For the past six years, I’ve lived over four thousand miles from my place of birth in North Carolina – separated from it by one of Earth’s great oceans. Beyond the simple geographic disconnect, I live differently than I did in the United States. I quite literally view the world and my homeland from a different perspective. The fact that I have no plans to reside in the United States again in the foreseeable future only adds to that. My future is here, in the Netherlands.
So when it comes to the United States’ 2016 election, I wasn’t in the thick of it. I wasn’t bombarded by shady election ads. I didn’t have to talk about it every day at work. Only social media kept me even remotely plugged in. And if I’m honest, my Facebook feed is largely a personal, liberal/progressive echo chamber. But even with social media being a large part of my life, I looked at all of this from an outsider’s point of view, because what happens in this election only scarcely effects me.
What I can see from this view is that it was a sewer fire. In short, the Democratic National Committee poisoned itself by rigging its nomination process to favour Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Clinton served to be the ultimate ‘establishment’ candidate, which translated to so many in the voting public as ‘corrupt, out of touch, and a zero-sum-difference to business as usual.’
On the other side, Republican voters chose Donald Trump as their candidate – a man that gathered support, in large part, because his narrative made him look like anything but the status quo. His campaign successfully portrayed him as the kind of person who isn’t beholden to Washington’s good-ol’ boy club of elites by virtue of the fact that he is not one of the dreaded ‘career politicians’ everyone gets so excited about despising these days.
And above all else, he made those that feel discriminated against (rather than those who in reality are) feel powerful.
And it worked, not just to secure the Republican nomination, but to secure the office of President of the United States of America.
Ever since the results rolled in on Wednesday morning, I’ve seen myriad responses – most of which come from American friends on social media. Most consist of short-sighted half-truths and insults with the rare point of wisdom sprinkled among them.
But one point I’ve yet to see made, by anyone on either side, is just exactly how this plucky billionaire huckster/reality show star named Trump, who will become the 45th President of the United States, is actually a change from the status quo in any meaningful sense.
But before we get to that point, let’s talk about something we can all agree on, and what frankly caused this election to go the way it did. And please note that this is where the profanity will begin.
A damn good chunk of those elected into federal and state governments are rotten. Right? No matter the party, it’s fair to say that many, if not most, don’t even give half a shit about the average person; their daily struggles, health, or quality of life. And those who fill these elected posts have their influence swayed by a two primary things. First and foremost is the desire to stay in their position or rise to a higher one. They do things that look good to Jack and Jane Main Street in order to further their chosen careers. Second, and perhaps a more sinister influence, is the lobbying industry, working on behalf of well-funded industries and political action committees. They make deals to support political careers in exchange for favorable votes.
And therein lies the rub.
Donald Trump may not be a career politician but he is one of the very people who has influenced government by extensively lobbying politicians. And while he has touted his ability to run things cleanly, by virtue of the fact that he doesn’t need money or influence from anyone else, it doesn’t change the fact that he is among those that have caused the corruption so many say they’re rallying against.
Donald Trump is not among the diseased. He is the disease.
So how exactly is a vote for Trump a vote for anything like legitimate change?
And finally, because I simply can’t resist it, let’s talk about bigotry in this election.
First, I know damn well that not all, and maybe not even most of Trump’s voters are some variety of racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. I’m guessing that many, legitimately if not ironically, did cast their votes for him in protest of the staus quo. They may not be bigots, but they are rubes and their fleecing will come.
But The Donald’s rhetoric and his election to the office of president has emboldened bigotry. When you see some slimy git rolling coal in his pick-up truck, sporting a “Make America Great Again” sticker in his back window and flying the Stars and Bars, you can pretty much guarantee that the person driving it has used the word nigger and/or faggot ten times in the past twenty-four hours. And if you somehow labor under the delusion that this isn’t the case, you are a goddamned cretin.
I only tell you this because you need to know that.
In summary, it all comes down to this. The choice was made. It was an emotional choice. And that is the problem. People voted for Clinton with their feelings. People voted for Trump with their feelings.
And your feelings have only lead you further into the Post American Century.