Legacy of Wisdom, Women, and Power
Wisdom comes a deep price.
For Millennials, that price has been paid twice in less than a generation. Ideology will take a backseat to having to eke a living in a turbulent world while looking for shelter…again. Many of us older members of the generation remember the hard fought battles against George W. Bush’s mandates. And how hard it’s been to overturn a lot of his suppression policies. His legacy is tainted in corruption and blood.
Compared to future president Donald Trump, Bush is…well, Busch league. All his terrible policies, like Gitmo, will pale in comparison to the man who stoked open bigotry, hatred, and misogyny for those votes. The veneer isn’t just stripped away with some powerful lye soap; its cracks are openly inviting more hatred as minority children return to school and wonder if they’ll be able to stay safe on the ride home. What does it say about our nation that children were right in predicting such bone-deep terror?
Many voters cosigned this agreement by casting a ballot for an inexperienced politician that’s never changed stripes as a megalomaniac. As white women, we allowed this to happen. We pushed our self-interest at the cost of others. I voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton because my conscience wouldn’t let me do otherwise. #Imwithher hit hard because I love those around me. I respect their right to happiness and basic human rights and dignity. I have a diverse set of friends and family. There’s not one person in each group that isn’t going to face the backlash of this fear mongering. Of being called a rapist, a degenerate of society, a terrorist.
And make no mistake, it was based on fear. To lose power for some people is to allow inclusive progress. And we can’t have that. Clearly.
Fears and rhetoric
Progress is a dangerous word nowadays.
Echo chambers and islands are more insulated so neither side seems to listen. To be progressive and not centrist or right is to be a harbinger of political death. It’s a scary prospect to hope for positive change; never easy and never quiet. And now a man who will strip most human rights in this country from the poorest and most vulnerable is in power. A man who would rather cause pain than to avoid a bruised ego. A man that told another man that sexual assault is a-okay because power means everyone wants it. Even when they don’t. That being six or seven times more competent in an arena still won’t break that glass ceiling?
How do you look at the young girls around you and say “this is worth it”? How do you not understand the value of your daughter’s success is dependent on human dignity? How do tell a sexual assault victim that being edgy was more important than their safety? What stares back at you in the mirror? Who have you become? What happens when the cold reality sets in that you helped to elect a man willing to promote violence against an opponent—someone who looks just like you?
Do you really want this man in charge of American military factions? Do you want him to really be allowed the chance to back up regimes such as Putin, Assad, and Duerte? These are regimes that target their own citizens for the sake of power. How does someone not become scared at that prospect? Reuters reports that Syrian rebels and groups working to end the conflict remain concerned over the latest election. After all, the rebels are equally fighting Assad and ISIL.
What does this mean for a global future where a presidency ended up winning based on foreign intervention? “On Syria he will have to make difficult decisions. Cooperation with Russia over the last year and a half has not worked … considerations should be towards a different policy,” said Bassma Kodmani, a member and spokeswoman for the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC).
Out of the mud grows the lotus. pic.twitter.com/Pwm7lWQqUY
— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) November 9, 2016
Those who voted for Trump and third-party showed exactly where their intentions lie: self-interest. Be for or against, only they matter in a single bubble. Susan Sarandon counts in this section—in the ‘liberal’ bubble of only voting for an idyllic candidate when really it’s all about punishing. A woman who voted for Nader in 2000 and seeing the absolute rotten core of what happened then. Yet she allowed it happen again, for another generation, because “I don’t vote with my vagina.” Which is true. Instead she votes with her utter privilege of being a wealthy white woman in America and allowable tone deaf reality. And impact that won’t sully her door when people die without insurance, representation, or a place to sleep at night because the president’s stiffed more workers out of pay.
What a miserable takeaway for those who sacrificed everything so that more people can vote without being prosecuted during very important election cycles. And make no mistake, suppression will increase in the next four years. Gerrymandering is a problem, but not the only problem.
Where activism ends
The largest problem between the Democrats and Republicans was base. Democrats didn’t attempt any local level activism because presumptive electoral college votes. Big mistake since the opposition understand the value in collecting the disenfranchised white vote. Easiest way? Set up a controversy 11 days before the election and make sure the swinging votes for House and Senate turn back towards the Republicans.
In my little county, I had three Dems to vote for: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jim Barksdale, and a local school board member. That’s it. HRC was a known entity but Barksdale remained completely unknown throughout the race. You can’t win without courting. Without engaging. It was a token attempt to make it seem like the Democratic Party cared about Georgia.
But metro Atlanta isn’t the sum total of Georgia.
Have you ever driven through this state? It’s enormous with a lot of rural areas. Down voting means options. Too many uncontested races for major regions in the state meant no options. Wanting to vote for a difference only happens when the party stands behind the voters outside of their Washington bubble. It wasn’t just the media. By any stretch. Which is now a medium I’m now scared to work given the fact a bully was not only gifted a pulpit but the entire church.
This isn’t okay. As a nation, we refused to hold events like illegal Russian hacks into our election process as an accountable action against a candidate. Or to acknowledge a lawsuit of sexual assault against him in the public eye when the woman was doxxed because he raped her at the age of 13. Or the times that more and more young women in his beauty pageant organizations admitted his inability to not sexualize them. A man going after his opponent with a special prosecutor ‘all in good time‘ because she bruised his ego.
Shame shouldn’t be a large portion of the population’s response to a presidential election.
So how can we make it better? I honestly don’t know.
Right now, I’m grieving for the potential the nation had versus the reality of what it will be. And that’s a strong feeling. It’s numbing. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a callback to the Interwar Era when bad alliances and policies helped to propel us into another global conflict. We don’t need nukes when there’s enough military might to crush an insurrection.
Doesn’t have to be outside of the nation, either. The Black Lives Matter movement teaches that militarized police have powers above citizens. The military industrial complex has helped create a monster. Yet the next president is only the head because the heart centers on the whiplashing, drum beating fear used to promote dictatorship prowess over national progress.
You can’t fix something unless honesty is held to a higher standard. Honesty says that bigotry and hatred are more powerful than a few really on-point ads and social media tricks.
How do you recover from two disastrous eras? I don’t know. I only hope we can. With an unchecked government, it may be a little too late for the near or even slightly further future.
(Feature Image credit: Gage Skidmore.)