After some reflection, I just want to put out one more thought
*(well I guess it’s a lot of thoughts inspired by one thought)*
on the election.
I believe that the vast majority of trump supporters are not evil/racist/bigoted. They are a complex mix of people with many motivations for their vote. They are often people who feel that the government has not represented them for some time and are voting against the way our government has operated- the stagnation and gridlock, the business influences on politicians, etc. Some feel incredibly strongly about some republican ticket issues (gun control laws, economic policy, etc) and are willing to vote for any republican who will get that done. I believe they have made a decision that condemns the political establishment, not that seeks to oppress minorities/women/LGBT people. I hope I am correct in this belief.
That said, we cannot reward people who support hateful beliefs. A candidate whose words, even obliquely, disparage religious groups, ethnic groups, women, etc. should not be rewarded by winning the presidency of the United States of America. I realize this may have happened because we had no better choices after the primaries. One obvious solution to that is: vote in your primaries! It is incredibly important that the candidate for your party represents your views. Next time, let’s find candidates who support and represent our beliefs and also engage in civil behavior. Candidates who will accomplish the change we need to see without calling to ban an entire religion from entering our country, without alleging that a neighboring country deliberately sends rapists and criminals into our country, without insulting war heroes, without calling people who disagree with him “losers” and otherwise insulting and alienating people. It is absolutely true that in this election, the democrats responded in kind, alienating republicans who support Trump for the reasons I cited in the second paragraph, not out of bigotry. It is not productive to alienate a large part of the country like that but I sincerely do feel that democrats would not have done that without Trump flirting with bigoted rhetoric. I don’t want to turn this into excuses. I just want to make it known that we do not hate republicans, we hate racism and bigotry. We want a president that represents the ideals of good conduct and equality that we hold as a nation.
Electing that candidate is hard to do while the parties are constantly trying to shove career politicians that don’t inspire confidence or trust down our throats. I believe we need to work towards abolishing the two party system that limits our choices. It is too possible that we barely agree with half of a parties choices, but are forced to choose one or the other diametrically opposed party. The stark contrast between both parties also makes cooperation incredibly difficult- they have become by definition the opposite of each other on so many issues. With more libertarians in play, a coalition of libertarians and republicans could make progress on smaller government and lower taxes without limiting civil liberties. With more green party candidates in play, a coalition of democrats and green party candidates would be able to make major strides toward environmental protection and other common policy aims. With more independents in play, we could vote for more candidates that closely mirror all of our beliefs.
I also think that the electoral college system should go. Political power should be bestowed by votes, not by population. It has long been the case that poor people who may not speak English well may find it incredibly difficult to vote (dating back to the pre-civil rights movement days and the 3/5ths compromise). This is often the case in republican states, but that is not essential to my point. If their population is taken into account when giving electoral votes but they do not advocate for their interests by voting, those who do vote in their state may vote against this oppressed group’s interests and be given an inflated weight, while not reflecting a large part of that constituency. Making education more available and making it easier for all citizens to vote would go a long way towards making this point null, but it is unlikely that we will eliminate this effect anywhere near the present day. This is not about this effect benefiting republicans or benefiting democrats, it’s about votes cast equaling the outcome. It’s about making sure that no vote doesn’t equal a vote against your own interests.
Donald Trump’s victory speech called for unity and promised to be a president for all people. This gave me hope. I truly hope that his speech represents him turning a corner toward inclusivity and fairness to all groups in this great country. It remains to be seen, but I hope Donald Trump surpasses all expectations and becomes a great president. He may surround himself with bright minds and policy experts and keep an open mind that will help him make fantastic decisions. Still, it must be said that if a candidate panders toward the hate and fear in our country and then turns the corner toward decency, that sends the wrong message. The ends do not justify the means- we need to accomplish what we want the right way. Otherwise, the next candidate might not turn toward decency and we may find that the flaws we ignored in our candidate cause real harm toward citizens of this great country. America, I do not look down upon you for your choice. I understand why this happened, and there are some good reasons for it, but I don’t think it’s the optimal outcome and I hope next time we can all do better.
We are all Americans and we are in this together.
I believe this will turn out better than we fear.
Keep working toward a better world for everyone.
Love and Peace to all,