My “I Voted” sticker fell off the wall the other day. I’d stuck it there on Election Day, intending to save it. I expected to have helped elect the first female president. Falling off now, it’s as if the sticker senses what instead approaches.
If you’re looking for something new in this post, I don’t exactly have anything new to say. This is me trying to process something that doesn’t make intellectual or moral sense.
The other night, a fellow blogger retweeted one of Donald Trump’s older tweets:
Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2014
I didn’t think anything Trump said could shock me anymore. It’s clear there’s no direction off limits to him, no matter how repulsive. But, my jaw dropped when I read that tweet and felt its racist undertones. It makes it even worse that the tweet was from over two years ago. Throughout the campaign–as he achieved his party’s nomination and a stronghold in the final contest–I was continually shocked and dismayed at how the terrible things he said and did barely affected his support. Others have been completely knocked out of campaigns and offices by much lesser offenses.
I kept thinking about the 2002 incident with then-incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. At a celebration for long-time senator Strom Thurmond, Lott said he was proud his state of Mississippi voted for Thurmond for president in 1948, and the country wouldn’t have had so many problems since then if it had elected him. Because Thurmond had run on a segregationist platform (and was generally a well-known opponent of civil rights legislation), Lott was possibly implying it would have been better for segregation to have continued. As a result, he was rebuked by then-president (and fellow Republican) George W. Bush, had to publicly apologize, and lost his position as Senate Majority Leader.
Lott maybe insinuated something offensive, presumably in an attempt to praise a long-time (however marred) public servant, and he was given consequences. Trump purposefully and directly makes deplorable statements about–and this is just off the top of my head–minorities, immigrants, women, people who are disabled, veterans, and…
…nothing. Well, actually, way more than nothing. The presidency of the United States of America.
If you want to know how our culture responds to men who abuse, demean & objectify women, look no further than the Capitol steps on Friday.
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) January 18, 2017
Maybe I was naive in not even being able to imagine this could happen. Maybe it’s a sign of my privilege that I haven’t truly been exposed to depths of hatred and cruelty that humanity is capable of justifying. Maybe a false bottom dropped out of the hope I had for the direction of “general welfare” I thought we were at least trying to head towards.
I’m not one who says Donald Trump will not be “my” president. He is going to be my president. That’s the problem.