For the last several days, my news feed has been filled with a combination of self-righteous anger and genuine shock at the ascendancy of a “serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.” (most of Huffington Post’s editor’s note that has accompanied any story about Donald for the last six months or so). I believe in the electoral college and why we have it. I think it is important that we not stifle anyone’s voices, no matter how much I disagree with what they are saying.
I agree with the people who are protesting in that I think they have a right to express that their choice for president did not win. But I think that there is a severe lesson to be learned for the democratic and progressive people living in Cali, DC, and NY (and the other urbanites who voted heavily for Hillary). There are millions of people in this country who have not been helped by Barack Obama’s administration. Those people have a right to the same degree of self respect, self sufficiency, and employment as people fortunate enough to attend college (or some of it). 8.4 million jobs have been added to our economy during Obama’s administration – for those with a college degree – while those who have only a high school degree have received nothing.
As a student at Lehigh university from 2005-2009, I ran a program at my house called Thursday Night Dinners where we invited local community leaders to come speak to us about issues important to them. The most important series we held involved local community leaders, Sands Casino representatives, and Lehigh professors speaking about the prospects of building a casino in the old steel mill. For the most part, it seems like our impressions were proved true, by 2012 – residents have “wore out the phrase ‘neutral’ to describe the overall affect of the complex at 77 Sands Blvd“.
Hundreds of towns and communities all throughout PA and other rust belt states have floundered as industry has moved away and technology has reduced what used to be impressive factory towns into meth-havens ignored by Democrats. Most of those communities have not been as lucky as Bethlehem (and I do not consider Bethlehem to be lucky).
Our country has much to be proud of, and it is our diversity and cultural diffusion that makes us strong. I chafe at claims by high-tower elites who cite asymmetrical facts to deride our performance in categories like education or literacy. Our country has far less corruption than one of the only other comparable democracies, India, and our economy is stronger than any in the history of the world. Relatively speaking, we have shrunk to only the size of the best empires in history, rather than continuing to dominate half of the world’s trade.
What this election is showing me, more than anything else, is that we need to take a serious and rationed look at how to improve the lives and opportunities of those left behind in the recovery. I refuse to believe that many of the old, white voters who supported Trump are as terrible and reprehinsible as Hillary claimed or as the liberal elites want us to believe right now. If you went to a school or lived in a town where you have never met a Muslim or lived with a LGBT person or had an interaction with a Jew, than your expression of beliefs in support of Donald Trump’s vision is less deplorable than it is ignorant.
It is my job as a member of the landed elite or liberal coastal citizens to educate, inform, and help out our fellow Americans. In the all important words of Pope Francis, “Who am I to Judge?”