The Donald Trump Post-Election Reality Show
What happens next, now that, “He’s Hired!”
“It feels unfair,” Chrissy Horansky told me, as she tried to allay the fears of a 16 year old girl regarding the consequences of an impending Donald Trump White House. As a best-selling author and decorated writer for The Huffington Post, and as an eminent spokeswoman for gender equality, Chrissy’s words were to provide an antidote to the feelings of helplessness I and certainly many other girls and women feel these days.
When I realized she was one of my early Twitter followers, I read some of Chrissy’s current articles for Huffington and then her best seller, Girl Power in the Age of the Millennials: Essays on Women, Youth and Global Social Change.
Her words were insightful and hopeful, lyrically beautiful. In one essay before the election she wrote, “Turn your face up. Feel the wind. Don’t let anyone take this moment, your voice, your glory from you.” Inspiring.
Post-election is where I came in, and reached out for some help in understanding where we as a nation stand, and where my demographic fits in. This is where I gained major perspective, when Chrissy told me, “Ally. . .maybe history will be made in fits and starts. You remind me so much of what I was like at that age! I hope you know your voice and your work is more important now than ever. Keep believing that.”
Is the work we 14-18 year old high school students do regarding voicing our opinions and concerns important? Since we are not old enough to vote, should a candidate care? Well, we are the future, after all. Many of my classmates will be old enough to vote in the next election, so, yes, what we are hearing and watching the candidates say and do should be important to them. It is now that we are forming our opinions and beginning to decide which party aligns the closest to our core beliefs.
According to recently released figures, Clinton got 55% of the “youth vote.” Trump earned 37%. He has some work to do if the youth vote is going to help him win four years from now. Let’s face it. His first days in office have been polarizing. Will the protests ever stop? As a young viewer, it is discomforting.
Let me digress here. I was a huge Trump fan circa 2010, the year Bret Michaels won The Celebrity Apprentice. Trump’s interaction with Michaels and the other contestants was fascinating to watch. Many a visit to the local convenience stores was mainly spent looking for the Snapple Trop-A-Rocka Tropical Tea, a healthy beverage created by Michaels for the final celebrity challenge that year. The highlight for me was when Trump decided the winner, turning to Bret saying, “You’re hired!”
So, yes I was a big Trump fan. Loved the way he was so fair to everyone, quick on his feet, respectful and quite human even when firing people. He seemed so. . .paternal. His sons came across as bright and well spoken, and his daughter Ivanka was a role model girls my age wanted to emulate.
Then came all the trash talk during the Presidential campaign, and towards the end, the infamous 2005 Billy Bush recording when Trump told Bush:
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing
them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a
star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You
can do anything.”
The outrage was widespread, and added to the confusion and turmoil I felt, trying to reconcile the astute, likeable version I had grown up admiring on television with this newer incarnation that seemed so crude and dismissive of women and minorities. Ok, I get it, political correctness appears ready for a correction. Let the backlash proceed. If that’s so, Trump seems perfect for the part, playing a new President who tells it like it is. Maybe that is what we need. I would love to like him again.
Because, if he has raised a daughter like Ivanka, and if Juanny Reyes can like him and vote for him, he deserves my patience while he builds a track record as President. On a recent, seasonably cool Destin winter night, my parents and I had dinner and attended a Christian music concert with Juanny and her son, Edgar.
Juanny is the Director of Casa Hogar Elim, an iconic orphanage in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, long considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Existing at the epicenter of an endless, gruesome turf battle between the Gulf, Sinaloa and Zetas drug cartels, the orphanage has never turned a child away, rescuing an estimated three thousand abandoned children – the detritus of the drug wars, since its founding in 1986.
Much has been written about Juanny and her mother, Mama Lupita, the founder. From an impossible start in life, Mama Lupita was smack in the middle of raising four young children, including the irrepressible Juanny, when four more children were abandoned on her doorstep. That was the orphanage’s beginning, and there were many desperate, forlorn moments when Mama Lupita and the orphans sat around the table, hungry, scared, praying for food, hoping for a miracle.
The angels listened, always seeming to arrive in the nick of time. Now, Mama Lupita has been featured on national television in Mexico as a hero. She is the champion of the poor, the downtrodden, and the slum dwellers of the colonias that subsist on less than each of us throws in the garbage every day. For many in Nuevo Laredo, a gritty metropolis of 375,000, she is also now their city councilwoman, having just won an election in her first run for office.
To be around Juanny and Mama Lupita, as I have had the privilege of doing over the years, to see them interacting with the ultra-poor and the children in the orphanage, is what it must have been like to watch Mother Teresa walk among the faithful of Calcutta, India. They devote every moment, every second, and every ounce of their being lifting up the lives of those they serve. They are revered and adored everywhere they go, strong Hispanic women making a difference in Mexico’s machismo culture.
Our dinner conversation eventually turned to the election results, and our new President. I asked Juanny about the wall Trump seems determined to build, one that would bisect the world Juanny inhabits as a dual citizen. Her views on this as a Mexican/American citizen seem more uniquely situated for insight than ours further north. Trump had said:
“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe
me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall
on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark
As a Hispanic woman who felt insulted by Trump, and as a Mexican/American who traverses the border every day, and had heard him say, “Mexican immigrants are bringing drugs, crime and are rapists,” the answer as to whom she supported for President seemed a no-brainer. She stated unequivocally that she supported. . .
Juanny’s reasoning was selflessly grounded in what she perceives as what’s best for those she serves; her own children and those residing in the orphanage. Leaving aside any personal affronts she may have doubly felt as a woman and Hispanic, she told me she thinks “Trump is strong against crime and violence, and he will better protect us against terrorists.” Expanding on her view of Trump she said, “He is a doer. He has energy. He is a smart man. He knows his stuff.”
She sees Trump as strong and blunt, and her take on Hillary was the opposite. “She’s a pacifist,” Juanny said. “She seems too anxious to please everyone. I don’t think she would have been a strong leader. She was too politically correct.”
So I am still caught somewhere between Chrissy Horansky’s cautious view of the future and Juanny’s emphatic backing of Trump. I respect both of them and am thankful to have their counsel to reflect upon until I am old enough to vote.
Until then I am praying that eventually the Trump from The Celebrity Apprentice is the one that takes a seat at the Big Desk. He seemed Presidential. And if he can sign one of his now ubiquitous executive orders, dictating Snapple’s Trop-A-Rocka Tropical Tea be made more readily available, and openly apologize to Kevin Jonas for his too-early firing in season 14, I’ll continue to keep an open mind.