As I’ve been thinking about the current political climate, I’ve been trying to figure out why it bothers me so much more than in the past. Trump isn’t the first candidate I didn’t like. Palin scared me, and in my more conservative days I wasn’t too fond of Bill Clinton.
I think what upsets me is what the upswell of support for Trump says about our country. Trump has been overtly racist, sexist, and used fear of entire people groups to mobilize support. When these things are pointed out, supporters are either excuse, ignore, or condone the behavior.
I have been off the belief that over the last 60 years, America has become greater because we have become more inclusive. We have opened doors that used to be closed. We have included people at the table that used to be left outside. There is still much work to be done, but there has been consistent forward momentum.
I knew there were racists and bigots, a few open and others who kept opinions to themselves because they knew their opinions were unpopular. I thought they were largely on the fringes and out of the public forum. The Trump campaign has shown that there is a large base of hate, fear, and bigotry that has been simmering under the surface waiting for someone to give it a voice.
I don’t like that this represents a truth that there is a large part of America that wants to turn back the clock, make America “great again”, and undo decades of work towards racial, gender, and lgbt equality. I don’t like that there is a large part of America that will allow fear to rule over love and compassion.
As much as anything, Trump has been a mirror held up to America so we can see our real reflection. We can see that we aren’t as mature and responsible as we thought.