I know, another blog or post about the election. We all know that emotions and opinions are running high, but I’m not necessarily here to complain. I’m not happy with the way things have turned out, but I’m mainly here to reflect on some aspects of the election from my own personal perspective, some are points more in realizing my own identity and other points are more about the nation as a whole. You can agree or disagree I just ask it be done in a mature manner. I’m also sorry it’s a bit long, but hey you don’t have to read it, this is in many ways just therapy for myself.
- 81% of white evangelical Christians voted for Trump. This is a statement that disheartens me quite a bit, but has made me realize I’m not really an evangelical. I’ve never really used the term to identify myself, but I’ve always wondered if I would be considered one. I can say for certain that I would not be after this election.
I do share certain views, but I seem to have some difference in how those views are acted on. It seems to be an evangelical, politics and power are at least equally as important as, if not more important, than our commitment to God and Jesus. To vote for someone who displayed very little trace of any Christian virtue into office so overwhelmingly shows we are willing to sacrifice much to keep power, even if that power in our mind is to keep America following God. I wonder if that sacrifice isn’t a bit too much. Honestly, I think it harms the name and witness of Jesus Christ in the world. It comes off of hypocrisy and a willingness to sacrifice our souls rather than our power.
I find I don’t fit in the political battles very well. I have overlap with conservatives and with liberals, but also have areas of disagreement. It’s a lonely reality and often wish I had a tribe to associate with, but I don’t seem to.
- The results of this election surprised me, I expected a close election, but that Hillary would eke out a victory. However, I think that we had a perfect storm on both sides of the aisle that led to this situation.
On the Republican side we had a candidate that tapped into the anger of many middle class people. It is similar to how Bernie Sanders achieved such a huge following, but I’ll talk more about him in a minute. Yes part of this anger is racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and homophobic and Trump played on those. However, we’d be fools to think that is all that it is for everyone.
One of the big ones is the Supreme Court, we’ve seen many decisions that have overturned public votes on issues, and often done so along party lines. I’m not here to say that such decisions were right or wrong, but it feeds the fires of party politics and thus the potential vacancies over the next few years made those who hunger for political power salivate and put that as all that matters. To have justices that vote their way.
We also have the economic status factor. The middle class is shrinking, the disparity of income between the poor and the rich is increasing, and Trump managed to tap into that anger as well. I don’t understand why people believe that Donald Trump of all people will actually do anything about this, but he wasn’t playing by the established rules and that really warmed him up to people. This allowed him to best the establishment in both the Republican and the Democratic parties.
This leads me to talk about the Democratic side of things. Hillary Clinton was just a terrible choice of a candidate in my opinion. First, whether they are legit or not, she has a trail of scandal that follows her from even the days when Bill was a governor. Coming off President Obama with little to no scandal to his name, unless you include the lame birther movement or the equally lame worry that Obama was going to take all guns away, such a choice was baffling.
Secondly, she was practically treated as though she was an heir apparent. That she had everything in the bag in the primary, which went to shambles when a virtually unknown senator named Bernie Sanders almost won the primary despite her status as a sho0-in. That he came as close as he did should have been a huge warning sign, but Clinton’s campaign seemed to do little to try to keep the excitement of those who followed Bernie. Then scandal arose around this when it was learned that the supposedly neutral DNC heavily favored Hillary and tried to help her succeed.
The swirling of scandals, Hillary’s close ties to financial and corporate powerhouses, and the lackluster picking up of the torch that Bernie lit led to a candidate that sucked the excitement right out of the Democratic party. Many of my own friends who are liberal were unhappy with the way Clinton’s primary campaign went, even if they might have still voted for her in the end. The primary harmed the view of Hillary and the Democratic party and it was a vote with a large “meh” attached. We see this in comparing who voted for Obama with who voted for Hillary, a number of major groups; women, African-American, Hispanics, and young people all decreased in support.
Where we are now is in many ways a failure of both parties. It is a failure of a corrupt political process. It’s probably even more complex that what I’ve presented, but everyone has a share of the blame.
- We have an issue with pride in this country and as human beings. We are proud to be Republican because we believe that they’re the Godly choice, we’re proud to be Democrats because we’re educated or enlightened. This leads to disdain and an unwillingness to listen to anyone holding a different opinion. I struggle with this as one who doesn’t fit neatly into either side. It’s easy to think that both sides are a bunch of puffed up knuckleheads, but all that does is make me puffed up as well.
The polls believed that Hillary was going to win by 3-5% and they failed to accurately predict the election at all. I’ve read some articles that have wondered if part of the reason was a failure to take into consideration those in rural parts of the country, which saw a swell of participation in this election. Those in the rural areas are just not factored in or are looked down on due to their views.
I think that is part of the pride that we see on the liberal side of things. It’s honestly a flip side of the pride of the conservatives. Conservatives take pride in tradition, personal responsibility, and if they’re religious, particular moral stances that makes them believe they are siding with God and doing his will. For the liberal it is pride in their social stances, their education, and for those who are religious it can be believed that they’re siding with God and doing his will. We embrace our various stances and look down on anyone who disagrees as a heretic, a bigot, corrupt, or as one full of hatred. We both think the other group is worse, although really I think it’s because the other side disagrees with what we think.
- For those who voted for Trump, particularly those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ there was real racism, xenophobia, misogyny and many other types of disrespect and even hatred in the words of Trump. Time will tell if they were an act or if they were the real way Trump thinks, but for some of his followers they are all too real (after all the KKK supported Trump).
If you don’t want to be lumped in as a racist or other group like that then stand up against it. Do not just accept that kind of talk just because of his politics, call it out. Don’t write it off as locker room talk or just not being politically correct. Treat people as fellow human beings not stereotypes, caricatures, or things and speak up when that is not being done. There are those with legitimate fear out there over the way Trump talked during this election, don’t write it off as liberals being sore losers. Make a commitment to stand up against it.
For those of us who didn’t vote for Trump, resist the urge to stereotype and be disdainful of those who did. There were many factors in this election. I have no doubt that some were motivated by hatred towards one or many groups, but I also have no doubt that many were not. We can easily be just as prejudice against those who are less cosmopolitan, less educated, or less wealthy than we are. It’s quite possible that this prejudice has not gone unnoticed and is part of the reason for Trump’s victory.
I don’t know what the next four years will bring. There is the possibility for real pain and suffering because of this election, no platitudes can change that. Simply continuing a cycle of fear, pride, mockery and/or violence will do nothing but divide us further. I firmly believe that we’ve all had a hand in creating the mess we’re in. The question is what are we going to do about it?
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