As most of you know, I don’t normally make long-winded, personal comments on social media but I am finding that it is helping me process things and judging by the number of likes and shares it seems to be resonating with others so I will make one last post on the issue. Some may think that I am being melodramatic, but it is my hope that this post will explain why liberals, or at least this liberal, are so upset about the election. My hope is to help Hillary supporters process their feelings and also inform Trump supporters about what liberals are going through. At the end of the post, I invite Trump supporters to inform me about their perspective, as well.
I consider politics to be a noble profession. Despite all of the corruption, the hypocrisy, and the misleading rhetoric, I actually think that most politicians have sacrificed enormously to do what they do and try their best to improve society. I do not perceive politics as being different from other forms of public service like law enforcement, teaching, or the military. All of these people are underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated. Most are in it for the right reasons. All of that being said, the presidency is the pinnacle of the political profession. The occupant of that office is supposed to be in it for the right reasons, with sincere motives, and a deep reverence for the power that it represents. Despite whatever Hillary Clinton did relating to the Clinton Foundation or a personal email server, she absolutely fits this description. Her entire life has been dedicated to public service. Donald Trump has pursued personal gain and fame his entire life. As a candidate, he made a complete mockery of our campaign and election process. No politician should be allowed to do the things he has done and say the things he has said and win. And to make things worse, he isn’t even a politician. He has literally zero experience holding elected office and has never been a public servant. I don’t believe he has the perspective of a public servant. I don’t think that is the orientation he has towards the office he has just won. And it is also insulting to all politicians that he could be elected president without any experience. The message being sent is that politics isn’t even a profession wherein the participants have a specific skill set that has been developed for that pursuit. The people apparently think that anyone can do it. It’s like the billboards that read: “Want to teach? When can you start?”
In my 7 years of teaching, today was the most difficult day to teach. Not only could I not fully express my feelings about the election, and had to endure gloating grins from students who supported Trump, but I had to comfort students who were disappointed, anxious, and concerned. My job today was not to vent my personal disappointment, frustration, sadness, or anger. It was to encourage young people to think clearly, be open-minded, and not overreact. It was difficult. I lost credibility with some students because I had predicted (along with most analysts) that Hillary would win. It was disheartening for me to hear my students’ concerns about the future. I had answers for them, but not answers that I necessarily believe in. Below are the three main reasons that I am upset about the election (right now). Perhaps my thoughts explain how you are feeling, as well.
1) Donald Trump did not deserve to win. Based on his resume and the campaign that he ran. It is an affront to basic morality that he would be rewarded, that he could be deemed worthy, having done the things that he has done. Some will say, “yeah, but Hillary is corrupt and untrustworthy too,” but whatever she has done does not compare to what Trump has done. People have been shouting “lock her up” at his rallies, but it is Trump who will be in court next month for fraud associated with Trump University. He never released his tax returns. He bragged about sexual assault. The whole thing is just insulting, on a moral level.
2) While I accept the results of the election, I am finding it quite difficult that people, particularly Clinton and Obama, are insisting that I unite behind Trump as president. I realize that they both love our country and are only saying this because it is necessary to avoid violence and further social fracturing, but this is the context within which I am processing the election: Obama won in a bigger landslide in 2008, Democrats had 60 senators (not 51), and a large majority in the House. Republicans didn’t unite behind Obama or give him a chance. They said he was a Muslim. A terrorist-sympathizer. A foreign-born non-citizen. A socialist, communist, and Marxist. The Republicans proceeded to engage in unprecedented obstruction, delaying economic recovery and diluting the effectiveness of reforms. They did their absolute best to literally destroy his presidency, undermine his every action, delegitimize him in the eyes of the public, and make him fail. The minority leader said, “our goal is to make him a one-term president.” They decided they would rather Obama fail than America succeed. They called him a liar on national television during a speech to Congress. They refused to hold hearings on his Supreme Court nominee. And after doing all of that…they nominated someone who launched his political career pushing the “birther conspiracy” that Obama was not an American citizen…and then he WON the election…they retained control of Congress…and now they get to nominate Supreme Court justices to preserve the conservative majority that should have ended with the confirmation of Merrick Garland. And I am supposed to unite behind Trump’s presidency? Seriously? Oh, and Hillary received more votes than him…Why would it not be entirely appropriate for Democrats to now obstruct Trump? Seriously…
3) I am also offended that I am supposed to be humbling myself before the “silent majority” whose voices haven’t been heard, as if the election of Trump has ANY coherent message at all. What is it that rural America is telling me? What is the message that liberals, the media, the “Establishment,” are supposed to be hearing? If you are a Trump supporter, please explain what it is that you want to see happen in this country and why Donald Trump is the vessel for that change. Explain why you think the Republicans deserve to be in power. Explain why you think Donald Trump deserves to be president. Explain why you think Democrats like myself, after the last 8 years, should treat you and your party’s victory any differently than you treated ours.