The Russians employed “active measures” against the United States and undermined our election process. We should remain skeptical of the results, not optimistic. Putin’s congratulations to President-elect Trump may signify a few things. It could be sincere, but it’s likely just part of his calculus. Russia played a role in this election, and it’s alarming.
That said, Trump’s unlikely ascent to the presidency might be representative of the beginnings of something that’s embedded in the very fabric of Western existence: revolution. It began in the French Revolution, and we’ve been either revolting, questioning authority, or exporting revolution ever since.
Ignoring Russian influence on Trump’s success, rural communities that have heard Trump lament minorities and other people with whom they have limited interaction have put their thumbs on the scale in this election, too. A lot of people are seriously concerned about limitations imposed on coal mining and fossil fuel refining. It means jobs for so many. This country cannot inhale massive unemployment and walk away unscathed. We have people in rural Illinois living in similar levels of poverty to people in Iraq.
We have taken what the country has to offer for granted. When someone feels stuck, telling them “you can do whatever you want in America” sounds like fiction. The vote, a beautiful thing that everyone gets, made it clear that our disenfranchised countrymen want in on that dream, too.