I didn’t want to believe it.
When he won the primary, I thought the GOP was throwing the election intentionally, but—today, he has won.
At first, I thought maybe we’ve reached an unfathomable level of voter apathy.
But it seems quite the opposite is true—people cast their ballots for this man with one purpose in mind.
Trump didn’t win on merit. He didn’t win because he was the best candidate. He didn’t win because he stands for anything important.
He won because he’s different. He’s an outsider. Trump’s not a career politician. He’s an outside-the-box candidate, and that’s why people voted for him.
I’ve had to dig pretty deep to find a silver lining today. It was not easy to find anything good about having this person, who is so passionate in his ignorance, bigotry, misogyny and greed, representing the country I call home.
I have found one glimmering little ounce of hope in the notion that he’s been elected because he’s different.
People who voted for Trump did so because he represented a departure from the status quo. He was an independent candidate, who was fortunate to have the backing of the Republican Party, and that is why he won.
People want change. And no matter how misguided, that is what they’ve got.
Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton was not a strong candidate for the Democratic party. Worse, she represented more of the same—career politicians and corporate puppets running the show—and people are fed up. She represented the institution so many felt they were fighting against. That is why she didn’t win.
What this says to me on a fundamental level is that our system is broken. We are so invested in the two-party system, we just can’t see past it. If Trump had run without the backing of the Republican party, would he have won? Could he have won against a strong conservative candidate? There’s no way to know now, but it leaves me seriously frustrated with the way our system works.
We are forced into lesser evil voting—there’s just no other way to say it. Our Independent candidates don’t stand a chance, because we are forced to vote against the big party candidate we would like to keep out of office, instead of voting for the one who most aligns with our own values.
We’re convinced that voting outside the party lines means “throwing your vote away.” But if we really want to change the status quo, abandoning the two-party system would be a great way to accomplish that.
So, now what? We have four years with this man in office. What do we do?
Now—more than ever—we have to be the change we wish to see in the world. This is not cliché, it’s not cheesy, and it’s not abstract. This is our charge as conscious American citizens. We have to be the change—right here, right now, every day.
We have to love each other. We have to treat people with kindness and respect—all people. We have to stand up for the things that matter to us, like the environment, climate change, racial equality, gender equality, LGBTQ equality and peace.
We cannot be silent when we see injustice in the world. We cannot be idle when we see people hurting. We must speak, we must act, we must stand beside those in our own communities who need support. We must not forget that no matter how divided, we are one.
We have to choose carefully where we spend our dollars, as each one is a vote we are casting every day. We have to choose to support businesses that align with our values—and not give our money to the ones who have deplorable environmental standards, anti-gay agendas or poor employment practices. We still live in a world where money talks. The fastest way for us to force change is to get very particular about the companies and corporations we support with our money.
See, here’s the thing. I’m about as disappointed as someone can be today. But I keep reminding myself that he’s just the president. Let’s not give his office more power or more energy than it really deserves. At the end of the day, each of us as individuals are responsible for the choices we make. We have the ability to change things with or without the federal government. We are far more powerful as a populous than we realize.
Electing Trump is our cry for help. Trump is America’s way of saying: We’re fed up with the status quo. We don’t want more of the same. We are tired of career politicians running the show.
Trump is our way of showing we are so hungry for change, we were willing to overlook the hatred he stands for. Now, it is up to each of us to be the light in these dark days. It’s time for us to become the change we are seeking.
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Author: Renee Dubeau
Image: Instagram @thagirrlz
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina