In a paradoxical sense, I am at once a skeptic and simultaneously a fan of serendipity. But if the latter exists in its happiest form, then its less-positive counterpart must exist. I don’t believe coincidences are really just that.
That being said, my commute to work this morning was riddled with coincidences. I usually dread the hour-long ride to Midtown in the event that one of the following occurs: train delays, broken escalators, NYPD waiting just inside the station waiting to search frazzled travelers, that one person who stands on the left of the up escalator and prevents the steady stream of commuters from moving forward.
Oddly enough, all of the above happened on this dreary morning of November 9th, one day after the results of the United States election. Minor annoyances yes, but coincidence? Doubtful.
We’ve all heard the news: Donald J. Trump has won the majority of electoral votes and is slated to be the 45th President of the United States. The House and Senate belong to the Republicans. Many in the nation, primarily those along the border of the Northeast and West Coast, in concentrated cities and countless overseas nations are reeling in shock. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton and other women’s rights leaders are turning over in their graves. The stock future is careening downward fast. Tears are being shed, while fists are triumphantly thrust into the air at the same time.
Our current state of affairs.
What went wrong?
The Democratic party was convinced that we had it in the bag. The Clinton dynasty was set to reign on. We would proudly proclaim our first woman President. The same way Barack Obama paved the way for future black American presidents, so would Hillary for any woman citizen, period.
Last night, all the hope we had set on her platform came crumbling down at the feet of our new president to-be, a remarkably self-centered billionaire who can neither identify with the majority of his voters nor the demographics he has offended and condemned throughout his entire campaign.
So what happened, exactly? It’s not simply the fact that Donald won the election that is causing the uproar, but the fact that every shred of “evidence” pointed against him. Polls, surveys, observations, mainstream media, everyone had us convinced. I don’t think anyone honestly, truly considered a potential Trump presidency. Sure, he’s the opponent, but his candidacy is too farfetched to ever make it far, we thought. I recall sitting in a waiting room in a Bronx courthouse last summer, waiting to be called for jury duty. Watching open-mouthed as Donald Trump declared his candidacy in a speech inundated with racist and xenophobic insults. Firmly casting away any aspersions that he may one day be the President of the most powerful country in the world.
I think it’s safe to say, given last night’s results: holy fucking shit.
Though it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, we should never be led to fall to our knees. Yes, the results have exhibited a clear message: we are a nation divided. Yugely divided. Why is this the case?
I think the true culprit here is a lack of listening skills on the Democratic part.
When you listen to a friend lament over their problems, are you really listening, or just impatiently waiting your turn to contribute your own problems? The fact that all of our predictions was wrong was a huge slap in the face, but was it such a surprise? Let’s ponder.
Most of us never cared to explore why Donald Trump has so many supporters in the Midwest and other red States to begin with. By simply casting aside these voters as “uneducated, white country bumpkins”, we have pushed a large demographic farther away in our deliberate refusal to understand or even empathize. Truth be told, the average American is severely misinformed or even uninformed on the ins and outs of politics. This passive nature is found in the so-called Southern rednecks and the allegedly sophisticated city dweller alike, so there’s no pointing fingers in this sordid scenario.
This election has been the ugliest in American history, completely transforming the country into adopting an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This is just the tip of the iceberg, friends. It is the bitter truth that Trump will be taking on the presidency, but as soon as the reality sinks in, we have to be ready to mobilize.
Mobilize. This isn’t a call to war, to condemn Republicans in the way that many of the party has condemned the Democratic party and Obama the past 8 years. It means that being a social media warrior and sharing memes and bemoaning the fact that Trump is poised to be the leader of the free world will not do anything to abet the current situation. We must learn to fully educate ourselves on how to effectively create change, not riot and bitch about what has happened.
What does this mean for the future of this country?
As my mother, a working class immigrant mother of three who shares one of countless stories of the immigrant diaspora who sought the United States to create a better life for children than the one they had lived–or, you know, Trump’s target demographic of people who are destroying this country–had said to me on the phone a few moments ago, “We can only wait and see.”
This much is true, for now. It hasn’t even been twenty-fours since the news was announced, so we Democrats will be sitting shiva for a few days now. Countless publications are steeling themselves and trumpeting their disbelief at the outcome of this election.
We the people–black, white, Asian, Latino, gay or straight or trans or veteran or disabled, anything and everything in between–must show courage in the face of unprecedented strife.
But for the rest of the day, I will weep together with the New York City sky.