Well, the day is finally upon us. Agent Orange is about to take his place as the next President of the United States, arguably the most powerful position in the world. We've had two months to come to terms with this, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still hurt, disappointed, angry and disgusted that Americans would vote for such a divisive, mean-spirited, and racist man. Nevertheless, it's a fact of life and we have no choice but to move on.
Even before the election, American politics was usually the first topic strangers wanted to talk about after finding out I was American. But who can blame them? Our election cycle was like a never-ending episode of "As the World Turns" on steroids. And after the results were announced, foreigners would say things to me like "What were you guys thinking?!" or "How did you guys let this happen?!" or any variation thereof...because the rest of the world (except Russia apparently) knows what a big mistake America made. While I honestly didn't think the election would turn out the way it did, I've come up with 4 standard responses I plan to choose between when asked about American politics while abroad:
1. "The only Donald we acknowledge is Glover."
Awesomely Luvvie couldn't have said it any better during this year's Golden Globe Awards. If you're not sure who two-time Golden Globe Winner Donald Glover is, you have probably seen or heard his work without even knowing it. He's been a writer at "30 Rock", rapper under the name of Childish Gambino, a DJ, an actor and currently stars in "Atlanta" on FX, which he also created. Donald's also about to star in the upcoming Star Wars movie. See? Such a great way to avoid talking about the Angry Cheeto. And you'll get cool points for introducing your audience to a piece of relevant pop culture.
2. "So what about the price of tea in China?"
Because I would literally rather talk about the price of tea in China than about how the Combover King manipulated and conned his way to become the president of the United States.
3. "He's not a legitimate president."
Which isn't even a lie! He lost the popular vote by close to 3 million votes. If the election was a true popularity contest (which it is), Lord Voldemort would have lost and had to go back to his New York City penthouse kicking and screaming like the toddler he is. He has no experience in government and if his cabinet picks are an indication of how the next four years will go, we are in for an even more rude awakening. As far as I'm concerned, Barack Hussein Obama will continue being my president until January 20, 2021 when the next president is sworn in. That is unless America decides it's a glutton for punishment and votes him into office again, which brings me to my next quotable...
4. "America America'd."
After having time to digest the results of the election, several hundred think pieces were published that discuss how America has never seen progress without regressing first. While slavery was abolished in 1865, it was followed by Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Not to mention the 'Reaganomics' era under Ronald Reagan, who opposed affirmative action and created drug enforcement policies that disproportionately affected black Americans and quite frankly, still do. President Obama actually mentioned this recently in his farewell address. He says,
Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard. It's always been contentious. Sometimes it's been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all and not just some.
While President Obama offers more hope than I can muster right now, he's right to some extent. But some may argue that America showed its true colors by electing a person to the highest office in the nation who has such disregard for anyone who is not like him. America was built on free labor, violence and superiority complexes. By electing him, Americans acted in the same self-serving ways the country's forefathers founded it on.
It's not a coincidence that this post is being published on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday (reluctantly signed into law by Ronald Reagan, oddly enough), where we are supposed to reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of a man who challenged the status quo in America. As we embark on the next four years under this presidency, I challenge all of us, Americans or otherwise, to think about how we can be more inclusive of those not like us, speak out against injustices and make our communities better places than we found them.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King Jr.
By: Crystal Walton