Many of us are scared, but all of us are uncertain
As we try to move forward, one thing I would like to hear from Trump supporters (or even just the "get over it" crowd) is acknowledgement of the great unknown into which we have elected to enter. Whether we chose the path or were led down it, we are all now there. Together.
As one who has had strong hobbyist, activist, and professional interests in the outcome of elections, I've experienced many losses. Sure, they can be painful. Yes, you can feel like lashing out. Of course you vow to step up and fight back. That is the nature of the game. With this one, however, the game is in a completely different ballpark.
If John McCain has slurred a gold star family, it would have been a disqualified. If Mitt Romney had become the first modern presidential candidate to refuse to release his tax returns (under BS reasoning), it would have been scandal. If Barack Obama had vowed to ban millions from entering the country on the sole basis of their faith, he would have been driven out of the election by both Republicans and Democrats. If Hillary Clinton had been caught on audio saying her fame gave her permission to grab men by the dick, she would have been castigated by those who have tried to burn her at the stake for much less. Heck, if any one of these candidates had even been married three times (with admitted mistresses, or with a spouse who was thought to have worked in this country before legally allowed to do so), it would have been noted as a reason to question his or her character. But with Trump, all off this stuff (and oh so much more) was given a strange pass. This pass is some of what scares us.
Even if you are Trump's biggest fan, you have to admit that we are taking a major risk with this guy. He has not been able to capably voice much of anything in the way of policy experience. He has shown himself completely lacking in concern for any of our institutions or traditions. By wide miles, he has less foreign policy experience than anyone to ever seek this office. His own business interests are shaded with failures and fraud accusations. He is untested in every way, and has done almost nothing to appease those who have questioned these massive gaps in experience (saying things will be "great" is not a plan).
When it comes to defending Roe, LGBT rights, healthcare, or any of the countless policy planks at stake, I am more than up for that challenge. That is the way the political process works. Anyone involved in government knows that being in a place of opposition is something one must occasionally endure, and most are ready to rise to that occasion. What scares most of us more this time around is this new, deeper, and more dangerous place of not only disagreeing with the president-elect but *actively fearing* that this person could be a true threat to our basic physical safety. This is where I am with this election. I am truly afraid, for the first time in my adult life, that this commander in chief will lead to our deaths. I am not being hyperbolic. I truly fear for our safety.
It's one thing for Donald Trump, Apprentice host, to tell a Times reporter that she has a "face like a dog." When President Trump does it to Angela Merkel, he will tarnish our reputation on a global scale.
It's one thing for Donald Trump, vodka salesman, to call Twitter critics "losers" (and much worse). When President Trump does it to a foreign adversary, he can set off nuclear winter.
It's one thing for Donald Trump, gaudy decor enthusiast, to threaten to jail his political rival or slur the press. When President Trump goes after the very concepts of rivalry, criticism, and accountability, it could lead to mass civil rights violations that rip apart the very fabric of this nation.
I didn't agree with President Bush (41 or 43, for that matter), but I trusted he understood the basic underpinnings of this great nation. I didn't vote for Romney or McCain, but I did not think for a second that those men would use personal pettiness as a justification for war. I've never once in my life voted for a Republican, but I've also never felt that the party was going more in a direction that legitimately brought it closer to some of the past's most oppressive regimes than toward the shining beacon on the hill that was said to be its aspiration.
And it's not my liberal politics or any media outlet that lead me to these conclusions: it's the unbelievably shocking words and actions of the man who the electoral vote (but not the popular vote) will soon usher in as these 45th president of the United States. He built this.
This time is different. And even if you are Trump's most outspoken fan, you have to admit that.
Many of us are scared, but we are all uncertain. Even if you think you are certain, you are not. There is no way you can be. The American experiment has never tested a hypothesis of this nature.
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