Last night, at 2:33am, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President-elect of the United States of America. That is a sentence I thought I'd never have to type. Or, if I'm being honest, that's a sentence I hoped I would never have to type. I'm horrified because I was secretly holding out hope that after all the tapes and awful things he said at rallies, that no one would be able to bring themselves to vote for that tangerine coloured monster.
Yet, here we are. America took one step forward in having Hillary Clinton as one of their two main presidential nominees, and sixty steps back in electing Trump. We went from Barack Obama, the first black President to Trump, a man endorsed by the KKK.
And the scary part is that no one saw this coming. Looking at all of the polls leading up to last night, Trump barely had a 23% chance of winning, but now he and the Republicans control the Presidency, the Senate, and the House, and now have the ability to appoint not just one Supreme Court Justice, but potentially three more. Never has America ceded so much power to one party before, and it just goes to show that polls are scarily wrong. All the do is force people into lying, because like Trump said, he won because of his silent majority. He won because we all underestimated just how much people in America hate women and minorities.
As a Canadian, having viewed elections on both sides of the border, it's painfully obvious that America's two party system is fundamentally broken. What America desparetly needs is a legitimate third party, as that would alleviate some of the pressure that voters felt. It would mean that when faced with choice of Trump or Clinton, neither of whom were ideal, voters could have a third option to turn to. In Canada, we have the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the NDP (and several smaller parties like the Green Party). What this means is that even when there is a party with a majority, voters aren't forced into choosing one or the other - there is choice.
The thing is that America doesn't have this third party, but instead, has a host of independent candidates that lie outside the two main parties - the Republicans and the Democrats. Until America does have that third option, voting for an independent is a wasted vote. Remember what happened in 2000, with Ralph Nader in Florida? Had people not flocked to him, Gore most likely would have won, and we would have been spared years of Bush Jr. The same thing goes for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, who managed to take enough electoral votes away from Clinton, which more than secured Trump's victory.
There is something fundamentally broken when your first response to a brand new President-elect is, "I'm scared."
This was not the election to vote with your conscience or to make a protest vote. This was the election to show the GOP and to show Trump that your vision of America is not what we want. This was the election to show up in numbers and to say, "Donald, you're fired." And the numbers don't lie. If you voted for Johnson, or Stein, or anyone else other than Clinton, you voted for Trump. You were told what would happen, and you shouldn't tell yourself any differently. Your vote more than likely cost America everything it has. Your vote allowed a sexist, misogynist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and fraudulent monster the chance to wield unfathomable power for four years. Say what you will, but a Trump victory does mean the end of decency. It means a validation of hatred and ignorance over intelligence and love.
BRITAIN: Brexit is the stupidest, most self-destructive act a country could undertake.— Brian Pedaci (@bpedaci) November 9, 2016
USA: Hold my beer.
2016 was already a rough year for many, and this election did not make it any easier. With Trump in office, America can say goodbye to meaningful gun control legislation, marriage equality, affordable health care, climate change and criminal justice reform, and a woman's right to choose. That's the saddest part of all this to me - that with all the progress we made over the last eight years, it's about to be undone entirely.
And with that, I hold the following people responsible for Trump's ascendance to power.
And most importantly, the news media. The news media is what made Trump who is he. They kept comparing Trump's zero years of public service to Clinton's 30+ years. They kept comparing the two as of they were equal, when in fact, she was the only qualified, viable candidate. They kept going after her emails, focusing on that non-story, instead of going after Trump for his endless list of gaffes and faults. They wanted it to be a rat race. They wanted to play on your fears and anxieties because that's what gets them views. They wanted it to be exciting, to they artificially raised the stakes. And now they are just as complicit as the rest of the white conservatives who refused to reject Trump time and time again.
It's twelve hours past the initial shock, and I still don't know how to process this. I don't know how Clinton, who won the popular vote, had to stand on a stage and concede to Trump. I don't know how the literal incarnation of 4chan and YouTube comments was elected the 45th President. I don't know how Trump, the most under-qualified person in the history of America, beat out Clinton, who was perhaps the most qualified person to run the country. I don't understand why more people didn't go out and vote. I don't know how to process the words First Lade Melania. I don't understand how our new President-elect now has to get ready to go to trial facing fraud charges in 20 days time. I just don't know how to process any of this.
If Trump can seriously win the PRESIDENCY OF THIS NATION, I don't want to see a job description with "experience required" ever again— Sweetest Taboo (@guaptimus_prime) November 9, 2016
What I do know, however, is that despite how normal Trump sounded during his acceptance speech last night, we cannot forget everything else he has said and done. We cannot forget how he mocked disabled people, all the vulgar things he said about women. We cannot forget how he threatened to jail Clinton for her emails. We cannot forget his friendship with Putin, or his refusal to acknowledge climate change as a reality. We cannot forget all the divisive, horrendous things Trump has said over the last 18 months, because if we do, then he will not have only won the Presidency, he will have shown his supporters that it's okay to talk and behave just like him, and that you can get away with it.
And the same goes for everyone who was joking and may now be seriously considering moving to Canada. That will not solve your problems. Working within your country will. This is the party that when Obama was elected twice said, "He's not MY President," yet will ask you to put aside your differences and respect the outcome of this election. Yes, the next four years are going to be incredibly tough, but leaving now will solve nothing. Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to stick together, because there is much work to be done.
One thing is for certain, and that Kanye's chances in 2020 have never looked better.