As of Tuesday, November 8th 2016, Donald Trump is our nation’s next president-elect. In my opinion, there is no better time to be enrolled in a Philosophy of Happiness course. The happiness of Americans has not hung in question at this level since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, over thirty years ago. While the election results have no doubt played a role in the happiness of my own life, let us first examine its effect on the happiness of the nation as a whole. While approval ratings matter less at this point in time, keeping your constituents happy comes with the job as president – and there are certainly some unhappy individuals.
Less than twenty-four hours after Trump’s victory, the streets of numerous states across the country were filled with protesters. On social media platforms, the hashtag “#notmypresident” has become increasingly popular. The political party under which Trump ran his campaign does not even endorse him. The decline in happiness of Americans is undeniable, but why are they unhappy? I believe this discontent to be primarily driven by a general lack of feeling safe. Vast majorities of our country feel genuinely unsafe following the election. In particular, hard-working immigrants seeking citizenship fear deportation. Minority groups such as Blacks and Latinas fear for their safety in general. Gay and Lesbian communities are in fear of losing their rights as citizens in our countries.
The widespread rejection of Trump’s election also stems, I believe, from a feeling of misrepresentation – which ties very closely into the election’s effect on my personal happiness. There are many people who, and rightfully so, feel that Trump does not embody the ideals our country stands for. For example, how are women to feel? Many feel as though they have lost their voice due to the allegations surrounding Trump’s sexist remarks. Then, of course, there are the Democrats who feel misrepresented party-wise, due also in part to the likelihood of the Republican Party becoming a loyalist party for Trump.
Finally, in my own opinion, I could not be more disheartened in our country. As a political science minor, and someone who intends to work in state-level politics post-graduation, it is sad to see our political system deteriorate into such a joke. Even in light of the fact I identify, or did, as a Republican, I could not bring myself to support Trump. Aristotle spoke often about happiness and virtue, which I find appropriate in explaining my unhappiness. How is it I am to live a happy, virtuous life when my president appears to have no virtue or morals at all? He is sexist, racist, a liar and has absolutely no political experience.
In my opinion, Trump will attempt to run this nation as a business, and subsequently run it into the ground. It is worth noting the success he boasts of in the business world come only through refusing to pay his employees. The man has even bankrupt a casino. Ultimately, though. It comes down to a moral conflict. My morals and values simply do not align with those of Donald Trumps, and I am not alone. I was deeply moved after speaking to some sexual assault survivors, who view the election results as an insult. No one, no matter their gender, race or what have you, should question their safety the way so many Americans have been following this election.