, the ills of our society which appeared at the forefront of this election are not new. Racism has its roots in the idea that became The United States of America. It’s been documented how this country has a disgusting past whose ghosts still haunt us today. What President Obama or any of his predecessors did to abolish racism in this country isn’t clear, but a campaign to extinguish racism hasn’t been on any administrations agenda, independent of political party.
Let it be clear, I’m not here to defend President Trump nor denigrate any political leader (we’ll leave that for another time) . The spotlight is on us, the citizens and residents which comprise this amazing country. We squabble over political parties while politicians do as they please once they’re voted in. We fall for the rhetoric of our “party” and march to their tune spreading their message independent of the effects it may have on our fellow Americans. What does it mean to be Republican or Democrat? Our forefathers outlined what it meant to be an American (read the Constitution’s Preamble)not what party was best. It was a dream born out of struggle and oppression, a dream to be free of the yoke of a foreign and disinterested Monarch. They weren’t perfect, they didn’t abolish slavery when given the chance. However, they left behind a constitution that lent itself to social evolution. One that gave us the right to speak and dream as they did of a just society, a constitution which allowed a dreamer just as them to stand before the world and proclaim his dream of an equal and just country. Let us be introspective and honest with ourselves as Dr. King was. He understood that to be American isn’t our political affiliation, the color of our skin, or our ethnicity. It’s the belief that we’re all equal under the umbrella of our constitution and most importantly equal at the core of our personal beliefs. Dr. King knew that a politician wasn’t going to bring Americans together, it had to be Americans who came together out of personal choice, a choice based on understanding and acceptance of each others’ differences.
President Trump was right in that he exposed the stagnant state of our society. We became comfortable and ignored each others’ needs, and when social unrest reared its head, we acted surprised. You can’t ignore a problem and expect it to go away as we did for so long. Instead of waging in venomous dialogue against the President or his opposition, let us engage each other, American to American, discussing our needs, fears, and desires. Let us not rely on a politician but on each other, a cohesive force driven by “We the People”.
That is why in the event of a politician or anyone who uses their platform to attempt to divide the nation , we can proudly stand as the heirs to the torch of freedom that was lit by our forefathers and carried by great Americans such as Dr. King. They weren’t great Americans because of their religion, ethnicity, or politics. They were great Americans by acknowledging past/present wrongs, discussing them openly and honestly, and looking for solutions in the most difficult of times. During these times of politically encouraged divisiveness, let’s learn from our predecessors and acknowledge our prejudices, discussing them open and honestly, and continue the fight for equality as Americans.