Life after Trump
Our English language editor comments on the state of affairs.
Donald Trump has been elected the forty-fifth President of the United States. It was and still is a shock to many people. But it’s exactly that shock that concerns me, for it points to a major divide in how the general population views and experiences politics. Living in the global hub of progressivism that is New York City I wrongfully assumed that the majority of citizens want to help the historically disenfranchised. I accepted that the federal government would continue to spearhead reform in order to benefit the population of young progressives to which I belong and extend and strengthen government assistance programs for the less fortunate. Rather than driving through the heart of America and grappling with the poverty and anger that exists in rural communities, I flew over their heads and landed in another blue state. I equally challenge those living in insular middle-America to see beyond their immediate realities.
What I have failed to recognize are the millions of people in my own country who feel disenfranchised for reasons of their own. These fears and concerns may be stoked by rhetoric that is blatantly racist, homophobic, and sexist, but it does little good to ignore a large swath of the population that is governed by such sentiments. Trump’s rhetoric is a dangerous tool, and it was a mistake to underestimate his influence. If we, I, had taken the time to read the writing on the wall, Trump’s rise to power would be anything but shocking.
I wanted to believe that I was part of an enormous Obama-shaped wave that was already in the process of restructuring the cultural landscape. Even in the face of an obstructionist Congress and the rise of the Tea Party I wanted to believe that in just eight years the tide had swept away the injustices of our collective past. I wanted it all—all the results without any of the work, and I wanted to be told that I had done a good job. I wanted what I imagine Trump voters wanted—affirmation. For this I apologize. I will never again make the mistake of assuming progress is brought about by anything but dedication and hard work, dialogue and exchange. But I also know that my apology is meaningless to those who have fought and endured oppression in its many forms for generations. Instead, I’d like to hear your voices more than ever, so we can broadcast them to the world. Please write, take photos, film a movie, paint, make music. Help people understand where we went wrong. It’s in times of uncertainty when art has the innate capacity to change the course of history.
Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States. As much as it pains me to type those words, I am emboldened by a new sense of purpose in the face of tyranny. Myopia is here to help not hinder. Love, not hate. Shout, not scream. And to know the difference.
— Will T.F. Carter
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