By T.B. Lefever:
Throughout my short tenure with OpsLens, I have written several articles that present a record of my analysis of facts, and therefore my preference for who should be the 45th President of the United States. I have not tried to pretend that I am bipartisan this election cycle nor have I masked my desire to see Donald Trump lead our nation in a new direction. I am an Independent backing Donald Trump to drain this Washington swamp and I’m getting behind any Republican that has had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the pressure of the establishment wing of his or her party bearing down on them to quell this populist message where the people are strong, united, and not to be taken for granted.
Truth be told, it is 9:46pm on election night as I type and the results are still coming. I’m bouncing back and forth between Fox News and CNN while I monitor the New York Times election results as they report in. I’m even letting Info Wars play on Youtube and I’m giggling at the absurdity of Megyn Kelly saying “If these results continue in this direction, all the polls we were given aren’t worth the paper they were written on.”, while the “conspiracy theorist”, Alex Jones, who has been saying this all along, yells like a crazy person about something or other on my computer screen. I do find myself muting the Info Wars feed as they repeatedly talk about every anti-Clinton talking point I have heard over and over again for the past several years. Tonight I am interested in results.
As the results trickle in, it’s becoming more apparent that this race is out of reach for Hillary Clinton. Several media outlets are refusing to call certain states for Trump that appear all but over. I roll my eyes as I see pundits come up with more and more far-fetched scenarios for a miraculous Clinton comeback in states she is trailing by 3% with only 1% of the votes left to be counted. I then switch over to Facebook and twitter where the people know what time it is. This race is over and feelings have been hurt. There’s endless mud being slung about racism, sexism, and assorted bigotry steering America down a highway to hell coming from the losing side. From the winner’s circle, I see pro-Trump memes poking and chiding their defeated opponents as a way of basking in victory. While I understand the feeling of satisfaction and that visceral human instinct to fight, I have decided to steer clear of this. If we’re going to “Make America Great Again”, it’s going to require all of our efforts. Otherwise, it is just an effective marketing slogan.
In the same sense that a white kid from the suburbs can’t understand what it’s like to grow up sleeping on a mattress with no blanket in a Bronx housing project, huge portions of our society couldn’t understand the suffering going on in the segment of America that just made Donald Trump President Elect. In rural America, hard work and perseverance have always been a way of life. Useless in a classroom but hard-nosed and sensible in the real world, they are the “uneducated and proud”. They had every reason to be proud as they used to be the grease for the wheels by which this country moved until they found that there was no work for them to do and no living to make. Once vibrant communities watched in horror the slow motion car wreck taking place all around them for years until there were no jobs, no prospects, and no security when the dust cleared. Next, they were forced to pay ever increasing fees for healthcare that they already couldn’t afford since they got laid off and somehow figure out a way to fight back the scourge of cheaper and deadlier heroin hitting the streets at record numbers. The state of Ohio sees one death every three hours due to an acute poverty that was not there even a generation ago. Backs to the wall, this was a change election and Donald Trump embodied that change for these people.
Everyone has a struggle. Latin Americans who left their countries of origin and came to the US legally to live that “American Dream” voted for Donald Trump in numbers not seen since GWB took the oval office as a means to protect what they came here for. Black Americans voted for Donald Trump in numbers that couldn’t be touched by Romney or Mccain as they began to wake up and ask, “What has my sacred loyalty to the Democratic Party gotten me?” Yet, the country is so divided because many of us think we’re the only ones who endure a struggle, or somehow our struggle is the only one that matters. I think it is high time Trump weighed in on the North Dakota Access Pipeline situation. No politician on the world scale that has the power to do anything about it has voiced where they stand. The media can’t continue to ignore it when Trump starts using the old “Art of the Deal” to negotiate a solution to the dispute between multinational oil companies and Native American citizens that both sides can agree to.
A lot of us came together behind this movement that Trump started. As someone who voted for him, I’m vowing that I will hold the man to his promise of “draining the swamp” of corruption. Both Democratic and Republican aristocrats got us into this mess. Yes, the Republicans won the House and Senate but I still expect him to butt heads with the establishment wing of his own party as he has promised to be a champion of the people, not the GOP. We need not worship at the altar of Donald Trump, but hold him to task for the improvement of our nation. This election was about improving the lives of the American people, after all. While it is ultimately our sole responsibility to strive to make our own lives better through our own actions, anything less than a distinct, practical, and effective effort to help facilitate improvement in the lives of blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc. is a failure. I will either cheerlead President Trump as the jobs are created and overtures to everyday Americans are made or I will criticize his efforts if they are not. Most of all, I will continue to pay attention with a watchful eye on those who effect the futures of my children.
As I finish typing this on my couch at home, I am on standby to possibly negotiate a “barricaded gunman” situation. I sit and wonder if this is election related somehow. What will work be like tomorrow when I hit the streets? Working in an area with a heavy illegal immigrant population, I wonder if there they will look at me with an increased level of fear. Will the criminal element become more dangerous to me out of fear for increased consequences? Will nothing change at all? I wonder if those co-workers I have engaged in political discourse with will go back to their default of largely ignoring politics now that the race is over or if a fire has been lit within them to continue their involvement and engagement so that our leaders can be held accountable going forward. Regardless of the messenger, this result has been a win for the ordinary people, the little guys, and the worker bees. It gives me faith that we can still have control over our lives and the future of our own country. As I finish the thought, I am notified that I’m no longer on call. The gunman has been declared dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I’m going to bed choosing to believe that this disturbed individual took his own life for other reasons. Tomorrow will be a day of hope.
T.B. Lefever is an OpsLens Contributor and active police officer in the Metro-Atlanta area. Throughout his career, Lefever has served as a SWAT Hostage Negotiator, a member of the Crime Suppression Unit, a School Resource Officer, and a Uniformed Patrol Officer. He has a BA in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Rutgers University.