Firstly I know nothing about the American political system but I do believe it could do with some improvements. As an observer who mostly tried to avoid observing, my biggest issue is how long the whole process takes and the money spent on the campaign…but that’s not what I’ve put my effort into learning this week….
Rather I’ve learnt that:
- Many people believe that “Trump being elected means bad things – electing Trump in light of his deplorable views and behaviours, tells America and the world that those actions are okay, and that bullies can and should win by doing whatever it takes to get to the top. He is setting a horrifying example for those who already agree with some of his ideals”
Whilst I can understand how it can be seen that way, I in contrast don’t believe the results of the american election TELL us anything (other than Trump won). You can perhaps say it implies such things but I believe we as individuals and communities choose what is ok or not, not the American president, or America.
Also I don’t think you can judge how people see the world and their values by a vote. Each candidate had pros and cons. However if it is the case that his voters have questionable morals then I believe we should be thinking about why/how they have come to that view. One Trump voter whose morals I do agree with shared her reasons for voting here https://beautybeyondbones.com/2016/11/10/profile-of-a-trump-supporter/
2. Campaigns based on hate and fear are what I hate most about politics, it’s what’s done in Australia too. I would love to see the focus taken away from the candidates themselves and energy used on properly investigating the policies they stand for.
3. I’m against demonizing Trump but do understand peoples reactions of fear/sadness “I think one reason people like me have a big fear about this man is because he is a misogynistic, homophobic racist – him being the president represents all of the hate and oppression women, LGBTQI people, and people of colour experience.”
Yep he does appear to be all those things 😦 and if I am truly going to say I understand these reactions I need to allow them time/space to grieve even if I don’t 100% agree that’s the best response.
4. People are genuinely terrified of “how easy it is to brainwash the masses with fear and vulgar views. Historically we’ve seen it before and many are scared of seeing it repeated in their own lifetime as a result of this election.” “Trump himself does not scare me as much as the people who actually believe in the rhetoric he used. They just had their worldview validated.”
Yes we’ve seen it before and historically I guess I don’t see any reason why it won’t happen again. (indeed this article arguing why it could happen is highly convincing – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tobias-stone/history-tells-us-what-will-brexit-trump_b_11179774.html, but be sure to also read the follow up https://medium.com/@theonlytoby/a-response-to-some-of-the-comments-on-my-last-essay-f7917146aebe#.u50rpem0x).
I can appreciate fear of that, and perhaps everyone is right and Trump is the start of a shocking period in our time. I don’t see that so much as a sign of Trumps influence but more the fact we live in a sinful world. Indeed I’ve learnt how my christian faith ensures I KNOW we live in a fallen world and that no matter what happens I have HOPE in Jesus and him alone, not the state of the world.
“The truth is that most of these problems are the same problems that people suffered thousands of years ago…no one single human being is going to bring about the change to human suffering… So it follows: If there is nothing beyond this life then everything that happens here in this world is potentially catastrophic. Political outcomes are the end of the world, literally–because there is no other world.” Except I believe in eternal life with a Savior. Hence I heed this call “Show them, by OUR actions and words that there IS hope – and our hope isn’t in the president elect, but in the Lord Jesus Christ!”
5. I’ve learnt that maybe I’m a glass half full person, choosing not to let other peoples choices influence my outlook on the world. And I think this may have actually been influenced by my study this semester. Shock horror I learned something at uni! We looked at Foucault’s ideas around power in professional ethics. When people argue about where power comes from there tends to be an agenda operating about where it should come from. And often when exploring this we are considering power that results in injustice, inequality and oppression.
All this came from a reading by H. Sercombe who asserted that it is better to recognise not only the inevitability but the productiveness of power. That productiveness is not limited to one person. Indeed Sercombe and Foucault argue that power comes from below. Power is constituted by relationships not institutions. Sercombe goes on to talk about mandates and collective action but I don’t really want to write an essay (or more of!). My most important point though is that no person is powerless, no person can make me do something I can only cede my power to him/her (and yes sometimes this can be done under coercive means.)
So we can choose to let Trump’s win represent hate and oppression. Or possibly we can choose to see the outrage as a positive sign and use our personal or collective power to keep Trump under check for example –
“No matter who you are, whether you supported him, or what his presidency means to you. He. Works. For. The people. There are layers of abstraction between you and him, and those layers are especially thick if you’re a Democrat or lean to the left. But the president is employed by the people. We need to remind ourselves of that today. And we need to remind him of that for the next four years.”
All of this links in quite well with a dream of mine to start a policitical party one day……but that’s a whole other post!
A few other things…
- Economics is just not my thing, this article paints a rather dire picture though as a result of Trump’s election http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-consequences-of-a-donald-trump-win-are-disastrous-for-the-australian-economy-20161108-gsl5dj.html
- Regarding policies I’m very not in favour of scrapping Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, do support restrictions on abortions and fixing America’s mental health system (wonder how he’ll do that!), quite dubious about his immigration policies, interested in his ideas to allow families to deduct the average cost of childcare from their taxes, including stay-at-home parents (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-09/what-has-donald-trump-promised-to-do/8009846)
- The next few years may be interesting – The long period where America’s position on issues was predictable, where America supported freer trade and helped move the world towards more open engagement, is likely to change (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-09/experts-say-a-president-trump-will-change-the-us-and-the-world/8009504)