When the news came, it hit me slowly. We watched. The numbers came in, trickling down. Then came the looking around the room. Eyes were wide — a worried wide, and if they could speak, they would’ve said “No,” or “Why?” On the screen, in a little box in the corner, people hugging. Crying. Somber and silent. In the big box were white men in red hats, holding one another. Laughing. Smiling. They looked validated, as if they never had been before.
On social media, the world might as well have been on fire. A cacophonous flood of rage and confusion, juxtaposed with some sentiments of rejoice and relief, saturated every feed I subscribe to. The stimulus was overwhelming to say the least.
The day after the election, I walked around campus in a funk. My conversations were brief and short-worded. I was unable to accomplish anything productive. I failed in reading anything besides “What next?” speculation articles. I held my head in my hands a lot. Walked some more. Sat down. Ate here and there. Thought. Around me, I saw faces, both of mourning and of jubilance. The people had spoken.
To my friends in college and from home who voted for Trump: congratulations. I say this wholeheartedly and genuinely. America’s political system, for what it’s worth (in my opinion, not much), spoke honestly. You and your candidate won, fair and square. However, I sincerely hope you know how privileged you are. Your privilege is among the strongest in our country; it allows you to remain unscathed by the outcome of this election. Unfortunately, your privilege has also numbed your conscience so severely that you are unable to consider the wider impact of your vote. You probably feel a sense of victory, see a glimmer of hope in your president-elect.
But I do feel sorry for you. Your words, your actions, your quest for a “reformed” America has become tainted by your entitlement. You looked for something off the beaten path, and you found it in a mirage. A façade. A bigoted strongman who prides himself on his absurdism — who advertises his political illiteracy and incompetence as favorable and “different.” Your search for a leader who is not a politician is about as valid as a quest for a heart surgeon who never went to medical school. Your unguided, vilifying indictments against President Barack Obama have pushed you to take refuge in a misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, climate change-denying racist. And your privilege has enabled you to excuse him for it.
In the wake of all this, I do believe there is something to be gained from the devastation we have all been experiencing this past week. Before Trump’s victory, the liberal American blind spot for the most part flew under the radar. I am talking about the denial to which many liberals have been subscribing, especially throughout the past year. When Trump announced his bid for presidency, myself and countless others all laughed. Much of America chuckled aloud and brushed him to the side. As Donald Trump’s campaign grew increasingly more absurd and offensive, it picked up greater momentum. The typical leftist sentiment, however, remained a passive disregard: “There’s no way this clown could ever get elected.” No one saw it coming, and that is our own fault.
The election of Donald Trump comes at a crucial moment for America. While the anguish we feel worsens as the days progress, it also has brought us to a more sober revelation about the country in which we live. While it is easy to get lost in Donald Trump as an individual, it is important to constantly keep in mind that America chose him. The outcome of the election has tarnished the fantastical preconception that the United States is a uniform bastion of tolerance and justice. It is a reminder that we are very far from experiencing a post-racial America. As CNN’s Van Jones put it, this election is a whitelash against a changing country. White America has exposed its hideous face, and it is more visible now than ever to our generation. The reality is, Donald Trump’s victory has shed light upon the hatred and intolerance so deeply engrained in our society. Now that it stands before us, closer and louder than it’s been in a long time, perhaps we can begin to tear it apart.
Contact Joshua Carlucci at [email protected]