While the nation begins to recover in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shocking win over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, many people have chosen to express their political opinions and reactions on various social-media platforms throughout the day. Mike Schur — the creator of the popular network comedies Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine — chose to cope with the news by posting an extensive string of tweets that insightfully sheds light on Trump’s rise to power. The short version? We’re all complicit, although the media and politicians are particularly to blame:
Been planning a post-election twitter break for a while. Think it’s probably a good idea, now. But first: America, in its collective wisdom, has elected a vain, violent, ignorant, sexist bully as our President. Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, or a misogynist. But they did vote *for* a racist and a misogynist. They voted for a man who was happily, enthusiastically endorsed by the actual KKK. And who wouldn’t even denounce that endorsement. His voters saw him say he liked to grab women by the pussy, then watched as a dozen women accused him of assault, and they voted for him. They saw him present zero real ideas, change his mind constantly, and present no vision except to “Make America Great Again.” They saw him invent his own reality, repeat lies as if they were truths, and utterly dispense with basic civility.
There will be an endless post-mortem on how this happened. There is plenty of blame to go around. Start with the for-profit news business, who happily covered his rallies and hired his henchmen as talking heads. The media who equated Clinton’s emails with Trump’s litany of absurd personal, professional, political, and ethical failings. The federal law enforcement agents who intervened, banana republic junta-style, into a democratic election with a made-up scandal. The Republicans and Democrats alike who treated him like a joke instead of flatly stating that he was a dangerous and unserious person. And the (predominantly white) people who looked at the toxic cocktail he had to offer and thought, “Sure. Sounds good.” This was not a “working class revolt,” as was first reported. The data shows it clearly. This was a white revolt, and a male revolt.
Schur also wrote about how he’ll grapple with showing empathy in the future, as well as how he’ll talk to his children about Trump’s win:
I am being now asked to have empathy for the Trump voters who feel left behind in the midst of changes to our world. Why are those voters not being asked to have empathy for the women who are victims of the kind of misogyny Trump put on display? Where is their empathy for African-Americans and Muslim citizens and Hispanic citizens who are routinely victims of prejudice? Where is the empathy for non-white people who haven’t been “left behind” because they’ve never been able to catch up in the first place? For eight years, my son’s entire life, I have been able to point to the President of the United States and say: “Be like him: thoughtful, intelligent, steady, nuanced, kind, a good husband and father.” For the next four years, I fear I will have to say: “Do *not* be like him: rude, vindictive, callous, self-obsessed, and aggressive.” For six years, my daughter’s entire life, I have been telling her she can be anything she wants to be. For the next four (the next 50?), I will keep telling her that, until the cancer of misogyny is cut out of this country forever.
Still, he remains optimistic:
America has always survived its (many) disastrous political decisions. This feels like the most disastrous. I believe we can survive it. The problem is: this isn’t just a political decision. It’s a clarion call to forces of white nationalism, anti-semitism, and fascism. I thought the country had progressed enough to shout down a man whose campaign was fueled only by fear and hate. It has not. Progress comes from empathy and inclusiveness. I will try to find empathy for the people who voted for Trump. But Trump voters have to find empathy for the people who, with very good reason, fear his Presidency. That is the only way forward.
Take it one day at a time.