So, it’s the next day. Trump is the President-elect and the Republicans run everything, or soon will. I’ve thought about this all night, what’s it going to mean and where it’s going to lead us. No, I’m not an American (though I am married to one) and no, I’m not planning to move the USA. And at the end of the day, while it’s important to consider where this could go, I think it’s far more important to reflect on how we got here.
Without even getting into the whole Bernie/Hillary issue, let’s look at why people would flock to someone who built a campaign on division. The short version is: there was already so much division in the USA. This campaign didn’t cause it. It might not have helped but it can’t be called the cause.
No one, once the primaries were over, was building bridges in this campaign except Trump. He reached out to the people who felt that the system didn’t represent them, he tapped into a whole cadre of voters who had never felt enfranchised, and who appreciated is approach. Whether or not what he said was factual, his approach resonated with a huge percentage of voters in key states. These were people who have been sold on the American dream but have never had it come true for them. Trump was a representation of that dream and promised them it wasn’t out of reach anymore. These were people who have felt marginalized (whether or not any of us agree, it’s where they felt they were) and finally, someone was speaking to them, hearing them, acknowledging them.
And what did we do? We mocked them. We belittled them. We called them uneducated and ignorant. We held ourselves with the exact superiority that drove them out of the electoral process to begin with and we contributed heavily to the cracks that the Republican campaign was only too happy to cash in on.
So to my mind, this isn’t the time for more division and more hatred. This isn’t the time to be bullying our fellow humans, complaining that they did this or that (third party voters, Trump supporters, whatever). This is the time to come together, to put down the torches, to put away the anger and the hate. Sure there’s fear but I can assure you, fighting your way through doesn’t make it go away, it just makes the darkness behind the fear grow teeth.
I’m going to suggest something I never ever would have thought in a million years I’d say. Learn from the Trump campaign. Instead of continuing to shunt those folks off to the side, learn from this campaign and reach out. I think now is the time to copy the model interfaith organizations have set forth - we don’t have to share the same dogma to acknowledge our shared humanness.
Mobilize, listen, build bridges, create closeness. Invite people to the table.
In these times I consider my farming life - we grow the best crops and plants out of the most disgusting muck. Let’s take the mess and recycle it into something that’s beautiful and nourishing.