Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas and the Donald Trump Effect: Lets Make Elections Great...Again

          Its been nearly a month now since the 2016 election came to an end. Or did it? Due to logistical reasons I am unfamiliar with,US presidential elections usually end just before the start of the holiday season. This election has been by far the most horrific I've ever seen. And that probably goes for millions of other Americans as well. There is always a good deal of mud slinging between candidates during an election. But Donald Trump took it to a whole new level-running on a platform of prejudice and fear mongering. And on this election night,he became president elect very unexpectedly.

          Nobody I personally knew expected this to happen. For the past few weeks on Facebook,people and groups I subscribe to have been trying to sort the situation out. What went wrong? Why don't people realize how dangerous Donald Trump is? Is America doomed? These thoughts have ranged from thoughtful to outright conspiracy theorizing. As a year of personal growth for me,this event has been a personally draining one. Found myself somewhat unmotivated to get on with each and every day. Not due to my own fears. But due to a growing sense of empathy for the concerns of those around me. And don't think I'm alone in this either.

            Instead of a holiday season filled with hopes for a positive new year,many American's have learned a great deal in a very short amount of time. The latest headlines is that Trump did not actually win even the electoral votes. That Russian based hacking was involved. And while Hillary Clinton clearly won the popular vote,ballots are being frantically recounted. And the future of America's electoral college is under scrutiny. When I go to the store or any public place,the looks on people's faces don't seem happy or unhappy due to holiday hustle and bustle. They seem distant and concerned for the future. And that isn't a very cheery atmosphere.

             Now a lot of younger people dislike celebrating holidays today. Some see them as corporate,some as pure propaganda. Since the area I live in has a strong potential for joylessness,holiday's such as Christmas tend to come across as a psychological necessity for a wintry season of shorter days and the potential for limited mobility due to severe weather. If one is a wealthy land owner of European descent,the rhetoric of Donald Trump and the cabinet he's assembling isn't a negative thing at all. The reality of it is though,that just isn't most of America. And most of America is either angry with Trump being president elect,or somehow live in fear of what Trump and his cabinet represent.

               Donald Trump's campaign slogan was "Make America Great Again". If I were to have a campaign slogan for American politics in general,it would probably be something along the lines of "Make Elections Great Again". Most of the presidential elections I've lived through have surrounded such extremely high stakes, it can have the effect of making the voter either fed up with the process or descend to seeing both main political parties to blame for social problems. We live in a totally online world. Wikipedia and other outlets provide access to truths about history and the present. More and more American's know the issues beyond candidate's rhetoric.

One could debate that its highly cynical to see ignorance as bliss. At the same time,people heavily indoctrinated with hateful rhetoric often lack the ability to receive new knowledge. And therefore are unable to grow as individuals. This social issue is now referred to as "post truth". Donald Trump has truly capitalized on this. And the fact is,the holiday season of 2016 seems to have the atmosphere of inner terror. This could derive from a mixture of new knowledge, a blunter and overtly bigoted attitude from white supremacist  political figures now referred to as the "alt right" and a sense of wanting to retreat back to a life of ignorance.

Sometimes learning can be scary and sad. To a young child,it can be very saddening to learn there is no actual Santa Claus. It is very scary to learn about stranger danger. Compared to most other nations of the world. After all,its only been 240 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. With the knowledge of even that being found on the back of slavery,as well as Christmas as we know it now largely deriving from non Christian pagan origins, modern American conservatism is fighting a losing battle with the known reality of the nations politics. And even the origins and meaning of the holiday's it celebrates.

With all this being said,knowledge brings growing pains but not endings. It does bring evolution. We know now that "republican" stands for democracy of only the privileged. We know now that Christmas isn't totally Christian or totally corporate. Yet that doesn't mean American cannot be a functional democracy-with a two or more party system without the need for a "republic". Nor does it mean we cannot still decorate trees or even display mangers at Christmas. Whatever occurs with Donald Trump,and I sincerely hope recounts deny him the presidency,Democracy and joy in America will simply continue to grow and evolve. And there's no post truth about that.