We’re still in the process of fully grasping the implications of the 2016 Presidential election, but if there’s any consensus it’s that the outcome reflects the kinetic movement of ideologies from open-ended diversity toward conformity. What exactly is it that we’re conforming to? The prototypical Trump voter, if there is such a thing, has been painted as a low to middle class white male disgruntled by feelings of marginalization. The white backlash was fueled, among other things, by automated phone instructions that begin with: presione 1 para el español. So in 2016 it was the white voter who determined which state was red and which was blue. But what does that say about America’s “true colors”? It has set the stage for potential confrontation, an extreme example of which occurred recently on Delta Airlines.
(By the way, airline travel is stressful enough these days without these outbursts. So what’s up with the woman in the back of the plane whose voice audibly goads the inebriated gentleman by yelling: “We can’t hear you back here”? What could possibly lead you to believe that this fellow has anything pertinent to say that would prepare you for departure? And of course the obvious question – how come none of the snarky stewardesses usually barking orders to anyone stepping into the aisle to get something from an overhead bin before departure were on this flight?)
The latent liberal fear in seeing a redneck jacked up on Jack Daniels, clapping like an inebriated seal looking for a fish, is that it smacks the pendulum too hard in the direction of intolerance. If we feel that diversity has gone too far, there is more at stake here than stopping the practice of every kid on the losing team getting a trophy for showing up. There is the possbility of returning to an era of intolerance fed by the desire to see one’s socioeconomic agenda or race as ascendant.
Though none of us knows how President-Elect Trump will perform as President, the predominant thought is to give him the benefit of the pout. It is clear through his initial appointments that business acumen will be uber alles in the White House. We’re embarking on an era of monarchy fueled by royalties. President Obama was elected in 2008 on the strength of minority support sold on the opportunity for change. Whether or not what has transpired for minorities in the past 8 years has been substantive change or loose change has been hotly debated. President Trump was elected in 2016 by a counter movement sold on his promise of socioeconomic and political reparations to Make America Great Again. How well that slogan elevates the welfare of the electorate who put him into office remains to be seen.
In the interim, perhaps the best we can hope for is a divided populace re-discovering how to effectively connect with one another. A healing America is just as important as a dealing America. It would be delightful if in four years our newly elected President could pen a new book, “The Art of the Heal”.