Playground Ethics in American Politics

via Instagram

When I was little, I remember being taken to the park and being told to be nice to everyone. I remember being taken to my first day of kindergarten and being told to share with everyone. I remember sitting at my high school assemblies listening to the speeches about accepting everyone. I grew up being taught by my parents and my grandparents that I was to treat everyone equally. Now, these  morals ought to be applicable to adults as well as kindergarteners, don’t you think? These lessons must be easily translated to entire the human race? Yet, I’ve found myself looking for something – anything – reassuring to grasp onto in this trying time. I’ve read the Facebook posts and I’ve politely sat back and listened to people ranting about why they’re justified in their opinion. But when they finish, I only have one resonating sentence in my head: There is no justification why you shouldn’t seek equality for everyone. There is no justification for thinking that you deserve to be treated differently than anyone else. Yet this theory doesn't seem so clear when we look at the recent election. For most of us, this seemingly natural instinct for equality has been ingrained in us since childhood, yet somehow it doesn’t seem to strike a chord in recent politics.

Now that the election is over and people have had a little bit of time to sit back, drink some coffee and reflect, I think now is the time to discuss what we really have done. There was a little bit of time that I was irate, truly angry at my country, at my Republican friends, at my grandparents, even, as I’m sure some of you were as well. Then, of course, there’s the research period, you scope out and read the articles about our president-elect’s plans and hope for some sort of mercy, that it truly will not be as bad as you expect. Searching for a ray of light in this darkness that you feel you will probably be sitting in for four years. All the effort placed towards an attempt to understand the results are only defeated once more when you find that Donald Trump still doesn’t believe in the scientifically proven global climate change. We are moving through the phases of mourning, much like a break up with a significant other. The protests were our denial that this politically inexperienced man couldn’t possibly be in charge of our country, and now I find that most of us are in the acceptance phase. But before we address the acceptance stage, let's backtrack a bit.

I would first like to clarify: I do not doubt that Trump brings some things to the table that appeal to those who are a) heavily involved politically, b) frustrated with the current state of the United States, or c) both. Some of his ideas seem relevant, possibly helpful and he is obviously experienced in the business world and knows how to negotiate as any successful business man would. Sure, these reasons may warrant a vote if they stood alone. But these rationales do not stand alone. They are connected to the same man who wants to label individuals by their religion, force them to register (much like Nazi Germany under Hitler’s rule), they are tied to the same man who finds it acceptable to grab a woman “by her pussy”, they are directly correlated to a human being that generalized all Hispanics as criminals. Trump has very publicly and rather infamously degraded and offended the vast majority of groups in the United States. Yet, these things were not enough to convince you not to vote for him. Regardless of his countless offenses, our country still voted him into office. The “locker room talk” was dismissed, the racial slurs & jokes about disabilities were overlooked, core values taught to children completely ignored.

While this anger and confusion runs through my head, we, as a country, are entering the acceptance stage. There is only a certain degree of acceptance you can come to in this sort of predicament. My emotions are quite the storm iwhen it comes to our president-elect. But mostly I am disappointed. I am disappointed in the lack of education, the lack of acceptance, the lack of love that we have displayed as a nation and especially in those around me. We have elected a man who, on his campaign platform, promised to be the president of white American males, of white women too, if they agreed to turn a blind eye if sexually assaulted – maybe even the president of minority groups, so long as they assimilated immediately to the stereotypical American culture that the President-elect and many of his supporters are comfortable with.

Of course, I attend a very liberal school in which there has been significant action and expressed discomfort, but what has affected me the most are members of my family who seem satisfied with the results.  What this tells me is that they are satisfied with a man who has no respect for women. They are satisfied with a man that has blatantly slurred almost every race besides his own. They are satisfied with a man that mocks individuals with disabilities. They are satisfied with someone that defies every expectation we have set for a fair and justified leader, they are satisfied with someone who cannot even embody adolescent playground etiquette. They seem to have forgotten their morals, the things we learned as children. There is a blatant neglect for respect of others, for the world we live in and a lack of kindness. It seems that maybe our president-elect needs to return to kindergarten in order to be put in a few more timeouts and learn how to treat people with respect.

Going forward all I can hope is that we regroup, we regroup as a nation and reevaluate what really matters. I hope that we stand up for one another going forward, that we fight for each other. We must reconsider our behaviors and modify our thinking in order to band together and fight this manifestation of hate. We, the people, are the only ones that can make the change. Moving on may start with acceptance but change starts with a choice. A choice we all have to choose to make. A choice to love.