By Brye Moss, Contributor
Against all odds and to the bewilderment of at least half of the country, Donald Trump won the United States presidency Nov. 8 in one of the closest political races since 1960. 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency; Trump garnered 276 electoral votes while Clinton totaled 218. Though she did lose the electoral vote, Clinton won the popular vote by a narrow margin, surpassing Trump with 59,233,484 (47.6%) votes compared to his total of 59,082,155 (47.5%) votes.
America greeted Nov. 9 with an upsurge of protests and riots across the nation, including one outside of the White House. Clinton supporters in Ore. are burning American flags as they parade through the streets of Portland. Supporters of Trump and Clinton are screaming at one another in Times Square. People are setting fire to garbage bins in Oakland, Calif. Students across the country are staging protests at their universities. It’s like normal America, but a little angrier.
While many Americans are rejoicing in Trump’s victory, an arguable majority is consumed by fear of the potential consequences of Trump’s presidency. Over the past 15 months, Trump has promised time and time again to “make America great again,” but what does that mean? To Trump and his more enthused supporters, a “great” America seems to entail neglecting the threat of global warming, promoting discrimination, revoking civil rights, damaging our foreign relations and leaving millions without healthcare; I could go on.
Trump’s catapult to victory likely resulted from his fervent promises to take America back to “the good old days,” a time in which racism and prejudice made for an even more hostile environment for non-white/non-heterosexual/non-Christian people than today. Those days were only golden for those who met very specific social criteria: white, middle- to upper-class and, to a lesser extent, male.
Since those days, America has seen a considerable increase in diversity. Though we still have a great deal of work to do before we can even consider claiming that all of our citizens are treated equally, the social climate is a bit less antagonistic toward those belonging to minority groups than it was in the past. Trump threatens to demolish the progress we’ve made toward human egalitarianism, as evidenced by the overtly hateful and alienating comments he’s made over the course of his campaign. Suggesting that “bad hombres” and “Chyna” are taking our jobs and ruining our country does nothing more than perpetuate unnecessary disdain and undermine the personhood of individuals who are every bit as human as white Americans.
On the potential bright side, Trump was utterly unpredictable in his behavior throughout the course of the election; perhaps he’ll abandon his backpedaling policies and opt for strategies that are more suited for today’s climate of globalism and diversity. Unlikely? Maybe, but then again, so were his chances of winning the U.S. presidency. Trump reportedly intends to delegate all foreign and domestic power to his vice president, Mike Pence, a more even-tempered individual who might not completely destroy our relationship with the rest of the world. Perhaps this presidency won’t be as apocalyptic as we’ve made it out to be.
In the interim, keep your chin up and remember that life will go on as it always has. America has faced times of great adversity before and still managed to come out on top — this election doesn’t have to be any different. Black or white, Republican or Democrat, native or immigrant, we’re all in this together.