Surely no one believed that Donald Trump would actually ever become the US president after watching The Simpsons episode ‘Bart to the Future’ air on 19 March 2000. Now, 16 years and 9 months later President Elect Trump is now the President of the United States of America, but how did we get here, why has he been so contentious, and what can be done to make America great?
It all began on June 16, 2015, when Trump formally launched his campaign. His infectious speeches, charismatic personality and divisive rhetoric lead many to believe he is the first of a sprout of demagogues to arise in Western politics. Trump’s fully self-funded campaign has meant he is not accountable to anyone thus allowing him to say what he wants regardless of the consequences, such as calling Mexican immigrants “criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”, him wanting to build a wall on the Mexican border at their expense, or his lewd conversation about sexually assaulting women . Of course, I can continue to list a plethora of Trump’s insensitive, insulting and controversial remarks, but I think it’s more interesting that despite his controversial comments his supporters still gravitate towards him because he represents a complete change from the usual political candidate.
I am in no way insinuating that all those who voted for Trump are stupid, racist or incapable of making informed political decisions but instead, I think the emphasis should be on why the masses of the American working class have felt disenfranchised with the American political establishment. Despite his divisive rhetoric and controversial remarks, the American people’s yearning for change has fuelled Trump to win the presidential election, even if by only 74 votes in the Electoral College.
Can working class Americans really be blamed for wanting an alternative to the elitist political establishment, where the top 0.1% are worth as much as the bottom 90%?
The only viable political alternative was Bernie Sanders, but the Democratic Party establishment didn’t support his ‘leftist’ ideals, choosing to settle with the safe option of Hillary Clinton instead-who to many is an embodiment of the establishment. I personally can’t blame those Americans tired of the unfair status quo.
Reverend Franklin Graham shares that “It wasn’t Donald Trump that divided this country,” but that “This country has been divided for a long time, and we do need to come together and we need to pray today [that] … Only God can fix this country.” I agree that Trump is not the sole cause of America’s divisions and the country has long been divided along racial, class, and political lines, but God alone can’t save America and President Trump, now more than ever has a responsibility to help heal such divisions. If Trump has been a cause for America’s divisions to come out from under the crammed carpet, then our only hope and prayer, is that he can lead America to deal with these problems.
If this article manages to find President Trump, any of his advisers, friends or family then I suggest that he continues to use Twitter as a form of transparent communication with the American people, but only if he recognises the damage that a 140 character Tweet can do. In my opinion, Tweets degrading people such as undermining the historic accomplishments of the last surviving civil rights activist, John Lewis, are irresponsible and can breed further division. If Trump genuinely wants to “make America great for all of our people” then he should appreciate the power of words, whether online or spoken.
So if Trump has shed light on America’s historical divisions, what can we do about it?
Regardless if you’re a Trump supporter or not, if we truly want America to heal its deep divisions we must each rethink how we speak to each other, and shaming those who have differing political views to us will only achieve more resentment and division. Instead, only earnest, open and constructive dialogue, along with prayer will make America great.
Chijioke Anosike TWN Editor