Columns, Opinion

No Sugar, No Cream: A reflection on the 2016 election

It’s been over a year since the election of Donald Trump as the the 45th president of the United States. In the passing of this anniversary, I felt a stark lack of emotion. I read through Facebook posts, tweets and editorials about election night 2017, and I questioned whether I was ignoring my feelings or if I genuinely have lost the ability to care about what’s going on around me. My decision was neither. There was no way for this election to have a positive outcome. I felt little reason to reflect until the world did again.

I knew Donald Trump would win the election as soon as he was elected as the frontrunner for the Republican Party. I rationalized that if he’d gotten that far, in all the hate he’d spewed, he’d finish the race ahead of everyone.

I voiced this where I could before my angry liberal peers stopped letting me speak, as they wanted nothing less than their hope for a woman president to be disputed. A Black man as president and then a woman? The United States would never let that happen. I knew Hillary Clinton would lose the election as soon as the votes started to pile up on television. I said goodnight as soon as I saw there was no landslide about to favor Clinton and I went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night, as I had the last two elections, and typed “the president of the United States” into Google, and watched his face come up.

The scariest part of his election, though, was the reaction from those around me. I woke up to my best friend’s snaps of her crying at the results. I couldn’t help but chuckle. How could someone actually shed tears about that? But then I attended another day at my predominantly white, liberal high school and the entire place shut down. I didn’t attend a single class that continued with its lesson plan. We discussed what the country has “come to,” and I saw many people crying throughout the day. I couldn’t really empathize. It seemed they thought that this was a step backwards in the history of the country. Their colorblind society was being destroyed before them. There was no effective way of coping. Everyone was wallowing in their own sadness.

There is a violent history in the United States that one must vigorously deny in order to cry at the election of any president. It’s a lack of awareness and the highest degree of naivete possible. The United States has had a capitalistic agenda that disregards the needs of the citizens since its very founding. There must be recognition that our version of democracy is flawed to its core. This “democracy” is a glorified oligarchy. Many citizens can’t vote. Many citizens are being targeted to keep their voting rights to a minimum. And even if someone wins the popular vote of the country, they can still lose the election.

Hillary Clinton did not deserve to be president of the United States. Those who believe she did at this point are likely her relatives, white feminists or people caught up in the identity politics of having a woman as president. She backed her husband on his verifiably racist mass incarceration laws and called Black youth “super predators.” No apology for it could ever be enough. She was an adult when she said those things, and she knew the power of her words. She’s written about using prisoners for labor in her governor’s mansion, which is one of the modern versions of slave labor. I have never trusted Hillary Clinton. My distrust was only supported by the DNC — a clearly corrupt group — actively working against Bernie Sanders to give Hillary a cake walk to the presidency. I’m still not particularly happy that she lost, as she had a degree of diplomacy that Donald Trump couldn’t ever produce.

I wouldn’t be surprised or phased at all if Donald Trump makes it through his four-year-term without any threat of impeachment or removal from office. He hasn’t faced consequences for a single rude thing he’s said about anyone yet. He is the manifestation of the white fear that this country might be given to people who built it — the fear of no longer being the majority. He ran on the negation of Obama’s essence. He didn’t answer a single question in any of his debates. He had the election handed to him.

The whole election is exhausting to think about. Donald Trump is polarizing. I only ask that when he’s brought up a thousand times an hour, my apathy that he exists and is “running” “our” country into the ground is excused. It may seem pessimistic, but the truth is that this is the president the country has deserved for a long time.

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