Let's Take Our Responsibility Seriously

Some quick back of the napkin math that might make you feel better about America right now and/or make you mad/sad.

U.S. Population: 319.8 million
People who voted for Trump: 59.8 million
% of U.S. population who voted for Trump: 18.8%
% of U.S. population who did not affirmatively cast a vote for this man: 81.2%

For every American who made a conscious decision to make Donald Trump the next president, there are 4 who didn't (some are kids who might have if they were 18 but that's beside the point).

I'm not arguing that this percentage is radically different from the percentage of the U.S. population that has elected most of our past presidents. What I am saying is that we can't function as a society if we assume half of the people that live in this country are our enemies. (We probably also can't function if we assume 18.8% of the population are our enemies.)

These numbers, in addition to being hopeful for our ability to get along with each other and function as a society, are also deeply sad, because there are something like 100 million eligible voters who stayed home. As many have pointed out, Trump got less votes than Mitt Romney and won because Hillary got around 6 million less votes than Obama in 2012. To me, there are lots of complicated reasons for what happened, but one of the things that frustrates me most is that lack of enthusiasm for the Democratic nominee translated to far too many people failing to, as I put it the other day, "defend their democracy." It's also 100 million people who didn't step up and cast a vote to protect undocumented immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the disabled, LBGTQ folks, etc.

Now we have to trust our institutions: civil society, the press, grassroots activism, Congress, the Supreme Court, the military, and the people Trump appoints to his administration to defend our democracy for the next 2 and 4 years, and defend the rights of all vulnerable people, until the voters are given the chance to do so again. And not all of these institutions are trustworthy on one or both counts.

I am hopeful there that we, the voters, will get that next chance, but the fact that it's no longer a sure thing because our president-elect has shown no understanding of the Constitution and has displayed many authoritarian impulses throughout his campaign and career should trouble us deeply. Assuming we get the opportunity, let's take our responsibility more seriously next time.