A list of things that are not (and should never be) acceptable even though Donald Trump will be our next president.
1. Labeling an entire race of people as ANYTHING.
2. Joking — publicly or privately — about sexual assault.
3. Committing sexual assault.
4. Insulting the appearance of anyone, man or woman.
5. Mocking the disabled.
6. Claiming that a person is unable to do their job because of their heritage.
7. Insulting and degrading veterans and prisoners of war who have suffered and died defending this country.
8. Blaming a billion members of an entire faith for the actions of a few extremists in another part of the world.
9. Suggesting that we have a religious test for citizenship in this country.
10. Threatening to throw your political opponents in jail.
11. Joking about mental illness.
12. Encouraging violence in any form.
13. Suggesting that anything that doesn’t go in your favor is rigged.
I can think of a thousand additions to this list but I’ll stop it here. I don’t care if he won this election, these are morally bankrupt actions and words and they don’t suddenly become acceptable just because he said them. Period.
Now then, let’s talk for just a moment about Hillary Clinton and this election. Disclaimer: I voted for Hillary Clinton in the general election. I am not ashamed of voting for her, nor do I think that she “would’ve been a worse president than Donald Trump,” something I’ve heard from many of his supporters lately. That being said, I acknowledge that she was a bad candidate. I don’t think anyone can really refute that. She was flawed, she had countless issues with trust and corruption, and she didn’t excite the voters that she needed to get off their couches on November 8th. So she lost.
I respect the will of the American people, even if I can think of a million tiny events that may have changed the outcome of this election. It doesn’t do any of us any good to wonder which little speech or scandal could’ve had an impact, because the bottom line is that Donald Trump won the election. At the same time, the bottom line is that we had two of the worst possible candidates for president this election cycle. More people voted against a candidate than for a candidate this year. If that isn’t the saddest commentary on our democracy, I don’t know what is.
So while I may loathe the president-elect, he will be our president on January 20th, and I do believe that we owe him a chance to lead. What we don’t owe him is a blank check or any notion that the hatred, bigotry, and reprehensible behavior he exhibited during the campaign is somehow less atrocious because his podium will have a presidential seal on it.
I’ve seen a lot of commotion about recounts, “stealing” the election, “rigged systems,” and quite a bit of other nonsense in the past few weeks, so I think it’s important to set the record straight. First, Jill Stein is raising money and filing paperwork to request recounts of the votes in several states, namely Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. This does not mean that she or anyone else is trying to “flip” the results of the election. Even if she were, I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton would accept such an outcome. She has more respect for the democratic system than she has a desire to be president. Period.
The recount effort is simply an attempt to ensure that votes were properly tallied in these key states. They aren’t likely to have any significant change on the actual outcome of the election, but these kinds of things are important to Americans’ confidence in our election systems. If the recount determines that only a handful of votes were incorrectly or fraudulently cast, then it will prove that this idea of “millions of illegal votes” as perpetrated by Donald Trump is complete nonsense (as if it wasn’t already proven to be nonsense by the total lack of evidence). If the recount finds a large number of fraudulent votes for either candidate, we will at least know that there is work to be done on our system before the next election.
I keep seeing complaints by Trump supporters on social media about these efforts being the work of “sore losers,” which is woefully ironic coming from the supporters of a man who spent an entire 18 months whining about losing a “rigged election” before the election took place. But I digress. This has nothing to do with winners or losers and everything to do with election system integrity. I would think that Trump, who is currently trying to stop the Michigan and Pennsylvania recounts via legal proceedings, would appreciate an audit of the votes given his concerns about voter fraud.
One last thing: the Electoral College. Yes, that confusing system that nobody pays attention to until we have a presidential election. I have just a few thoughts on this, since it’s been in the news lately. The numbers are still coming in, but as of publishing this post, Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by over 2.3 million votes. That’s not a small number, and it’s likely to surpass 2.5 million when it’s all said and done.
I’m normally not one to suggest radical change to a system, especially one that’s been around for over two centuries. But I think this election should be a flashpoint in the fight to do away with the Electoral College and elect our presidents by a straight popular vote system. For the second time in less than two decades, the winner of the Electoral College did not win the popular vote. This is a problem. If a majority of Americans voted for one candidate, that candidate should be the winner. Period. This has nothing to do with the weight of individual votes or rural states vs urban states. This is as logical and fair as possible.
Now, let me clear this up. Do I want to abolish the Electoral College? Yes. Do I think it’s going to happen? No, at least not in my lifetime. It’s the right thing to do, but let’s be practical here: how often does Congress do the right thing? So while I have hope that one day we will move to a fairer, less flawed system in which every vote is counted equally, I accept that it isn’t realistically going to happen anytime soon.
Yay for unexpectedly long posts! Seriously, this is only a small slice of the thoughts that have been kicking around in my head for the past month. With any luck I’ll have some extra free time to write more over the holiday break. I also plan to start using the blog again as my primary outlet for grievances, complaints, fact-checks, and general thoughts on politics. My poor Facebook feed is riddled with posts long enough to warrant a place here, so I’m going to try to manage that. Stay tuned!