As as existentialist I take full responsibility for the recent election of Donald Trump. I neither supported him nor voted for him, but there is always more that can be done to actualize the world you want to live in, as opposed to the one you find yourself thrust into. Trump was a response to a crisis of vision, not just on Clinton’s part, but on the part of us all. We philosophers especially must shoulder the blame for being derelict in our duties to see beyond the shadows of the present and into a compelling brighter future.
We do not know, at this hour, what a Trump presidency will look like. I don’t believe he has any solid ideological convictions, or lasting loyalties beyond his inner circle of immediate descendants. Those who voted in the belief they were getting a conservative, a nationalist, a race warrior, a gun-rights activist, or a pro-lifer may all live to be disappointed in their turn. Disappointed as well, however, may be those who anticipate (or at least hope) he will grow to fill the demands of the office. The best-case scenario might be a speedy impeachment, or, less dramatically, that he contents himself with the role of figurehead-in-chief, and delegates all the actual work of governance to someone at least minimally competent.
What are the dangers ahead? I take the prospect of a Trump presidency as an existential nuclear threat quite seriously, and also the prospect that he might be an unwitting tool of the sinister Mr. Putin. Everything else is probably survivable for four years –we do live under a system specifically designed to be robust against the advent of a bad leader.
Whether or not he himself believes the rhetoric, Trump has already greatly emboldened some of the most negative sections of national fabric, and we can expect at least some fallout from a newly visible and vastly strengthened racist, nationalist and religionist movement. It will likely be a bad four years to be a (non-European) immigrant. Things may get worse in general for citizens of color. We’re almost certainly looking towards another round of bad economic times, and a reversal of progress against climate change at a particularly crucial juncture.
History teaches it that it is all too easy for things to get much much worse, and we need to be vigilant against those possibilities. However, every crisis is also an opportunity. This election has smashed some old coalitions and forged some new ones. If this turn of events lights enough of a fire under enough of the right people, maybe we can indeed find new ways to be stronger together after all.
2 thoughts on “Dangerous Days Ahead”
What has happened to common sense. I see that you string words together nicely, but you have nothing new or good to say. You don’t understand a country that has had it’s heart ripped out and who has had everyrhing taken from them by the very government who told us to have the audacity to hope. It didn’t begin with BHO, but it will end with him. As you sit in your ivory tower writing your noble words, know this. Donald Trump, President Elect, will take office. He will run this country like a business. He will get rid of what doesn’t work. He will return law and order to this country. I pray that all people’s of this nation prospers, but not all will. They don’t know how to work. Their heads are full of rhetoric and lies fed to them by their educators. They are called Millennials and they are a generation lost to the working class. They are not producers they are takers, much like yourself. They cannot even express real reasons for the mayhem they are chaotically casting upon our streets (in Sanctuary Cities). We know they are organized by and paid for by Soros. Maybe you are a community organizer? People like you scare me. I lump all of your type into my basket of educated idiots. I know that producers are expendable to the users. Most Deplorables have read. or are aware of, the book you and your fellow educated idiots base their existence upon. Just as Donald Trump has triumphed in his personnel life, and triumphed in the election of 2016, so will he triumph in his presidency. He can do nothing less than be triumphant.
Hi Barbara, thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my posts. I am not in an ivory tower or a professional organizer. I’m a working American with a family, possibly like yourself. I’m a Christian who volunteers weekly with my church. I pay my taxes. My grandfather served in the American armed forces in World War II, and his great-great-great-great-grandfather fought the British in the Revolutionary War.
However, I’m also sensitive to the fact that this is a country that has sometimes lived out its best ideals, and at other times treated people very badly based on their race or ethnicity. One of my grandmothers was an American citizen imprisoned by her fellow Americans in an “internment” camp, despite having committed no crimes, just because of her race. My grandfather who flew missions against the Axis forces in WWII returned home to face segregated and discriminatory conditions –a country where people of his skin color were routinely murdered on the flimsiest of pretexts.
Because of that, I’m very sensitive to leaders who –whether or not they are racist themselves– seem willing to take advantage of racial hatred. If someone says they want to make “America great” again, I want to make sure that doesn’t mean they want to make America hate again. And when I hear about someone who can supposedly do “nothing less than be triumphant,” and therefore shouldn’t be questioned, it does remind me of WWII, but not of America.