Trump Pushes America to Progression

Illustration by Nicole Washington

Illustration by Nicole Washington

President Trump is good for America. 

From a liberal-leaning female, this may seem an odd sentiment. I do not propose that he is a great President, I will leave that debate to time and history to write. I propose that he, during his campaign and presidency so far, has been a catalyst in creating a culture of engagement in policy and politics. Engaged citizens and awareness is crucial for the overall good of The United States of America.

President Trump has been and continues to be a source of controversy. Post-election, there was a constant sentiment of surprise across party lines. People were surprised not only because of his background, but also the controversial message he spoke to so many citizens. To many, the election of Trump created fear and concern. To many, they felt that the United States went backwards. But did we go backwards, or did President Trump's rise to the presidency bring to light ideas that have been simmering in the hearts of many Americans, unbeknownst to many?

The United States has seen a rise in hate crimes consecutively over the last several years, with the FBI reporting that 2016 saw a rise in crime of just under 5% from the previous year,  2017 showing a rise of 20% in major cities. More than half of the crimes reported were based on the victim’s race. Hate crimes are crimes motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudices. These reports can include acts of violence, but can also include hate speech and other forms of non-violent harassment.

This rise in hate crimes can be attributed to divisive speech and emboldened citizens who feel more comfortable voicing their opinions, or at least that is how many feel. When speaking with SMC students about the election of President Trump, many not only felt surprise about his election, but also about his win emboldening many citizens, whether or not it was intentional.

But since his election, we have also seen a rise in rallies and protests. Popular and widely publicized rallies include those of white supremacy and those of the #Blacklivesmatter and #Metoo movements. Of the 8,700 protests recorded by the Crowd Counting Consortium, nearly 75-percent were protesting against Trump or his policies. Activism is on the rise, and that is always a good thing.

The divisive culture can be looked at negatively, but it can also be seen as a discussion that is finally being had. During  President Obama's terms, there was a possibly false sense of progression in the United States that caused many to be surprised about the amount of prejudice that ensued during and after President Trump's election. People are talking, and not just about celebrities, but about politics, with grassroots movements concerned with public policy.

This year, we have already seen many protests, including several local ones by high school students who will be the next generation of voters. A conversation across the United States has been started. Emotions are high and people are uncomfortable with the state we are in.

A lobster sheds its old shell and grows a new one only when it has become so uncomfortable it has no choice. The United States citizens are at such a point of conflict and discomfort that a change, or a new shell, is the only option. We are at an impasse that will (hopefully) lead to rapid progression toward equality and unity.