“Trump's a political outsider.”
“Trump speaks his mind.”
“He's going to get the corruption out of Washington.”
“We don't want another four years of the same politics in Washington.”
“It's time we sent a message to Washington that they can't just ignore us.”
I've heard the arguments. I understand them. Congress' approval rating is lower than Ebola's (wish I was joking) and the “fly over states” feel justifiably like our concerns aren't important to the policy makers in Washington. Concerns that have been stoked and enflamed by a pompous, posturing, shit lord with corn-silk hair … I'm sorry … President-Elect Trump.
At first, we laughed at Trump. He was a joke candidate who appeared on the scene spouted some racist rhetoric. We pointed. We laughed. We focused on who we thought the real Republican candidate was going to be.
In a related note… sonofabitch this was a long election cycle! Can we all at least agree not to do this again. But I digress.
But he stuck around and he didn't stop talking. This is important because you have to remember what he was saying.
“Make America Great Again.”
“Build a Wall.”
Everything he said encouraged fear and division. He attracted a gathering to him. Trumps rallies were marked with not only violence, but him encouraging the violence. There was more racially charged language, more fear, more telling America that it wasn't great anymore, but never how he was going to make it great again.
Just a few reminders from the primary phase of the campaign:
Trump accused Megan Kelly was rough on him because she was on her period.
Trump mocks his rivals. Not even substantively. Jeb Bush was “low energy”. He rather famously splashed water around the stage to imitate Rubio.
While we're on imitations, remember when he mocked New York Times reporter who had a disability?
Lets not forget that, in a national debate Trump assured us all that he's got a big penis. That's important.
Also, Rosie O'donnell was mean to him that one time. He hasn't forgotten or let go of it.
And all of that was before he was the Republican candidate. With a host of bad choices before Republicans, he was the worst. A demagogue with a fragile ego, and seemingly no understand of how the government worked, nor ability to keep his insults in check.
He famously bragged that he could shoot someone on the streets of New York and not lose support. Now, I'm forced to admit that he was probably right.
I could continue with this lesson in recent history longer, but let's just take as fact that the rest of the country was watching him. We were listening to him. You can make the argument that the media is biased, that he was taken out of context and made to look worse than he is.
I could be flippant and say that they didn't need to, he was doing a good enough job himself…and really that's kind of right. If anything, the media is who we have to blame for getting the man elected because they failed us. They failed to call him out on his lies. They failed to call him out when he wouldn't tell us how he'd do the things that he claimed he would. They were far more concerned with their ratings than with making sure that the next President of the United States was a stable, competent human being.
Fast forward, and now Trump is the President-Elect. If its true that you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears, just look at the news.
Trump inspired hate crimes. He condemns them now, but his rhetoric in the debate struck a cord with people. His normalizing of racist and sexist language encouraged those who'd been shamed into silence before.
Steve Bannon, chief ass master (former) of Breitbart news is going to be have a position in the White House? Don't know who he is? Read up. Fuck me.
We've got Myron Ebell who's going to oversee the EPA transition: A man who doesn't believe in climate change.
Rudy Giuliani is in the lead to be Secretary of State, which is absolutely fine if you didn't see him at the Republican National Convention or haven't seen him on TV during the campaign. Everything is fine.
Oh yeah. Let us not forget about Mike “Religious Freedom” Pence whose life goal seems to be dragging us kicking and screaming back into the 1950's. It was a fantastic time to be alive… well, if you were white, male and straight. Really, the specter of a “President Pence” is what will keep me hoping for Trump's continued health and well-being for the next four years.
In short, if you thought Trump was going to “drain the swamp” you should be sorely mistaken right now.
One of the most concerning things, however, are the groups who've seen Trump's rise as empowering. Stormfront, a white-nationalist movement, thinks that Trump is their man. Literal Nazi's were out watching the polls to guard against voter fraud and possibly intimidate. I'll say that again. The Nazi's think that Trump's the candidate for them. Once again, the KKK loves Trump.
Whether he wanted to or not, Trump is an inspiration for white supremacists. His message of xenophobia, intolerance and fear echoed what they've been saying for a while now…if with a few less provocative racial slurs.
I know people who, since Trump has been elected, are now much more concerned for their safety now than they were two weeks ago. They're not afraid of Trump…well, they are, but not in the immediate “I might run into him on a dark street” type of sense. They're scared of the people that he's empowered through his rhetoric. They're worried that they don't know what's going to happen with aspects of their health care.
I'll repeat myself once again. People are concerned for their physical safety, because the people that Trump has empowered have had their own messages normalized.
In short, I'm scared. And for the life of me, I can't tell why you aren't.
Could Trump be a good president? Maybe. I don't think it's terribly likely but he's the man in the chair now. He's going to get his shot whether I want him to or not. But he's not going in with a blank check. He's going to have to prove my fears wrong, and until he proves to me that he isn't the candidate of the KKK and the alt-right, I'm going to be fighting in the ways I can.
I'm going to be preparing for the next election. I'm going to be fighting the bills that come up in Congress. I'm going to be donating to causes that will need my money more than ever (Planned Parenthood, and others). I will be vocal and use what small amount of amplification my audience provides me.
Right now, I'm scared. Tomorrow, I'm going to get angry. After that, I'm going to get busy.
I hope that you'll join me.