This election cycle I voted Bernie Sanders in the primary and then voted Jill Stein for president. Before you cry foul and blame me (or others who voted 3rd party) for Trump becoming president, I want to point out that as both my votes were to candidates who lost, I feel like many who voted for Hilary Clinton to be president; I feel disappointed, shocked, frustrated, defeated, and terrified.
Living in NY, which I knew was going to vote blue anyway, I felt comfortable voting for the positive ideals and platform I believed in, rather than voting against someone out of fear. With the political system the way that it is, I recognize that many in swing states couldn’t afford that comfort and privilege. People on either ends of the political spectrum had to vote – as they say – “the lesser of the two evils.” Even as a Green, I honestly hoped the people would choose the lesser evil to be Hilary and Democrats, but alas, what ended up happening is that almost half of those eligible to vote (close to 46%) in this country didn’t participate. This is the lowest voter turnout percentage since a long while. Consider, for instance, that Trump received less votes than Romney did. Yet, here we are – somehow this country has gotten to a place where its citizens are either not caring to participate or disenfranchised from the process, resulting in a pompous, bigoted, misogynistic asshole of an authoritarian to become the next POTUS.
We gone fucked it up. There’s a lot of sentiment among my colleagues and friends and myself, that “we’re fucked. We’re so screwed now.” As we look at what Trump has been saying as he campaign, at the kind of personality he’s been presenting, the future is terrifying. It’s hard to accept. Hilary Clinton’s concession speech and President Obama’s speech about how we need to accept this is not acceptable.
We know what’s coming now. Obamacare will be repealed. U.S will not be welcoming to refugees produced by its own foreign policy in the middle east. More civilians and everyday people in the Middle East will be bombed and killed. Social safety nets will be cut and reduced. Neighboring Latin American countries, particularly Mexico will be alienated, which will result in U.S economy itself becoming more crippled and broken.
Me personally, as a social worker, I now have to deal with the uncertainty and fear about my profession. Non-profits and funding for them will be at risk of being cut. That’ll mean I lose my job and the people I support and help motivate may become homeless again. For people who are the most vulnerable, the most oppressed, the most marginalized – the type of people that my profession specializes in advocating for… the future under Trump presidency (with a majority Republican/Tea Party Congress!) looks to be extremely bleak.
So I see my friends and colleagues struggling to cope and deal with this reality. It’s hard to figure out if the nation needs to mourn, if it should be shamed into feeling guilty, or if an all-out resistance needs to be waged. Probably a mix of all those things, but it’s such a shock to the system that someone like Trump can become president when the opponent was Hilary Clinton – a highly qualified and experienced candidate who’s always proven that she’s adept at policy negotiations and commanding genuine loyalty from her staff. I’m personally not a big fan of Hilary and even to me it’s quite a shock that Trump won against her.
But amidst all that, here’s what I really want to say. Are we fucked now? Well, I have to say that this is a terrible, terrifying result. Honestly though, I’m not sure I would feel that relieved if Hilary Clinton became president-elect either.
No, that’s not me saying I think Hilary’s as bad as Trump. Trump is clearly worse. I can’t think of a candidate in U.S history that’s been so demeaning, mean-spirited, and megalomanical. And you should know, if the only choice I had was between Gary Johnson and Hilary Clinton, I would choose Hilary.
The point I want to make is that a Clinton Administration would have been dangerous and harmful and terrifying in its own different way. I would like to implore people to look past the personality traits of the candidates, past the experiences of the candidates, and focus on what kind of people and organizations the candidates are beholden to. Because when we do that, then it becomes clearer that whether Trump becomes president or Clinton becomes president, we’re still fucked.
Let us not forget that this country has survived horrible presidents and horrible Congress before. This country survived (barely yes) Coolridge, it survived McKinley, it survived Bush Jr. It survived a civil war. There were times when this country was fucked, and with many disappoints and frustrations and many injustices, this is where the country has come to be.
Let us also not forget the harms and terrible things implemented by those we remember fondly. Are we forgetting that under Woodrow Wilson, free speech against WWI and immigrants was seen as treason? Are we forgetting that it was under FDR that Japanese-American citizens were put into internment camps? That it was under Truman and Kennedy Administrations that the nation responded with aggressive and violent crackdown against civil rights activists? That it was under President Obama that millions of immigrants were unjustly deported and hundreds of thousands of civilians bombed by drone warfare?
These Administrations acted the way they did largely because of the people and organizations they were beholden to. They are beholden to the people that fund them and lobby to them.
Hilary Clinton as POTUS would have thus meant a continuation of the government being beholden to the interests of big oil corporations, of big banking industries, of military contractors, of big pharmaceutical and for-profit insurance companies, of for-profit education consulting agencies.
Under Hilary Clinton, Standing Rock and other Native American lands will not be protected if that would conflict with oil companies’ interest. Did you not notice how the entire Democratic Party has remained silent on this issue, even Elizabeth Warren, who is of Native American heritage? Under Hilary Clinton, U.S would engage in heavier warfare against the people in Syria, Lybia, and so many places around the globe. People will be dying and suffering from U.S-produced weaponry.
So yes, I am deeply depressed and angry that Trump became president, but let me tell you that I’m also depressed and angry that the only other person who would have a chance at becoming president was Hilary Clinton. I would not have celebrated Hilary becoming president but I would have taken some minimal amount of solace in that Trump didn’t become president.
This is a fucked-up political system. The people know it, and that’s why they’re disillusioned and not participating. But that in itself causes these kinds of results. When people don’t participate in a democracy, they lose. The winners are the tyrants, the authoritarians, the oligarchs.
We are fucked so long as we allow ourselves to be. This system can’t be salvaged or fixed by any one person, no matter how many people say #imwithher. Change happens when we mobilize, when we organize, when we participate.
Keep in mind though that accountability must be from the top down. Don’t blame those who voted Trump or those who voted third party. Don’t even blame those who abstained from voting. If anything, I celebrate those who voted for participating.
The people responsible are the leaders, the Trumps and the Clintons of the world. It was their responsibility to lead, to inspire, to motivate, to be ethical and not beholden to interests that harm the country and the world. They failed. So as always, it’s up to us to hold them accountable, to participate to the best of our abilities, to utilize our unique strenths and skills for the betterment of ourselves and others, for the betterment of our country and the world.