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USA: Unify, Work, Heal?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 10, 2016 in News & Opinion |

The elections in the United States are over and both sets of figures have been counted, tallied up, and passed to the public. Donald Trump will be the forty-fifth President, and there is nothing that can be done about it. The American form of democracy, where the popular vote is second to an electoral system, has co me through again, but not everyone is happy with it. In fact, it is fair to say that more than half of those who voted – the popular voters – are not happy. The USA has, however, an electoral college, and that is the way the system works and has worked for many, many years. This is the system which Trump himself called rigged, but which has brought him to the White House. I am sure he no longer considers it rigged, but that is understandable. He has come out as the winner in a system he derided, so we needn’t expect any changes during his administration.

But as thousands of people take to the streets across the country, we do need to take a step back and look not just at the system, but also at ourselves. Some people are inclined to say that we’ve been given just what we deserve, but they said that when George W. Bush was re-elected too, and when Bill Clinton won, and probably many times before. It is our society which elected him, and our society which now needs to come to terms with that election and accept it, as we have done before. The election of Donald Trump is a clear indication of what the values of the American people really mean, and of what we should be concentrating on, remedying, correcting, improving.

Trump

Photo Source: João MartinhoCreative Commons

The man who has been elected is, for millions, not one whose values we wish to have portrayed as our own. His attitude towards women, foreigners, workers is, for many, abhorrent and unacceptable. His actions have come in for much criticism, especially when it comes to sexual assault and to his business dealings, to his denigration of minorities, his professed plans for the future of the United States of America. It remains up to us, the people, to show that we do not share these values, that we are a society steeped in other principles, following a different ethical and moral path. We will not be able to do that by taking to the streets and destroying, setting fires, assaulting others. We will only be able to do this by using our time-honored political, legislative and judicial processes to ensure that all which is bad is banished, that that which can cause harm is never enacted, never enforced.

If we cannot do this, if we cannot heal the ills of our society, then we are on the same level as the principles which Donald Trump, his supporters and followers, have professed, and that is not America. At least, not the America our forefathers planned, fought for, and created.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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