I looked around the school gymnasium and was humbled. We were a polyglot of tongues and colours, from many cultures – all immigrants. I stood with all the other immigrants to swear my allegiance to the United States of America. A country which I thought stood for decency. For equality for all. A still young country to which many others in the world looked to with hope.
In 2014 the population of America was 318.9 million and it seems, in the bleary light of a dull Houston morning, as if Secretary Clinton will win the popular vote by a squeak. America, though, is a representative republic as opposed to a direct democracy, and it is this that has allowed Donald Trump to win the Electoral College. The system whereby the number of electors for a state is based upon the voting membership of that state in Congress.
The system put in place by those who wrote the Constitution. James Madison, considered the pivotal writer of the Constitution, believed “factions” of the public with a common interest could arguably harm the nascent nation as a whole. I would argue that system has just irredeemably harmed the now 241 year old nation.
This is not the first time the popular vote has been defeated by the electoral system. George Bush beat Al Gore in 2000, and the same has happened on three other occasions in the 1800s. I wasn’t able to vote in the Bush v Gore contest but I cared, and was disappointed in the outcome. I was not, though, riven with a feeling of utter horror. Mr Bush might not have been my choice but I never questioned his belief in his country or his inherent decency.
The man-who-would-be-president in January 2017 fills me with such disgust and distrust that I feel truly ill. And almost worse, my anger at the millions of people in this incredible country who have turned their back on progress. Who have accepted the slogan “Make America Great Again” – when the merest glance over the border to the chaos in many countries in Central and South America, across the oceans on either side of us, would see just how great America is.
Fed on fear, much of America has shown the watching world just how ignorant we are of what is happening in the world. We are in danger of being considered an inward-looking, inbred country of misogynistic men and cowed women, uncaring and uninterested in life outside our borders. Unwilling to take a stand for the rights of people everywhere.
And everywhere includes the United States. Mr Trump has denigrated so many people here – women, African Americans, Muslims, the disabled, immigrants, those who have fought and died for this country, those who love someone of the same sex – and I suppose, as I wipe the tears away, I am shell-shocked at the gullibility of people through broad swathes of this country. People who have voted for a man who is proud of not paying taxes, a man who holds women in staggeringly low esteem, who sneers at climate change and believes coal extraction is a good way to increase jobs, a man who brags of business acumen but who is alienating many trading partners with his rhetoric of slashing international trade deals, won through diplomacy and patience.
Diplomatic and patient – two words never used to describe the man we the people have elected to the White House. To fill the rooms of that venerable mansion with crass flamboyance, and crude utterances. To replace a family who have lived there with grace, humour and courage.
And I am shell-shocked at the blatant disregard by women in this country of a man who threatens their very wellbeing, and that of their children, particularly their daughters.
The markets settled slightly after Mr Trump’s acceptance speech, more gracious than expected, but how can a country become “great” when the person leading it has such a low opinion of so many of its citizens, and the world outside its borders?
On April 7th, 2010 I proudly became a citizen of this incredible country. On November 9th, 2016 I am beyond dismay.
Apple, thank you for the bold and raw honesty you have spread across these pages. I too am mortified. “Shame on you America,” for voting in a man who is exactly what you have so eloquently detailed in these pages.
What concerns me the most is the alarming last paragraph of a Washington Post article this morning on how Trump won the election: “What he will do with it [the office of president], even he does not know. Asked earlier this year if he has spent much time preparing to actually be president, Trump admitted that his focus had been solely on the campaign. ‘I’m all about the hunt and the chase,’ he said. ‘When I get something I really wanted, I sometimes lose interest in it.'”
This is just plain scary. He has been all talk, willing to say anything to get a vote. He has no idea how he will implement all his campaign promises. It’s all about him – a megalomaniac, narcissistic, pathological liar. God help us all.
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Stated eloquently. Let’s hope our nation pulls together and all are truly represented. Congratulations on being a US citizen-through good and the bad.
Apple, these are novel post Brexit times we have entered. Frankly I would have been unable to vote for either candidate. I probably would have gone with Jill Stein as a protest vote. I have voted Green in the past when I could not bring myself to vote for the other 3.
I have forwarded this to my daughter Pippa in NYC. She was so filled with hope and support for Hillary Clinton that her sorrow will surely equal yours. My son Mac posted this on our family whatsapp;
“if I were to run, I’d probably run as a Republican. They’ve got the dumbest group of voters in the country. The’ll believe anything they see on Fox News. I could lie and they’d believe anything. I bet my numbers would be great” (Trump interview People Magazine 1998)
Pippa posted “….I’m going to throw up”
I don’t know if its truly from an interview with People Magazine, but the result is the same. I note that he did get more popular votes than Sec. Clinton so it looks like whatever the system, he’s The Man.
We will see what the experience of actual politics does for him. I wondered if his infrastructure plans, re-alignment of global treaties and alliances, downgrading of NATO will so spook the military-industrial complex (good old cold war expression) that a contingency State Funeral is being planned in the Pentagon? Many very vested interests will emerge…
Actually he didn’t get the popular vote. DT 59,588,437 and 47% HC 59,794,935 and 48% with 99% votes counted.