An Open Wound on the Face of Democracy

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CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

On the morning after the election, the sentiment from those who voted for Donald Trump was a quick and unified message saying, “Let’s start the healing process.”   Even President Obama gave himself whiplash with the distinctly different tone, from explaining that Trump was “unfit” to be President on Friday to saying today that “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.”

Of course, a President has to do this to some extent.  There must be a message of calm acceptance because our country is built on a belief in the government system we all agree on.  But I will not be “rooting for” his success if that is defined by what he promoted during his candidacy.

President Obama was encouraging us to be civil with each other and reject hatred as we disagree.  He showed a lot of class in his comments today, and I have even more respect for him after seeing it.  But if we are to reject hatred, then we must reject the way it came from the man who now stands as our President-Elect.

He won an election with outlandish declarations that targeted a white portion of the populace that is feeling more and more disenfranchised as the last remnants of a society built to benefit them before others is starting to be dismantled.

Jim Wallis described it this way:

“Trump ran on white identity politics & brought white nationalism back into the mainstream of American public life.”

If this isn’t obvious to you, then you weren’t paying attention.

So if we want healing, then there must be more than a sudden change of tone in the speeches of our new President.   Donald Trump must begin by expressing sincere remorse and regret for the hatred, bigotry, and penchant for violence that he has normalized.

I think it’s fair to say that we would all be shocked if he did exactly that.  So as a citizen of this great country, I have a responsibility to resist and repudiate what Donald Trump has promoted during his candidacy.  For example,

  • The removal of important regulations that protect our environment from careless practices in industry.
  • Banning people from our country only because of their religious heritage.
  • The wasteful and short-sighted proposal of building a wall on the Mexican border.
  • The use of increased violence as a solution to problems (e.g., more torture of terrorist suspects, the killing of terrorist families, etc).

And I must speak out for those he marginalized:

  • Women, who he views as objects for his personal pleasure whenever he feels the need.
  • Minorities who have have been on the receiving end of Trump’s pattern of racism throughout his career, continuing on during the campaign.  (This was especially clear in the first half, before his campaign managers told him to stick to script and stop speaking from the his own reservoir of ideas.  That should tell us something.)

I have had in-depth conversations with many who turned out to be Trump voters over the last 12 months and I have had only one singular person out of all of them express any remorse, sadness, or dismay over the sexism, racism, and bigotry that he has displayed over this campaign and throughout his career.

One person.

Everyone else immediately changed the subject to email servers without even stopping to express any moral outrage about his behavior and words.  And now, two days after the election, the conversation still goes the same way.

So let the healing begin when people are able to come to the table and directly acknowledge that Trump’s blatant sexism, racism, and hatred are a gaping wound that can’t be covered over with dismissive pleas for unity.

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