The results of the recent Presidential election reveal less about the candidates than they do about the status of the nation. One hundred and fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation, we still are filled with racial hatred. One hundred years after women achieved the right to vote, they still are treated as second-class citizens. A decade after the Supreme Court struck down the sodomy laws, lesbian, gay, and transgender people still are harassed, hated, discriminated against, and even murdered with impunity.
As a progressive, I have believed in the forward march of humanity to progress beyond our primitive natures toward a kinder, gentler form that was less aggressive, hostile, and ignorant. This political movement based on a fear of "others" is not limited to the United States as we have seen a revolt in Europe against accepting refugees and the flight of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Again, it is less a question of economics and more a question of a regression to more nationalistic, war-like policies that appeal to people's baser instincts. This provides the opportunity for demagogues who will say or do anything to achieve control and to assume a more dictatorial and less democratic system of governing. Democracy is still somewhat of a novelty in most of Africa, Asia, and the Mid-East. We appear to be in a stage of becoming more like Russia.
We often associate democracy with Christianity, but as we have seen last week, the most extreme proponents of a very narrow-minded version of Christianity not only opposed the ideals of equality but were motivated by an extreme hatred of all minorities. Angry, old white men don't quite explain the unexpected results of the election. Unemployed or under-employed workers in the Midwest may have given Trump the Electoral College votes he needed, but they did not represent the majority of voters. Commentators have tried to explain the vote on the basis of the urban and rural divide as though everyone who lived in cities was smart, educated, and progressive. The financial markets, oil & gas industries, and some major corporations were more interested in perpetuating their tax and economic advantages than in saving democracy. Former President Jimmy Carter has stated that we already have a system of oligarchy that rivals the era of the giant trusts of the 1890's.
Some of the naive progressives hope that Trump's outrageous manner may change when he assumes the Presidency. As Matthew Vines tweeted, "since Trump already has lied about so many of his promises, why should we believe him now when he says he will govern for all of the people." Just look at the transition team he is building and the probable cabinet appointments. We are looking at a Republican Party, Congress, and President who resemble that of the 1920's.
We will need more than hope and prayers to counter this anti-democratic theocracy based on greed, wealth, fear, and privilege. We must create a movement that has real political power larger than just a reformation of the Democratic Party that has failed us all. I will concede that Trump was at least right on that point.