By Kaydee Donohoo
What must have been ages ago I remember seeing a Facebook post along the lines of “At first I thought this was a joke, but I gave it a chance and he makes some good points.” It was of course a video of Trump talking about launching his campaign. Now the thought of that post has me prickling with anger.
That was the beginning of the storm, and we all should have been running for cover. I can’t help beating myself up over how I used to respond to this sort of thing, because I and everyone like me, now seem to have played a part in our own demise.
Even if we didn’t post back right away, we talked about it, and gossiped about it. “Haha, can you believe how sexist, racist, illogical, etc. Donald Trump is? Lolz, can you imagine the country freaking out if he were actually elected? I almost want to see it.”
Oh, what fools we were. Don’t you see? All of that jabbering only brought in more publicity.
“But the media gave him more publicity than we ever did!” Stop right there. We are the media. Yes, news channels might have been laughing at Trump on their own at first, but they looked to see the momentum on the individual level and kept it going.
What if everyone initially didn’t take Trump seriously, and in addition didn’t even joke about it? What if there was a collective silence, and Trump couldn’t have been heard anywhere? Yes, he had a ton of campaign money, but what if collectively, no matter how many “Trump 4 Prezzident” banners flew past us at the beach, we had remained silent?
Think of all the places Trump has won, or gotten significant primary or caucus votes so far. It scares me to think that any or most of those voters learned about Trump through the gossip, chattering, and treating of the news as reality television by “not taking Trump seriously.” I hate thinking that he was learned about through a popularity that I helped create in a small way by making my own jokes.
I know that writing this seems paradoxical, and is still fueling the fire, but I’m afraid it’s just too late now.
It’s such a shame that the power of media created this monster, just as it gave us a sort of savior along with it. Bernie Sanders would not have even had a campaign were it not for word of mouth or word of post. That’s what I mean to say when I say we are the media. At first, no one took Bernie Sanders seriously enough to cover him, but we changed that. We are amazing.
I will be tense until mid-November, and will keep wondering on the account of both candidates, “What if we had just remained silent?”