I recently attended a conference where, during a training of the faculty, the question was asked, “Does Donald Trump represent America.” The goal of the exercise is for faculty to find themselves somewhere along a 0% agree to 100% agree continuum. Among a room full of diversity practitioners, an initial response was, “He doesn’t represent me.” Upon further review of the probing question, it was quickly clear that, while The Donald may not represent “me” (or “some” of us) specifically, he is the voice for many others. And this is scary.
Following the recent holiday, I’ve seen an increasing number of friends note they were surprised by the number of family members they have who do, in fact, buy into the hate and fear-mongering displayed by many of the GOP candidates.
Donald Trump does represent America.
While my political beliefs are no secret (if you follow me on twitter you know which way I swing), I spend a lot of time actually investing in all sides of any argument or belief (political and beyond). Let us not forget, I was once a member of College Republicans many moons ago. And, I have yet to miss a single debate.
As the GOP debates provoke me to tweet with humor and to tweet with passion, it was not until recently that I fully comprehended the dangers of what these men (+Carly) are saying and doing. As a “politically engaged” Democrat who cares mostly about education and human rights, I am getting really nervous and anxious about what could and might go down in 2016. And this scares me.
Am I alone here?
Let’s pause for a moment.
It’s an Olympic year!
Where are you going with this, Michael?
Stay with me, please.
Like clockwork, and shortly after we celebrate a united approach to supporting various sporting events, we will become scattered, stressed, angry, and divided. In fact, this happens every four years. The Olympic Games commence, countries unite/rejoice/celebrate, and the United States’ citizens wave their flags from sea to shining sea.
And then an election happens.
And then division happens.
And then folks filter their input to only accept what they believe they’re capable of receiving.
“Thanks, Obama,” and all of that.
To amend the initial question, it’s important to understand here, “Does *Donald Trump represent America,” also includes *Donald Trump-adjacent folks. The “scary” goes beyond Trump. Electing an individual who targets a specific identity group feels dangerous to me. It feels irresponsible.
Who represents your America? Are you processing the impact of this year’s election? Are you talking with your friends, family, children? Will you vote for inclusive policies? Will you speak up against injustice? Do you have the courage?
Let us pause in preparation.
Road to Rio,
*art via Ann Telnaes, The Washington Post