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Fashion Designers, Politicians & Religion…Lessons from the 2016 US Elections.

Amidst all the gloom and chaos from this year’s presidential election, the outcome has given me  some things to reflect on…particularly how ‘progressive’ we Americans claim to be.

I made the conscious effort to avoid election news due to negativity spewed by both presidential candidates (especially the current president-elect). It was disappointing to hear so much hate, bigotry, misogyny, discrimination, name calling and lies through out this year. I thought election campaigns served as a means for politicians to convey their plan to the people, while respectfully engaging their opponent. To the contrary, this year’s election was a blood bath…and I’d like to wipe out any trace of the feud from my memory. This election proved that the insistent need for public figures to act irresponsibly (i.e. badger each other) and disregard their ability to influence people is quite alarming these days. The un-American rhetoric from both presidential candidates transcended to their supporters and resulted in a divisive environment even after the elections. Ironically, supporters that argue in favor of their prefered candidates also fail to realize that political candidates usually tell people what they want to hear.

Religion played a significant yet unfavorable element in this year’s presidential election. In my opinion, both the democratic and republican parties, promote policies on the premise of religious beliefs…mainly republican. Both parties generally hold opposing views on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, education and immigration. But politicians are disconnected in that they focus on issues and forget an essential piece…empathy for people impacted by these issues. Empathy and respect are core religious values that politicians and their supporters find easy to dismiss. In addition, I found it troubling that religious leaders were willing to skew their beliefs to rally support for politicians. The contradiction in some religious individuals left me seriously puzzled during the campaign. For instance, the ease to support a person lacking integrity or respect because he advocates against planned parenthood.There is something profoundly wrong with our beliefs when we selectively decide to overlook some moral issues.

At a time when integrity is no longer valued as significant, its refreshing to know that unlikely icons still hold it dear. On Friday evening, I came across an article on Facebook about fashion designer, Sophie Theallet, vowing to never work with the president-elect’s wife, Melania. Her reason for taking this action was to protest against the hatred, divisiveness, discrimination and misogyny the president-elect perpetuated during his campaign. Sophie Theallet wrote an open letter, in which she urged other designers to heed her advice. I admire the fact that this prominent woman chose to take a stand against the dehumanization of women, minorities, muslims, LGBT and immigrants. I also have great love and respect for public figures (including religious leaders, politicians, musicians, actors  e.t.c) engaging in sensible protest against existing appalling mindsets this past election campaign uncovered. They exemplify the importance of standing up for  what is right and fostering a legacy fariness…these are truly WORTHY causes to strive for.

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