By Léo Azambuja
By now, most of us must be sick and tired with the divide that followed the last presidential elections. Democrat Hillary Clinton came up more than a million votes ahead of Republican Donald Trump but lost the election in the Electoral College vote count.
I must admit, I too am guilty of a few opinionated postings on social media before realizing it was best to leave the beast alone. After all, this is a democracy, and the will of the people must be respected. But the reality is, Trump will be our next president, and it is testing to watch such a bigot leading this great democracy.
Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” suggested we needed change to bring this country back to its former greatness. I greatly disagree with that. We are greater than we have ever been.
For the last eight years, we had a half-black president whose father was from Africa. President Barack Hussein Obama wasn’t just a symbol of diversity; he walked the talk. And he made this country great again, with an exemplary leadership so focused on human rights that it earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in less than a year after he started his journey at the White House.
We don’t need to make this country great again. Obama already did that and more, he upped the ante. He made it greater than ever. What we need is to make sure it stays great.
My biggest objection against Trump is not about his campaign promises of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (if he can make it better, go for it), tightening border security (laws should be enforced), or trampling international environmental agreements (good luck getting through Obama’s bulletproof measures).
My biggest objection against Trump is the man himself.
This is a man who has behaved like a 5-year-old during political debates. This is a man who was recorded saying he liked to grab women by their genitals, that you can do anything to them if you are a star. This is a billionaire elected to the White House who is still secretive about his personal finances. This is a man who mocked handicapped people on national TV. This is a man who kicked out reporters out of political rallies. This is a man who promoted racism and misogyny.
And for his entrepreneurial prowess, four of his businesses have filed for bankruptcy.
Yet, this is the man who will represent the United States at least for the next four years. That is, unless he does something even more unimaginable and despicable than what he did during his campaign, and manages to put himself up for impeachment.
I understand that the voters wanted change, and I can only respect that. But change to what? To a racist, misogynistic leader who has no experience whatsoever in the political field? To a bigoted, egocentric businessman who has failed four times?
If the American people really wanted change, they haven’t heard the news, old news. We already had this change. It was Obama who brought it.
Obama ended the war in Iraq, brought down Osama Bin Laden. He allowed millions to have access to affordable health care — especially those with pre-existing conditions. He considerably cleaned our image abroad, an image that had been tarnished almost beyond repair by President George W. Bush. He finally put the U.S. on track with global environmental policies. He leveled the field for the LGBT community. He fought for minorities. He fought for women’s rights. He fought for human beings.
For God’s sake, the man received a Nobel Peace Prize. OK, I know, Henry Kissinger got one too, but that has to be the biggest mistake in the history of the Nobel Prize, a mistake that probably had Alfred Nobel turning in his grave.
Did the American people also wanted change in immigration policies? Obama did that too. But for those who think he opened the country’s doors to illegal immigration, they probably missed the news that Obama’s administration deported more illegal immigrants than any other administration.
People, you wanted change, you got it. Now let’s make sure this change stays, that it doesn’t change back to the old ways when America blamed immigrants for a large chunk of its economic problems, when blacks were deeply segregated, when women weren’t allowed to vote, when we financed dictatorships all over the globe, when we tortured war prisoners. Basically, when we weren’t so great as we thought we were.
So this is what we can do. Let’s take Obama’s legacy and walk our talk. Let’s keep track closely of what the government does, let’s participate and testify in law-making processes, whether local, state or federal. And when the next election comes around in two years, let’s elect representatives who really reflect the great nation we are.
Despite Trump, let’s make sure America stays great.