Dear America – It's Going to be OK
Image credit: Bart
I'm counting down the days until I get to New Zealand next week where I plan to find a small town somewhere, buy a property with a bunch of sheep and hide from the world.
Not because I'm upset that Trump got elected… But I'm exhausted from people talking about it.
People are in a state of shock about Hillary losing the election. I'm not. I was very much expecting Trump to win.
Saying that, I was still disappointed that we'd missed out on the first female President of the United States. But there's a part of me that is a little relieved that Hillary didn't win… because she would have been a rather unpopular first female President and may have caused those who are already sceptical about a woman in such a big leadership role to become MORE sceptical. And saying that, I firmly believe there will be future opportunities for females to become President.
People are asking two questions.
How did this happen?
What will happen next?
The answer to the first one is that, as Jeremy Clarkson pointed out, Trump won because he got more votes.
Having been educated at an American high school and spending some time living in the states, I have quite a few American friends on Facebook. Some are die-hard Trump supporters, and some are die-hard Hillary supporters. And all of them are wonderful friends.
My Trump-supporting friends are not misogynists. They're not racists. They're not xenophobes. They just didn't believe Hillary was the right person for America. We'll most likely not be able to find out over the next four years whether or not they were correct (unless there are a few faithless electors – but I'm not banking on that). My friends who voted for Trump just wanted to see something different in leadership.
No, Trump has not had the political experience of Hillary. You could also say he's not the best businessman. But political experience shouldn't qualify you for leadership of a country. You need more than just political experience. And whether you agree or not, people all over America felt like they couldn't connect to a career politician.
“America wasn't ready for a female President.”
As an Aussie, I have heard this rhetoric before. Back when Julia Gillard made her way to power and then lost it. And I believe the same now as what I did then. I don't think it was to do with Gillard's gender, and I don't think it is to do with Hillary's gender. People just didn't think they were the right people for the job. And if we really want to achieve gender equality, it's time to stop alienating people and guilt-tripping them into feeling like if they don't pick a woman, they're sexist. Sometimes, the woman is the right person for the job; sometimes the man is the right person for the job. And that's OK. I believe sexism does exist. And maybe it was the reason for some of the votes towards Trump. But I don't believe it was the main reason.
Many of the people to whom I spoke about the elections, both pro- and anti-Trumpians, felt like they couldn't connect to Hillary. They felt like she was just running as, “well, hey, at least I'm better than the guy with the funny hair.” Many felt her policies were unclear. Some even felt that she believed she deserved the role purely based on who her husband was and what she had done in the past – not what she planned to do for the future (other than not be Trump). Whether or not this is true, it's how some people felt, and that's what matters when you're looking for votes.
Image credit: Caterina Sullivan
Hillary spent a lot of time with celebrities. This may have boosted her vote with young people, but to some older Americans, it made her look out of touch – like she was living this fancy celebrity lifestyle; like she wasn't hearing the voice of the disenfranchised American people. And according to exit polls, young people voted far less than the rest of the country. They're also the ones who are now protesting.
Hillary's campaign logo was a big “H”. Donald's campaign logo was “Make America Great Again”. Ignore everything else you know about the two candidates. Which one appeals more to the American people? The one which isn't about the individual.
My Aussie friends can't understand how this happened. They believe everyone in America thinks like the typical college-educated New Yorker does. And that's not representative of the country. When Aussies travel to the States, they tend to hit the main towns, which, in general, are more progressive and less conservative. The majority of Aussie tourists don't travel to the rural areas of America, in the centre states which tend to be more conservative and where Trump won most of his support. Our view of America can be slightly skewed.
So how did this happen? It happened because there are 330 million people in America, and they all have different views, and Hillary spoke to some views and not others. It happened because, one could argue, the electoral college system is broken. But it's too late to fix that for this election.
You can't change what happened.
It's time to look to the future.
People are saying the country is divided.
Even if Hillary had won, the country would still be divided because there would still be a large population of America who voted for Trump and felt their voice wasn't heard. And yes, while his election gives their voice validity, the after-effects of a Trump victory won't stay around forever. This too shall pass.
Trump is President. The building of the wall, the bombing the proverbial faeces out of countries, nuking people, it's not going to happen that easily. Trump needs to have the support of the Senate and of Congress to make things happen. And while he is a Republican, not all Republicans support him. The end of the world is not here.
Everyone reading this right now can actually do something amazing for America. EVERYONE. Even if you're not American, like me.
DON'T DEEPEN THE DIVIDE
People are upset at Trump voters for voting for Trump. I've seen some posts saying that they have broken off friendships with people for voting Trump. Which is the epitome of irony. Don't start hating someone because you believe in love, and you think they don't believe in loving their fellow human. That's hypocrisy. We need to stand together. We need to understand we have different political views, and our political views shouldn't define us as people. I love my friends who support Trump – just as much as those who support Hillary. Because how they treat me and others as humans is what matters. Our political views are reflections of our experience of the world. And you should never dislike someone for having a different experience to you. Now, if the person you are talking to is genuinely a bad person, please, choose to not have them in your circle of friends by any means. But if they're just a Trump supporter, don't breed hate.
We're all entitled to our own opinions.
My honest opinion is that Trump won't do what he said he would do. I don't subscribe to the viewpoint that he believes in a lot of what he said. I believe he is in-tune with many Americans and knew that what he spoke about in his speeches would not only resonate with them but actually inspire them to get off the couch and vote.
So in times where we believe the world is divided, be the changemaker to stand with people and accept them for their viewpoints. If we are going to create sustainable change, we need to look at how to fix this in the long-term. But I'll save that for next time.
Yours in campaigning and harmony,