Ok, so how am I feeling? (Not that anyone cares). Ironically, I feel a lot like I felt when Bill Clinton got elected in 1992 and 96–punched in the gut. If you know me at all, you know that I am shedding no tears for the Clintons (and in fact I am glad that they will hopefully haunt us no more). Nor am I fearful for the fate of the poorly constructed piece of legislation that is Obamacare (both parties are to blame for why it is so bad). I am worried (if not terrified) by what our foreign and trade policies are going to look like and the impact that the resulting retaliatory policies of other nations will have on our economy. The small hope of getting some common sense gun control legislation is completely gone–for the foreseeable future. I think the social and cultural divisions in our country are about to get WAY worse and may likely explode (so brace yourselves. Seriously). If you voted for Trump in order to restore “law and order,” trust me, the problem is only about to get worse.
Our rape culture has likely been given a fresh new life, and it galls me that we have rewarded a morally repugnant man with the highest office in the land (in this regard I feel much the same as I did when Bill Clinton was elected and reelected). It will be interesting to see how a guy that is not really a Republican will deal with a Republican congress that will now try to control a pathological liar and an uncontrollable man.
As a Christian, I am perhaps the most upset about the fact that much of the evangelical community’s embracing of this man has seemingly only proven what most people outside of the church believe about it . . . that hypocrisy prevails. I’m afraid that rather than promote the faith, Trump’s election has only done perhaps irreparable damage to the church’s mission to spread it. Despite what many hope, this is NOT going to make this nation more Christian. This election has in fact ensured that only more people will be repulsed by what they see in the church.
Some in the media are trying to make this all about race and a “white-lash” in response to our first black president (if that is completely true, why didn’t it happen 4 years ago?), but I think there is way more going on here that explains these results than just race, and most (but not all) of it is bad. For example, I’m convinced that it also shows that a particular and large demographic in this country is still not ready for a female president (which is stupefying). That same demographic is terrified by a nation that is becoming more diverse than what they want to see. I think we all know that.
Yet at the same time, it also reveals how deeply resentful Americans are about a government that is so gridlocked and tied to corporate interests. I am VERY sympathetic to that, and believe it is what drove Bernie’s popularity too. But I sure wish this anti-establishment movement had concentrated on getting us a new Congress and had chosen a better man as its figurehead and champion. (And one that has not actually been part of the problem for most of his life).
Reflecting the rift in our nation at-large, I have some excited students today, but also a very large number that are downright (and justifiably) terrified. I’ve heard them seriously discussing leaving the country, which is heartbreaking (and sadly it is what many of Trump’s supporters hope the more diverse of them will do). But let’s all remind ourselves of what I am talking to my classes about today– we do not have a monarchy. Our Founders didn’t put power into the hands of one person, and I am more grateful for that today than ever. Thank you, Founding Fathers, for giving us our brilliant government of checks and balances. (I think we can all agree on that). And yes, Republicans still control congress, but as we know, Trump holds positions and made promises that many true Republicans do not support. And there is always the power of filibuster.
So as I am telling my students today, no matter how you feel about the results, we all need to relax and take a deep breath, because our system does not allow for monarchical powers. Thank God.
PS: After spending all day acting as a counselor for classrooms of college students that are angry and frightened by these results, I am actually a bit hopeful that the Election of 2016 will go down in history as the event that caused the Millennial generation to create a powerful political movement that will be a force to be reckoned with. I heard them say some really powerful and encouraging things today. Stay tuned.