A heartbreaking turn of events, the morning after my first time voting, a bit late at the age of 25. The reason I had abstained in years passed was because I found the whole process to be a farce, a system that we called democracy, but was really, factually, a republic. This week we are faced with the primary drawback of a system touted as the best of the worst. The fatal flaw is that everyone can vote, a right that we have always counted as a sacred blessing in America has reared its head as an ugly curse. Did my vote count? I suppose it did, same as everyone else’s, but the sting of futility lingers all the same.
America will either prosper or falter, nothing stays the same, as so many disgruntled voters know. I want to believe the country I love will progress in spite of anything, I want to believe that the American ideal is more powerful than Donald Trump, but something has proven itself, that there are vastly different ideals floating around. I want to believe we’ll continue to be what we worked so hard to become. Trump proves every dog has his day, and every empire has its end.
He also proves that the progress of the progressives was not as popular as we thought.
Yes, Trump found that simmering unrest, quiet in its political incorrectness, and seized upon it like a lucrative business opportunity. So much hate had been quieted during the Obama presidency, but the insignificant and uneducated still grumbled in their own “safe places,” bars and break rooms where true colors could emerge and fester far from liberal scrutiny.
If you’re a white, homophobic, racist, NRA member, these last eight years must have made your blood boil, and what’s even worse is you had bottle that up, couldn’t say shit because you might get fired or annihilated on social media.
Donald Trump found his opening. While everyone kept touting the importance of going high, he just went lower, scraping votes from the bottom of the barrel. Polls were all confident Clinton would win. The reason for the universal fuck up? People were ashamed to admit they were going to vote for Trump. But the voting booth is not a cocktail party or an office water cooler. In the booth, it’s just you and the ballot, protected by anonymity.
The race is over, and line has been drawn in the sand across America. The division will not go away, but intensify. Defeat makes us brazenly defensive, makes us fight blindly, makes us justify hatred. Trump is the product of justified hatred, indignation poorly masked as pride. Now the tables have turned, the left has been marginalized, and they seem to have a similar capacity for anger in the face of a perceived slighting.
Man once looked up at the sky and wondered about his own existence. Now man looks down at his phone and wonders about his own insignificance. This insignificance has finally been exploited by an egomaniac with enough savvy to leverage the ignorant. The quiet bigot has been given a voice for his disdain, in the form of Manhattan’s most fortunate son. A supposed champion of the working class who leaves his employees unpaid. An anti-immigration maniac who is married to an immigrant. It’s all just a nightmarish paradox.
I was too young to understand 9-11 when it happened a decade and a half ago. The attacks were kept quiet in my grade school. I cried, not because of the tragedy, but because I couldn’t go to the county fair that night. But had I been 25 years old on September 11, 2001, a young adult, and watched the planes strike the towers, I think my heart would have dropped the same way it did when I woke up to news of the President-elect. I will never cease to believe in America, never be ashamed of being American, never let go of my ideal. But things have changed, and in light of my complete inability to pick the winning horse over the last year, it’s be foolish of me to make predictions.
The best case scenario is finally addressing all of these issues head on, instead of sweeping them under the rug, not talking or expressing, just smearing lipstick on a pig. Maybe Donald Trump will be the face of these evils and be the harbinger of a purge, real change. We’ll see this negativity personified in our President and realize we’ve created a monster. Then we’ll unite around something better.
But I’ve been wrong before.
By Sefton Eisenhart