Stunned. This best describes how I, like so many of my friends, moved through this first day of understanding that Donald Trump will be our 45th US President for four years.
Trump’s legacy of championing bigotry, advocating racism, encouraging xenophobia, cheering misogyny, supporting protectionism, practicing authoritarianism and possessing a truly despicable history across decades of scamming his business associates and construction workers are simply appalling characteristics of this next American president. Highly successful businesspeople avoidlawsuits – crushing and colossal for all involved parties. But not here: his business model thrives on them. And then there is this man’s huge narcissism and titanic ego. No small matters indeed.
Allow me to move through these 24 hours as I digest the results of the antiquated ‘electoral college’ system that elected him, a system whose very roots reach out of the slavery-owning culture that defined this country’s origins. It is a fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote! Yet in 2016 such a vestige of slavery remains law and thereby shackles the will of the people.
Underneath this, apart from today’s absolute shock, I believe that within despair we can locate dignity, and through this heartache we can find encounter hope. Anger will compel us to action, yet we must not allow it to dictate our daily interactions. Point in fact are these gracious words from Hillary Clinton’s concession speech,
‘We owe [Trump] an open mind and a chance to lead.’
To move further into some kind of peace with this, I must invoke those wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, which extend across decades for their dignity and decency,
We must be the change we wish to see in the world.
And these heartfelt words of Martin Luther King also provide comfort,
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.