Thursday, November 10, 2016

Do we go forward or backward?

My friend Devorah Winegarten had a really good take on Trump’s election and what it means for the country. I posted her comments on my Facebook wall if you want to look; otherwise I’m going to paraphrase her here, with credit freely given.

We’re all moaning that so many people voted for Trump, though it’s worth pointing out that he did not win the popular vote. Still his campaign exposed an ugly underbelly in American society. And the people who followed him all voted or so it would seem. They are people who are threatened by change and progress, at a time, particularly under President Obama, when our country is moving toward inclusion, diversity, recognition of different faiths, lifestyle, beliefs and the fact that we can all be one diversified society.

Trump followers feel they are losing their way of life, their future. They cling to the life they know, with all its hate and prejudice and bigotry because it’s familiar. It makes them feel safe, better than the next guy, to have those beliefs. In his campaign Trump played to those fears, though I will say he’s sounded a bit more mellow in recent days.

It is time, Debra says, for us not to wring our hands and moan about a future we can’t control but to move forward positively. It is a pivotal moment in our history that calls for us to say, “No more.” We won’t be governed by hate and prejudice, small minds and violence. We will live in an America that values and embraces differences. What Trump does with the presidency remains to be seen but it is beyond our control. We need to start with what we can do.

I don’t think the mass protests we’ve seen across the country are at all helpful. They emphasize the division in the country when we should be concentrating on bringing the country together. We are, after all, Americans—not gays, straights, women, Muslims, and other isolated populations.

I read a post by the mother of a teenager in a private school in New York. One of his classmates is a Muslim girl who wears a hajib. He planned to go to school this morning, give her a hug, and tell her he had her back. That’s the kind of thing we can do to overcome hate.

So many people are swept up with gloom and doom right now. I urge them to adopt Debra’s attitude and look at this as an opportunity to be part of change and progress.

Besides, as someone pointed out, the Republicans now own it. They have the White House and both houses of Congress. Whatever goes wrong, they have no one else to blame.


Judy said...

I believe Trump was elected because of the economic squeeze middle class folks are in. Stagnant wages and rising health care costs at least contribute to the election result. That doesn't mean I think the folks who voted for the Republican candidate are right. I don't think this election will help them at all.

Judy Alter said...

My bad: L.D.Masterson left this comment which I accidentally deleted instead of publishing. I thnk she makes an excellent ppoint---in our haste to include everyone we overlooked the bedrock of American society:
I did not support or vote for Donald Trump. The same with Hillary Clinton. I believe they are both lacking in any kind of ethical or moral center. But I did understand a little of what Trump tapped into to gain the support of so many. In our effort to be inclusive of all minority groups, to be politically correct, and not to offend anyone, we often failed to extend that same courtesy to the vast number of Americans who don't qualify for any special consideration as a minority. When did you last hear of a policy or process being changed because it offended a white middle class Christian American? That doesn't happen. Inclusion has to mean everyone if it's going to mean anything at all.