We’ve shown the Muslim world the American people aren’t against them
Prior to January 20th, I think it’s fair to say there wasn’t much in the way of widespread public support of Muslims in the US. Of course people spoke out against Islamophobia on TV and in the streets, but Americans in general weren’t so outspoken. Now, in the wake of Trump’s Muslim ban, people have been spurred into action, praising Muslims for praying in airports, hugging them as they are released following unlawful detention at immigration, and even donning hijabs in solidarity. This kind of action is the largest and most public display of support for Muslims traveling to and living in the US this country has ever seen, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the rest of the world.
He’s inspiring comedians around the world to unite
I think even Trump supporters were aware comedy was going to enter into a golden age with a barely sentient orange blob as president. American comedians have been having a field day since his announcement, but naturally it’s impossible for others across the globe to not take notice. What’s inspiring isn’t so much that they’re ridiculing Trump, but that the US and other Americans as a whole are left out. I suppose in a way we’re experiencing something for the first time other countries have taken for granted: even in a modern society, there’s room for a despot to seize power. It’s nice to know we can stand in solidarity with other nationalities and religions to mock someone truly despicable and worthy of scorn.
Identifying fake news
I’m not referring to “fake news” as Trump uses the term, i.e. real news that correctly reports on things he says and does, but prefers not to hear. Rather, Americans in general are far more skeptical when reading a “scientific study” or opinion poll, or even just seeing an article referencing them. Trump, in a large way, is responsible for that with his blatant lies and alternative facts. In general, this may be healthier for Americans, viewing media with a little more skepticism.
Diet racists coming out of the woodwork
There have always been racists and bigots in this country, and that’s not going to change for a number of decades, possibly even centuries. Stereotyping Trump supporters as racists, bigots, and narrow minded fools isn’t helpful to mending the divide, but the fact that they were able to vote someone into the highest office in the land knowing he was a racist – called for the execution of the Central Park Five following their exoneration; said a judge couldn’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage – speaks loads to the inborn prejudice of tens of millions of Americans.
Plenty of them are open racists and bigots: the ones you see denouncing President Obama as a Muslim Kenyan, waving the confederate flag, and referring to members of the LGBT community as “mentally disturbed” or “things”. The political opinions of this group were well known already; it’s not as though they try to repress their hateful rhetoric in public. However, the majority of Trump supporters are simply people who don’t care if minorities or members of any religion other than Christianity are discriminated against or made to feel like second class citizens.
It’s very revealing, in a way; they can no longer claim “I’m not racist, but…” having supported a man who was extremely vocal about banning Muslims and completely ignorant about the realities of being African American. We now know more about the shortcomings of our own citizens.
Spurring millennials into action
I’m the perfect example of this, honestly. I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because he was a candidate we (meaning young people) hadn’t seen before. We were so disillusioned by George W. Bush following an unwinnable war, and it seemed like President Obama would bring the kind of social change and inspiration the country needed.
Well… he did, and he didn’t. If anything, I believe his time in office just taught millennials to be more disenfranchised with the system, e.g. signing an order to close Gitmo on the first day, and having nothing happen after eight years. Even when the legislative and executive branches were in the hands of democrats, excuses were made and the kind of change we were hoping for simply didn’t happen.
That’s not to say President Obama didn’t make a positive impact during his time in office. Of course he did, but the fact that he turned out to just be another regular politician, subject to public opinion, bureaucratic roadblocks, and executive overreach was a little depressing for me to see. If anything, I became more cynical about our system of government in the early 2010s.
Enter Trump, a man so truly dangerous to the United States and our way of life that even people like me, who often threw out phrases like “Why bother voting? Nothing serious will change” are becoming more passionate defenders of democracy. We’re the ones on the streets leading the protests. We’re the ones with the connections online riling up others. We’re the ones who are concerned about our friends and neighbors being hurt, even detained or killed by this madman.