The fact that I’m even writing this article proves it. He is impossible to ignore.
In the absence of any real platforms (beyond, of course, the wall), it’s hard to figure out what exactly a President Trump would even do. His back and forth speeches though have revealed a few aims that his supporters have latched on to: increased criticism of immigrants, alienation of Muslims, violence against dissidents, and undermining victims of sexual assault, among others.
In most elections, the candidates advocate for changes while campaigning, and the people choose based on their vision for the nation. In this case, one of those candidates has already seen his changes begin.
Immigrants and minorities are facing more intolerance from their communities: schools vandalized, comments from peers, and even arson of community spaces. Muslims are increasingly attacked and ‘othered’: comments from teachers and students alike, taxi drivers beaten. Dissidents have been brutalized at rallies while exercising their rights to different opinions. Sexual assault victims have come forward expressing their realities that form the punch line of his deplorable jokes. Children are facing a new reality in their schools and their teachers see them worrying about division outside of math class.
The reality is, this Trump guy has captured not just the nation, but also the globe. He has already begun to change the reality of our societies, just by expressing his ideas and empowering his supporters to follow suit. That support has mobilized and multiplied and is being replicated all around the world.
If he wins, this will still have become the new norm. Whatever policy changes he really makes, those aims will be underpinning them. And he will have support. His victory would mean he had support. Not just in the US, but across borders and continents.
We’re all hoping for November 8th to come and go quickly. If Trump loses, many think we get to breathe a sigh of relief. We did just narrowly avoid Armageddon, no? But the only change is the person at the head of the nation; each and every one of those supporters is still there. Regardless of the outcome on Election Day, there will be pushback, presumably even more so than usual.
The impact he has had on society is causing many to question how we even got to this point. Why things we considered as ‘basic’ values – the rights to speak, to move, to be safe, even to exist as minorities – are being challenged. Those in opposition to Trump have been put in the position of having to defend these concepts anew, shifting our conversations backwards by decades of progress.
And the reality is, even if he loses, we will have to continue to defend these principles and push to undo the damage that has already been done before we can even return to a ‘status quo’, let alone work to keep pushing forward. These conversations cannot and will not end with the passing of elections.
This exhausting, maddening, nonsensical election has been disillusioning and indicative of a bitter reality that many thought had been changed. But that’s not true and Trump proved it, not through his words, but through the people listening and echoing them.
The campaigning might end, but the new reality won’t — this is real life now.