Going Gently

Immediately after the election results came out, I was left reeling. It was as though some part of me had been ripped out, some veil of idealistic innocence torn away from my eyes. Perhaps it was the universal childhood belief that “good” always triumphs over “evil,” endlessly perpetuated by fairytales and TV cartoons. Although I hate to reduce politics and people to concepts so absolute, the numb feeling in my gut on November 9th allowed for no grey areas. The fear and anger Trump inspired in Americans made him worse than any supervillain. Unlike TV supervillains, however, Trump was undeniably real.

There were plenty of outcries right after the election results came out, of course. The country seemed like it was about to go to pieces with all of the rioting and arguing occurring at every moment. Soon, however, there was a shift in the atmosphere, and all of a sudden I found that I was shocked at how quickly the it all settled down. Soon, CNN and The New York Times were sending me notifications about Trump creating lists of nominees for his cabinet, Trump making phone calls to leaders in other countries, Trump meeting with President Obama, Trump doing this, that, and the other thing. The people around me began to discuss Trump as though he were any other normal president-elect. The only place Trump was out of the ordinary was in my AP Government and Politics class, and that was only because the electoral map this season was so unexpected.

We play a ridiculously dangerous game when we let ourselves gloss over and forget the things Trump has said and done, from his lewd audiotape to his racially-charged calls to build a wall between the US and Mexico. We have let these things die off into the past in order to form some semblance of peace, some feeling of togetherness, but we forget that they only die in our mouths. His ideas still exist, and they will still be put into action by anyone he appoints as a cabinet member. The harmful, toxic things Trump says will continue to hurt people even if we sweep them under the rug.

However, we are not only ignoring the things Trump has done in the past. He hasn’t stopped lying, rupturing global diplomatic ties, threatening to take away established First Amendment rights, or choosing terrifying alt-rightists as his senior staff members since he won the election. But the outcry over these events has not matched that of the election season. Our anger is muted, beaten, shoved reluctantly down into our stomachs. So we wait, and we slip into complacency, and we hope to survive and forget. However, this is not the kind of situation where we can swallow the medicine and hope the taste goes away. This “medicine” will work its way into the country’s body and sit in it as poison in it for decades to come if we do not act.

Am I calling for a bloody, violent revolution in which we rise up and overthrow the entire American government, burning the White House to the ground? No, not at all. But we can never forget who Donald Trump is or the revolting things which he has said and done. Sweeping our country’s conscience clear of our new president’s past will be our downfall, because we will continue to allow him to harm our country if we do so. He will take our normalization of his ideas and he will run with it, taking them further and further, and we will continue to do everything we can to make them seem normal. We can’t let that happen.

We should not let his comments fade into the past. Instead, we should work to make sure that his hateful, damaging policies are blocked when they can be. We should raise our collective voice against every action he takes which we know will hurt us.

Do not go gentle into that good night.


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