I like to consider myself an optimistic person. Even at my lowest, I always like to think that there is something better to come. However, when I woke up to the news of what happened overnight in the country South of my own, it was really hard for me to be optimistic. The train ride into work was filled with (mostly) hushed conversations about Donald Trump. And I am not going to go on about how the Apocalypse is nigh (unless you read the first chapter of Archangel, then it has already happened!), or how a critical mistake was made. There are a million other blogs and news articles that can quench that thirst for you.
While I was looking at the CNN exit polls this morning, something struck me. It wasn’t how horrifying I think Donald Trump is, but the complete disparity in ideals that is the most striking and unnerving part of this election. I don’t know if it is because I am a millennial, a Canadian, a mix of both or something entirely different, but Donald Trump stands for everything that I am not.
If you were able to pick the brain of a millennial and somehow see what is actually going on inside their mind, it would be an interesting place. I know that you can’t – contrary to some people’s beliefs – generalize an entire generation of human beings, but it is the general trend that millennials favour ideals such as diversity, equality, inclusiveness, globalization and the softening of borders, multiculturalism and compassion. For someone like myself, distinct societal groups like those based on ethnicity, race, gender, and religion only exist to strengthen someone. A person is a person before they are any of their traits or associations. We value diversity because it makes us stronger, and we welcome others because it makes us better as a person.
And the diaspora, and therefore influence, of millennials is spreading. You can already see the effect of these ideals in major organizations. In the United States, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce in the next 8-10 years. I always thought, things are getting better.
So hello, rude awakening.
Looking at the exit polls, you can tell exactly what led to Donald Trump’s victory. No matter how much his supporters might think they are being “overrun”, the definitive support came from white males over the age of 45. Now, let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with being a white male at the age of 45 or older. You are not innately a villain, so don’t act like that is what people are calling you as much. But, just as I cede that there are certain trends with my generations, so to are there certain trends with others.
A lot of people that I look up to, that I respect, fall into this category, so believe me when I say that it is not just one group. However, this election more clearly defined, at least in my eyes, how vastly different I am, how different my friends and peers are, to those who came before us. I will not say that not sharing my views makes you a lesser person. But there is a line where resignation leads to disappointment.
This president was voted for on a tide of hateful, fear-monger, objectifying rhetoric. It is obvious that he tapped into some nerve, appealed to people who grew passionate over his message.
I am not a religious man, but even I am willing to pray that the Donald Trump that was so vocal against minorities, so discriminatory towards people that were not like him, so full of contempt and disdain, I will pray that he is not the same Donald Trump that will reside in the White House.