By Kevin Moran
Many Americans can agree that President Donald Trump’s victory is a sign and a result of a dramatic shift in societal values. At the core, people want more of a voice. This shift of values may be the warning signs of a more radical shift away from the status quo toward something completely different.
By emerging as an anti-establishment and populist candidate, Trump tapped into the frustrations of millions of Americans all across the country. However, Trump consistently demonstrates that he is neither capable of executing the solutions he promised nor attending to the rapidly evolving needs of the American people.
The gap between the wealthy 1 percent and the rest of the population continues to grow, and this has manifested in increased civil unrest, including the Black Lives Matter movement, Occupy Wall Street and more. To no surprise, younger Americans, such as Generation Z and millennials are increasingly identifying as democratic, liberal or independent, representing a critical shift of values in the very future of our country, according to Pew Research Center.
The 767 million people living on less than $1.90 a day in 2013 certainly can’t worry about carbon emissions, according to World Bank. They are worrying about access to clean water and healthcare. I believe that it is our duty as a society, with the wealth of knowledge and technology we are privy to, to spread the prosperity we have with the rest of the world in more sustainable and equitable ways.
My biggest wonder is if there will ever be a middle-ground political party that fuses socialistic and democratic values with Republican and capitalistic values. I believe Trump is that exact faux “third party,” “outsider” and “fresh-voiced” candidate that Americans thought they wanted and believed may have been the solution to their frustrations.
It’s imperative for the rapidly expanding middle class to recognize the agency they possess to unite as a single and more powerful party, instead of remaining divided between two parties that simply refuse to work cooperatively toward tangible solutions.
The standard two-party system is approaching its demise. Ideally, this new party could alleviate citizens’ distrust of government by advocating transparency and equality. Furthermore, they could aim to eliminate the greed, cronyism and corruption that has become rampant in American politics.
Currently, the ruling class in America — the titans of industry and huge corporations — hold all the power in American politics. Lobbying is legal bribery. I believe it is in their best interest to keep America divided because America is less powerful divided than united.
But do you not see the exact irony behind that? We shouldn’t be fighting as Republicans or Democrats. We should be fighting together against the institutions that have historically created vast racial and economic inequalities, for a better way of life or wage for the poor and fair policies for the middle class.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
This is our current America.
According to the United Nations human development report, 20 percent of the world’s people in the highest income countries account for 86 percent of total private consumption expenditure, while the poorest 20 percent consume a mere 1.3 percent. This stark disparity is disconcerting.
Martin Luther King Jr. continues, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.”
Maybe Trump being elected is evidence of this larger ideological shift toward person-oriented. This type of societal change is an iceberg: It moves extremely slow, which makes it difficult to realize it’s happening.
Beyond the economic, sociocultural and environmental factors that collectively impede progress toward a sustainable society, I truly believe that our desire to create sustainable solutions has been tainted by our reluctance to accept change. I’m talking about everyday citizens, such as the students of at the College, but also government institutions and large corporations whom all have their own best interests to think about.
Albert Einstein succinctly sums up this dilemma, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Therefore, if we want to create meaningful changes toward a more sustainable and equitable society, we must leave our ethnocentrism at the door and change the way we think about everything we once considered the norm.
Could Trump’s election victory be the necessary wake-up call America needed to get back on track?
Students share opinions around campus
“How do you feel about Trump’s presidency so far?”
“I would also say interesting.”