Engage with purpose. Win every single day. These are some of the proverbs I learned during my weekend of training as a fellow for the Hillary campaign. This time last year, next week would have been my final week as a fellow. How different is the campaign’s end than I thought it would be all that time ago. Those words seem empty, hollow, and vacuous — totally and utterly meaningless — now that Donald Trump is President. My heart aches and my head hurts living with the election’s outcome, but president he shall be.
I’m fired up and ready to go and s**t is gonna have to change, because it is almost unthinkable this is happening. DONALD TRUMP as our next Commander-in-Chief! The guy was star of “The Apprentice” for crying out loud. How will foreign leaders think of America now? What in the world is his cabinet going to look like; Neutered Gingrich as Secretary of State, or maybe Minister of Propaganda Steve Bannon? The fact our country has gotten this bad, this desperate for change, should speak volumes for how very badly reform is needed.
And I don’t just mean government reforms, either. America’s civic life needs rejuvenation, our media requires some reconnection with the American heartland, and the political parties will have to absorb the blows and adapt as we charge into the future. This, my fellow Duhawks, is our responsibility going forward.
Republicans control every branch of the Federal government while controlling a majority of State governments, too. Trump is going to have a blank check to do whatever he wants — and that can be very, very scary. The one check left available to the left is to demonstrate through activism and protest, conducted peacefully and democratically, to make our voices heard. Without a voice in the halls of power, the only option we have is to make our voices heard in the streets. Students marched around campuses demonstrating their opposition to the war and they won, so now it is on us to do the same.
Furthermore, the manner in which we discuss politics needs to change. The most pointless question from here on out is “Who do you think will win???” because we should be asking “What do you think about XYZ”? The former asks for our opinions as brainless pundits; the latter asks us a question as a member of democracy. The largest failure of media, and media culture more generally, was its inability to discuss the moral underpinnings of what was being discussed. Nor was the media ever capable to answer the searing question of the election: Why do we do what we do?
Finally, the Democrat and Republican parties as we know them are dead. From here on out there will be a search for what constitutes a Democrat, Republican, and an Independent. Political parties need to understand their very legitimacy is in question, and, if they hope to continue, they must enact some reforms to regain public trust. More and more people each year stop identifying with either political party, and any further losses will only result in a more divided America.
Now is the time when our social institutions will be tested. Can we survive a Trump presidency? Can we have a successful Trump presidency? If we engage with purpose and aim to win every single day, I have hope we can.