I have a 5 year old daughter being raised to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Today, America said that bullying, arrogance and a lack of respect is acceptable.
I have sisters, a girlfriend, aunts, cousins, friends and other women in my life. Today, America said that it is acceptable for them to be objectified, denigrated, shamed and assaulted. America said that they don’t deserve to be treated as equals in the workplace, nor are they capable of making their own choices regarding their own bodies.
I have friends and family who are gay and lesbian. Today, America said that they shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else. America said they shouldn’t be parents. America said that they shouldn’t be allowed to serve their country.
I am an advocate to an extraordinary group of men and women with mental and physical disabilities. Today, America said that mocking and publicly shaming them is ok.
I have friends and family who have fought cancer and suffer from diabetes. Today, America told them that having access to the best healthcare in the world isn’t a right.
I know people of many different faiths. Today, America told them that religious freedom doesn’t extend to their religions.
I live in a country that has always been a safe harbor for those fleeing religious persecution, famine and civil war. Today, America told those people that they are on their own.
I am the son and grandson of victims of the Jim Crow south. Today, America woke up to pictures and video of the Ku Klux Klan marching in celebration.
I’ve seen far too many parents burying their children. Today, America said that our guns are more important than our kids.
I have friends who I disagree with politically, yet we know that the only way this American experience works is if we work together for the common good. Today, America told us that this is not acceptable. Pick a side, stay on that side, or there will be consequences.
How did we get here? We got here because we’ve accepted mediocrity as excellence. We’ve made being disengaged into an art form. We expect less of our leaders because we expect less of ourselves. The standard we hold our leaders to is a direct reflection of the standards we hold ourselves to. We’re tribal to the point where we’ve retreated so far into our own corners that we will accept things to be absolute no matter what the facts say. Our leaders will never be held accountable because we don’t hold ourselves accountable.
America has dumbed itself so far down that we no longer have low expectations, we have no expectations. The next President of the United States is a man who, in the last year and a half, has repeatedly shown that he does not have a basic understanding of how government works, and has no desire to learn. When criticized he lashes out in anger. When pressed to speak on policy that he clearly knows nothing about, he defaults to insults and bullying. He believes ridiculous conspiracy theories (thousands of Muslims celebrating in the streets of NJ on 9/11, global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese government). He is pathological to the point where he will say something, deny he said it, be shown a video of him saying it, and still doubles down on not ever saying it. He’s promised to uphold articles of the Constitution that don’t exist (Article 12), and has suggested that the cornerstone of American rights, free speech and free press, be altered. He’s going to take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution that he’s clearly never read. But that’s all acceptable because he’s so entertaining. It’s style over substance and we’ve decided that matters more. We simply don’t care that the man about to assume the highest constitutional office in the country has no understanding of the Constitution.
What’s even more disappointing to me than his lack of knowledge is his lack of respect for the office he’s been elected to. He’s brought the alt-right front and center. He’s quietly accepted the support of the White Nationalist movement. He’s brought out the ugliest part of America and put it on display for the world to see. Donald Trump invested time, money and resources into a blatant attempt to delegitimatize our first African American President. In doing so he cheapened the office of President, and today, he’s President-Elect.
None of this is an indictment of Donald Trump. It’s an indictment of us. What happened today was so much more than a referendum on policy. It was a referendum on our collective moral compass. We failed. We failed as a country to stand up and say to the world: “This is not who we are.” We failed our children, we failed our allies around the world.. Most importantly, we failed ourselves.Our country is flawed and it certainly is divided. Despite those flaws, I’ve always thought that we can and would do better. I don’t feel that way today. I’m a proud American citizen, but I’m not proud of my country today. I love my country, but I don’t like my country today.
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