It Should’ve Been Enough
An election is supposed to be the culmination of 18 months of debate, discussion and democracy which leaves us at the precipice of a new era of excitement and clarity on what our country is going to look like for the next four years. But in six days of debrief since our election, I find I’m left with far more questions than answers, and I don’t think I’m alone in this quandary of confusion.
How do we bounce back from this? How do we move forward when millions of Americans fear for their long-term acceptance in the country? What’s actually going to change, or will this all end up being fine? How do I get over that people I give a shit about voted for a man who just named an anti-Semitic white nationalist as his top advisor?
None of this is dramatic. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s “Axelrod” who will be 10 feet from him everyday, didn’t want to send his children to school with Jews. Why should any Jew feel like that ideology won’t be present everyday of the next four years?
I’ve seen a lot of “I didn’t love Trump, but…” or “he wasn’t my first choice, but…” takes as if it creates a permission structure for putting a man who stoked the worst of our country to the Oval Office. Do I think all Trump supporters are racist, xenophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic? Of course not. But there is a fine line between being racist and being unbothered by racism, and clearly what happened in the campaign wasn’t enough to impact the latter category.
What I keep coming back to though, is one question… “Why wasn’t it enough?” When Trump called Mexicans rapists, suggested Megyn Kelly’s debate question was a result of being on her period, said Jews should be the only ones doing his taxes, openly admitted he doesn’t treat women with respect, or threatened to ban all Muslims, why wasn’t that enough?
Undoubtedly, a lot of it has to do with his opponent and the successful way the right demonized her…literally (looking at you, Alex Jones). But whatever you think about Hillary Clinton, using a private email server is incongruent to bragging about grabbing women by the pussy. Saying she put our national security at risk is a copout when voting for someone who refused to release his tax returns (likely because they would’ve shown national security conflicts) and is proven to be in cahoots with Russia, the same country the previous Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, called our greatest global threat.
In the past eight years, there is no doubt that the country has moved in a very socially progressive direction. Same-sex couples can now get married, everyone has access to healthcare, discrimination of any kind (racial, gender, orientation, religion) is viewed very negatively and we are rapidly approaching being a majority minority country. To say though, that this election was about higher premiums in Obamacare or a disagreement with how we’re fighting ISIS is a total deviation from reality, a convenient excuse to explain away a win that is stained with the soot of bigotry.
Why is it wrong for a religious baker to have to bake a cake for a gay couple, but not wrong to persecute Muslims and Jews? Why is it that baseline common sense measures on the 2nd Amendment are an attack on the Constitution, but far stricter suggestions of the 1st Amendment (speech, press, religion, assembly) are no big deal? Why is it that we have for decades decried dictators like Hitler, Gaddafi and Putin but vote for a man who exhibits the same behaviors, including threatening to jail his political opponents?
And if none of this was actually enough, it’s completely fair to ask if there was anything Trump could’ve done that would been enough?