by Dr. T
“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances we KNOW to be desperate.”
Among those who are alternately devastated, disgusted, disillusioned and disenfranchised by the election of 2016, the struggle to embrace the “ideal” of democracy remains difficult at best and like swallowing hemlock at worst.
After an unprecedented campaign like none other we’ve witnessed in modern political history, where one of the most unpopular, resoundingly unqualified, and non-transparent candidates won the majority of the electoral college (a throwback to appeasing slave holding states) while losing the majority of the popular vote by an historically high number, America finds itself at a precipice of division and descent. The campaign rhetoric reached a level of vile, inappropriate language and content that caused Americans to mute their televisions when children were in the room. The man elected President of the United States fed upon a climate of discontentment and created an atmosphere where a specific constituency, who embrace hatred, bigotry and racism found a place where they could feel comfortable outwardly exhibiting their beliefs. The sexism and misogyny previously under cover, was elevated to a level never before seen in a presidential campaign (some might say) because the opponent of the President-elect was a woman. But many others recognize it as inherent within the culture in which we live and without question, the man who was elected President on November 8th clearly and undeniably demonstrated it. This man denigrated women by his words and actions on a daily basis throughout the presidential campaign and, currently, has over a dozen lawsuits pending and sexual harassment and assault claims outstanding. All of these things are extremely troubling and without precedent in U.S. Presidential history.
The most troubling of all is that (in this nation) we have grown accustomed to watching ourselves evolve, grow and transform over the decades. We have now witnessed a betrayal of what America once held as fundamental to our exceptionalism. A free nation forged in blood and dedicated to principle and the struggle for equality, equity and inclusion; a country where we have fought through fear, adversity and misguided outrage, ignorance and bigotry together, in order to come closer and closer to the platitudes upon which the United States of America touts her promise as a great nation. We now find ourselves in serious trouble of falling backwards, to a time we thought we had moved beyond; a time when the deep contradictions of what we “claimed” we were clashed with the injustice, segregation, racial hatred and violence exhibited throughout our nation and showed the world who we really were instead. Hypocrites. We betrayed our Declaration of Independence and ourselves. “We hold these truths to be self evident…that all men (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The election of 2016 has challenged this nation and its people to stand up for the America we claimed we wanted to be when we elected President Barack Hussein Obama eight years ago. Do we NOW want to bow down to the type of country we once were in the most horrid days of our history? The brutal institution of chattel slavery, the Trail of Tears, the Japanese Internment Camps, the State sponsored terrorism of lynching, brutal reign of the Ku Klux Klan and bombing of Black churches, Segregation and Jim Crow, these are what America once was…and the signs we see all around us are eerie reminders that we have not become the nation or the people we have the power to be.
These are desperate times and yet I still HOPE in the promise of what America claims she wants to be. We Will NOT GO BACK!