Last Wednesday marked the end of a darkly comedic, radically polarizing and painfully long election in America. The Republican Party took both houses of Congress and Donald Trump has become the new president-elect.
This essentially means that the entire federal leadership of the United States of America will be under the control of a far-right demagogue, who ran a campaign on issues such as: banning 1.6 billion people from entering the U.S., complete dismissal of action on climate change, major tax cuts for top earners, deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants and of course the “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.” In other words, there will be consequences felt on a global scale for many years to come.
To say tensions are high is an understatement, especially for those in marginalized communities. The Vice-President-elect Mike Pence poised to become one of the most active VPs in history, many already feel the imminent regressive clawback of many hard-won human rights.
Unlike Trump, Pence has a concrete ideology, based around fundamentalist Christian and conservative values, which is rightly seen as terrifying to many. He is a man who actually has the passion to go through with elimination of rights for the LGBTQ community and banning women’s rights to abortions and contraceptives. His methodology can clearly be seen in his home state of Indiana, in which his conservative-Christian policies were pointed to an HIV outbreak, a crisis he addressed by further defunding planned parenthood so he could finance gay conversion therapy.
However, what is the most appalling issue stance, is the GOP’s blatant denial of the most imminent and existential threat to the collective future of billions of people on this planet: human caused climate change, or as Trump refers to it as: a myth created by the Chinese to steal North American manufacturing jobs. Trump backs this up with his string of incomprehensibly destructive decisions and promises, such as the appointment of a prominent libertarian and climate skeptic to head the EPA, scrapping the Paris Climate Agreement, eliminating all government subsidies to clean energy alternatives and pledging to be a champion of the failing coal industry.
The Trump presidency can be seen as the climax in a recent string of democratic decisions gone awry; both Brexit and the Colombian peace agreement were precursors in a trend of popular decisions failing the sensical and rational opinion, in which the same fear-inducing rhetoric of Trump’s campaign showed to be the basis of the people’s decision.
In spite of this being just the tip of the iceberg, it remains imperative to understand the feelings of helplessness that Trump tapped into by speaking with his supporters honestly. Not honestly in terms of the truth, he was far from that. But, he was honest in the way that he didn’t seem to be another scripted, political puppet with a bi-partisan agenda, in which the banks are bailed out and people are left homeless and unemployed.
Yet this, like so many of other examples in Trump’s life, proved to be another con job. Already his transition team is shown to be made up of lobbyists from Visa, HSBC, Duke Energy, Dow Chemical and others. Further, his prospective appointment to top administrative positions proves similarly horrifying, with a second-generation Goldman Sachs alumnus for the treasury secretary and a billionaire oil and gas tycoon for energy secretary to name a few, which should signify that the era of crony capitalism is far from over.
If you are outraged by this, good. You should be.
Outrage is a driver of change throughout history, and the collective outrage at the results of this election is one of the few pieces of hope in which a meaningful and progressive change forward is still possible.
Furthermore, the results show that the establishment can be defeated. However, for that to be realized, it will take a monumental effort, an effort that involves coming together both locally and globally to address the issues in which our collective future is most threatened by. It’s an effort that involves us breaking through to those who feel screwed over by the system, or those who feel they are powerless to change anything. It requires that we create a thoughtful, coherent message that transcends the political continuum of left and right that gives people a voice to be heard at a protest. It’s time we use our compassion and rationale to guide our outrage towards making the world a better and more sustainable place for all, rather than let another country, state or person become “Great Again.”