As the election results so clearly highlighted, America is a sharply divided country. Tuesday's election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States has been called many things - "unprecedented," "shocking" and "stunning" among them. Many, though, described the election with different words as it relates to women and people of color: failure, "disaster," "living nightmare."
"I have never been so disappointed in any election ever," one Hillary Clinton supporter, 62-year-old Gayle Matteson, told The Washington Post in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. "I feel sorry for the Muslims, the Hispanics, the African Americans, and especially women." These people's feelings and fears were perhaps best captured in an off-the-cuff, emotional soliloquy offered by Van Jones, a CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist. As it became clear that Trump was closing in on a projected victory, Jones gave voice to the sentiment many were sharing on Twitter - that race played an important part in the election, and many feel disenfranchised by the results. "People have talked about a miracle," he began, discussing Trump's upset victory over Clinton. "I'm hearing about a nightmare."
Donald Trump is a microcosm of the American dream; a nightmare for people of color and minorities.— Mohamed (@FreshcutMo) November 9, 2016
.@VanJones68 is saying it perfectly how do we explain to children tomorrow that we elected a racist,bigot,homophobe to lead our country?— Shane Speidel (@AverageShane) November 9, 2016
How do we explain to children & ppl that not all minority's are thugs, rapists, murderers?— Karla Lara (@karlamlara) November 9, 2016
Jones continued, "I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight, saying, 'Should I leave the country?' I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight." He opined that although the unprecedented election results were partly "a rebellion against the elites" and "a complete reinvention of politics and polls," that "it was also something else" - what he called a "white-lash" against an increasingly diverse country led by its black president for the past eight years. "This was a white-lash," Jones said. "This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president, in part." Added Jones, "And that's the part where the pain comes." As he spoke, the usually stoic Jones appeared to be choked up, almost fighting back tears on live television.
Please tell me how we explain to children not to mock people with disabilities when the president does it. #ElectionNight— Elizabeth Plank (@feministabulous) November 9, 2016
Many others, though, accused him of furthering the racial divide in America. "I don't agree with Van Jones 'cos Trump reached out to race and tribe in America," one user tweeted. "Talentless race-bait. Crying on television is not professional, child. Were '08 and '12 BLACKLASH, clueless racist?" asked another. "Van Jones continues the division. When will we be AMERICANS? When will you see us all the same?" tweeted a third.
Van Jones....nothing but respect!— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) November 9, 2016
At one point, Jones stated, "Donald Trump has a responsibility tonight to come out and reassure people that he is going to be the president of all the people he insulted and offended and brushed aside." To Trump's credit, he did as much in his victory speech from the Hilton Hotel in New York City. Calling his campaign, "a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs," he said, "Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people." Later in his speech, the president-elect said, "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me." Still, a speech wasn't enough to change the feelings of the many who agree with Jones. As David Remnick wrote early Wednesday morning in a New Yorker piece titled "An American Tragedy," Trump "will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other." Last night it appeared that, to some, Trump already has.
@CNNPolitics disgusting. This kind of talk will divide us further.— Bina Soley (@BinaSoley) November 9, 2016