What Now?

I’ve been silent on my blog lately as I’ve been trying to get things going here in Baltimore since I returned a month ago. For that I’m sorry and I promise I’m working on some cool new stuff for The Starving Archaeologist which I’ll roll out very soon.

I felt compelled to write tonight given the way the election results have unfolded, and given some of the reactions I’ve been seeing to what is happening.

Full disclosure: I voted for Hillary Clinton this morning, despite the fact I really don’t like her. I actually made the decision right there in the voting booth and my reasoning was more motivated by my distaste for Donald Trump than my affinity for anything Secretary Clinton or the Democrats presented this election. I supported Bernie Sanders and I endorsed the policies and ideals he proposed long before he became popular (or before I even knew about him, for that matter).

With that in mind, at the time of me writing this, it looks like Mr. Trump will be our next president. (Disclaimer: I turned off the election coverage as of 1:45AM so I won’t know the final results until after I publish this post)

I have some choice words for my fellow citizens tonight in light of the developing situation. Surprisingly enough, however, most of them would be directed to my fellow progressive liberals, and not third party voters or Trump supporters. In short, I’d say something like I told you so to the die-hard, day one Clinton supporters about the arrogance of her, her campaign, and her party and the wages of the sin of hubris. It would seem that the Trump campaign was underestimated dramatically and the work wasn’t put in to meet their efficacy. But more importantly, I’d give a wag of the finger to my fellow progressive liberals who now stare defeat in the face. The pundits are already crediting Mr. Trump’s impending victory to his ability to connect with his supporters and provide an outsider’s approach to governing. Say what you want about the man’s authenticity; at the end of the day, he’s got the votes. If I had to guess what went wrong, I’d say a large part of the problem was the inability of the Progressive-Liberal movement to listen to its opposition. Too many of my peers touted the progressive ideology as absolute morality rather than engaging in a dialogue that might give way to practical progress.

Nevertheless, here we are. My critical opinion doesn’t really matter. We can speculate how we got to this point and try to point the finger at this group or that group, but why bother? It wasn’t about one candidate winning or another losing. There’s an underlying sentiment and energy that is creating the current situation that’s bigger than the candidates, their platforms, and their parties.

Mr. Trump’s following has been one credited with a powerful vitriol of the status quo, and has been pitted directly against all of the gains the liberal progressive movement has made in the past decade or so. They’ve “clapped back” in the most politically incorrect, of not downright offensive way. Facing a pending victory by that faction will inspire some…emotions, and I get it.

I get the shock, the fear, and the anger. I’m feeling it myself.

Still, we must be mindful that lashing out, seeking to place blame, stepping outside of appropriate and respectful language towards one’s neighbors is stooping to the level of the “troublemakers” we believe are wrong in the first place. 

Take it from someone who’s been “otherized” his whole life. Since middle school, I’ve been targeted for everything from my hobbies to the color of my skin (naturally, the last one stings the deepest).

The one lesson I gather from all my experiences of fear, anger, and urges toward lashing out against those who brought that into my life was that I couldn’t give in to those emotions. Not giving in doesn’t invalidate my emotions, but I have to accept that the causes (read: people) of my fear or anger are out of my control and I can’t let them cripple me. If I did, I’d be no better than those who caused me my grief, and I’d be validating their behavior.

The same lesson is pertinent to the current situation, and it should make you question how to give the emotions you’re feeling value and meaning.

To that end, the best question I ask myself, and I strongly advise my other dissenting compatriots to ask themselves is, how can I be the best I can be with the little I can control? How can I be the best American I can be to my neighbors?

I can’t answer that for you; only you can answer that for yourself.

Go out tomorrow, be proud, be American and be great. You didn’t need to be made great again, you already were.

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4 thoughts on “What Now?

  1. Good Morning Dustin! What an eloquent and insightful essay. I agree with you wholeheartedly. At once, I offer you condolences and congratulations. Condolences bc this wasnt the outcome we expected or sought. Congratulations bc today is a new day, and the day after, and the day after that. It is a gift to us all, no matter who is elected to office. Our opportunity is to be our best self, our best neighbor, our best worker, our best family member, our best patriot, etc. Lots of love to you. Praying for the answers and opportunities you seek. Elizabeth

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