“The only thing to fear is fear itself.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes is right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.” - Andrew Jackson
“..... Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from a VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star….”
Guess who? One of these things is not like the others. Unfortunately, the obvious quote from President Donald J. Trump IS similar to the other two in a way that every person in America should be questioning . . . it was produced by someone who is legally the president of the United States of America.
Before I go further, I must preface with this: We are no longer locked in a battle of Hillary versus Trump. Hillary lost. So from this point forward, any argument that begins with “well, Hillary lost because . . .” or “the lying DNC . . .” or anything else still dwelling on the losing party is completely irrelevant. America, you dug your grave. Now you have to lie in it. The prospects of the 2016 election are now over a year behind us and there is no mud left for anyone to sling. What is left then? A big empty space. A space that needs to be filled by the people who decided that they wanted someone to Make America Great Again. And in the same space, we need the same people who fought so vehemently against it.
Where is everybody now?
As a 22-year-old millennial who embraces technology and finds solace in the cultural aspects of life, I have been called driven, smart and ambitious, but have also been deemed a brainwashed libtard (no joke) who is weak and entitled by my higher education. And I can understand both sides. However, the future of this country is up to me and every other libtard out there. And the future of those Americans currently bleeding Social Security dry and refusing to adapt to our changing world is actually in OUR hands . . . funny, huh?
The point of what I am trying to say is that Donald J. Trump didn’t crawl out of the sewer one day and steal the United States presidency, although that would be a more satisfying narrative than the reality we face. His presidency is the product of a nation that has been torn apart. Not by an outside force - but by a people with a lack of tolerance, a resistance to understanding things outside of our own lives, no willingness to cooperate and honestly an immense selfishness that each one of us has acquired. And as a nation now is the time when we have to wake up and realize. . .
We are wrong. We are all wrong. Not a single one of us has the answer. Obama didn’t have it. Bernie Sanders didn’t have it. Donald Trump certainly does not have the answer. We need to put our numerous biases, judgments and - most importantly - our political party affiliations aside to fix the mess we have all created. Don’t fool yourself. The Republican Party is not the Republican Party that you once knew. The Democratic Party is not the party of worker justice and liberation that it used to be. Today, we have a president who uses populist fear-mongering methods of communication by labeling people and alienating groups.
You may say, “That sounds ridiculous. Putin is a populist. Stalin was a populist! Even Hitler was. . . There is no way we elected someone like that!”
The accepted understanding of populism is a leader who appeals to massive groups of people by helping them to feel like they have smashed the elite and broken out of an ordinary circumstance. This is often achieved by making outlandish and unrealistic claims that rally people together over a very non-specific goal. . . Make America Great Again, anyone? Fear-mongering is a huge part of why populism works. Create black-and-white scenarios. Identify the enemy. Tear the other side down.
But we are supposed to be one nation! Under God! Indivisible! So how did a guy like this get into office then?
We put him there.
We did these same things. In this age of technological and social change, we have adapted quite poorly. Although the argument is that we are more connected than ever, I truly believe the opposite. Rather than working together, we as Americans have shoved ourselves as far away from each other as possible into our own personalized lives contained within a filter bubble of things and people that make us feel safe. It is vital to resist the urge to place your entire belief system into a category. We need thought diversity. We need to be able to communicate with people who do not share our beliefs.
We have been on this downward spiral for a long time. It took me months to come to terms with the reality that Trump was actually the real president of this country. It didn’t make any sense! I poured over it for months. But then I realized, this is the fault of every single one of us. It is the fault of our ears that are growing increasingly intolerant of opposite viewpoints with every Facebook post and article click. With each new technological advancement, there are a million more ways that one person can avoid being exposed to something that does not fit their worldview. We fill our heads with media and messages and sources and commentaries that only fit into what we already think is true. But let me tell you . . . the truth is hard to find and you will NEVER find the whole truth of a situation by clicking one article. Furthermore, you will never completely understand a person by judging them based on who they voted for, or what party they are registered as, or even by what state they live in. Americans are complex people and, although it is easy to slap a label on someone and target them as the enemy, this is just going to continue sending us in a direction where the president of the free world can say things like this:
“Many mostly Democrat States refused to hand over data from the 2016 Election to the Commission On Voter Fraud. They fought hard that the Commission does not see their records or methods because they know that many people are voting illegally. The system is rigged, must go to Voter I.D.”
He won the election and is still using the election results (that ended in his favor, by the way) as a distraction from his own misguided policies and poor performance as president. (Remember the whole fear-mongering populism thing? Now ALL Democratic states are the enemy. . .) Don’t be like Trump. You and I aren’t that different. We all want to live here, and we are going to have to do it together. So, if you remember anything from this rant, remember this:
Be tolerant. When you want to label yourself or someone else, don’t. We are all just people trying to live.
Do your research. Don’t go spouting off about things that you have never researched or never really looked in to. This is what got us into this mess.
Ask questions. Seek new knowledge. There are a lot of people and things that you don’t understand. Admit that it is OKAY not to know, and then do your best to keep learning. Then someday you will have answers.
Talk to people who make you uncomfortable. Learn to get comfortable with that.
Don’t be selfish. What is good for you may be bad for someone else except the effects may be 100 times greater for them.