Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Van Jones Speaks for Millions on the Aftermath of America's 2016 Elections

"People have talked about a miracle. I'm hearing about a nightmare. It's hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids 'don't be a bully.' You tell your kids 'don't be a bigot.' You tell your kids 'do your homework and be prepared.'
And then you have this outcome. And you have people putting children to bed tonight and they're afraid of breakfast. They're afraid of 'how do I explain this to my children?' I have families of immigrants who are terrified tonight. This was many things... We've talked everything but race tonight. This was a white lash against a changing country. A white lash against a black president, in part. And that's where the pain comes."
Yesterday I was afraid that the election would be close, but mostly optimistic that America consisted mostly of people like Van Jones. Decent, sane, intelligent people who don't buy into conspiracy theories, who can distinguish between truth and lies, who don't blame politicians for their own personal challenges, who can recognize the dangers of media-driven hyperbole and innuendo, who care deeply about inequality, racism, sexual abuse, bigotry in all its disgusting manifestations and not just when it hits the headlines.

That would be because most Americans I know are like that. I was so sure that the land of the free and the home of the brave still described the main part of the country.

Today I have to live with the truth. And worse, the reality that some of the people I called friends voted directly for bigotry. Or took great pride in their independence of mind and voted Gary Johnson. Who siphoned off Hillary Clinton's winning edge in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and handed the Presidency to Trump. Recklessly visiting disaster on millions, in America and round the world, adding terrifying weight to a growing body of white supremacists, enabling men who think it's okay to abuse those with disabilities, anybody who isn't white, women; empowering businessmen who think it's okay to cheat and steal and stiff your workers; disabling the middle class, giving renewed vigor to the NRA, the military industrial complex and a GOP committed to trickle-up economics, where the poor feed the wealthy.

My heart breaks for Hillary Clinton and her family. And for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama - great Gods, what a terrible thing for them. And for Joe Biden, and Tim Kaine, and all the Democrat groups and politicians who have worked so hard to uphold values, not just during the Hillary Clinton campaign, but for their whole careers and especially during Barack Obama's presidency, fighting against an intractable Republican Party. For the great minds and great journalists who had the courage to call Trump for what he is.

My heart breaks for every wonderful, courageous Democrat who poured their life into the campaign and who took the trouble to vote and who just got bludgeoned; whose uphill battle against slavish ignorance, prejudice, discrimination, injustice, racism, sexism, inequality, a tilted Supreme Court just became a cliff-face.

I had to ask the question that millions are asking: is America still the land of the free and the home of the brave? 

The answer is an unqualified yes, of course it still is and it always will be. The free and the brave are still in the majority - Hillary Clinton won the popular vote - but they are a threatened group now, so much so that they're almost a minority. One thing we all know about American minorities: they fight through unimaginable obstacles and they never give up.