Looking Forward in the Age of Trump

flag-wildernessFeeling some solace this morning in the wake of a seismic result in the 2016 presidential election.

First, grateful on Veterans Day for the courage of those willing to suit up and face danger on everyone’s behalf.

I don’t agree with lots of war-making decisions. Hate the reality of war. Wish we had an education force as dynamic and well funded as our military.

Our troops don’t make those choices. They are ready and willing when called upon. Thankful and indebted to them.

Forcing myself to see perspective this morning:

  • If Clinton had won, the other half of the country would be equally horrified and pissed off.
  • Lots of people who voted for Clinton weren’t too happy about voting for Clinton.
  • Lots of Veterans voted Trump.
  • Lots of all kinds of decent people voted Trump.

A good quote I read in the Economist said that Trump voters “took him seriously but not literally, even as his critics took him literally, but not seriously.”

Perhaps the vote can be interpreted as a rejection of the establishment, not as an endorsement of specific proposals. There is hope that rhetoric is rhetoric, and governing will be different.

There are some signs for optimism:

  • The proposed Muslim ban has already been removed from the Trump website.
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio was voted out of office here in Maricopa County.
  • Despite the Trump victory, most Americans oppose a border wall and mass deportations.
  • More than half of Americans voted against Trump.

Those targeted by rhetoric, though, have the right to be upset and fearful.

Grateful for the reflective attitude of my students this week. My students felt a need to express themselves, but rejected the logic of the week’s walkouts, protests, and rioting. That won’t change anything. The fight to support DACA, the fight to support the DREAM Act– those fights will make a difference in their lives. Proud of my students for recognizing this and challenging each other in heartfelt discussions.

So it goes. Not happy that the voice of the right-leaning anti-establishment movement is an impulsive reality TV show host who hates reading, stokes racist fears, and preys on women. Not happy this person will be the President of the United States.

But this is our reality, and everyone must respond vigilantly as their conscience requires.

It’s hard to imagine  right now, but I believe that unity will emerge with time. I’m hopeful for building stronger communities as a result, and can already sense that happening among my students.

The President does not, and need not define us.


Author: Billy

High school teacher and blogger.

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