I’ve been having a lot of feelings lately. Feelings of being completely overwhelmed by this election, and more than that, feelings of being completely overwhelmed by the mess we’re in because of ignorance, hatred, fear, prejudice, and power.
On Sunday, a childhood friend of mine beautifully articulated these feelings in a post on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt:
“As bad as Trump is, even if/when he loses, this hatred might not go away. He’s brought out the worst in us as a society, preyed on our fear and close-mindedness and fetish for the greatest shock value. I know this sounds laughably naive, but shouldn’t elections be about choosing between highly qualified public servants whose ideas about how to help the common good differ but who agree on the end goal? How did we stray so far? All I can hope at this point is that we as a society use this election as a wake-up call to examine our own hearts and choose love.”
The thing is, I don’t blame Trump for the hatred people feel toward people who are different from them. I do credit him for kicking up the thin layer of dirt that covered it up.
And this post from Abby Norman, published on Medium, also put it eloquently:

“People like Trump because he gives them permission to no longer suppress their intolerance. He promotes pride in prejudice. …Even if Trump does not become president, his supporters will still exist, and they will have been invigorated by the rhetoric of this campaign. Trump has made them brave.
“Trump is not the problem; he’s the result of a systemic problem, of which we are all a part. If you aren’t actively against what he stands for, you’re part of the problem. If you are silent, you are tolerating hate.”
And that’s what has me so unsettled, so troubled, so overwhelmed.
Do I think Trump is a bad man? Yes. And, as it turns out, there are a lot of bad men out there. Trump has given them a voice. A loud, angry, harmful voice. And that terrifies me.

2 Replies to “The Power of a Bad Man”

  1. Nina, I understand the terror you feel. My only hope is that you can’t solve a problem that you can’t see. Trump has shined a light on people who are so unhappy, so bereft of hope that they have painted their hope for change on this maniac. Perhaps he has done us a favor by exposing the anger and frustration these people feel. Maybe we as a society can start to address this anger that has been lurking just beneath the surface. Perhaps we can start to address a failing educational system that has produced people who will follow this narcissistic liar. One can only hope.

    1. Thank you for your comment, MIL! That is exactly the optimistic note I wish I had ended my post on.

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