Posted by: mvhuff | November 13, 2016

Election Reflections

In 2000, George W. Bush was elected president under a contentious process and many in the opposition spent some time, some up to all 8 years of his presidency, doubting the validity of his being president. They may have claimed the loss of the popular vote versus the electoral college or the issues with what went on in Florida, but they claimed that he should not have been the president.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president and many in the opposition spent the next 8 years of his terms claiming that he was not legitimate and not their president. Some claimed he was not actually born in the country, that he was really Kenyan or secretly Muslim or somehow just not eligible. One senator even went so far as to say that he would do everything in his power to make sure that Obama was a one-term president.

Now comes 2016 and Donald Trump has been elected president. The sides switch once again – with one group claiming he is not our president, that he lost the popular vote, that they don’t think he represents America. Only time will tell if this lasts for his entire term as president.

I frankly cannot remember if there were protests during the pre-inaugural periods for Bush or Obama – there are certainly protests now. And protests, when peaceful, are okay in America (although not always helpful, but that’s another thing). I can’t help but think, though, that those currently protesting would be mocking the ones upset at a Clinton win and disparaging the protesters of her victory. At the same time, I think that many of those mocking the current protesters would be likely to be out in the streets protesting – or certainly bemoaning the outcome of the election as a sign that our country is falling apart or changing irrevocably in a bad way.

Just as not everyone who disagreed with Obama or his policies was a racist, neither is everyone who supports Trump. Maybe they wanted more conservative justices on the Supreme Court, maybe they wanted someone who seemed like he spoke for the common man.

Without claiming that racism was the motivating factor for every Trump vote, I think it is clear that the campaign itself provided a veneer of acceptability, if not respectability, to a particularly virulent form of racism, that is white supremacism. There are those who are so convinced that making America great again means putting white people back in the positions of power and influence, and maybe getting rid of non-white people. And with this year’s campaign they have become more vocal.

Even though I do not experience racism personally, I have no reason to doubt that racist incidents occur in this country. It is all too convenient to think that because I am not racist that no one is and that everything is great for everyone because I don’t see a lot of evidence to the contrary. But it is real, and it is happening, and in a situation where people who espouse it in its most reprehensible forms have come to feel that their viewpoint is good, I can understand why many people are afraid of the consequences. Just because you worry about racism increasing does not make you extra sensitive or pathetic.

As I said, I am convinced that those mocking people bemoaning the election results would be bemoaning the results if it had turned out differently, just as people bemoaning the election results would probably be mocking those who would be upset if the election had gone the other way. We are all hypocrites.

I can only hope that we can all rise above our worse natures and try to work together now. And also to make it clear that ALL citizens of this country are Americans, regardless of what they look like or how they act or what they think. I have no control other than voting over what goes on in the government, but at least I can act as someone that believes we were all created in God’s image and treat people accordingly.



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