Here is as good a place as any to discuss the rise of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land.
Kotaku is and always has been a site that is foremost about video games and the culture around them. Our site is written and run with an attempt to be honest with you about what we know, how we know it and what we make of it. Politics pops up here and there in our coverage, sometimes because it is the news, sometimes because it helps explain a critic’s take.
We didn’t write much about the Trump and Clinton campaigns over the last year and a half, but in the spirit of writing frankly to our readers, it would be dishonest to not acknowledge Trump’s win. I have done so on Twitter, describing his victory as “shameful” and I am sure that regular readers have noticed some of our staff’s anxiety about his victory in stories on the site.
Trump’s victory is historic. It is not the normal swing of Democrat to Republican, but the ascendance of an individual I and many others have come to revile. From the time he stepped into the modern political arena by repeatedly questioning, without proof, the legitimacy of the first black president, Trump has demonstrated character and values inconsistent with American ideals of tolerance, to say nothing of general decency.
During his campaign, Trump’s outrageous promises have included the deportation of more than 10 million illegal immigrants from the country, a religious test on who would be allowed to enter the U.S., and the return of torture. He has praised authoritarian rulers, all the while promising to help those struggling in the working class. He has behaved like a Twitter troll, derisively nicknaming and taunting his political enemies on social media to the glee of his followers. He proved that you can be caught on tape bragging about how your success allows you to grab women by the pussy and only the guy laughing along with you will get fired, while you’ll get voted into the most powerful job in the world. It is a common thing to deride a president as not being smart enough, to assume they are incompetent or incapable of leading. It is distressing and far too late in human history to believe, in 2017, we’ll have an American president who appears to be instinctively intolerant and sexist.
It is unclear what Trump truly believes, how much of him is real and how much is cynical marketing. Trump changes his tune all the time. After vilifying and threatening to jail Clinton for months he praised her on Wednesday morning and said “we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.” He has clumsily walked back his call for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., carving out one ad hoc exception after another to the point that it seems like just another ill-thought-out campaign boast. It is possible, after all, that, like many politicians before him, Trump will fail to keep his most extraordinary campaign promises. Even if that’s the case, the distinction will be how different and disturbing so many of his promises were. And he will nonetheless deliver on plenty, including a rollback of climate change regulations. He has a good chance of pushing the Supreme Court further to the right, threatening the nation’s abortion rights status quo.
There are obviously millions of people in America who support Donald Trump, some who agree with his most vulgar, sexist and xenophobic statements and those who somehow look past that and identify him as an agent for positive change. Some of you may be Trump supporters and perhaps see something good and untroubling in him that I don’t see. Others of you may well share my concern about Trump’s grim potential for America.
Our focus at Kotaku is on an artform and its culture, on the people who experience it and create it. We do so with a diverse staff and in hopes to attract an ever more diverse readership, one where people of all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, faiths and political views feel welcome, a “Kotaku for everyone.” Well, everyone but bigots.
I will always encourage our writers to learn about new things, to be open to divergent views, to engage with those with whom they’d agree or disagree. But we—I—must acknowledge the elephant in the room. Times are changing, and an uncertain future lies ahead. Those concerned about the future under Trump could do well by studying this list of organizations that champion civil liberties, women’s rights, and more and considering support for them.
I invite you to discuss your election hopes and fears here. May we all exhibit the tolerance so valuable to the preservation of the American experiment.