Now is the Time for the People's Will
By Carson Wright (Southern Methodist University Undergraduate)
I warned, constantly: ‘Don’t get complacent. Don’t get complacent. Go out and vote for Clinton, rain or shine. Make it happen.’
I failed to notice that I myself had gotten complacent. I cast my smarmy liberal ballot for Hillary and waited for the good news to roll in on Tuesday night. And when not good news but disastrous news, catastrophic news showed up on CNN, I was devastated. Shocked. I should’ve seen it coming. I didn’t.
Wednesday, I went to classes like normal. My college was completely silent. I stood in the atrium and looked at my friends’ faces; distraught, depressed, stunned, afraid. Especially the faces of my gay friends. Especially the faces of my black friends. Especially the faces of my Hispanic and Latino friends. Especially the faces of my friends who are women. Especially the faces of my friends, marginalized and disenfranchised, just told by half the nation that they don’t matter and aren’t worth a damn on American soil.
Do you see? This is what this means. For these people, this means fear. For these people, this means hopelessness. For these people, this means violence. And these aren’t left-wing conspiracy talking points I’m throwing out — people have already been assaulted. Attacked on the street. Women groped and sexually harassed. People of color beaten up. Hijabs torn off the heads of Muslim women. Gay men brutally beaten.
People are not upset because their team lost. They’re upset because their lives are in literal danger. The election of Donald J. Trump has already and will continue to turn people’s lives into nightmares. Not just depression and sorrow, but real, physical violence.
On the topic of the People: the People chose Hillary Rodham Clinton. She won the popular vote, and not just narrowly, but decisively, entirely, even with the fingers of Russia and FBI director James Comey on the scales. The aimless bureaucracy of the Electoral College — which has its debatable merits and demerits — led to Donald’s election. As some folks are putting it: ‘The People elected Hillary. The system elected Donald.’
(Let that be some consolation: that the American people are, contrary to
what it currently looks like, better than this. The American people voted for love and tolerance, not the bile and incompetence they’ve been handed.)
The American system fails us if it does not bend to the will of the People. And the People’s will, inarguably, is a Clinton presidency.
To any Trump supporters who may be reading this: Trump is a conman. We all knew it, and we thought that all of you knew it, too. (I think, still, that many of you do know that, somewhere.) He played you. And at some point in these four years, that will become amazingly, crushingly apparent. He will crumble. He will show you his cowardice, his lies, his selfishness, his deceit. And when that happens, realize that that will be the time for unity. Not now. But then. Because when that time comes, we will be here. We will rebuild.
Now is no time for “unity.” The past eight years were a time for unity; President Obama could have done so much more if he’d not been obstructed. Months ago, when Trump began his revolting parade of bigotry and hatred under the guise of a presidential bid, that was a time for unity; we could have stopped him earlier. But now, you call for us to unite behind this bigot, this racist, this sexist, this rapist? This demagogue?
Now is the time for resistance. Now is the time to fight. Now is the time for the People’s will. Now is the time to band together to stop ignorance and hatefulness in its tracks.
This isn’t empty rhetoric; there’s real action we can take. Call and write your representatives. Put their office numbers in your phones and flood their inboxes. Protest, peacefully and safely — stagger them with your numbers, with your volume. Contact the Electoral College via email and phone and pressure them to make the historic move that would represent the popular vote. Vote in the 2018 midterm elections. Push for Trump’s impeachment. And vote — don’t boo, vote — in 2020 to boot Trump and Pence out of office.
The office is to high for their despicable standards.
White people, especially: stand up for those hurt by this culture of violence and intolerance towards minorities and women. Do not sit down. Do not be silent. Speak out, loudly and frequently, against the hatred, bigotry, and terror that people of color are enduring. Be obnoxious. Be persistent. Be vocal. Use the platform, power and privilege that American society affords you to help those around you.
The election was grueling, and we all thought, ‘good god, in November it will finally be over.’ But it isn’t over. And the great work, as Tony Kushner put it, is just beginning. The election was just round one. Round two is the Trump administration. And round two starts now.