Trump: A View From the Heart of the Empire
For the past six days I’ve been at the point of writing about the election five times. Each time, I found a reason to avoided it. Ideas came and went, but it’s been difficult to put words together. Like most, I have been in a state of shock.
Trumpism is upon us. And despite all my pleas to friends and family that the Democratic Party was out of touch with the feelings of voters on the ground who didn’t see the honor in dynastic political enterprise preaching a centrist, globalist line, I was not prepared for a Trump victory. After holding a cynical point of view throughout the whole campaign where I challenged all sorts of people to imagine a Trump presidency, I too succumbed in the waning moments to the group think of the day — someone whose attitudes and actions were so irrational, so distasteful, could not be democratically elected in a country like the United States. The people I challenged all these many months to imagine a Trump presidency often laughed at my questions, and in the end even I came to smile at the seeming unbelievability of the impeding tragedy that seemed so unlikely to unfold.
Yet here we are. Donald Trump, a man who ran a campaign that spat in the face of the human rights, human dignity, and all that true american values represent, whose rhetoric emboldened a new generation of racist white nationalists longing for a bygone era of privilege, has been President-elect for six days. Barring any tragedy (which surprisingly enough I’ve already heard more than a few people wish for) Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017.
In the aftermath of the election, everyone in my immediate Washington D.C. surroundings has been moving about in a state of stupor, which sure enough is slowly melting into a normalized acceptance.
Over the past six days, I’ve been told by people young and old to wait and see what Trump’s next move will be. I’ve been told Donald Trump, the conservative businessman, will surprise us. I’ve been told to stand diligently by and trust in the comfortable knowledge that the checks and balances of our system will reign Trump in. That our democratic institutions will protect us. I’ve been told he doesn’t actually believe what he said on the campaign trail. That he’s a complete wildcard who will most probably fuck it all up and self-implode. That he’s woefully unprepared so will select establishment, centrist republicans to run his government for him. That he is actually a secret centrist. That he doesn’t actually want to be President. That he will have to work with a congress who won’t let him enforce the fascist, autocratic, racist and isolationist policies he preached on the campaign trail. That he doesn’t actually want those policies anymore, and he’ll flip-flop to the center. That he will now follow his true intentions announced in his victory speech and become the uniting, charismatic leader he was always destined to be. And I’ve been told it makes no sense for me or anyone else to protest in the streets until he starts working to pass his policies. We should be vigilant but not antagonistic when opposing his policies. We should work with him, not against him, to make sure he will succeed.
Pay attention everyone, the normalization is beginning. Six days in and all around me people are falling into the mental gymnastics needed to rationalize the acceptance of a man who, among a long list of terrible comments, encouraged the physical assault at one of his campaign events of a Black Lives Matter protester, gloated about sexual assault about multiple women, promised to deport millions of illegal immigrants, and called for a blanket ban on muslims entering the United States.
Do not normalize this. Not you, not me, not the media. Nobody!
Do not forget the indefensible things Donald Trump said just because he’s the President-elect and he gave a couple speeches about uniting the country. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting the rhetoric that won him the election. The danger of him enacting this worldview, however slim you may believe that chance to be, is too great a risk to not fight against it immediately. Because if we don’t as Masha Gessen in the New York Review of Books warned, we better prepare fore life under an autocrat.