By Patrick Tedder
Before we begin, it should be noted that I have no editor for this piece. It’s pretty much coming out free-form after a day of processing the incredible shit storm that was the acrimonious and never ending 2016 election. So, before you read anymore, if you’re out to crucify me for any grammatical issues and / or spelling … I blame it on the red wine I’m drinking and politely ask that you give me a pass or fuck off.
Shall we begin?
Hillary Clinton was not my first choice as a democratic candidate, (even though the DNC decided she should be come hell or high water). At times I could get excited for her, but she’s been a politician for too long to not have a certain stink about her. As the election droned on, there were times where she appeared downright shifty as fuck. While America was supposed to be excited about the prospect of the first female president, we weren’t experiencing the same magic that came in the form of Barack Obama’s historic first bid for the presidency.
Obama was, and still is, cool. He brought the perfect amount of swagger and experience to the table. He was new enough to bring “Hope,” and he wasn’t coming from the establishment; he was an outlier without the “extreme” stances of Bernie Sanders.
Hillary, for all accounts of her supposedly being a lot of fun in person, isn’t very cool. Kanye, Jay-Z and every liberal celebrity that came out of the woodworks to urge America to “get out and vote” couldn’t mask how desperate she was to be president. It was never pathetic, but to say it felt genuine would have been a difference in getting her elected.
That was the joke wasn’t it? Hillary, despite being incredibly qualified, was facing down her own inconvenient truth that she could be pretty difficult to like, even when it came to her own supporters, never mind the rampant sexism she battled that rivaled the level of racism Obama has endured for eight years. It was cringe worthy watching her blindly try to adapt to the pulse of the people.
Please don’t mistake my observation for agreement that such is what matters in our President. I’m a firm believer that we should have the smartest person in America, leading America, but to say that personality, appearance and the like don’t matter would be sheer fantasy. As is the case with much in life, this job is also a bit of a popularity contest.
Trump, even when boldly lying, at least gave off the perception that he was being consistent and at the very least … entertaining. Like not being able to turn away from a train wreck, it felt like Trump was just as likely to tell a person to cram their vote as he was to make a ridiculous proclamation that he would be good for “the blacks.”
One candidate was stereotypically obvious while the other was “real,” even if real meant chaotic and nonsensical.
Still, it wasn’t supposed to go down like this, and the vast majority that didn’t vote for Trump range from feeling bemused, angry and afraid. It’s unclear if the fear is warranted. The hateful rhetoric that Trump used to stir up his followers, certainly gives it credence. Many a proclamation have been made all for the whoring of votes, but not quite with the vitriol that Trump managed to serve up. Past presidents have served up plenty for citizens to be afraid of, just not quite so openly and with so little tact.
As for the confusion … take comfort that you aren’t alone. I seriously doubt that even the staunchest of Trump supporters saw the landslide that Tuesday brought. After all, Obama won two terms and he was coming out recently to declare Hilary as his second coming. She was a thoroughbred; political royalty in much the same vein that Jeb Bush was supposed to be the Republican nominee.
And then there’s the anger. As it turns out, practically half of America had pitchforks in hand as one of their few remaining possessions. They are blue collared, but red blooded and they can’t afford to not have America “be great again.” The middle class that began vanishing around Reaganomics verges on extinction, and so they came out to make their last stand with a billionaire of all people. Of course, the KKK, other racists and sexists found a rare ride they could take to Washington as well. With all of their powers combined, good intentions or not, they swept across America like a tidal wave from a disaster movie.
There’s more to it, but I’m not a political expert. For that very reason I questioned whether I even wanted to venture into the murky waters of talking about such an upheaval in our society, but if I don’t talk about it, if we don’t talk about it, what happens then?
Again with the anger. While I believe it is hard to rest on one’s laurels when they can’t feed their family; did we as American citizens not deserve better? Could we not find a president with the decorum we expect of any basic McDonald’s manager; not to mention the equivalent experience? I’m undecided if I meant disrespect for McDonald’s on that one. Could we find no other female candidate other than Sarah Palin (yes I know she was VP) and Mrs. Clinton in the past decade? Should citizens really have to choose between the legality of abortion, gay marriage, and marijuana vs. being able to eek out a living to be remotely happy in life? Why do these social matters continue to push their way to the forefront of debate when there is a majority of America just looking for a dollar?
How much does that dollar cost? If Trump follows through on his ramblings to force all conservative values, not to mention his allusions to practically ethnic cleansing, back on America; it might cost a whole hell of a lot.
As someone who wishes happiness for all who will do no harm, the prospect of an America where gays are still not accepted, where African-Americans are gunned down in the streets for no other reason than being black, where a Hispanic person is a “bad hombre” and a hijab automatically makes a terrorist; I’m sad and I’m angry and yeah, I am confused.
If, like me, your candidate lost. It’s alright if you’re sad. I write this and I still am, and I might be for the rest of the week. But, it’s also alright to be angry, and it’s only from taking the energy of these emotions and channeling them towards a greater good can we truly hold our heads high and make any semblance of a difference. Right now, our world needs people willing to make a difference. Educate yourselves. Use your anger to fuel your path to a better life that benefits everyone. Get above those who would hold you down and use your leverage to be beholden to no man. Every day is an opportunity to elevate yourself as well as your world around you. No one in America can afford a society that is willing to do less. Come together with love, but approach everyday with fists held high. We’ll be handed nothing, but we’ll make damn sure we will fight like hell for what we deserve.
Don’t and we’ll truly learn the cost of a dollar.