These are my ramblings today on The Election.
Winston Churchill, on democracy:
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
True that, Winston.
But let us not forget his follow-up, also just as true:
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Weeks ago I read something that reassured me that I had the wisdom to know what was going to happen in this election. Not until deep into the evening last night did I really think it was possible, that this slow moving trainwreck was really happening.
That something was:
“There aren’t enough white men for Trump to win.”
Yes, we (white men) may be privileged, but we are still a minority gender. As of the last census, there are 5.2 million more women than men in the United States.
And when you look at the exit polls from the election, men did vote for Trump, as we expected:
Basically, there was a tie between the genders for each candidate. Not much of the other exit polling seems surprising to me, as I ponder the data tonight for the first time. The less educated vote was heavily Trump. The black vote was heavily Clinton.
The white vote was heavily Trump. Surprisingly heavily (58T/37C). But not too surprising, given you have both racism and sexism pulling in the same direction.
But then we come to this:
White Women 53T/43C
White women overwhelmingly voted for Trump! They favored him as much as men overall did.
White women did not want a white woman to be president!
White women either loved Trump, or hated Clinton, or both.
Trump does represent this country of ‘MERICA. He better represents us than Clinton does.
Consider: We are, as a country, racist (even minorities), sexist (even women), are hot-headed, and we believe we’ll eventually be rich, and vote as if we are.
We are not, as a country, smart, well educated, skeptical, or able to appreciate nuance.
Enough people are willing to believe the lies. In other words, Trump has no restrictions on him, no one he had to please. He was able to promise everything to everyone, from the wall to beating ISIS to “I’m good at business”. With literally nothing stopping him from promising anything he wanted, with his ability to believe his own lies, with the general lack of skepticism and critical thinking from the citizens, his ascent now seems almost inevitable.
We are Trump.
Trump is us.
We are a bunch of idiot mouth breaking yokels, and there’s no way an elite, hard-working, educated, smart, woman represents us better than a fake-tan sexist loud mouthed stubborn dumb sonfabitch reality TV star who managed to luck into a sweet life.
Come on, America is not anything like Hillary Clinton.
America is a lot like Donald Fucking Trump!
Trump tapped into a vast reservoir of dissatisfaction with the political elite. I share that dissatisfaction.
It was only through a failing of the incumbent political machines that allowed Trump to enter the national political stage. The Republican machine could not stop him, and then neither could the Democratic machine once he was nominated. None of the political elites wanted him.
But the people did. This was the ultimate protest vote. The people saw it not just as the usual “lesser of two evils” between people, between candidates… the people framed this as a “lesser of two evils” between the existing political machinery, and anything else.
Did anyone ever think they’d ever look fondly back on the days of George W. Bush as president?
I’m not there yet, but it suddenly seems possible.
We can only do what we can do.
I am an upper-middle-class white man. I am considered a liberal by many outside of Madison and a libertarian or conservative by many inside Madison. I am no bleeding heart. But I am a believer in equality and justice. For all.
My women friends, I support you. I will not stand for sexism.
My gay friends, my trans friends, I support you. I will not stand for your oppression.
My friends of color, I support you. I do not support racism.
I don’t know what’s coming in the next four years, but whatever does, I am your ally.
Here is something I can do. As a middle aged white male, I am privy to a world you don’t know. A world in which people are MUCH more likely to think it’s okay to say something casually racist, or sexist, or homophobic, and expect me to nod in agreement. “Locker room talk”.
It will not, ever, go unchallenged in my presence. I am your voice where you may not have one.
I bet a friend weeks ago that Trump would win, and he gave me 5-1 on my $20.
I never wanted to win that bet. I thought that by placing it I would at least have gotten something out of Trump winning. A salve.
I must do something with that money. The ACLU? Planned Parenthood? Rape crisis center?
I should probably do one of those things. Instead my browser search history today now includes “cheap bulk dildos”.
I would really like to send someone a bag of dicks.
I am still a patriot. I believe in this American experiment.
I liken it to science.
People expect it to not get it wrong, ever. Perfection. But science makes mistakes. America makes mistakes. People make mistakes.
People expect America to do the right thing, and people often expect that science should have the right answer. Neither is always true. Science is often wrong. America is often wrong. You don’t have to look very far back in history to see the truth of what I am saying about either.
But what is great about both… what is great about the scientific method, the progress of science… what is great about America… is not that we are getting it right at any particular moment, but that we can step back and look to see an inexorable progress towards truth and justice.
Just as America institutionalized slavery, just as science said eugenics or bloodletting was the correct policy or healthiest treatment, we got it wrong. But in both cases, as time goes on, we progress towards our better selves.
Today was a hard day for those of us who believe in equality and justice. But let us not lose sight of the fact that we have slipped, that we have fallen… we have STILL climbed so far!
Two years ago it was illegal for gay people to marry in Wisconsin.
Nine years ago it was inconceivable that a black man could be president.
Twenty-five years ago I thought not a single negative thought about using the words faggot or nigger as a pejorative.
A hundred years ago women could not vote.
It was only 153 years ago that the Emancipation Proclamation finally made clear the path this great country would take in freeing those unjustly shackled.
Change comes slowly. Then it comes quickly.
We slip. We fall. But we still are walking in the right direction.
Ask yourself. Would you want to live in a previous time? A different country? When? Where? When and where would have been better? This is still a great time and great place to be alive, to exist. We are lucky.
I still got food on the table. I still dealt with emergencies at work. I still went to my kid’s teacher conference. I still collaborated with my soon-to-be-ex-wife on getting the kid’s library books back to her (I’ll drop them in the morning).
Life moves on.
One foot in front of the other.
Love the ones you love.
Do what you can do. Don’t worry about what you can not affect.
Keep being awesome.