Afterthoughts on America’s 45th Presidential Election

America’s 45th presidential election has officially ended, but it is the start of a whirlwind of changes that will no doubt affect the country and the countries that work closely with the USA. It’s been an exhausting year of hearing debates from opposing sides. Upon waking up this morning to find Donald Trump has won the election, I have since found it difficult to suppress my thoughts on this matter.

To say this election was just like any other election in the past is degrading the issue at hand. To say anything along the lines of “you can’t ever truly and fully trust any politician, so it’s with reason some people chose to trust Donald Trump as America’s new president” in hopes of rationalizing how he had managed to win over Hillary Clinton – generalizes both Trump and Clinton’s character.

Let’s break this down. Trump rose to fame in the 1980’s when his career as a real estate developer boomed and had made it on the cover of TIME Magazine. The article on him back then had started with some of his egotistical remarks: “Who has done as much as I have? No one has done more in New York than me.” “Those who dislike me don’t know me, and have never met me. My guess is that they dislike me out of jealousy.” And his outrageous statements didn’t stop at that article. He grabbed the media’s attention by continuing to make polarizing statements and feuding with politicians. He became a reality-TV star. Over time, Trump’s words and actions had led many to conclude he embodies sexist, racist, egotistic, and xenophobic values; which, in the end, make up his character.

Now on the other hand, Clinton got to where she is today through continually fighting for what she wanted and believed in. She developed interest in politics at a young age. In high school, Clinton participated in the student council and won class vice president in her junior year. Although she lost to two boys for the president position during her senior year and was told, “you are really stupid if you think a girl can be elected president”, she continued to succeed in her academics, never letting sexist words stop her from achieving what she wanted. She got to where she is today, being able to run for president of the United States, through continued focus. Clinton has an extensive history in the political field and is well familiar with the practices to be more than qualified to take a presidential position. From her past to her current situation, her actions have demonstrated passion, determination, drive. If these values help define Clinton’s character, think about Trump’s values that make up his character and compare the two. Trump verbally steps on people to get to where he wants to be; Clinton fights for her beliefs through action to get to her goals.

True, there is no politician that is ever truly transparent. You can’t ever fully know a person inside and out. But transparency should not be the dealbreaker between choosing two candidates. If you know you can’t fully trust either of them from the get-go because you know politicians always lie, understanding how one operates through their values should have affected this election. How does one even continue to consider and trust Trump, especially if it’s acknowledged the values he abides by? This is a man full of hatred and egocentric morals. By choosing Trump, you aren’t just “giving him a chance”. You have then chosen sexism, even if you don’t identify yourself as a ‘sexist’. You have then supported and accepted racism on some level, even if you don’t identify yourself as a ‘racist’. You’ve then accepted xenophobia, even if you don’t consider yourself ‘xenophobic’, because you’ve accepted a man who believes in it. If this is the kind of character half or majority of America supports, what does that say about the people of America? Or is it that the people who voted for him are seriously and simply unaware of the beliefs they voted for?

Donald Trump’s reality whilst running for this election had included:

  1. Rape and sexual harassment allegations from dozens of women
  2. Insulting enough people/groups/ethnicities that The New York Times was able to fill two full pages to quote Trump’s remarks – a few of the 282 remarks including calling A) Britain, a place that’s “trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem”, B) Obamacare, “a complete disaster” (though it has helped tens of millions of Americans gain access to affordable health insurance and let major earners in this economy share their wealth), and C) CNN, a news network in the business for over 3 decades, “dishonest” and a “fraud”.

Despite this, people still voted for him. People who voted for him chose to gloss over his words and behaviour towards women and minorities. Instead, they chose to pick over and be more angry at Clinton’s usage of a private email server over issues that have been around since the 1400s, such as racism.

Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton isn’t a just a victory over a position. It’s a victory against womens’ rights, a victory against gay marriage, a victory against providing affordable health services to those who need it, a victory against acknowledging climate change. It’s a victory against gender and race equality that minorities, LGBTQ communities and democrats had fought so hard for. Statistics (check exit poll results here) showing that it was mostly white, high-income earning Americans who had supported Trump in this election demonstrates this election was not simply about choosing who was most fitting for the job. This election demonstrated the deep-rooted problems that ultimately lies within the citizens of America.

 


Some related links, for reference: