Or…”Well, It Turns Out America Is Great Again, But For all the Right Reasons”
Not that it really should surprise anyone of conscience or common sense, but the public approval of President Trump has dropped to a historic low. Yes, he’s got his “core” base of people who – for whatever now incredibly questionable reasons – still support him, but a satisfyingly thick majority of people – a number of which, based on how math works, had to have been people who voted for him a year ago – are now clearly displeased with his pathologically dishonest, inane, insulting, deplorable, disgusting, cynical, ignorant, uninformed, discourteous, disrespectful, racist, homophobic and misogynistic policies, ideas and communications.
Those people were heard from this past Election Day.
Civil Rights trial lawyers are particularly disgusted by the sorts of things “Trump Nation” thinks it’s now “ok” to say and to do. Note that I don’t say to believe, because the greatness of America is that anyone can believe whatever they want, no matter how deplorable those “beliefs” might be. On the other hand, there’s at least a moral – and in many cases a legal – responsibility not to act, to the detriment of others, on some of those more evil beliefs.
So as a Civil Rights trial lawyer who believes that the “greatness” of America lies in compassion, togetherness, courage, inclusiveness, and the Constitution, 2017’s Election Day results are incredibly heartening. There are a dozen ways we can talk about this, but I think the easiest way to do it is to talk about some of the many remarkable “firsts” that the election produced.
For example, in my home State of New Jersey, Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver (his Lieutenant Governor) prevailed. Ms. Oliver is the first black woman in New Jersey to become a Lieutenant Governor.
In the Northern Virginia suburb of Prince William County, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender candidate to win a State House seat anywhere in the United States. To do this, she not only did it in Virginia, but she defeated a longtime republican incumbent, “social conservative” Robert Marshall. Marshall, by the way, is someone who proudly calls himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” He’s served 13 terms and was a sponsor of an anti-LGBTQ rights bill, the so-called “bathroom bill,” that died in committee.
No doubt, a number of issues were important in that race, but it’s deeply satisfying not only to see a transgender woman win, but to win over a disgusting, ignorant, homophobic racist who urinates on what the word “conservative” should mean.
Also in Virginia, Kathy Tran, a refugee from Vietnam, became the first Asian-American woman elected to the House of Delegates. I love the fact that she’s a refugee from Vietnam. Remember: America is a country of colonists “foreigners,” “outliers” and refugees; people from countries who, at least at first, weren’t even wanted. Welcome! Bring us more unwanteds and let them participate in the process.
Also in Virginia, Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala both defeated republican incumbents to become the first Latina women elected to the Chamber.
In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins won the election to the City Council, becoming another first openly transgender person of color elected to office in the United States. Jenkins was a Policy Aide on the City Council and won more than 70% of the vote.
Nearby, in St. Paul, Melvin Carter was elected the first black Mayor of that city.
In New Jersey, Ravi Bhalla was elected the Mayor of Hoboken, making him the city’s first Sikh Chief Executive. Bhalla had served on the City Council for 8 years. His campaign was the subject of racist fliers showing a picture of Bhalla in his turban and the message “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town!”
(I love it when racists aren’t only racist, but also stupid racists. Sikh people come from India and are not Muslim, but clearly, the fools that deployed those handbills clearly think that all Muslims are terrorists and all Sikhs are Muslims. Nice job, idiots.)
Wilmot Collins, a refugee from Liberia, was elected the Mayor of Helena Montana, becoming the State’s first black Mayor.
Seattle elected its first female Mayor since 1926, but while she’s not a first as a woman, Jenny Durkan is the first lesbian Mayor of that city.
Charlotte North Carolina elected its first black Mayor, Democrat Vi Lyles.
In Manchester New Hampshire, the largest city in that State, Joyce Craig was elected the first female Mayor in the City’s history, defeating Republican incumbent Ted Gatsas.
There were so many other firsts that reflect a clear surge of “anti-Trumpism,” which is a pretty handy catch phrase for “anti-racism,” “anti-homophobia,” “anti-misogyny,” “anti-bigotry,” and just generally “anti-American” sentiments.
As MLK said, the arc of history tends to bends toward justice.
People of conscience, courage, intelligence and integrity have been disgusted for a year, but hopefully, were never without hope. Election Day 2017 restored that hope.
The days of Trumpism are numbered.