We’ve made a fatal mistake.
The election of Donald J. Trump is a moral disaster. We were faced with two unpopular candidates. We had a remarkably qualified, experienced woman whose perceived scandals were either blown out of proportion or straight-up invented by a decades-long Republican witch hunt. She wasn’t flawless, but her pros infinitely outweighed her cons, especially when compared to her opponent. Against her, we had an unqualified, inexperienced man who cheated his employees, refused to lease apartments to black people, avoided paying taxes, used donations to his foundation to buy a massive painting of himself, bragged and outright lied to us every chance he got, mocked the physically disabled, made bigoted generalizations about Mexicans and Muslims, derided a Gold Star family, said he could grope and kiss women whenever he wanted because he’s famous…his list of offenses is not only staggering and egregious, but too damn long to put in a 700-word article.
Comedian Louis C.K. said it best: “If you vote for Hillary, you’re a grown-up; if you vote for Trump, you’re a sucker; if you don’t vote for anyone, you’re an asshole.”
The choice was painfully clear, and we made the wrong choice. Instead of electing the first female president, we elected a man who’s likely sexually assaulted multiple women—and possibly a child. Instead of furthering the progress we’ve made under our first black president, we opted for a bigot who’s stocking his cabinet with fellow billionaires and white nationalists (and so the weak arguments of “let’s wait and see” and “give him a chance” fall flat on their faces).
Most upsetting in the wake of this electoral disgrace is Hillary Clinton’s crushing popular vote victory over Donald. A stunning margin of over 2.2 million votes indicates that the People’s will is the election of Hillary Clinton. But because the Electoral College sees it fit to bow to the will of only 25.5% of the electorate*—the fraction of registered voters that actually voted red—the American People are being handed a President-elect they did not ask for.
Now, it’s a hell of a long shot, but there’s technically still time. The presidential electors of the College can still make the right choice. That, according to constitutional framer Alexander Hamilton, is what the College is meant to do: stop demagogues. This choice would not only be legal and constitutional, but totally just in its reflection of the popular vote.
The American system fails us if it does not bend to the will of the People. And the People’s will, inarguably, is a Clinton presidency.
While we’re on the topic of Hamilton, let’s address one last thing—something that I’d like to speak to specifically as an actor and an artist.
Mike Pence recently saw the hit Broadway show Hamilton. Afterwards, the cast delivered a civil and straightforward plea to the Vice President-elect, asking for the respect and protection of his administration. Pence said he wasn’t offended by this. However, a certain thin-skinned President-elect was. Trump launched a childish tweet storm in which he railed against the cast of Hamilton, claiming that they were “very rude” and that “the Theater must always be a safe and special place.”
“A safe and special place.”
I’ll ignore the hypocrisy, the laughable irony of how “crybaby” liberals are constantly attacked by conservatives for supposedly wanting “safe spaces” (as well as how the cringe-worthy tweet storm effectively distracted us from Trump’s $25 million fraud lawsuit settlement). Let’s cut to why Mr. Trump is sorely mistaken about what the arts “must always be.” Apparently, he thinks that the theatre is a place where no one should be offended, where nothing should be questioned.
He has it dead wrong. The theatre isn’t some sort of liberal safe space. It’s entertaining, yes, but if it’s truly good theatre—if we theatremakers are doing our jobs—it also shakes you, rattles you. Wakes you up. In some cases, disturbs you.
As author Cesar A. Cruz put it, “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
But I wouldn’t expect a man like Mr. Trump to seek that sort of thing out.
*The U.S. Elections Project
This article was written by Carson Wright. Click here to see more of Carson’s work.