The legitimacy of Trump’s presidency is a tricky issue for me. On the one hand, I do sympathize with the view that people are sometimes (often?) misled into making a decision, whether through inaccurate or incomplete information or false advertising or grandiose promises etc. But Russian endorsement through advertising is not the same thing as rigging voting machines. It pains me to say it, but Trump got the votes to win the electoral college. Does it make his win illegitimate just because Russia helped people choose who to vote for?
It has recently come to light that Russia purchased ads on both Google and Facebook in order to influence our presidential election. So does that make our current POTUS illegitimate?
I hold voters accountable for the catastrophe that this presidency has become because they (we – I didn’t vote for Trump, but maybe I could have done more to campaign against him) are ultimately responsible for his win. I also want to blame Russia for pushing their agenda on our electorate. I also want to blame conservative news for focusing on straw-man targets instead of addressing issues via evidence (looking at you, @Fox News). I also want to blame Hillary and the DNC, the spineless Republican leadership, gerrymandering, even social democrats who have been loathe to carry their banner into the fray.
But most of all, it’s still our fault. We had all the proof in the world that Trump is an incompetent, misogynist, ethically bankrupt individual who would tell any lie necessary to win. We overlooked every bit of it and let him win anyway. As much as I want to blame everything else, in the end, we are still responsible for the fate of those millions who will remain and who will become uninsured, of those millions who continue to be impoverished by the asinine claims of trickle-down economics, of those millions, billions, who in the generations to come have to suffer the consequences of climate change, not to mention the victims of whatever war we might be headed toward. If we’d stop pretending that politics doesn’t matter, if we’d educate ourselves about the issues and the candidates, then we could have prevented the disgrace that is Trump. But right now, the best we can hope for is replacing him next time, and that rests more on our maturity as citizens than all the interference.
Not saying we shouldn’t focus on all of these things together. But we have to address the plague of willful, gleeful ignorance, most importantly. Trust expert consensus, not anecdotal hate-bait. And elect the good students, not the blustery know-it-alls.
Yeah, I know, people are gonna believe what they want regardless. I feel defeated even as I try to offer solutions. But the message needs to get out there. We need to learn how to learn, and stop being afraid of everything we read. We can do better. Demand better.