Life after Trump

Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Does that feel a little weird to say? Let’s, uh, let’s try that again.Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Yeah. That feels weird.

One year ago it was a joke. Donald Trump was running for the Republican candidacy against the likes of Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and the much maligned Ben Carson. Surely, the usual suspects would take the spot to fight against Democratic front-runners Hillary Clinton, the experienced professional. Or, the Socialist Bernie Sanders, for the people that wanted to feel the Bern.

Yet, a year on, the heir of a real-estate kingdom and previous star of a reality show, was the face of the Republican party. His competition? Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State to Barack Obama, and former first lady to the controversial former president Bill Clinton. She also represented the potential for the first female president in American history as well as a role-model for women still growing up in a male-dominated political spectrum.

My family is from the States. Every holiday and family gathering since this exhausting election started, politics always managed to land on the tongue. Outside looking in, I was shocked months ago that my family was actually talking about Trump like he was a legitimate option. I hadn’t seriously accepted the fact that there were people that liked him as a candidate.

Unsurprising, the election got closer, and my American family were on Trump’s side. Mind you, these were my uncles; my middle-aged male cousins. The women in my family I don’t think were ever vocal, but rather silently supporting the opposition to Clinton. And that’s really what it was. Exit polls and election coverage pointed out 20% – 30% of people were voting for their candidate based on their distaste for the opposition.

That distaste for her was focused on her email scandal and her representation of the status quo. For Trump supporters, she was everything they had come to detest. She was a politician, first and foremost, who spoke, acted, and performed as well as any professional can. For Trump supporters, it was exhausting.

This still, miraculously, managed to overshadow the fact that the only other choice was Donald Trump. A man who titled Mexican’s as rapists, threatened to deport Muslims, and bragged about sexually assaulting women. Don’t pretend you haven’t heard it, and don’t pretend it doesn’t mean anything. Such is the character of Trump, and time again he proved who he was and still is.

Outside of Facebook posts that declared Trump supporters will be unfriended, outside the symptoms of wine bottles that should have been emptied in celebration, not sorrow, it’s still hard to say how this will effect any of us. How will Trump economics play among the world?How successful will he be in moving forward on his ridiculous platform promises, like building a wall between the US and Mexico? At this point, who knows.

But, as a Canadian, I feel for the American people. As a middle-class citizen, I feel for the poor who might not be able to access heath-care if Trump abolishes Obama’s work. As a man, I feel for the women of America that now have a sexist President. I feel for the victims of sexual assault that, sadly yet again, have had their pain trivialized by the election of a man with double-digit sexual assault accusations. As a white person, I feel for the minorities and immigrants of America that are being thrust into a culture informed by the rhetoric of hate spouted from the countries new leader.

I feel for every man, woman, and child that has been insulted, threatened, and targeted directly or indirectly by the orange man in the White House.

The dominant mood at this point seems to be that of shock. A lot of people are in disbelief that he actually did it. I’m certain that even some of his own supporters are shocked that he won.

What I’m not certain of, however, is how the 15,000 people that voted for a dead gorilla feel right now.

If there’s any immediate or evident positive from this result, it’s that a lot of people are going to be motivated to create change. Perhaps this whole situation is a symptom of a decrepit electoral system. When only about half of your population shows up to vote, these issues have to be addressed. When I hear on the TV that only 18% of the Hispanic population in Florida turned up to vote, there’s certainly an issue somewhere.

So, to the American’s, stand tall. It’s day one on a four-year journey that might beat you down and crush you, but you can’t let it. If you’re sad about Barack Obama leaving the White House, at least carry on his message of hope, and be proud of it.

To the left-leaners, don’t give in. Please, take the high road, and don’t return what the Trump campaign has been handing out. Now is the time to be the mediated, intelligent, and informed opposition I know you are. Hate should not be anyone’s tool.

And to everyone who’s a little scared right now, who’s a little uncertain, be at ease. We’re amidst a turbulent period in history, and fear just adds fuel to the fire. Right now, the best you can do is stand up for what you believe and be strong.

Yeah, I think we’re entering a dark time right now. America has made a regressive move of character, and it’s hard not to feel some form of apathy to a nation that allowed for this, but that’s the luxury I have when I live in Canada. So, I won’t look down on the people that didn’t vote because they didn’t like their choices, and I won’t look down on the people for voting for Trump when that’s their democratic right.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to feel right now, or what I should do about it. All I can do is stand up for what I believe in, and continue to do so until the day I die. America should do the same, and remind everyone who they are and want to be. For now, what else can you do?