I’m not going to write about all the policy and civil rights minutiae, because other people with a better grasp of it will say things better than I can. The truth is I’m a white dude, and I don’t know what it feels like to have parts of my body (whether it’s my reproductive organs or skin color) under imminent danger. I know it sucks, but others know more.
I’m paying heed to a more grand-scale crisis. It’s bigger than Trump, bigger than Obama, bigger than Hillary.
This election sealed a deal that many already saw coming: my lifetime in this country will be tumultuous, at best. Rapturous, at worst.
With every passing election year, our differences become more highlighted. Our society has grown apart in ways thought unfathomable. “The United States” is a misnomer and practically a sick joke now. We are anything but united, and that simply isn’t changing while I’m alive.
Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, have only grown further apart. They may trade minority and majority roles, but moderates are becoming a rare breed. All this will only lead to more partisanship, less compromise, less activity, and more gridlock.
Nativism has struck back in the most dramatic of ways, taking the presidency and a practical clean sweep of the national government. Most important about this is that those ideals are now not just fair play in political discussion, but now politically mandated objectives that will serve voting constituencies. Not all Trump supporters feel this way, but at the very least they’re complicit, and that’s bad enough. Our racial divide just got even wider.
Assuming the vote totals don’t change dramatically, we have also had a president-elect who lost the popular vote for the second time in 16 years. This is a direct affront to the core ideal of democracy itself, and considering the amount of change that happened last time (re: zero), I don’t have much hope that we’ll achieve any change this time either.
Hope, or lack of it, is my current mental state. There’s not much to pin hope on, at this point. There’s practically no silver lining in this moment. There are developments that could occur soon, but right now, despair is in season.
There’s so many other thoughts that I have, but they’re very much in their infancy. We still know so little about Trump’s prospective presidency, or how the Democratic party will respond. I won’t bother to comment until there are tea leaves to read, at least.
I do have a few thoughts though. Or rather, some arguments that I simply won’t participate in, because they’re trash arguments.
- Miss me with your “third party votes did us in” speeches. This is a bullshit blame-game argument. It was bullshit with Perot (Perot voters were evenly split or not voting), it was bullshit with Nader (the amount of registered Democrats who voted for Bush in Florida outnumbered Nader votes by a factor of 5), and early exit polls show that at least half of Johnson/Stein votes would have sat at home instead. I won’t say who to blame yet (since not all the data is out yet, we haven’t even finished counting all the votes), but I’m rather sure blaming third-party votes is a bullshit, short-sighted argument like it always has been.
- Miss me with your “this was about <single issue or feeling>” statements. It’s never that simple. Some of this was good ol’-fashioned racism. Some of it was nativism. Some of it was white privilege. Some of it was a legitimate reaction to worsening economic conditions. Some of it was poor turnout (if current numbers are accurate). There’s a lot of reasons. All are in play. Don’t be reductive and blame one thing.
- I hesitated to call Clinton a flat-out “bad candidate.” I think that was my optimism and general respect for the woman speaking. But she was a bad candidate. I don’t really feel there’s any rational argument otherwise. My opinion doesn’t infer anything about female candidates either; her gender never informed my opinion of her. But she, specifically, was just a bad candidate. She was the insider in an election that was about outsiders. In hindsight that seems really simple, but that’s what it is.
- You will never hear me utter the words “President Trump.” This might be combative and contradictory to my words above about divisiveness, but I have to draw a line somewhere. More people voted for someone else. He does not represent me. Fuck all that.
- I don’t know how long I’m going to lick my wounds after this election, but I do know that there’s only two options I, personally, have.
- I’m probably not leaving.