The Unproductivity of 229
Think all the way back to October 19, 2016 – the night of the most controversial comment in presidential debate history. GOP nominee Donald Trump had casually brushed off the notion of the peaceful transition of power in American democracy, stating that he would ‘let us know at the time’ if he would be willing to accept the results of the presidential election. We were quick to call that statement a number of things ranging from unsportsmanlike to dishonorable, with special mention to Hillary’s designation as “horrifying”. We were adamant that anyone who deemed the election to be ‘rigged’ was just making excuses, unwilling to accept the reality of their situation.
That sentiment is a tad too familiar now – just in the exact opposite direction we expected it. Since election night, there have been four full days of protests against President-Elect Trump, with the mandatory one-day break on Wednesday to recover from the hangover. The rallying cry of said rallies? #notmypresident
At best it’s productive, at worst it’s… I think the word was ‘treasonous’. Protesting has traditionally been an act by which change is driven, but barring a constitutional amendment, 290 electoral votes makes this situation fairly ironclad. That feeling you had on Tuesday night, and still probably feel in waves every time you turn on the news – that’s the feeling that the other 60 million people had when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. But he prevailed, despite the pre-existing condition of his blackness (which incidentally, is covered by Obamacare). He prevailed despite the general how-did-this-negro-become-our-leader sentiment shared by the ones proudly wearing their MAGA hats in the streets today. They didn’t march in ’08, at least nowhere near this extent. They accepted it and filled the ranks, to the point where they now control governorships and state legislatures, the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Presidency and soon enough the Supreme Court. That was their protest.
We created safe spaces – much-ridiculed, oft-mocked, rightfully-scorned bubbles – where we deemed it okay to shut out those with a contrasting view under the guise of civil discourse, failing to understand that ‘no judgment’ means that there’s going to be little critical thinking. We could afford the notion of thinking when he wasn’t president when we were still in the safe space of our mind – a space we refused to leave in the past week, dismissing the uninterrupted objections of reality. We tried to pop their bubble when it came to climate-change-denying or systematic-racism-doubting, forgetting that we had sealed ourselves in a safe bubble of our own, and that popping our own was the only way to stick our finger through others’.
We can’t do that anymore, because the country is their safe space now.