The Falconer

4 Things I Didn’t Know Until The 2016 Presidential Election

Donald+Trump+meeting+President+Ronald+Reagan+in+1987.
Donald Trump meeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Donald Trump meeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Courtesy of George at Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of George at Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump meeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Stephen French, Staff Writer

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I’ve always been interested in politics, and I’ve spent more time than I care to admit reading op-eds and watching congressional hearings on C-Span, hoping to gain a better understanding of how our government works  — but nothing has taught me more than observing Donald Trump insult his way through the 2016 Presidential Election.

First of all, I didn’t know that declaring our first black president to be a native of Kenya, and then accusing him of being a clandestine Muslim just for good measure, was such a favorability booster in the eyes of the public. I was especially surprised when the Republican electorate decided that this man, who lead the exercise in bigotry, would be the person to best represent their values.

I suppose you could say that, when the GOP sends somebody to lead their party, “they’re not sending their best.”

I didn’t know how easy it was to be labeled “the new Ronald Reagan.” At least, I assume so, considering the total lack of identifiable similarities between Donald Trump and the former president. Still, the RNC’s desperate marketing team has christened him the second Great Communicator.

Actually, the one thing that does stick out when you compare the two is a glaring irony: when we think of Donald Trump’s political career, it’s impossible not to think of his be-all, end-all  solution to illegal immigration — an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” spanning roughly 1,000 miles. And funded by Mexico. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan’s legacy remains, in large part, four words: “…tear down this wall.”

I didn’t know how little progress has been made when it comes to civil rights and equality. When Donald Trump took the political stage, he stirred something dark in the underbelly of America. Something that hadn’t died after the civil rights movement came to an end, but only went into dormancy — awaiting the day when it could rear its ugly head once more.

Donald Trump has brought about that day. He has managed to normalize white nationalist ideals in the eyes of the public by categorizing people of color as dangerous, as thieves and rapists, as threats to our livelihood — which, in turn, threatens to send our society back into the stone age. Back to the frenzied streets of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. Perhaps that’s what Trump means when he promises to “Make America Great Again.”

I didn’t know the dark side of our democracy until I watched Donald Trump bully his way to the general election. My first instinct was to cry foul. How could this man be getting any votes at all, much less the majority of them? I desperately wanted to believe the game was rigged, because if it wasn’t, the truth would be much more terrifying.

Because, if Trump’s brand of hatred truly appeals to 47% of the United States electorate, it suggests that racism is still very much alive in this country. And that is a harrowing notion.

When we were younger, we were taught that in America, power belonged to the people — that anybody could be president. Well, it works both ways, folks. Because if the majority of citizens are fair-minded and kind hearted, they’ll elect a president with the same qualities. But if a candidate comes along who inspires the worst in people, one who creates an electorate that is radical and full of hate, they’ll elect a president who feels the same way.

Having learned these things, all I can do is urge prospective Trump voters to look inside themselves and ask, do I really want to buy what he has to sell? Because once their ticket is in the ballot, there’s no taking it back — and they’ll be responsible for whatever comes next.

1 Comment

One Response to “4 Things I Didn’t Know Until The 2016 Presidential Election”

  1. Donna Utterback on October 20th, 2016 9:28 am

    Good article!

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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