Now What?

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Disbelief, sadness and shame. The world no longer sees us as a beacon of hope but as a threat. Hatred has won and we will pay for this in ways we cannot fathom today. America, for the first time in your 240-year history, you have created the planet’s biggest threat from within.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman just asked on Election Night, rhetorically, “Is America a failed state and society? It looks truly possible.”

He then wrote, “I guess we have to pick ourselves up and try to find a way forward, but this has been a night of terrible revelations, and I don’t think it’s self-indulgent to feel quite a lot of despair.”

Here are some of the things Americans are soon to find out and some of the questions they will immediately be confronted with. Because this is the change the majority of our country has mandated tonight:

  • How will you feel when the stock market plummets more than 1,000 points (conservatively) within 24 hours of this decision? And then it really goes on a rollercoaster from there.
  • The presumptive winning candidate has just turned over the board and the entire planet can now distance themselves from us. Before, alliances that were tenuous were held together through mutual support and tolerance. Now there is no reason for them to stay.
  • House to house deportation squads? Internment camps? Monitoring people based on religion and a rally cry from Isis once they see we are vulnerable because of our lost alliances? This is, very clearly, the mandate from voters.
  • Putin the dictator now has the presumptive leader of the free world as an admirer. His nation state deliberately interfered with our election and not only got away with it—but won.
  • Please Trump campaign immediately release talking points for the children about how bullies win and why that is good. I’m curious about how to spin this tomorrow.
  • Am I safe here? Is my family?

Long-term:

  • Will the rest of free world turn its back on us completely?
  • Where can we travel? Where can we stay?
  • What happens when the planet continues to revolt and we have no plan, no safeguards, and no funding in place?
  • Are we willing to instantly uninsure 20 million Americans and put our healthcare system entirely into the hands of huge corporations?
  • The call to “lock up” certain political figures and pundits—for no discernible crimes or infractions—drove the winner’s campaign. Will there be pressure to create political prisoners and drive our best, brightest and most thoughtful voices into exile?
  • The winner has long leaned toward authoritarianism to govern. Will this extend to his use of executive power to protect his own business and personal interests, reward his cronies and prosecute and persecute his enemies, to use the power only to watch people be destroyed? Will he use government expressly as a tool for revenge? He certainly will have that option.
  • How should we go about defending our rights to free speech, to choose what to do with our bodies, to love who we want to love, to keep members of our immediate families from being deported? Will minorities, people who rely on our freedoms to practice their religion, people who are in same-sex marriages, people with disabilities…women—be threatened beyond the ability to continue to make this land a sustainable, habitable place for them? In order to defend those who have already fought so hard and suffered so much to make a go in this country, will we have to—indeed—physically fight for our rights?
  • And if we do, who will come to our aid?

California’s GNP is roughly the size of Brazil and New York is Spain. Those two states alone combine to be the sixth-largest economy in the world. Beyond financially, they are the engine that drives this country socially, technologically and politically. The rural parts of this country overwhelmingly embraced this candidate and rebuffed most of the citizens who live in the coastal metros and bigger cities in the interior. What about them? The people and ideas that are this country’s engine were roundly rejected by those who espouse racism, misogyny and nativism and embrace a doomsday vision.

The season to come is one of both turmoil and emptiness.

And lastly, maybe most importantly: Does Donald J. Trump even want to be president? His campaign clearly started out as a joke, a lark. He is a cult leader and he may or may not believe anything he has said or done to get himself elected. Now that he’s here he has no discernible plan, no road map to positive outcome, no hope for a future that resembles any of the temperance, civility or humanity of our country’s rich past. The road ahead is merely a long dusty trail to disenfranchisement and divisiveness.

Good is now the minority.

I thought the fight would be over tonight.

Turns out, it has just begun.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”.

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