As the polls come to a close this Tuesday night, our 70-and-sunny streak has suddenly been eclipsed by a hot-headed, ill-spoken, pseudo-politician.
Donald J. Trump, that is.
Or Drumpf, as John Oliver revealed to us on Last Week Tonight.
Trump is winning the Republican primary in more states than we’d like to admit, as we book flights to move to Canada by the end of 2016.
Some of us are afraid of living in an America run by Trump’s administration, but we should really be afraid of living in an America populated by his supporters.
See, Trump isn’t winning because he’s rich or powerful or “telling it like it is.” He’s winning because Americans are supporting him.
We are not being Punk’d. Trump’s success is not a passing fad, it is (likely) not a conspiracy, it is not a cruel joke.
It is an epidemic. But he is not the root cause. The voters are.
On this not-so-Super Tuesday, real people are casting real votes in the real primary. They’re going home to their loved ones in their neighborhoods in their parts of town, and somehow sleeping at night, between sheets woven of racism and ignorance.
Trump might be a bigot, but he is not the only one. He did not make it cool, or appealing or popular.
He just made it publicly acceptable for people to admit that they, too, are ignorant bigots. He never would have resonated with voters if they had not already harbored hate and aggression so rampant that they support a person who openly advocated the oppression of Muslims or joked about a shooting spree on Fifth Avenue.
If Trump can be accountable for his racism, elitism and political incorrectness, then Americans must be accountable for their votes.
Oliver urged viewers to imagine what a Trump presidency would look like, but we should really think about what Americans would look like during his administration. The truth is, we would look the same as we do now. The Americans who would support his administrative policies are the same Americans who currently live in our neighborhoods, go to our schools, contribute to our communities.
Are we okay with that?
The point is not to create an “us” versus “them” approach, but rather “us” versus “Trump.” We, as Americans, have the power to choose our own leader, but we aren’t making great use of it just by touting our views on social media. Actually sitting and talking to each other is going to make a difference. It’s hard to talk politics with those we know have opposing views. We shy away from confrontation, from dissonance, from awkward lulls in dinner conversations gone wrong. We don’t want to talk about this, but at this point, we have to.
This emotional appeal that Trump abuses is the same tool we have to educate each other.
Chances are, this blog post won’t change anyone’s mind. I’m looking to change hearts.
Trump doesn’t just represent what is wrong with Americans, he has given them an outlet. He has provided a venue to spread hate, and ignorance and oppression. We deserve better than this.
But in order to get better, we have to vote better, learn better, act better. We have to be better.
We can make America great again, but we have to do it without Trump. We have to do it in spite of him.