Wed. Nov 9, 2016. 4:18pm
I know, I know. “Bigotry wins. Misogyny wins. Science denying wins. Egalitarianism loses. Being brash, rude, mean and divisive is the new normal. The Electoral College is broken.” Etc, etc. I’m not sure I completely believe all of that — maybe Trump is a genius, he’s really a centrist, and he scammed the GOP? — but no need for me to continue down that road anyway.
The reality is Hillary Clinton lost fair and square. She got more votes, but lost the more important Electoral College. The last time this happened back in 2000 I actually voted for the eventual winner and thought it was wrong. This time I don’t feel it’s any less wrong. But it is the system we have. Losing hurts, but losing is part of life.
I won’t place blame. Approximately 4% of voters chose a third party and that is well within their rights. I did what I could to steer them towards Hillary Clinton, but it wasn’t enough. I don’t blame them. Third party voters did not lose this election. Democrats lost this election by not showing up at the polls.
(That said, I’m not quite that kind. I do blame some of those third party voters for believing so many of the lies and conspiracies about Hillary Clinton. How do we teach critical thinking to those who refuse to accept it? I don’t know.)
I won’t blame the youth, either. Did they turn out? No, not as much as they could have. But this is their world and if they’re indifferent then there’s not much anybody can do about it. Maybe this will inspire them.
I’ve mentioned before that not much will change for me personally no matter who is president. (We’ll talk health insurance another day. ObamaCare was the best thing I’d ever had in over a dozen years of buying my own individual insurance.)
I don’t vote for me, though. My wife and I don’t plan to have children so I don’t vote for them, either. I vote for my nieces. I vote for my friends’ children. I vote for my friends who are in the minority (although a minority of minorities voted Trump, so maybe they know something we don’t?). I vote for the people who are directly affected, and disaffected as the case may be, due to extremist policy change. I’m nervous that the US is becoming like the country of my birth, but that looks like the way it’s going. I think we’ll be able to fix this before the youngsters I know are old enough to vote. I hope so. But it may be difficult. There is a lot of anger out there across the political spectrum and we need to figure out how to do something about that. I don’t know what.
What I do know is that in 2018 we will have midterm elections. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs and 33 of the 100 Senate seats will be contested. The best we can hope for is that the next two years will inspire (or horrify) those who didn’t vote to get out and do so. And yes, I know gerrymandering has made it difficult to pick up a majority of seats in the House, but crazier things have happened. *ahem* The Senate, though? That’s where we can make things happen. It will be quite difficult since there are 25 Dem seats, including 5 in red states, up for grabs. But crazier things have happened. *ahem* A lot of you are looking to 2020. That’s great. But we’ve got to do something to inspire the youth to vote in 2018. We can stop the hemorrhaging sooner rather than later. Maybe a Donald Trump presidency is just what we need to inspire more people who are directly affected by the political process to actually participate. (Or, hear me out here, maybe a Donald Trump presidency won’t be as bad as we thought. I’m not expecting that to be the case, but it’s possible.)
As a moderate independent who has voted Republican and Democrat in the past I have already made a vow to never vote Republican again. It’s not that I think Republicans are terrible, but the lack of transparency, the lack of policy ideas, and the number of outright lies in their campaign this year made me lose all respect. They don’t deserve my vote. This was the first time I actually didn’t vote for a single Republican on the ballot. I hope other moderates will join me, because although the far left is misguided it isn’t terrifying like the far right. The far left is misguided about things like GMOs and nuclear energy and being honest about religion. The far right is misguided about that in addition to, incredibly enough, high school level science (e.g. evolution, climate change, biology). They are also misguided about the state of the world and humanity itself. Things were already good, even great. And humans are mostly good and incredibly resilient.
I don’t want to live in a hateful world anymore than you do. The next few years may not look great, but we don’t know yet how things will shape up. Maybe there are some Republicans left in Congress who have morals. I’m not counting on it, but maybe. If so, maybe Donald Trump will not have a near authoritarian power to do what he wants. That’s how our government is supposed to work, but with Republican majorities in all the relevant places it’s hard to understand how there will be checks and balances. (OK, the Senate does not have a fillibuster proof majority, but that’s not much of a positive.) At this point all we can do is hope and I know that kind of uncertainty doesn’t inspire pleasant feelings.
I don’t know how to close this except to say that it will be okay. You’ll get through this. We’ll get through this. Whatever you are feeling please feel it. And then get to work to fix this. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.
If you’d like a soundtrack here are two tracks for you:
“But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists
And I will take what’s mine mine mine”
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rise Up (With Fists!!)
“I want to find the water
That will wash this whole damn slate clean
Break down, break up
We sleep in what we create
Right now, I’m living so much hate”
boysetsfire – Still Waiting For The Punchline
Thursday morning (Nov 10). I didn’t even send this post out to my e-mail list and I’m already sending “Deplorable Jack” comments to spam. Wow, that was quick. As has always been my comment policy: I am writing in public. You must also. Anonymity has no place in open dialogue.