Monday, November 14, 2016

fair isn't always fair

In response to the protests following the election of, now, President-elect Trump I have heard two assertions over and over again.  The first is that Donald Trump was elected "fair and square" and is the legal President.  The second is that the election of other Presidents has caused a portion of the citizenry to be afraid of what the new administration would bring (and that those fears turned out to be largely unfounded).

Let's begin with the last one.  First of all, whether or not those fears were unfounded is a matter of perspective.  The average white American may not have seen the worst of those fears realized, but communities of color, and other marginalized groups, would certainly tell a different story.

But let's even, for the sake of argument, say that those fears were unfounded in previous  transfers of power from one President to another.  Would that mean that fears about a Trump administration are also likely overblown?  I think not.  Candidate Obama never said that he was going to come and take everybody's guns.  He never said that he was going to establish sharia law.  He never advocated any of the extreme positions that those who were feeling fear named as the cause of that fear.  Candidate Trump has said that he intends to deport 11 million people who live in the United States, no matter how long they have been here as a part of our society, no matter whether it breaks up families to do so.  He said this; it is not conjecture nor projection.  He called for a ban on Muslims entering the country, and the registration of Muslims who currently live here.  This is not a fear based on what we assume he might do; these are things he has declared he will do.  And he has -- subtly and not-so-subtly advocated for violence and intimidation among his supporters, going so far as to say that he would pay the legal bills of supporters who beat up people who opposed his candidacy.

There are not groundless fears.  They are direct responses to things he has actually said he will do.  This is different than in previous elections, in which people feared what might happen.

The fears people are expressing today are born not only from things he has said, but also from things he has actually done.  Over and over throughout the campaign -- throughout his public life -- he has demonstrated a remarkably thin skin and vindictive attitude.  He has not only promised to punish people who have opposed him, he has a history of trying to do so.  His behavior betrays a man whose primary concern has been himself, and who is willing to lie and cheat to improve his "brand."  And he's not just been accused of sexual assault by several women, he has bragged about getting away with it.  And these are just a few examples of actual behavior which, elevated to the office of the Presidency, are incredibly frightening.

These are not groundless fears being expressed.  This is different.

As to the point that he is our fairly and legally elected President ...  I would simply note that Jim Crow laws were fairly and legally established; that our current practice of racially disproportionate incarceration is based on laws that were passed "fair and square;" and that it was at one time perfectly legal, and by many considered a good thing, to enslave Africans, to prevent the so-called "mixing of the races," and to deny the right to vote to women and people of color.  All of these were legal and, in their own day, considered not only fair but right and just.

The #notmypresident movement is not just a case of "sore losers" who aren't able to accept an election outcome with which they disagree.  It's a declaration of respect for the ideals of our country, and a commitment to the strides that have been made to make true our founding credo that "all ... are created equal," and a dedication to the work that still needs to be done.

Pax tecum,


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1 comment:

arthurrashap said...

I was looking for some iota of hope, spirituality, do unto others, trust in the Founders who did create a nation that has weathered some severe storms, Wik.
I didn't see it.
For this one, I think the 'Minister' aspect might have been left out - the community service done last week had some good healing components and I didn't feel vitriol.
I listened to Trump as presented time and again by the media.
Tell you what: I think that the words listened to were not the words that were heard (interpreted) by so many who ended up voting for the man. They 'heard' that somehow their
pain, hopes, aspirations that were not being 'heard' by those who have been in power would somehow be heard by those who this guy gathered around him.

If prayers are 'heard' by some greater power, may it be so and may this government of the people, by the people and for the people serve to deliver on the promises made by our Founders in the first 52 words of the Constitution of the United States.
Arthur Rashap