It’s time to take stock of what has transpired over the last year and a half. As most people are able to surmise, this election cycle — a torrential oversaturation of unprecedented deceit, closet skeletons shocking the electorate with every turn of the campaign doorknob, and unmitigatedly violent verbal attacks like successive, stinging cracks of a whip — has been quite the political whirlwind. Hillary has been playing a skillful game of electoral Minesweeper while The Donald has charged across the American political landscape, a unregistered gun in one hand and a red baseball cap in the other, unfazed by the campaign damage he has done and blissfully unaware of the governmental damage he has yet to do.
In a week, the United States will usher a new world leader into the fold, to the collective dismay of most Americans, who see through the wide, wild-eyed smile of Hillary as much as they don’t take seriously the limited, childlike vocabulary of The Donald. I wouldn’t categorize any citizen of this great country as politically satisfied. In fact, everyone is pretty angry; angry at the political process for being confusing and limiting, angry at the government for not representing their wants and needs, angry at The Donald for practically everything he’s ever done over the last eighteen months, and angry at each other.
If anything was truly highlighted in bright, neon colors over the course of this election, it is that politics in this country has turned the grand experiment of democracy into a drunken fist-fight in the back of a gloomy bar, where the winner still comes out with a couple bruises and scrapes, and nobody is happy about it. The people perceive politics as smoky backroom deals between two equally corrupt parties, and politicians perceive the people as perpetually unsatisfied, uninformed, and uninterested lemmings.
And let us not be fooled; the election isn’t the source of such visceral disillusionment. It is by all accounts an active precipitant. The election, no matter how it ends, will disturb and disrupt most Americans. Never in our country’s history have the voting population been in such a catch twenty-two; a dilemmatic debacle in which any choice you make is one that will have more adverse effects than was bargained for. But even after these choices are made, we still be left to deal with the aftermath, and you can rest assured that there will be a palpably angry environment to traverse through.
What is uncertain, however, is how long this political anger will last. When will the subsidence of this anger begin to take effect, and when will happiness be restored to our scorched land? Well, that is dependent on many factors.
Firstly, the attitudes of the people has to change drastically. There has to be a shift in mindset from that of hatred-driven complacency to actual care and concern for politics and the future of American government. Secondly, the attitude of politicians have to change. At some point deeply buried in time long past, the notion of being a politician largely shifted away from the idea of serving the people to the idea of serving whatever best suited them personally. Now, you can vilify whomever whatever you please for that shift taking place, whether it be lobbyists or financing for campaigns or just truly amoral politicians themselves, but dwelling on the blamed parties is not how to fix anything; it only furthers hateful discourse.
We, as a country must push forward in the months to come, as there is more to our problem than merely one presidential election, no matter how much of an embarrassing spectacle in was. The same people will still be here (except maybe Mexicans and Muslims), the same anger will still be here, and the same arguments will still be bolstered by the two unshakeable sides, with no adjudication in sight. But what will also still be here is this idea of what America could be.
It could be a place where a disagreement on a minuscule policy doesn’t inflate into an all-out civil war, or where people could understand that government and politics isn’t a “snap-of the-fingers” job, but instead a detailed task that takes time and cooperation. Maybe this ideal America is just that; an ideal. But maybe that ideal is something worth striving for.