I must admit… Even though I am not American, November 8th, 2016 marked a sad, sad day in history – at least for me. I know many people were disappointed with the election results, some to the point of anger, and marches were held across the United States in protest. #NotMyPresident began trending on Twitter, and some actually thought that the electoral college would do something to challenge Trump’s election (Hillary won the popular vote). But as time passed it became clear that the decision was final. Short of it being confirmed that Russia had its hands in the pot and that this had a tangible effect on election results, a Trump presidency was what the world had to look forward to for the next four years.
Today also marks a sad day, because Donald J. Trumps’ presidency becomes official. I know, I know. From my vantage point, and certainly that of many, it is difficult to tell where America’s domestic and foreign policy will go from here. Trump’s views before he ran for the Republican seat were arguably in-line with Democratic principles. Now he seems to say one thing and mean another, and that Twitter habit of his… oh man! I hope he doesn’t actually believe he can hold on to America’s position as the “strong man” of the world with social media… That would be “Trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers” at its worst.
A point which political commentators such as Van Jones continue to emphasize, and which I wholeheartedly agree with, is that democracy must continue to be practiced on the ground. Because of Trumps’ “non-politically correct” approach to politics, which often manifests itself in the form of bigotry, sexism, ageism, ableism, xenophobia (etc., etc.,), many view him with suspicion. But this is actually a good thing. It means that he will be closely watched, and hopefully reeled in when he gets out of line. Many of us go to sleep on our politicians. Either our bellies are full and we are satisfied enough with life that political involvement seems too much of a trouble, or we are so turned off by “the system” that we can’t be bothered to go to the polls. Unfortunately, the result of the 2016 election was probably a combination of both – in addition to a third element (good old fashioned sexism) and a possible fourth (a “white lash,” in the words of Van Jones). I am sure that some people would rather have seen a man like Trump in office than a woman of any form. And racism definitely had something to do with his victory… remember the KKK march in victory? Or the Alt-Right opining for a return to an all-white America after he was elected?
My thoughts on the issue aside, Marc Lamont Hill said something (in his interview with Vlad TV, below) that I found to be quite interesting – and powerful. He stated that although he did not want Trump to be president (skip to 44:35 in the YouTube link referenced below, for this quote),
what is more important is building a long-term political movement, and to build a long-term political movement, we have to make short-term sacrifices. That could mean, it could mean, a Donald Trump… presidency.
He stated that he did not want Trump to be president, BUT… He supported Jill Stein, BUT… If Trump won the election, the end result could still be positive – and even necessary.
In other words, having a man like Trump as president forces us to #StayWoke (North and South of the border) and politically aware. And in response to the injustices that may flow (we really don’t know what Trump is going to do when he hits office) from his presidency, a powerful movement might result. #BlackLivesMatter is an example of a movement that arose in response to injustice, and who knows? Maybe we can look forward to an even bigger movement arising, with even further-reaching consequences, in response to the Trump presidency. Only time will tell.
T. M. G.
Marc Lamont Hill, Marc Lamont Hill (Full Interview) (November 2016), YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB-Ukl0UzSY&t=2940s.