OPINION: Nothing is impossible in Trump’s America


Photo credit/ Summer Steinhart

The United States of Uncertainty

Michael Smith, Staff Writer

If watching the results of this year’s election felt a tiny bit like viewing a horror film, look a little further for the connection than calling the winner a devil. Calling someone you disagree with a devil is childish, and childish individuals don’t get hired, promoted, or elected president.

Except that calling Clinton a devil was just one of the many childish things Trump did during his campaign, and he got elected.

The horrifying part was not so much that an unapologetically prejudiced liar had won the election, or even that he’d beaten a candidate who was morally and pragmatically superior—it was the realization that he could get away with it in America.

I doubt I’m the only one who earnestly believed Clinton would win. Not in the way we believe our teams will win the Super Bowl, but the way we believe the ball will come back down when it’s thrown. We’re comfortable believing that the world is inhabited by people who are mostly good, or at the least, mostly reasonable and able to spot a liar like Trump. Trump’s win proved otherwise.

And there lies the uncanny similarity between this election and a horror movie. Horror protagonists suffer from an inability to recognize the supernatural and react appropriately.
However, the assumption many of them make—that there’s nothing supernatural at play—is in fact the only rational conclusion to come to in a world known to be free of ghosts.

The stupidity these characters are mocked for is the same skepticism the audience operates on. Granted, this trait comes with a great deal of plot convenience, but it remains that as a species we have difficulty accepting the possibility that the world might be a stranger and darker place than previously thought.

Thus it was that when Trump announced he was running, many skeptics wrote it off as a publicity stunt. When he was chosen as the Republican nominee, they wondered if it was all some effort bankrolled by Clinton to sabotage the election.

Then November rolled around, and the joke that Clinton was already president began to percolate in pop culture.

The punchline, of course, is that Trump won. The irony would be hilarious if it were not imbued with so much meaning.

So if anyone’s hoping that Trump will step up to the microphone on inauguration day, laugh, and announce that he’s secretly been a liberal all this time, don’t get your hopes up. The assumption many of us made—that Clinton would win—seemed the only rational conclusion, but it’s time to accept that our nation is stranger and darker than previously thought.

For the next four years, don’t assume anything is impossible. When you hear a rumor that Trump’s planning something outrageous, don’t assume it’s a hoax or that Congress will never go for it. Take sixty seconds and punch it into your search engine of choice. If you find an article by a legitimate news source verifying it, don’t stop at sharing it on Facebook. Call your state representatives. Email your state’s senators. Consider supporting an organization that represents your views, whether with donations or with volunteer time.

Just don’t spend the next four years watching, waiting, and hoping for the best. If there’s one thing this election cycle has taught me, it’s that there’s no accounting for Trump.

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