His presidency is reigniting our interest in politics and democracy
Woah, woah, did you read that headline and think I was a Trump supporter? Before this kicks off, I would like to admit that I am incredibly biased, certainly against Trump, but also against the American political establishment, of which there are no higher arbiters than the Clintons. In fact, the only American politician I feel deserves to be in Washington is our lord and savior, Bernard Sanders. Trump is, and will continue to be, a disaster for not only people in his own country, but disadvantaged people around the world. His election was essentially a culmination of all the problems in the American political system: 24-hour news, oblivious and uncaring politicians (looking at you, Hillary “What Rust Belt States?” Clinton), and a disengaged populace bombarded by constant political news. The hope I’m talking about is not coming from there, it’s coming from the backlash to it, the movement that Trump managed to ignite not on the right, but on the left.
The election of a fascist, elderly man-child is horrific, and I don’t wish to claim otherwise from my ivory tower of being a tall, white, Canadian man. The one single benefit of having Trump as President is that Republicans, this time, have gone too far. Instead of the slow creep to the right that has changed their political system to the point that Hillary Clinton is seen as liberal, the Republican Party got too greedy and grabbed the most disgusting and disturbing President in the history of the country. This woke the people up. For the first time ever, the American people are deeply, honestly, and viscerally disgusted by their President, and it’s left them asking “how the FUCK has this happened?” That is the state at which they must be in in order to change a system as broken as the one seen in America.
The backlash against Democrats and Republicans in town halls recently is the best example of this resistance. Thousands of people who did not care about politics this time a year ago are coming out to hold their representatives accountable, to the point where Marco Rubio cancelled a town hall with the excuse that he would be out of the country, when, in fact, he was seen in Miami at that same time. For the first time in decades, the career politicians on both sides of the aisle are scared of their constituents. How is that not a fantastic thing? They are afraid of how involved the people are, and I would claim this would have never happened under Hillary, just as it didn’t happen under Obama as he repealed Habeas Corpus, made Bush’s tax cuts permanent, and killed civilians attending weddings on the other side of the world. It would not have happened under her because the “good guys” would have won, it would be another victory against bigots and the radical right. Imagine this: what would you do if tomorrow Trump declared it was now legal to hold anyone in prison indefinitely without charging them with a crime? Obama did exactly that by repealing Habeas Corpus, a cornerstone of liberal democracy. I’ll be willing to bet you didn’t even know he did it. That is my hypothesis in action.
Another example: who was Obama’s Secretary of Education? Housing and Urban Development? Energy? Now, who are Trump’s? Betsy De Vos, Ben Carson, and Rick Perry almost skip off the tongue because, people care. These Secretaries keep making the news because people want to see what they are doing. People across the world know more about the Executive Branch of the US government than they ever have. This one element of this administration does not outweigh the pain, death, and misery that accompanies the Trump presidency, nor is it my attempt to feverishly grasp at any silver lining I can find, but it is actually a measure of self-reflection on the part of the American people that should have happened 25 years ago, and has been a long time coming. In a system such as the US’s, the people are coming back in from the cold, and demanding all the seats at the table. It’s a return to grassroots, honest democracy, ironically enough spurred on by the election of a fascist. What could be more American than a contradiction like that?