The election of Donald J. Trump as the new President of the United States of America, has not only proved how divided the nation is, but it has also brought up concerns that sadly were never in the past. Trump managed his campaign as the salesman he is, presenting himself as an outsider and promising whatever it took to convince those who have felt ignored by the political class, which is something one expected from him based on his record as a business man. However, another big part of his campaign was based on bigotry and intolerance, and while it would be unfair to call everyone who voted for him racist, it would be irresponsible to ignore it.
Trump aimed at the working class, tired and disappointed of years of not being considered. He spoke to the people who have suffered the most in the last decades, and who saw the political class as someone they could not connect to or trust anymore. But he also aimed at the almost visceral racism of others. His speech spoke to those who consider this country theirs, and think those who do not align with their beliefs are foreigners, or even enemies. Trump’s ambiguous message of “make America great again” spoke of past times as the ideal the nation needed to go back to. The positive image of that America of the past referred probably to a nation more economically stable, but also could have referred at some level to a predominantly white nation — perhaps even as far back to when slavery still existed, and African Americans and women could not vote.
A week after being elected president, Trump’s chameleonic character has been uncovered. He recently met with President Barack Obama, who once he had called the “worst president in the history” and a “loser,” commenting that he respects him and looks forward to working with him. Trump has also accepted his famous wall will be a fence in certain areas, has changed his deportation plan to only deporting those with criminal records, something Obama’s administration was already doing, and seems to not want to put Hillary Clinton in jail anymore.
While one could take these inconsistencies as a proof of his unfitness to govern, and just another example of his almost comedic quality to say what is convenient to him, no one can erase his campaign words. His message of bigotry has opened doors for some who may have repressed, sometimes not so well, their own racism. And even though Trump may not have made anyone racist or sexist, he may have made some believe it’s okay to attack people based on their race or sexuality. After all, _if the President does it why not me_, they could think.
Trump could have changed his discourse from the campaign, but he still has surrounded himself by some of the most conservative politicians. Ironically, the candidate who resented the political class is now encompassed by Pence, Carson, Giuliani, and company.
For the benefit of the nation we can hope Trump’s words were part of his campaign strategy, and that he leads a government for all Americans, as he has promised. But waiting for that may not be enough; parents, teachers, artists, politicians, we should all work on making this a nation that accepts each other, and let those being attacked know that we are here for them.
The great William Faulkner, perhaps the writer who understood this nation the best, once wrote: “Yesterday won’t be over until tomorrow, and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago.” To write the answers of our future we must look into the questions of our past.
_Alonso Rodriguez Romero was born in Lima, Peru, but has lived in the U.S. since he was fifteen years old. He is a graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelors in English, with a concentration on Creative Writing. He can be contacted by email, email@example.com._
The recent election of Donald Trump as President of the US has brought up a list of concerns for many. What were his tactics, and is he sticking with his word post-election?