Why Donald Trump is The Liberal’s Savior
I’m a liberal. The night of the 2016 election was painful. I never believed Donald Trump would win the Presidential election and when he did I felt my life shattering to pieces. Everything about this man makes my skin crawl. I was convinced most “reasonable” people would feel the same way and would never vote for someone who talked about grabbing women by the pussy and used the words “Mexicans” and “rapists” in the same sentence.
But had I done anything to stop Trump from becoming President? Well…I shared a few anti-Trump SNL skits on Facebook. Did that count? Did I campaign for Hilary? No, I wasn’t a big fan of Hilary because she was a career politician and her monetary ties to Wall Street, Big Pharma and other corporate interests bothered me. Plus, who has time to campaign anyways? I have my family to take care, my business and time for things more interesting than politics. The political system is so bureaucratic and flawed, there’s no point in getting involved. I’m sure reason will win out and Hilary will win and things will be business as usual in Washington.
And then on Election Night 2016, my bubble burst. How could this happen? Who would vote for him? Is our country that ignorant, racist and backwards? Those uneducated, angry white men…
Then Facebook…anger, hate, division. It’s hard not to feel discouragement and sadness when I look at my Facebook Feed. Do I just tune it all out and pretend like nothing’s happening…just keep swimming, just keep swimming? Do I unfollow everyone who disagrees with me and have a perfectly curated feed that only tells me what I want hear and supports what I believe? Do I convince others of what I feel is right and fruitlessly argue until I’m so frustrated I click ‘Unfriend.” Ha! I showed them!
I realize I’ve hidden behind: I can’t change things. No one can. It’s all in the hands of greedy corporations and clueless career politicians. I’m just one person. No one would listen to me. I don’t have time. I’m busy. I mean have you watched C-SPAN? I’d rather watch paint dry.
Could I have done more? Can I do more? What would more even look like?
What would more even look like? Okay, I did the Women’s March, which was great, but now what?
What do you do when you don’t know where to start? Google!
I googled “How to get more involved in politics?”
Ugh! The p-word. It mentioned something about attending a local City Council meeting, so I went. Hardly anyone there. Here was a captive audience that was elected to do something. I found out there is a time for “public comment” where you can tell your city’s council members anything you want. The only people there who said anything were a few people who seemed mentally unstable. Where were all the people pontificating on Facebook now?
I had not known who my local council member was and found out. After the city council meeting, I went up to his office and talked to one of his staff members. I asked her how I could get more involved. Chloe told me about several committees and organizations in my community. I told her how I cared about civil liberties, equal rights for underprivileged groups and small businesses. She asked me if I had a specific issue she wanted me to bring to my council member. I wracked my brain and thought about how I’ve always wanted a cross walk near my kids’ school, but had never known what to do about it. Of course I had never taken any action (but had complained along with the other parents). Chloe told me to email her the intersection so she could let the engineers who handle that area know.
I had always thought of government as distant, bureaucratic and inaccessible. Here I was having a conversation with an approachable, kind person who has influence on how my city runs, who could tell me how to address my concerns.
In the past, when I’d see messages to call or write my Senator, I would think: They get so many messages. Mine won’t matter. They probably won’t even read it. The problem I’m seeing is the majority of people think the same way and don’t make the call or send the email. The result is our voices are not heard, we feel disengaged and disempowered.
It’s so early on, but I feel more engaged as a citizen in this democracy than I’ve ever been. I have Donald Trump to thank for that. Could that be the very reason not only white-men, but people of color, LGBTQ and Muslims voted for him? Were people so tired of business as usual that they were willing to vote for anyone who’d buck the system?
Donald Trump woke me up from my cynicism, indifference and inaction over our country. Donald Trump empowered me to see I can’t wait for others to make the changes I want to see. Perhaps Donald Trump is the catalyst that will get normal, everyday people like you and me off of the couch into the town hall meetings, committee meetings and offices of our elected representatives. Maybe we can thank Donald Trump for inspiring people like you and me to influence the overhaul of an out-dated two-party system of government that is tainted with dirty money from corporate interests and special interests. Maybe Donald Trump will inspire good people like you and me to run for office (OMG).
Maybe Donald Trump’s election will in fact drain the swamp.
Wanna get involved, but don’t know how? Join the Get Involved Facebook group, a non-partisan group where we journey together to get more involved in our democracy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1420956174582512/