If the United States were a democracy, Donald Trump would not be president. Despite Russian intrusions into the election, Hilary Clinton garnered 3,000,000 more votes than Trump. Moreover, Trump received only 63 million votes out of 241 million eligible voters, only 26% of eligible voters.
But we live in a representative republic with a weird electoral system. Given this weird system and (likely) Russian intrusions, Trump won the electoral college.
But, and here’s my point, while he was elected, Trump does not represent.
Granted, Trump speaks on behalf of 26% of eligible voters and 14% more approve of him. But 60% of American voters view him unfavorably, nearly 20 points more than any previous incoming president. He does not represent the millions who voted for Hillary and he does not represent those who didn’t vote but view him unfavorably.
Moreover, Trump, in alliance with the Republican-majority congress, will think they now have a mandate. But they don’t.
Given our aspirations to democracy, then, it is imperative that the 145 million people whose views Trump does not represent SPEAK OUT and actively resist Trump’s agenda.
Trump needs to hear our collective voices and fear our peaceful protests.
Unlike Congress during Obama’s presidency, we should not childishly resist everything Trump proposes simply because Trump proposes it or because it’s a policy of the Republican party.
We should reach across the aisle to reform, for example, the Affordable Care Act, immigration policies, and tax policy. The lamentable failures of our unduly partisan two-party system should not persist. Surely there is a great deal that all or most 241 million Americans can agree and work together on.
But we should not be so magnanimous that we sit idly by and watch Trump’s bigotry, homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, rich privilege, environmental degradation, and science denial sweep over our country.
Before it’s too late, we can start by urging Congress to resist several of Trump’s cabinet nominees. That the Republican-majority seems comfortable rushing the candidates through without a thorough ethical vetting should give us pause. Especially because what we already know about some candidates is deeply disturbing.
Jeff Sessions, candidate for Attorney General, may be a devout Methodist and an Eagle Scout but his history of racism alone should disqualify him from a position in the Justice Department. He has also criticized the Voting Rights Act, civil rights enforcement, gay rights, and, apparently, the 14th amendment. If Sessions’ nomination is approved, we can expect a resurgence of white privilege and the diminution of years of racial progress.
While Rex Tillerson’s business connections create perhaps irremediable conflicts of interest, his impoverished ethical sense should disqualify him for Secretary of State. As ExxonMobil CEO, Tillerson cozied up to Putin and Russia to gain economic favors, adding to worries about Trump’s already shady relationships with Russia.
But global climate warming is, I believe, one of the two greatest threats to stability in the world today and ExxonMobil, with Tillerson at the wheel, withheld crucial information concerning the human contribution to global climate warning through the burning of fossil fuels to global climate warming. ExxonMobil scientists have known for decades of the human contribution to climate warming and continually informed ExxonMobil executives.
Pursuing profit over people, ExxonMobil executives (Tillerson included) used their ample financial resources to sow confusion over the human causes of global climate warming. Unlike most scientific theories, the denial of human-caused climate warming has huge consequences: because of Exxon’s lies, people will die.
Given its threat to human life, climate change skepticism should be an automatic disqualifier for nearly any cabinet appointment. To that end, we need to fight against the appointments of Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy, Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ryan Zinke for Secretary of the Interior.
Since rich nations will likely find ways to adapt to climate change, poor nations will be disproportionately and devastatingly harmed. Frankly, right now we need leaders who are fighting for the environment, for alternative fuel sources, for the dispossessed, and for future generations.
Finally, because of his blatant Islamophobia, we need to resist Michael Flynn’s appointment as National Security Advisor. Although the vast majority of Muslims favor and pursue peace, Flynn has tweeted that fear of Muslims is rational. In fact, you are more likely to be shot by a toddler than killed by a Muslim terrorist; but fear of toddlers is not rational. Flynn has called Islam a cancer and, falsely claimed that Florida democrats voted to institute Sharia. He believes we are in a war with Islam.
Inciting irrational fear of Muslims will both disempower US Muslims and empower ISIS and other extremist organizations. Although Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry appealed to many voters, those whom Trump does not represent in this vicious regard need to speak up. Compassion towards peaceful Muslims, not irrational fear, is in the interest of our national security.
We should enthusiastically join hands with Trump and congressional Republicans wherever we can find common ground. But where we cannot — where bigotry and ignorance rear their ugly heads — we need to resist.
Trump won the election but he does not represent.
Follow Kelly James Clark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KellyJamesClark
Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? Here’s how.
Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Grand Valley State University
This Blogger’s Books and Other Items from…
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on January 19, 2017.