By AIDAK TUREK
I want to talk about the election. So do you, I imagine. This particular election cycle has given Americans across the country new ammunition for vituperative debate and caustic social contact. This has led people to certain unnecessarily hostile thoughts. I have heard it said a great many times in the brief period between Nov. 8 and writing this article, that the election was unjust, and that ideas of hatred and prejudice have triumphed over sane rationalism.
Indeed, I could see that as both somewhat truthful and somewhat false. What is true is not important; too many people have let themselves lose to their opinions and become too caught up with the truth as they see it. Too many, far too many, have lost sight of what American democracy is about, and, in its place, see a myopic interpretation of what they think America should be.
I have heard many Democrats threaten to leave to Canada; to flee the nation of their birth, their home, and their future — because Donald J. Trump won the election. Indeed, it was not just Trinity students that believed their destinies lay beyond our Northern border. The Canadian immigration website crashed just hours after the results of the election were announced. Others still took to the streets to protest, to shout and yell, and voice their adamant opposition to the results of the election. Because demonstrations, private and public, were so widespread, and so diligently irate, I will dwell no longer on them.
The point I want to make is simple; when we let our personal opinions overtake our shared ideals, the results can be devastating. And I mean this not just for Democrats. In 2008, and again four years later, the cries were just as strong, just as innately opposed, as the popular fervor of the last week. I believe we have forgotten the cornerstone of this nation, what makes us, in some humble way, unique, American democracy is predicated on the peaceful transition of power from one party to their opposing party. When we assert our private opinions — that “Obamacare” is and always should be enacted, that our borders should be open and free — over these fundamental principles of our democracy, we destroy the political entity through which can carry our ideas through.
I have heard in some quarters the wish to secede from the Union. It is with some historical irony that I consider this concept, because it was a very similar sentiment that inspired eleven Southern states to form the Confederacy under Jefferson Davis. The liberal breakaway nation would harbor exactly the opposite opinions on race, the role of federal government, and a slew of other policies. But for all the differences between the Southern Confederacy and the hypothetical liberal breakaway country, the motives that led them to declare independence are the same; putting personal beliefs in front of the shared agreement of the peaceful transition of power.
I want to speak candidly here: I don’t like Trump. A lot of people don’t. But even if he is a bigoted, prejudiced, “orange Hitler,” he is, for better or worse, our lawfully elected president. To be certain, I am not endorsing him or the ideas he espouses — quite the opposite. But that’s the point. You stay in America, you don’t flee or secede, because our Union has never been without flaws. It moves, day by day, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, sometimes not at all, towards progress.
You owe it to all the people Trump would seek to disenfranchise to stick it out for the next four years, to fight for what you believe, because this is a democracy. You, the individual, the citizen, are the sovereign. If you don’t like Trump, join an advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, donate to organizations devoted to aiding those who seek a better life in our nation, or in some similar fashion exercise your right, indeed your role, as being the change you want to see in the world.
We must not lose faith in our democracy, the same faith that guided men and women, like Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, and so many others, who believed that they could enact change, bit by bit. The bell that rings to announce Trump’s success shall not be the death knells of the Democratic party, but a call to arms for liberals nationwide, a reaffirmation in our beliefs, that it is within our power in this democracy, and that we owe it to our fellow countrymen not to abandon them in their time of need.
And if you are a Republican, I offer a sincere congratulations on your success.
By AIDAK TUREK