Recently, a Facebook post has been making the rounds listing some good things that have come out of the Trump administration so far. Things like people getting more involved, people knowing more about Hitler, the Constitution, people different from them, etc., than ever before…Trump’s election proving that “anyone can be president.” I appreciate the attempt here but to me, it feels like meager anesthetization. For one, democracy requires constant, committed work so it’s a little bittersweet for me that people are just now becoming more involved…maybe if they had been all along, we wouldn’t have gotten to this point of utter disaster. Two, I don’t think ignorance of the Holocaust or of the Constitution caused the mess America and consequently the world are in. I think Trump and his appointees are the cause, honestly. And I don’t believe they have no idea what they’re doing. But, the point on this list that worried me the most was that “anyone can be president” was being said as a good thing.I don’t find this inspirational at all. I don’t think just anyone should be president. I want 1) compassionate people who 2) are actually qualified to have even close to the power a president does. This does not mean being a businessman, even if you’re “good” at it; in the rapacious, extractive crony capitalism we have today, being “good” at business means destroying the planet, livelihoods and communities for profit. So even if it did make sense to elect a good businessman as president (it doesn’t: countries are legal entities not corporations), a) Trump is not a good businessman and b) I want a healthy planet to live on, a community to live in and a way to pay for things (if we insist on keeping capitalism around).
Mostly, I’m frustrated that the system produces leaders at all levels who are, quite frankly, bad at leading. That promote people to even more power when they should be fired. That protect and promote people who are bad at their jobs rather than the people they’re hurting. And that bar people who would be rock stars but don’t have the experience to prove it (because they haven’t been given a chance ). And I don’t think the system is broken. People of color have never had a fair shot here. Women have always been seen as second-class citizens. People with disabilities are invisible now, still not routinely included in discussions of diversity, but they were euthanized or sterilized in the past. Was the system always broken or is it working for exactly who it was set up to work for?
Regardless, this system is traumatizing to the majority of people subjected to it – why are we okay with anything about this? Starting with this idea that everyone has to work (often in drudgery and misery – 80% of Americans don’t like their jobs) in order to live? Why do we believe that ableist story when there are so many ways it’s clear that we don’t actually believe in a meritocracy? (Some evidence: I’m a writer and I get rejections all the time. Nearly all of them say something like, “please don’t take this a reflection on the quality of the writing, we needed to cut very good work.” Translation: getting published is not just about writing good stuff. It’s also totally subjective based on the editor’s mood, preferences and the body of other work that your submission came in with. As in, not a meritocracy.) And why are we okay with waiting to expand our care and contribute to the wellbeing of all creatures around us until it may be too late?