The election of Republican Party candidate Donald Trump was a surprise not only to myself, but to millions around the nation. Hunched up in front of the CNN live stream I felt a physical tension in my shoulders I could liken only to a sense of danger, of something big and threatening coming my way.
Once the number of electoral votes stacked against each other showed no other alternative, I could see my social feeds filling up with people who lost hope, were filled with anger and regret, and, worst of all, pointing fingers.
Unfortunately, we are solely to blame for all this. Yet, hope is not lost.
Yes, Trump has taken the United States presidency. Also, the Republican Party controls Congress. This kind of power across the legislative board leads to both an expedited legislative process and the ability to appoint Supreme Court Justices which may fly in the face of the idea’s voters for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had in mind.
But, just as we look at how Trump got elected, and how the Congress was swayed toward the Republican side, we can look at that mass of elected officials chomping at the bit to overturn ObamaCare and lead the nation into a less progressive era, we can do what voters for Donald Trump did.
They said no.
There are strikingly obvious reasons for voting against Hillary Clinton. She is in the pockets of Wall Street and interests larger than we will ever really know. She has flip-flopped on so many issues, and really represents the status-quo.
If you can’t tell by now, I was a Bernie supporter. Yet, people who were undecided had to look at both candidates and make one of those “lesser of two evils” decisions, and many most likely went toward the side of where the most change could take place.
Who put Hillary there? We did. So what do we do now?
We can start paying more attention to politics, to who is running, and to interact more closely with our elected representatives. They only listen to those who put them there (and have the money to do so).
Ballotpedia is a great source. It’s always bad practice to learn about a candidate through their opposition. Makes sense, right?
We can research, we can lobby, and we can take all our focused efforts on social media that we waste trying to prove a point, and we can go knock on doors. We can cut out the negativity and the finger-pointing, and instead hold those with the power more accountable. We can let Trump know how we feel on his ideals.
Amid all this, what is even more important?
If you ask me, it’s finally addressing the little people, the disenfranchised, and letting them know we are here for them. Much of the blue-collar vote stands outside of progressivism because of what it is perceived to stand for: globalization, a non-manufacturing economy, and a changing world many are uncomfortable with.
As the generation quickly taking over demographics all over the board, we need to let these people who feel left behind know we hear, and understand, them. Otherwise, the next person who comes in and says it for us will be next in line.
We need to push for candidates who truly live our ideals. I can’t say Clinton was that person. We need to start more seriously considering running for office ourselves, or to empower people to.
In a word, we need to act. If we really are one united people, then we have to look at what we have done (and haven’t done) to allow Trump into the presidency. If you look hard, I think we can all find where we could have done better.
Lastly, remember to breath.