Is the 2016 Presidential race a reflection of our worst? If Donald Trump can’t be President because he is a sexist, there has been no shortage of sexist Public Servants throughout our history, writes Adrian Rivera.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June of last year, most people wrote him off as a joke. A man who identifies people of Mexican-American Ancestry with rapists and other criminals can’t become President of the United States. A man who seeks to identify and catalog every single Muslim in our country surely would not be elected to the highest office in the land. A man who personifies fear-mongering, disrespect, and downright hatred had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming the leader of the free world. If you do not believe, just ask Mitt Romney.

Why can’t Donald Trump become president?

But why is our immediate answer no? Why can’t Donald Trump become president? If it’s because he is a “racist,” as many believe, he wouldn’t be the first U.S. President or Government Official to harbor such hatred, or at least have a distaste for certain groups of people. Woodrow Wilson is notorious for his bigoted views towards African-Americans, resegregating the Civil Service and hosting Ku Klux Klan members at the White House. Strom Thurmond, the longtime U.S. Senator from South Carolina, never renounced his segregationist views and opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Six months after his death, it was revealed that he had sired an illegitimate child with an African American maid at the age of 16. And finally, all those who believe that President Obama is not a Christian or was not born here, are in my eyes, racists.

Trump is not the first sexist public servant in American history

If Donald Trump can’t be President because he is a sexist, there has been no shortage of sexist Public Servants throughout our history. Women’s suffrage in the U.S. is not even a century old. If Donald Trump cannot be President because he lacks expertise, Representatives and Senators make decisions about things they know little about every day.

Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma is the Chairman of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works, yet he holds no degree in anything science-related. Consequently, he believes that Global Warming and Climate Change are a liberal myth since it continues to snow in Oklahoma. He proved this by bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor. I believe that Sen.Inhofe and his experience, or rather lack thereof, are the rule, not the exception. And finally, if Donald Trump cannot and will not be President because the thought of him in the Oval Office is just too preposterous and outrageous to consider seriously, I would say that that is not a good enough reason. I think we believe our current Democracy to be a well-oiled machine when in actuality, it is quite the opposite.

American ideals: freedom, equality, and all that jazz

I think most American’s are unaware of the fact that we have a tendency to romanticize; that is, we like to make our history kinder, believe ourselves to be freer, tell ourselves that our ideals are easily within reach. We envision the American Revolution as the beginning of world history.

We see slavery as an unfortunate afterthought in the road to national glory as opposed to the gruesome tale of rape, pillage, and plunder that it really is. And with our victories in World War II and the Cold War, the end of history was in sight — America would live on forever, if not in reality than in the ideals of freedom, equality, and all that jazz. This is what we have told ourselves and this is what we have been told — exceptionalism, superiority, and infallibility are our thesis.

The 2016 Presidential Race seems to be the antithesis of all that; how can a country be exceptional, superior, and infallible when you have one party that uses fear as its primary motivator, a lifelong public servant who is having trouble winning because she wants to stay the course and a political outsider who has brought to light the glaring inequalities, problems, and anger of our country (Bernie Sanders, not Trump)?

The American Legend has it that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. That the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. That in America, we do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard!

The 2016 candidates and their platforms fly in the face of all of this — except for perhaps one. The fundamental question that has been brought to light because of race is this: Are we truly brave? Are we as fearless as we say we are? Are we resolute, stalwart, strong? Or is the 2016 Presidential race a reflection of our worst?

***

Is the 2016 Presidential Race a reflection of our worst? An anomaly, aberration, inconsistency, or is it a reflection of who we really are, and who we have been all along? Share your thoughts with us! 

Adrian Rivera

Adrian Rivera is a native of Mission, Texas. He is an incoming freshmen at Yale University where he will study History, Global Affairs, or Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Adrian was a Yale Young Global...