Collectively we've only had the better part of a day to process the results of the 2016 election, but in the age of information and technology that's plenty of time to start parsing through some of the relevant data, and the findings are fairly bleak.
Granted it's still early, and numbers are still being reported from a few of the slower precincts around the country, but it looks like about 125 million Americans voted for president during the 2016 general election. With roughly 245 million eligible citizens (according to the Federal Register), that's a turnout of just over 51%. That leaves over 48% of the adult population of these United States who couldn't be bothered to get up and exercise their most basic right as a citizen. Donald Trump will become the next president of the U.S. with the ascent of a mere quarter of eligible adults.
In the past, this sort of unwillingness to lift a finger hasn't had a particularly disastrous impact. Sure, presidential elections have been decided by slim margins, and perhaps the best qualified candidate hasn't been elected, but at least both candidates have been reasonably respectable politicians who were not a threat to the republic.
This election was different. There has never been a Donald Trump before. We have literally elected (to shamelessly quote myself) a greedy, manipulative, vengeful, wrathful, tax-dodging, lying, racist, jingoist, megalomaniacal demagogue and serial adulterer who has defrauded thousands of employees, students, and business people, sexually assaulted dozens of women, encouraged foreign entities to commit cyber crimes against the US, and quite possibly raped children.
In what I can only imagine was a combination of stress, excitement, senioritis, and my well-documented tendency to butt in I stood up in that classroom and yelled, "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! You 'don't want to get involved in all that'? You don't want to take just a moment of your daily life to make sure that you're informed on the issues and in control of your own fate? Well, let me give you a guarantee, [student's name]: if you don't get involved in all that, it will get involved in you, and there won't be thing one you can do about it because you will have surrendered any power you had."
In the coming days, weeks, months, and, God forbid, years, there are bound to be non-voters who claim that they are innocent in all this; after all, they didn't vote for Trump. No, non-voters. You aren't getting off that easy. You helped bake this cake just as much as anybody else, and come January you're going to have to choke it down with the rest of us. Thanks for nothing.