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America Blew A 3-1 Lead

So, that hurt. Nobody could have predicted this (except for Back To The Future and The Simpsons). I wrestled all yestermorning with what this all means and how to move forward from here. We took a major “L” election night. A uniquely over-qualified candidate should never lose an opportunity to a uniquely under-qualified candidate.

I have many concerns about an administration that does not believe in global warming, admittedly loves war and has issues with self-control. I especially feel for my fellow minorities (ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, women, immigrants, religious minorities, etc.) who believe their civil liberties are now at stake. I won’t rehash the sentiments of sorrow, disgust, and anger because if you opened up this article, you most likely already know that feeling.

Here’s something to remember: This country has survived chattel slavery, a civil war, Jim Crow, a Great Depression, two world wars, terrorist attacks on our home soil, the George W. Bush presidency, Hurricane Katrina, Fox News and Macklemore winning the best hip-hop album of the year over Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. I know that you’re scared and so am I, but we gonna be alright.

Instead, I want to talk about voting, and hope, and action.

Don’t Boo; Vote. Don’t Protest; Get Active. Don’t Just Mourn; Learn.

First and foremost, I am unapologetically disappointed and ashamed in the rhetoric surrounding voting. I want to put that out there first. Over the last week, I’ve been chastised by my friends for a number of  reasons all pertaining to my …”aggressive”… appeal that everyone vote. Now that the election is over, I see posts telling people to stop blaming those who didn’t vote for the outcome of the election. In this moment, I feel like we need to take responsibility.

Roughly 55% of eligible voters voted nationally and just under 60% of eligible voters voted in Ohio. In 2008, nearly 70% of eligible Ohio voters hit the polls. Analysts are already saying that lower voter turnout aided Donald Trump. In fact, some speculate that if every registered voter would have voted, then our state would have turned blue. In the last two presidential elections, it was highlighted that high minority turnout gave Obama the White House. The only way I see it is that the absence of those same votes contributed to Hillary’s loss. I don’t want to hear the people that say they’re so disenfranchised with “the system” (I hate buzzwords) and choose to abstain from voting as a form of protest. The bottom line is that the only votes that matter are the ones that get cast at the ballot box.

Granted, not everyone is a fan of Hillary Clinton and some feel like they could not support her in this election. However, if you’re devastated that Donald Trump is now president, but didn’t vote, then in my eyes you’ve fumbled. Which isn’t to say that you’re a bad person. Instead, it’s a challenge to get and stay involved civically.

Even if you did not cast a vote for one of the major party candidates, voting for a third party contributes to momentum which gives those smaller parties viability. If a smaller third party can jump from 5 Percent of the vote to 15 percent or 20 percent, then you can start to make headway into change. Those parties start to receive more media attention and get invited to participate in the national conversation. Imagine if Gary Johnson (who is a bafoon in my opinion) had been allowed to participate in televised debates. Who knows what might have happened. He wasn’t permitted because his campaign wasn’t viewed as if it actually stood a chance. Voter demographics are tracked during every election. When in office, politicians make decisions based off of who shows up to vote, because they know that if they don’t, they stand a chance of being voted out.

Nobody wants to offend their voter base. That’s how you lose your job.

I’m Not Sure that America Was Saying That Although It Seemed Heaven Sent, We Weren’t Ready To Have A Woman President…

..or that we as a society are moving backward socially.

No one who actually paid attention thought that we were living in a post-racial society. However, even with the racial headlines dominating media cycles these last few years and the rise of the Black Lives Movement and other social demonstrations, to me, it felt like we were moving forward. Yes, I remember Judge Scalia’s comments about blacks in college, the declawing of the Voter’s Rights Act, Tami Lohren and the perpetual police brutality encounters. But none of that was a surprise because those types of things aren’t new.

What WAS new, was how there were more national conversations being had about race than we have had in decades. The LGBT community was extended new civil liberties. At the very least, our country’s original sins were being discussed out loud and in public, rather than in hushed tones behind closed doors.

The important thing to take away is that the election results were not a referendum on progress, but an indication of apathy and frustration. Trump ONLY captured 25.6% of the popular count. Exit polls showed that 50% of the people who voted for Trump, had reservations about his character and 49% of the people who voted for him, said that they were voting AGAINST Hillary.

Lady Gaga Protests Trump's Election In The Aftermath Of Tuesday's Results

Lady Gaga Protests Trump’s Election In The Aftermath Of Tuesday’s Results

The biggest reason that I received from non-voters for not voting was that they didn’t feel like their votes would actually go towards changing things in their community. “The democrats don’t have our best interest in mind” is something that is said often. I’ve already gone into why I feel like it’s important to vote, so I won’t rehash that. However, we can find some solace in the fact that there is a sizeable portion of the population who do not feel the way that Trump does. In fact, if you count all of the people who voted third party on their ballot, there were more people who voted against Trump then for.

As a nation, we are not IDEOLOGICALLY represented by the things that Trump appears to stand for. 

Hillary was not the perfect candidate. We all have to admit that. Many simply did not trust her, myself included. If Trump were running against any other candidate, it’s safe to say that his platform would have been soundly rejected. That’s not to say that we should be SATISFIED with this election because at the end of the day that man IS in office. Apathy and frustration are much easier to make peace with than a resounding endorsement.

Just know, that when we see him, we’re not necessarily seeing us.

I went to war last night. With an automatic weapon, Don’t nobody call a medic. I’mma do it till I get it right – Kendrick Lamar.

So what do we do? I contend that we cannot afford to stay still. I wrote a couple months ago about what it means to truly believe that black lives matter. You can read that here, but the short of it is to live intentionally every day. National politics are important but state and local politics are arguably more important. Here, for example, the prosecutor who has been slow to investigate the police shootings of unarmed civilians was reelected. I’m not sure that everybody even knew that his position was up for election this year.

Contrary to what your social media timelines might indicate, civic engagement is an ongoing thing, not something that you should jump into every four years.There were demonstrations across the country to protest Trump’s election; to me those protests are fundamentally useless.

There are strong organizers in the city who work diligently to push for more progressive legislation that directly impacts our lives. It is my intention to throw my support towards them.  NOW, truly is the time to investigate third party candidates and look down the ballot. If you loved Jill Stein, for example, it would behoove you to look up ways that you can support local Green Party candidates and initiatives. Donate money to political parties that you believe in. Start attending your neighborhood civic association meetings. Sit in on City Council meetings. Attend demonstrations and lobby your lawmakers. As you make yourself more involved, also pull in your friends and family. Democracy was at work this week, but the election is only one part of the political process.

Now the hard part.

I will respect the office and refer to President-Elect Trump in the appropriate manner. Sometimes you lose an argument. Sometimes you lose an election. I find peace in what President Obama said: “The sun rises and will continue to rise in the morning.”

I’m hurt and will be mourning for a while. But I’m choosing not to be still and I hope that you take the pain that you may feel, and turn it into energy. And that you use that energy to act. And that you don’t take for granted the last 8 years of progress or forget that it happened. And that you remember that this is your country as well. And that you remember this feeling because even if you choose not to act, others will.

We have 216 weeks until the Donald leaves office and two years until the mid-term election. Let’s make the most of them. Remember to love always. Now sing the Kendrick refrain with me.

We gonna be alright.

-Malc

 

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