Last week, the question “How did this happen?” was uttered by millions of Americans after the results of the presidential race were revealed. To answer this question, we have to reflect back on ourselves to understand how this outcome occurred.
The news coverage during this election was primarily anti-Trump, however, this only added fuel to the fire. In the early stages of this race, Trump was not taken seriously considering the plethora of Republican candidates. However, with the extensive media sound bites, he quickly gained momentum. This momentum carried him straight into the White House.
While this is directly the fault of the mainstream media, we, the viewers, can’t get off so easily. The news would not shove horse race journalism and sensationalism down our throats if we did not eat it up without question. If we do not want to see the media have a heavy-handed influence in politics we should consider turning off the programs that swing to the extremes. Instead, investigate on your own. I’ll even add some sources to get you started. Also, I feel obligated to mention that Twitter and Facebook are not reliable sources of information.
“Whenever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government” –Thomas Jefferson
Another factor that contributed to the outcome is government corruption. Over the years we have become accustomed to the idea that corruption and politics are inseparable. This flippancy has allowed this fraudulent behavior to grow into the “swamp” that Trump vows to “drain”. It is our civic duty to pay attention to what happens in our government on both large and small scales.
The idea of change has been voter bait for centuries, just ask Obama. However, the continual lack of change is the very straw that broke Americas back in 2016. For the past two terms, Obama has been wildly ineffective, thus setting the stage for Trumps campaign.
This constant desire for change is one of the key reasons we vote for the candidates that we do. However, no amount of policy changes or executive acts will solve the core issues within our society. The change we want to see in America, I.E revival of the American Dream, must start from the ground up. This means that we have to be willing to work for our successes instead of depending on the government to coddle us.
It is my belief that the main reason why Trump is now our President-elect is because there was no greater alternative. If there had been a third-party candidate that was not a complete buffoon (yes Gary, I’m talking about you.) the election may have swung in a different direction. We continually get behind extremist candidates rather than advocating for moderation, when in reality, extremism is the quickest way to destruction. We do not elect people who are moderates because we think those who ‘stick to their guns’ are strong. True strength does not lie in a person unwilling to compromise, but rather one who has the ability to see multiple aspects of a situation and act accordingly.
Ignorance, denial and passivity have fed into a growing concept of ‘Political Correctness’. While it is admirable to think before you speak, the refusal to call a spade a spade does nothing to help humanity. Stating that bombings, beheadings, and public executions are acts of terrorism is not politically incorrect, it is the truth. Yet, before Trump was on the scene, discussing these events under the umbrella of ‘terrorism’ was unheard of. Trump threw any hint of political correctness aside, which gained him the support of many voters. While we can all agree that his rhetoric needs to be more presidential, his explosive jargon is the very reason he will be sworn in to the oval office. We, as a whole, need to shift away from this idea of self-censorship; be kind while speaking the truth.
Change always begins on an individual level; if you are unhappy with the outcome of this election and want to see change in American politics, that change should come from the inside out. Inform yourself on the real issues and policies at stake, understand how our government works and more importantly discuss ideology with the people around you. Debates should not hinder friendships or relationships; every person has a right to their opinion, whether you believe it to be right or wrong. To create a climate of conversation, you must be willing to accept an argument as valid while not believing it to be sound. These little changes can have big effects. Consider changing your habits if you do not want another election like the one we have witnessed in 2016.