Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Whelp, We've All Just Been Thrust Into an Enormous Social Science Experiment

So, this is really happening, I guess.
As you probably didn't notice, I haven't been blogging about this election like I blogged my way through the last election - largely because I have kids now and don't have much free time or headspace for blogging. Also because this was essentially a policy-free election; how many people actually know what either of the candidates proposed to do with this country? I blogged about the issues a lot during the 2012 election - that would have been a pointless endeavor this time around, since policy was practically never discussed.
Well, now America has gone and elected a sexist, racist, bigoted, misogynist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic sexual predator endorsed by the KKK as President.
I have lots of feelings and mostly incoherent thoughts, and I needed to get them out of my head and put them somewhere, anywhere else.
In no particular order:
1. I am shocked and ashamed at my country, and at half of the people in this country. How could half of Americans look at a racist, sexist tangerine who boasts about sexually assaulting women and say, "Yep, that's who I want to be the leader of my country and the free world?" Everyone who voted for Trump voted for racism, sexism, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and homophobia to enter mainstream American political discourse, and that genie will be very hard to put back in the bottle. I suspect future historians will look back on this period of American history with the disgust that we now look back on the McCarthy and pre-Civil Rights eras.
1a. I am also shocked at the depth of the failures of US democratic institutions that enabled and empowered Trump's rise - the media, the Republican political establishment, and the Democratic political establishment - I suspect that lots of people will be dissecting the failures of these institutions for years to come. But, I mostly blame the media, for continuing to push a false equivalency narrative and pretend that Clinton's small mistakes (email server) or unfounded conspiracy theories (Benghazi) were somehow equivalent to Trump's total lack of experience, unabashed racism, sexism, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and homophobia - not to mention the fact that he literally bragged about sexually assaulting women. You have betrayed us for decades, US media, by pushing the false equivalency narrative that the two parties are just different sides of the same coin, and the Trump presidency is the culmination of that betrayal. I hope you've finally learned your lesson, but I guess we'll see.
2. Shamelessly stolen from someone on Twitter: This is a really strange way for the US to lose the Cold War, 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. I guess the arm of the USSR is longer than I thought.
3. Yet, probably out of self-preservation, I'm also super apathetic and just don't care - even though the election didn't go the way I want, I revel in my privilege, which will insulate me from most/all of the negative effects of a Trump Presidency. I'm not going to lose my house, my healthcare, or my job (unless America suddenly decides that it wants to let poor babies and children starve); I'm not going to be deported; I'm not going to be persecuted or even harassed; I'm not going to find myself needing an abortion that I can't get; I'm not going to have my vote suppressed. I acknowledge and am cynically thankful for my privilege, which is going to protect me from a Trump presidency, unless Trump somehow manages to start a nuclear war or something.
3a. The apathetic part of me is super cynical about the lower turnout among young people and minorities for Clinton - you all didn't bother to show up to vote, and now you're screwed. I tried to do my part to help you all, but my privilege insulates me - what the hell are you going to do?
4. In the long run, I am seriously concerned about climate disaster, as Trump may push us past the point of being able to reverse the worst effects of climate change. It may require us relocating north to get away from the worst effects of it, and I am concerned that my children and grandchildren will grow up in a world much more hostile to human life than the one I grew up in.
5. The USA is way more racist and sexist than I thought. I guess we haven't come as far since the Civil Rights era as we thought/hoped.
5a. I wonder if we're going to have to have a new Civil Rights or Voting Rights era. Voter suppression worked in places like North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Texas - and I'm afraid we're going to see Republicans continue their efforts to suppress Democratic voters, because they don't have much of an electoral future if they continue to tie their electoral future to old, angry, white people.
6. People say they voted for Trump to change the way things work in Washington - but they re-elected most of the same members of Congress. So, not much is going to change in Washington, because Congress sets the tenor of Washington, not the President.
6a. Corollary to the above point: The electorate has rewarded the Republicans' scorched-earth politics of the past 8 years. Next to climate change, this may cause the greatest long-term damage to the country. The Republicans last controlled all three branches of government under Bush II and screwed it up so badly they should have been disqualified from power for a generation, but my my, Americans have very short memories. Anyway, due to the vindication of Republicans' scorched-earth politics, I expect gridlock to get worse, not better. I literally see no end to this in sight.
7. I am continuously amazed at the extent to which such a large portion of the American electorate is repeatedly duped into voting against their own interests.
8. Maybe the USA was a little too hasty when we cast off the British monarchy?
9. The Electoral College system has now delivered us two of the worst Presidents we've ever had, even though these Presidents didn't win the popular vote - Bush II in 2000, and Trump in 2016. Despite this, we will never be able to rid ourselves of the stupidity of the Electoral College system unless Trump screws things up so badly that we have to write a new Constitution.
10. On the bright side, no one ever has to pretend to take evangelical Christians or Republicans seriously when they try to talk about morality or any such nonsense ever again. From now on, any time an evangelical Christian or Republican tries to talk to me about anything from a moral angle, I'm literally going to laugh in their hypocritical faces.
11. Or maybe one should understand this election as the Baby Boomers' last "fuck you" to the world. The Boomers didn't manage to destroy the earth by foisting Bush II on America back in 2000 and 2004, so they're trying to destroy the world again - Dr. Strangelove style, by riding a political nuclear bomb into oblivion - by shoving Trump down our throats before they die off. Ah, the Baby Boomers - fucking things up for everyone else since 1945.
12. I am having a really hard time trying to convince myself that anyone who voted for Trump can be a fundamentally good person.
13. In addition to shock and apathy, I am also feeling rage - rage at the half of the country who voted for such a transparently unqualified loser to be President. I have no doubt that a Trump presidency will make the lives of millions (billions?) of people worse - millions will likely lose their healthcare, will lose their jobs/houses/etc. in the upcoming Trump/Republican recession, will lose their ability to vote, etc.
13a. Even in my rage, I am ashamed of my own vitriolic feelings towards my fellow citizens. A darker part of me screams curses at all who voted for Trump, voted 3rd party, or didn't bother to vote at all - you all inflicted this tragedy upon America. A darker part of me hopes that you suffer personally because of your mistakes in this election, as your mistake will make others suffer. A darker part of me hopes that you lose your house and your job in the upcoming Trump/Republican recession. A darker part of me hopes that you get a chronic illness after Obamacare is repealed and you can't get healthcare and go bankrupt. A darker part of me hopes that your wife/daughter/sister has an unwanted or unviable pregnancy and can't get an abortion when she desperately needs it. A darker part of me hopes that your children and grandchildren fight and die in Trump's unnecessary wars. A darker part of me hopes that your water and land is polluted and poisoned after Trump guts environmental protections. A darker part of me hopes that your parents have to move in with you when they can't keep their house after their Social Security payments are cut. A darker part of me hopes that your home is flooded or burned due to unabated climate change. A darker part of me hopes that, after all that, you will recognize your folly.
Millions of people who had the sense to vote for Clinton will suffer the above traumas. A darker part of me hopes that those of you who inflicted Trump upon us will also suffer the same traumas for your bad choices - and I am ashamed of that part of me.
Many of my friends are already talking about love and reconciliation - and I hope that I can banish my darker side and get there too, sometime, and soon, and then summon the energy to keep fighting the good fight, for truth, justice, and the American way.
But I have shame, rage, apathy, privilege, and so much more to work through first.
I hope I'm wrong about what I expect Trump to do to this country.
I've never hoped more earnestly to be wrong.
It's going to be an ... interesting 4 years.