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Fear, hope and leadership in a Donald Trump presidency

November 8, 2016 will be remembered as the historic day Donald Trump was announced as president-elect of the United States. Trump won the election despite opposition from the majority of the international community, the incumbent U.S. president and the Clinton campaign.

Now, I could write of my frustration at how someone with no political experience is now the most powerful person in the world. How someone with a narcissistic, sociopathic personality who supports xenophobia over acceptance and respect (let’s not forget his infamous presidential announcement in which he labelled all Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists) is now the head of a multicultural country with the ability to make life extremely difficult for those unfortunate enough to not fit the mould of the ‘ideal American’. I won’t even go into his treatment of, and attitude towards, women.

Regardless of what side you were on, there is no point denying the fact that Trump – the wall-building, climate change-denying, healthcare-abolishing demagogue – is the president-elect. Trump won, and he will be moving into the White House next year. As Barack Obama said, the sun will rise and lives will go on. In writing this, I want to try to understand how and why Trump was elected.

The last stand of the angry white man

Trump’s personality and attitude towards certain issues, especially his racism, has continuously been a point of attack. While I do not agree with many of his stances, such as towards immigration or Muslims, there can be a positive to the hate and racism that has come out of the election. Trump has now opened up a discussion to which everyone can contribute. In such a multicultural environment, racism is not a new concept. In fact, America’s history brims with racism. One only needs to look at Nixon’s tapes (recordings made in 1973 of the president making disparaging comments about African Americans and Jews). The tapes remained private until 2010, making a public discussion at the time of Nixon’s racism impossible. What is different now is that Trump’s agenda is in the open. America has been fighting against thousands of years of human behaviour and history. It has never been easy, and it never will be.

America has not been fundamentally changed by Donald Trump’s presidential election victory. To me, understanding that America is still the same country with all its strength and resilience is important. There is now an attitude that those who voted for Trump must be defined by the worst of his rhetoric and painted with the same brush. This is close-minded monolithic thinking, which could lead to the kind of segregation we have been working so hard to prevent. Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist or a sexist. Some are, but not all. There is no point throwing insults and attacking anyone who has an opinion different to yours as it has no positive outcome.

Despite all this fear and negativity, we must hope that Trump is a successful leader, as his success will be America’s success. All we can do now is hope. Hope that Trump proves us wrong.

Many people fear that the move to the right is permanent, and instead of progressing forward to a more accepting, respectful environment, we are regressing back to the ‘good old days’. This is more likely, however, to be the last stand of the angry white man. The male-dominated America is coming to an end. The white man’s sense of power is slipping away, and the traditional, patriarchal way of doing things is starting to be rejected. There is still hope, however, for the angry white man. Trump. By voting for Trump, they may be able to hold onto their sacred way of life for just a little bit longer. I must stress though; this is the markings of a last effort attempt.

Why Clinton lost

I hope next time the Democrats choose a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. The biggest problem in this election was not Trump, but Hillary. She was hugely unpopular as she represented corporate interest, and was seen as untrustworthy and dishonest. In addition to that, she offered no palpable change. She represented the status quo and a vast majority of the American people wanted a change. While Trump represents a terrifying change, it is a change nonetheless.

There was no easy choice in this election. On one hand, there was the overtly racist, sexist bigot who would say anything and everything if it would win him votes. On the other hand, there was secrecy, conspiracy and a future in which change was not likely. In no way am I happy about Trump being elected, in fact, it truly scares me. I am scared for those for whom this election means more uncertainty and insecurity. I am scared that people will be emboldened to act in ways which are unacceptable. I am scared that a man was able to successfully establish a campaign primarily based on the perception of fear. However, despite all this fear and negativity, we must hope that Trump is a successful leader, as his success will be America’s success. All we can do now is hope. Hope that Trump proves us wrong.

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