Eugenia Snyder

Now that Donald Trump is the president-elect, there is a lot of speculation about what the future holds for our nation, economy, domestic and foreign policies, and the environment.

Some folks are delighted by Mr. Trump’s unexpected victory and believe we are now on track to “make America great again.” In contrast, well more than half of those who voted in the presidential election are feeling a mixture of shock, dismay, anger, and well-founded fear. We ask ourselves how an arrogant reality TV star with no political experience, no history of public service and a trail of huge business failures and lawsuits managed to get elected. How could an individual who insulted and/or incensed the majority of the people in this country position himself to become the next leader of the free world?

If the future is not especially rosy and we find ourselves – as many predict – saddled with a truly incompetent president in the White House, we will have no one to thank but ourselves for propelling Mr. Trump to office. Collectively, “we the people” either helped shuttle Trump down the road to victory or failed to provide a roadblock to his success. And just who are we?

* Americans who bought into Trump’s incessant misrepresentations and outright lies without ever checking their accuracy. USA Today aptly dubbed Trump a “serial liar” for many reasons. No candidate has ever been so loose with the truth; his pants will be on fire forever. In an era when the internet and other sources provide easy access to accurate information, we not only failed to fact check Mr. Trump – we enthusiastically helped his cause by advancing his lies to the level of “truth” through social media.

* Americans who voted for Trump because they could not bring themselves to vote for a woman . . . any woman. It is 2016 and there are still adults who aren’t evolved enough to accept the fact that women are just as capable as men to serve successfully as president and commander in chief.

* Americans who embraced Trump’s ruthless prosecution of Hillary Clinton in the “court of public opinion.” We allowed Trump to portray Hillary Clinton as a criminal, a conspirator, as evil incarnate through slander, insinuation and blatant lies. We permitted a lynch mob mentality to evolve – and became either caught up in or habituated to the calls to “lock her up.”

* Americans who sacrificed their precious right by not voting at all . . . or effectively wasted their votes by casting them for third-party candidates who stood no chance of prevailing.

* Americans who voted for Trump despite the fact that he repeatedly demonstrated through his own words and actions that he is a bully, a bigot and a person who lacks the compassion and moral fiber to serve as the president of this country and a role model for our children. How many insults to women, to handicapped individuals, to minorities, and to people of various origins and religions does it take for us to reject a candidate on the basis of unrestrained intolerance and hate alone?

* Americans who voted for Trump because they believed that he could actually deliver on the many seemingly extreme campaign pledges he made. Are we so uninformed, naïve, or gullible that we believe any president could have the authority or ability to deliver on many of the promises that Trump proffered?

* Americans who witnessed the Trump train coming down the track for months and did nothing to slow its pace. Perhaps we could not fathom that an individual as flawed and arrogant as Trump could ever be elected. We could have been marching in the streets demonstrating our disapproval of his behavior, drawing attention to his lies, taking a stand against his bigotry, his treatment of women, his palpable hate. How ironic that we flood the streets now to claim that Trump is “Not my President,” when we passed on countless opportunities before the election to throw the Trump train off its track.

Perhaps the greatest myth promulgated during this election is that America is in need of being made great. If you can’t see that America is already great, you’re just not paying attention. The truth is that it is Americans who need to be made great again. We need to become better educated. We need to be better informed. We need to choose our sources of information carefully. We need to evaluate the character, temperament, qualifications and policies of all candidates running for office. And we need to redirect our moral compasses so that we can prudently exercise our right to vote and elect a future president who is qualified for and worthy of the huge responsibility of overseeing this great country, ensuring the safety and well-being of all Americans, and representing us effectively on the world stage. Perhaps we have learned important lessons and will do a better job four years from now. In the meantime, we can watch the almost inevitable circus unfold and hope for the best.

Eugenia Snyder is a sociobiologist, freelance writer and event producer. She and her husband divide their time between Moab and Bellingham, Washington.