Searching for Hope

In 2012, I barely registered there was an election going on. I was pregnant with Ryder, and it was the furthest thing from my mind in Mexico City. I noted with amusement my mom’s borderline crush on Mitt Romney—he even made our family newsletter—but it didn’t make that much difference to me whether Obama was reelected, partly because at the time I identified as libertarian—Ron Paul was my candidate. Either way, I was sure both candidates would meddle and end up in even more wars abroad, and the difference between the two parties seemed so slight.

Over the last few years, I’ve grown more and more liberal. Apparently, other travelers tell me, that’s a common side effect from living abroad. I can’t explain why it is. It just is.

In 2015, I took the “isidewith” test and registered 99% with Bernie Sanders. I thought it was wrong-I knew nothing about the guy. I wanted to side with Hillary-because she was a woman, and I thought it seemed the logical next step—first black president, then first woman president. I didn’t care enough in the primaries, and I didn’t vote because I couldn’t see much difference between the two. Hindsight is 20/20.

I heard him speak in Utah. And he really came across as just a good man. With a funny accent. But a sincere, and honest, and in-this-for-the-right-reasons kind of politician.

I was not particularly moved one way or the other about Trump until I heard his speech after the Pulse nightclub shooting.

It was so paranoid, alarmist, and anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, as well as factually inaccurate (the shooter was American-born) I was shocked it was being broadcasted everywhere as though it would actually be helpful. I read up on him after that and quickly joined the #nevertrump party. There was plenty of ammunition. Mexicans are rapists. Build a wall! And so much such absolute nonsense that it was not even discussable in an intelligible conversation. It was simply, as Politifact’s Nobel Prize winning website’s moniker says, “pants-on-fire” inaccurate.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned from this election, from this whole thing, it’s this: Nice guys finish last. They don’t win. The ruthless, the selfish, the abusers, the privileged—they’re the ones who come first.

The cruel, the mockers, the assaulters, the crude, the liars, the racists.

They win.

I had people ask around the world if I really thought it could happen—fearfully—a Trump presidency, you know—and I said no. I brushed it aside. I thought no one would actually take him seriously.

And now here we are. A joke? No, because it’s not funny.

People, in the Netherlands and Germany and Switzerland at least, are just scared.

Highest office of the land? A man convicted of fraud, accused of sexual assault by dozens, a man who could not remember the truth even if he’d tweeted it that morning. A man who embraces violence-torture of innocents—nuclear proliferation—racial and religious discrimination—and who surrounds himself with likeminded people. People who denounced him at first, and then for political expediency, have fallen into line and bowed.

A man who denies climate change—who advocates for his own businesses and that of any industry which may damage the earth out of pure greed, to save a dollar here and there in a speedy rush to planet and species destruction.

An authoritarian, who will not accept any criticism and who wishes to suppress negative media coverage. Who openly admires “strong” leaders who others simply recognize as dictators.

A narcissist, who sees no wrong in taking advantage of those who are weak because of his wealth and his power and his position.

A man who, by all accounts, is motivated by revenge—who threatened to throw his political opponent in jail—who sues and fights and does not pay his workers and who is supposed to be…someone children in the US should ASPIRE to be like.

A man who promises to fix the economy who has lived a life in and out of bankruptcy and who global economists say will add trillions of dollars to the already astronomical debt.

A leader who refuses to disavow the white supremacy groups who are openly gathering and celebrating in his name.

The night Trump won the presidency, I had a dream about an accident in which dead bodies lay in a heap and I knew I had to keep driving past and not look.

And that’s what I should do, instead of thinking about it, because the more I think about what this means for women, for minorities, for the environment, for diplomacy, for every single human being whose life is affected around the world by the power of the US government, the more I begin to get anxious because there is nothing to do but accept.

It’s a unique kind of grief that at least is slightly mitigated with the awareness that many others share it: a good-bye, hopefully only temporarily, to the values that I thought America held dear: equality—democracy—freedom—a light and a beacon to the rest of the world.

But even if the post-election grief is slightly mitigated by sharing it with others who are also mourning, it’s also deepened by the silence of his supporters on his actions—and silence is complicity.

Americans—at least the current American voting system—chose this.

And the whole world must deal with the aftermath.

As President Obama has said in response to the election…“It’s not when times are good when we need to have hope. It’s when things are at their worst when hope is the most important.”

Here’s to hope. Hope that Trump’s damage can be minimized, removed, and prevented by the people who claimed to oppose him and who wanted to stop him and who now are entrusted with keeping him in check.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 364 awesome articles for us.

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