My fellow Americans (and make no mistake, despite my name and the color of my skin, I am most definitely as American as they come – I love nachos and sports and using credit cards),
For the past 2 months, I have been trying to wrap my head around how we ended up here. I don’t want to pretend to understand how the less fortunate in this country feel – I have been blessed to be in the 1% (or perhaps it’s the the 2% – we don’t actually make that much money running a startup). But I do believe in the collective wisdom of the crowd, and the fact that tens of millions of people cannot just be flat our wrong about something. Having gotten into several spirited discussions, I’ve tried piece together some sort of narrative that explains how we ended up with Donald Trump being the most powerful man in the world.
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you have not been fortunate. You’re struggling to make ends meet and you don’t have a job. Donald Trump kept telling you he’s going to bring jobs back to America, and you believed him. I get that. I won’t pretend to know what it feels like to be unemployed and unable to make rent. But, humor me for a moment. Are you sure that the reason you don’t have a job, isn’t because automation and software are eating the world? Are you sure that the reason you don’t have a job, isn’t because you are being picky? Last I checked, McDonalds wasn’t outsourcing it’s cashier job to India. Are you sure that the reason you don’t have a job, isn’t because you haven’t learned the skills that are needed in today’s work force? Last I checked, every single company is looking for a programmer. “But I never had the opportunity to pay for college and get a computer science degree”, you say to me. Ah, that is the beauty of this thing called the internet. Are you sure the reason you aren’t employed as an engineer isn’t because you haven’t bothered to go on the internet and take one of the hundreds of free classes that can teach you how to code? Why do you believe you are owed something? America is still very much the land of opportunity, despite what Donald Trump wants you believe. You truly can do anything here, but you have to want it. I get the sense that those of you who voted for Donald Trump because you don’t have a (good) job, think that you’re magically going to get handed the kind of job you want. As someone who runs a company, I hate you tell you this, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Nobody starts a company in America and says “let’s send all our jobs to China”. A job gets shipped overseas because there is nobody in America that wants to do that job, or because there simply isn’t a way to keep that job here, at a price that makes sense for the market. Those jobs come back, and you the consumer, are now going to have to pay more for that same product because it costs more to make. Donald Trump is not going to change basic economics – supply and demand.
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you are really rich. Donald Trump said he’s going to cut your tax rate, and for you, that means millions of dollars in savings. I get that. When you’re making millions every year, a couple of percentage points is a lot of money, and you chose money over everything else. There’s a reason you have that “fuck you” money in the bank, right?
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you are a business owner and health insurance premiums with ACA have been hurting your bottom line. Not only does ACA increase your cost as a company, the paperwork and compliance is a pain in the balls. I get that. I had to deal with it last year. But humor me for a moment if you’re a business owner. Isn’t the most important thing to any business, its people? And if your employees are worried about how they are going to pay for healthcare if they get sick, or they get sick and can’t get treatment, don’t you think your business will be worse off? So even if you are doing it only for selfish reasons, don’t you think the marginal extra cost and paperwork is worth it? I would much rather make less money and ensure that my employees can sleep easy, than be a greedy pig and try to pocket the extra dollars.
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you are white. I get that. We all feel more comfortable with people who look and talk like us (although, if we’re being technical, he’s actually orange). You had 8 years of a black President, and now you want someone who is “more like you”. But humor me for a moment – is being white the only thing that defines you? My LinkedIn profile doesn’t say “Brown Person” – it says Entrepreneur, Investor, Basketball fan. So, did you completely ignore the fact that Donald Trump is a womanizing, tax evading, racist? Or do those things speak to you too? I doubt it. I believe most of you are decent human beings, which means that you were literally able to block out everything bad about this man, and focus on the fact that he was (sort of) white.
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you are not white. I get that. Obama was supposed to be the great hope for your people, and 8 years later, you’re still in a rough neighborhood, without a job, and gun violence is rampant. You think because Obama failed you, it’s time to vote the person who is most different from Obama into office. But humor me for a moment – do you really think Obama didn’t give a shit about his own people? That somehow he and Tim Duncan are “more white than black”? Obama brought unemployment down to under 5% during his time as President, and tried his damn hardest to clean up gun violence. If you really think Donald Trump cares more about you than Obama did, well, I guess what do I know?
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you’re just fed up and think America sucks. If there is one thing we’ve all learned from Donald Trump, it’s that if you keep repeating something into a microphone enough times, people will start to believe it. Most of you who think America sucks right now, have probably never left the country, maybe not even your own state. I grew up in a third world country – let me tell you, America isn’t that. Donald Trump would like you to believe that we are the second coming of Syria so that he can be our savior. I promise you – America is already great, and does not need to be saved.
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you want America First. I get that. It’s a great hashtag – #AmericaFirst. Once again, do you really believe that any President of the United States does not believe that their own country comes first? America First, much like most of the things that Donald Trump says, is just a catch phrase – it’s not a policy.
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because you’re a gun owner. Obama had 8 years to take away your guns. How many of yours did you lose? Was it really worth voting for this dude who has no government experience at all, just so that you could buy a gun with far less protocol than before?
Perhaps you voted for Donald Trump because he’s a great business man. I get that. You thought because he could build a great company, that he could build a great country. Here’s the thing. Trump isn’t a great business man. He’s filed for bankruptcy multiple times. That isn’t an option for America – we can’t just file for bankruptcy if he screws up. He won’t release his tax returns for a reason, and you choose to overlook this fact, because you’re afraid of the truth.
Perhaps there are a handful of other reasons why you voted for Donald Trump. All I ask of you now is to hold him accountable, and to not let him keep lying to you, and the rest of the American people. Because one thing is for certain – Donald Trump successfully divided this country. He ran a brilliant campaign of divide and conquer, and conquer he did. But amazingly, as I sit here writing this, hundreds of millions of people around the world are marching in protest of Donald Trump. Far more than the people who voted for him. Somehow, people have come together in this trying time. But make no mistake – we came together in-spite of Donald Trump, not because of him. While the cornerstone of every democracy is the peaceful transfer of power, the true meaning of a democracy is one in which the people hold the power. We much continue to do so by supporting the press, speaking out, holding government accountable, and remembering that the President serves us, not the other way around.