Individuals not to blame for Trump



Hundreds march through downtown Chicago Nov. 12 in protest of the presidential election of Donald Trump. One sign reads “FIGHT THE SYSTEM NOT EACH OTHER [sic].” Columnist Cobb urges those unhappy with Trump’s win to blame institutions and not individuals for this result.

ABBI COBB, Opinion Columnist

Donald Trump, a volatile, fear-mongering, prejudiced, self-proclaimed sexual predator, billionaire man-child is the president-elect of the United States. And people are very angry for good reason. How do we respond to situations like this? Well, it appears that we must first place blame somewhere.

In the wake of a threatening and confusing time in this country, I hope that your post-election frustration is appropriately concentrated.

To be frank, it’s immature and naïve to place blame on individuals for the election results. Do not blame those that voted third-party or those that didn’t vote at all. Don’t even blame Donald Trump himself.

Individual people did not secure his victory and you must immediately stop perpetuating this idea, as it is false and unproductive. American institutions did this. All efforts to resist this election should be directed at the systems that guaranteed this win.

To ensure something like this never happens again, here is a list of institutions that should be blamed and consequently challenged in the face of this disturbing election: the Democratic National Committee (DNC), a group that employed corruption and deceit to prop up an unfavorable candidate. Blame them for failing to truly represent the working class, the former basis of the party.

Blame the Electoral College, which despite Hillary Clinton’s superior general election appeal, selected Trump to be the 44th president of the United States.

You can blame voter disenfranchisement that prevents nearly seven million people with felony records from participating in the election process. Blame corporate hegemony and its message of consumerism that discourages critical thinking and cultural awareness.

But above all, I hope you blame systematic hate — racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia.

The fears that Trump has played on would not have garnered so much support had it not been for the deeply-rooted systems of belief that underserve and discriminate against marginalized populations.

Displaced frustration is a tool used by powerful institutions to ensure their status is not challenged. An agenda that encourages people to punch down protects the interests of those in power by confining anger and aggression within groups oppressed people, intensifying the effects of their oppression.

Donald Trump’s entire campaign was fueled by displaced anger. Instead of blaming corporate greed and growing wealth inequality for the stagnating wages and frustration that uneducated white men experience, Trump blames people of color, he blames immigrants and Muslim Americans.

Regardless of what side of the political aisle you’re on, blaming individuals is an easy narrative to adopt and use in explaining the intense anger that others feel. I challenge you to instead critically assess systems that work to perpetuate social inequality and work to the demise of democracy.

This way, when we stop trying to pin blame on each other, perhaps we could begin to organize for the purpose of eradicating these systems.