Play­ing the Trump card

Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans chose the ‘bom­bas­tic bil­lion­aire’ over the es­tab­lish­ment can­di­date

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Tricia Bishop Tricia Bishop is The Sun’s deputy ed­i­to­rial page ed­i­tor. Her col­umn runs ev­ery other Fri­day. Her email is tricia.bishop@balt­sun.com; Twit­ter: @tri­cia­bishop.

Idon’t know that we owe Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump an “open mind,” as Hil­lary Clin­ton sug­gested in her speech to sup­port­ers Wed­nes­day. He’s shown him­self to be a thin-skinned, tax-dodg­ing, deal-reneg­ing, racist, xeno­pho­bic, anti-Semitic, misog­y­nis­tic bully with very lit­tle self-con­trol, and it’s un­likely our hav­ing re­warded such be­hav­ior with the keys to the king­dom will sud­denly re­sult in some kind of moral awak­en­ing for him at age 70.

As Maya An­gelou said, “When some­one shows you who they are, be­lieve them the first time.” The Don­ald has re­peat­edly shown us who he is, and giv­ing him the chance to do so again has some­thing of a “fool me­once, shame on you; fool me twice (or 20 times), shame on me” feel. Un­for­tu­nately, much of the elec­torate didn’t par­tic­u­larly care.

But those of us who do care owe it to our­selves — and our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren — to take an­other piece of Ms. Clin­ton’s day-af­ter ad­vice: “Let’s do all we can,” she said, “to keep ad­vanc­ing the causes and val­ues we all hold dear: mak­ing our economy work for ev­ery­one, not just those at the top; pro­tect­ing our coun­try and pro­tect­ing our planet; and break­ing down all the bar­ri­ers that hold any Amer­i­can back from achiev­ing their dreams.”

That takes more than cast­ing a vote on Election Day, some­thing many Amer­i­cans couldn’t even be both­ered to do (nearly half of el­i­gi­ble vot­ers, more than 108 mil­lion peo­ple, did not vote, ac­cord­ing to the United States Elec­tions Project). It re­quires real work, anal­y­sis and sel­f­re­flec­tion — and an un­der­stand­ing that in the cur­rent cli­mate, “ad­vanc­ing” may be an over­reach. The goal might just be stem­ming the losses, which are ex­pected to be, as Mr. Trump would say, “great.”

Al­ready, DOTUS is set to roll back gains on pro­tect­ing the environment by dis­man­tling an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment to curb cli­mate emis­sions and ap­point­ing a cli­mate-change skep­tic to over­see his EPA tran­si­tion team, which could more aptly be de­scribed as the “de­mo­li­tion crew.” Oba­macare is also on the chop­ping block, with­out a vi­able re­place­ment, as are the Con­sumer Fi­nan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau, Iran nu­clear deal, a path to le­gal sta­tus for un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants and fed­eral fund­ing for Planned Par­ent­hood.

There’s talk that Mr. Trump will put “right-wingin’, bit­ter-clin­gin’ ” Sarah Palin in his Cab­i­net along with his in­ner cir­cle of old white males, in­clud­ing “fas­ci­nated with sex” Newt Gin­grich, who’s un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for a post as sec­re­tary of state or health and hu­man ser­vices; “ev­ery­body [has af­fairs]” Rudy Gi­u­liani (our po­ten­tial new at­tor­ney gen­eral); and no one told me Bridge­gate “was an act of po­lit­i­cal ret­ri­bu­tion” Chris Christie (the pos­si­ble AG, or sec­re­tary of ei­ther com­merce or home­land se­cu­rity).

There’s le­git­i­mate con­cern that this group’s poli­cies would worsen the sys­temic in­equal­i­ties al­ready built into so many of our coun­try’s in­sti­tu­tions. But it’s the bla­tant so­cial set­backs they rep­re­sent that feel the most like a slap in the face — par­tic­u­larly com­ing as they do on the heels of hav­ing twice elected our coun­try’s first black pres­i­dent.

At its most be­nign level, a vote for Mr. Trump was a reck­less vote against the es­tab­lish­ment and so-called “elite.” Up a step, it was a vote for a con­ser­va­tive Supreme Court — mean­ing a vote against gay rights, abor­tion ac­cess and stricter gun con­trol. And at it’s most sin­is­ter, it was a vote for a male-dom­i­nated Aryan na­tion.

There­fore, I pro­pose we view this slap as a sort of “snap out of it” smack, rather than crip­pling as­sault. It’s time to toughen up, dry the tears (se­ri­ously, Cor­nell Univer­sity, you held a “cry in”?) and move for­ward, tak­ing our ac­tivism be­yond Face­book. Those who were “shocked” and “stunned” by the election’s out­come haven’t been pay­ing enough at­ten­tion to the wider world — both its prej­u­dices and pains. Try zoom­ing in on those election maps, and you’ll see that the red zones aren’t just in the mid­dle of the coun­try but in our back­yards; 17 out of Mary­land’s 24 ju­ris­dic­tions went to Mr. Trump.

So, fig­ure out your par­tic­u­lar pas­sion, join a group that pro­motes it, and get to know your neigh­bors. You might learn some­thing from them while you’re learn­ing about them, and vice versa. At the very least, such in­ter­ac­tions might re­move the sting of our ide­o­log­i­cal di­vi­sions along with some of the fear we feel to­ward those who aren’t ex­actly like us, and in turn, re­duce the like­li­hood that an­other Don­ald Trump can again win the White House.

Be­cause while he may not have been your pick for pres­i­dent, he is in­deed your pres­i­dent. And this is your coun­try.

Don’t like it? Do the work to change it.

JOHN ROARK/AP

A Hil­lary Clin­ton sup­porter re­acts as election num­bers roll in in­di­cat­ing that Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump will win the 2016 pres­i­den­tial election.

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