Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?
Nick BrothersThe Free Weekly Managing Editor

Nick Brothers
The Free Weekly Managing Editor

We’re living through some bizarro-world history right now.

As much as I’d like to rather believe a meddling time traveler came back from the future to turn the election in the opposite direction than everyone expected — even Donald Trump it seems — the truth is Trump won the democracy game. Even though he was the little orange boy who cried “rigged!”, it’s the new now.

I don’t want to add to the chorus of the whole notion that we’re facing the end times and that we’re all doomed. That doesn’t solve anything or provide any comfort to those who have legitimate cause for concern right now. Everything remains to be seen with a wild card in office, but I absolutely carry myself with a healthy dose of skepticism. I’ve been going through a series of frustration, disbelief and disenfranchisement. Most of the world is in disbelief, too.

Something that will forever nag at me, regardless of how the next four years play out: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Barack Obama … Donald J. Trump? A grossly inexperienced reality TV star who speaks like a dingus and whose main plan for office was building a fantastical wall for miles? He’s going to run our country? Are you kidding me?

The thing is, no. No one is kidding me. This is reality now.

If that doesn’t put a sour taste in your mouth that an off-the-cuff reality TV star bullied his way into the hall of presidents, maybe you need to reconsider some things. I understand the choices we had this election were dismal and we only had two choices, but to be happy about a Donald Trump presidency is too much for me to swallow.

I’m certain Trump is beside himself right now as he struggles to grasp his own reality. Judging from his improvised policies and behavior the past few days, I gotta think the phrase “Oh, shit. Oooohhh shit” is on repeat up in the cold, tacky gold hall that is his mind. And Melania? Man, I don’t think she signed up to be First Lady of the United States when she married Trump for his money.

Historians, journalists, thought leaders and Aunt Karen are going to be thinking and debating what the hell happened in 2016 for decades to come.

Now is the time we should all be reaching out to our friends and neighbors who are fearful and concerned about what’s to come, and meet them where they are. Hear them out and support them and speak out for them.

A lot of people are saying they just want those who are afraid to “get over it.” Belittling someone’s very real concerns about equality, deportation or health ain’t gonna cheer them up and help them move on with their lives. With a Republican controlled government and a party policy that’s consistently tried to restrict equal opportunity, we could be seeing some lightning fast changes in four years that will push what little the past eight years have accomplished way back.

That’s why we need to unite beyond party lines here to fight for human decency and respect (am I really having to write this column? Dear lord) and when you see something, say something. Silence is no better than approval, as scary as that may be.

We have had a gargantuan whale of issues that have been bubbling up to a boiling point throughout the past four years that hit fever pitch about a year ago. We just had to watch as a hail mary pass was thrown in overtime (the election) and see where it landed (unexpectedly, the ball turned into a sentient hate pumpkin and ran out of the stadium).

President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher)

President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher)

My takeaways from the past week are 1) the Democratic party somehow became a symbol of the liberal elite and marginalized the working class, which led to a backlash; 2) echo chambers and bubbles of confirmation bias are real and have left us misinformed and divided and; 3) too many people were still willing to rationalize everything that is Donald Trump over the most qualified candidate we’ve ever had the chance to vote for.

More on that first point, though. I’m still wrapping my head around it. The Democrats wanted to raise the minimum wage to combat automation and outsourcing and tax breaks for the middle class and the working poor, as well as increase regulation on Wall Street and the big banks. Understandably, Hillary wasn’t the perfect symbol to many voters for that kind of change. But really, I’m expected to believe a two-timing city slicker millionaire who lives in a James-Bond-villain gold penthouse knows anything or even cares about the rural lifestyle or working class struggle of millions of Americans? That guy, who’s never spent a day in government office or been involved in international politics is going to save us all, huh?

Don’t even get me started on the man’s prospective cabinet appointees.

Maybe a Trump presidency is the hard lesson our government and politics needed. Maybe the Democratic party will reassemble stronger and better than ever before. Progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are in an amazing position right now to champion the concerns of millions of Americans. They have the opportunity to rebuild the Democratic party to be a force to come back in 2018 and 2020. It’s unfortunate we’re even here, but we are.

One thing you can be damn sure about is we’ll still be here doing our funky thing in Fayetteville, Ark., at The Free Weekly. We may be a small alt-weekly, but you can count on this paper to keep covering the niche things and people in our community that are often overlooked, provide a voice and platform to our community’s performers, artists and people of influence and we will continue to point out bad policy and encourage policy-making that ensures liberty and justice for all as an ally to those who feel their voices don’t count.

Stay strong.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Commentary