This month of November felt like a political eternity. The sheer magnitude of unexpected, often upsetting revelations could have easily provoked the temptation to drop out of political awareness. Nonetheless, I have been inspired to see a resurgence of organization and motivation. However, as the left settles into our new oppositional role, it is important to take account of the multifaceted risks we face from the Trump administration. In particular, I identify an array of four particularly significant areas of concern.
I am, without question, an unabashed Mitt Romney supporter. Governor Romney’s brand of pragmatic, common-sense conservatism, combined with his deep humility and grace make him one of the most dignified, respected politicians not just at home, but across the globe. Needless to say, I have been very excited at the prospect of a Secretary Romney in the State Department. If the President-elect wants to make a smart, calculated choice for America’s chief diplomat, he would be well advised to choose the former Massachusetts governor. First, and foremost, the position of Secretary of State calls for an individual that is able to travel the globe and readily present American interests in a firm, yet positive demeanor.
Donald Trump, like Mobutu Sese Seko’s illegitimate child, is already showing his nepotistic tendencies. Unprecedented is an understatement. Trump’s transition team reportedly enquired about obtaining security clearances for his children, the very people who would be controlling his “blind trust.” Ivanka Trump sat in on her father’s meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. Trump, *ahem*, reportedly closed their meeting by asking his guest if he could help him understand just quite why “the nuclear” is so bad. Jared Kushner, a newspaper proprietor, could bring peace to the Middle East, according to Trump.
The Democrats lost this election. But despite what you may have heard from the countless talking heads on TV, they have not lost the people. By the time all votes have been counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a larger margin than many previous victors, and Democratic senatorial candidates will have garnered millions more votes than their Republican counterparts. That isn’t just some factoid destined for the footnotes of history — it needs to be a guiding factor in the actions of the party over the next two years. The Democrats must govern like they represent the majority, because they do.
Last Sunday, John Oliver concluded the third season of Last Week Tonight with a cathartic send-off to the year in a segment so eloquently dubbed, “Fuck You, 2016!” If you haven’t seen the episode, I’ll give you three guesses as to what it’s about. In a year that began with David Bowie’s death, the state of affairs never bothered to resettle on any form of status quo — opting instead to perpetually tumble further downhill. The general mood on campus following Election Day has seemed to oscillate somewhere between vitriol and despair, to the extent that a casual “How are you?” serves as an invitation to air out grievances rather than go through the motions of small talk. And whether in tone or subject matter, the election results have pervaded a large portion of the Daily Sun’s output because, well, what else is there to think about? As the White House proceeds in its transition to high-stakes reality TV show, pundits have made much of the modern media’s role in President-elect Trump’s ascent.
Admittedly, during times of intense crisis or panic, most people aren’t running around asking what the poets think. My own interpretation of this fact is not that people don’t care what poets have to say. It’s rather that they don’t believe in any reason for listening to them (a faulty judgement that I suppose amounts to the same result). If we experience social upheaval, for example, what good would reading Wordsworth do? If we encounter history in palpable manifestations, why read a poet to understand that history?
In these ridiculous times, it’s tempting to take ridiculous positions; after all, we have a ridiculous President-elect. From his golden hair to his stubby fingers, Trump is a caricature of American wealth, power and superficiality. Of course he’ll lead us into outlandish positions. These are a few such positions. Regardless of your political beliefs, don’t let yourself fall into any of these traps, and you’ll be an island of sanity in the ocean of weirdness that political debate has become.
A week has passed since my initial feelings of anger, pain and shock over the election. There are people who have already so eloquently summed up their thoughts on the results and shared in my grief. But I can’t forget that morning, feeling the heaviness in my heart, and thinking, I’ve never been so disappointed to call myself an American right now. As I walked to class, there was a melancholy that permeated the campus. Students’ heads were bowed.
It’s been a difficult week. Many of us, including myself, were left distraught by the election of Donald Trump as our next president. It was disturbing to see that his candidacy was not impeded by his flagrant violation of democratic norms, tolerance and simple human decency. Most notably, his admission to sexual assault and his bigoted attacks on Muslims, Latinos, immigrants were apparently no obstacle to achieving the most powerful office in the world. In response, the mood on our campus, and across the country, has been dour.
I, like most people, got 2016 very, very wrong. I thought last Tuesday would be a continuation of the status quo — a third term for President Obama. Instead, I, along with the rest of America, was sorely mistaken. We have now elected a reality television star as our president. And, not surprisingly, this reality television star has transformed the presidential transition process into a rerun of the Apprentice.