Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why oh why

Trump is going to be president.  I didn't think it would happen, and a year ago I was hoping for Trump to win the nomination because I thought Clinton would beat him.  I figured that he would have lots of scandals, say incredibly stupid things, lose the debates, be unorganized, and piss off all kinds of voters with sexist and racist crap.  I thought that would make him lose to an organized, experienced, disciplined opponent like Clinton.  I was wrong.

Now don't for a minute think that I loved Clinton.  I was grumpy about Trudeau being elected in Canada because he is part of a political dynasty, and I actually liked his platform really well.  Clinton's platform was ok (pretty good for a Democrat, actually) but the dynasty thing really gets to me.  But compared to Trump?  No contest, give me the calculating politician over the megalomaniac sociopath every time.

So why oh why did this happen?

There are lots of people saying that it was due to Trump's followers being racist, sexist pigs.  They rant about the bigotry in American and Trump using that to get elected.  They are right.  Those shirts that Trump supporters wore saying "Trump that bitch" exist because so many people deep down do not believe a woman can successfully run the country.

There are others saying that no, it isn't the racist, sexist thing.  It is that Trump is outside the political establishment and people are angry.  They don't like how the world is shaping up and they want their secure factory jobs back.  They want their rural culture back.  They want the world to stop running away from them.  They are right too.

In the US there are real frustrations with the political establishment.  Huge ones.  There are people who just want it all to blow up and think that Trump will be so disastrous he might actually break things, and they want revolution so badly they will face any disaster to get it.  I totally understand that, because the two party system in the US is so dysfunctional right now that I get the desire to tear it down and start anew.

There is a real draw to the good old days.  Of course there is the perception that economically things were better back then, but that is just selective memory.  Today unemployment is low, things are cheaper than ever, and more people have health insurance.  There are plenty of reasons to think things are good.  But none of that compares to the shining memories of a golden past, even though those shining memories are a lie.  Inequality is bad now, no doubt, but pretty clearly electing a billionaire trust fund baby who wants to empower the rich is not going to fix *that*.

But it isn't just economics of course.  Men want to be able to smack the women in the office on the ass and have it just be chalked up to 'boys will be boys'.  People want to be able to loudly tell jokes about the Mexican, the Indian, and the Russian and have people laugh instead of being hauled into the office for a dressing down and a lecture on cultural sensitivity.  People want to be able to call things gay and not get frowned at.  Trump does those things.  He gets away with it.  His behaviour harkens back to a time when you could just take a giant steaming shit on marginalized groups and it was overlooked.  (Things are perfect now, but these things have improved.)

People want both those things.  They want the illusory glory of the past where every man had a good job and an obedient wife.  They want the freedom to stomp around unaware and uncaring of the struggles of those different from themselves.

So what do we do about the glorification of the past and the love of bigoted behaviour?  That, I don't know.  Both of these things are eternal, omnipresent in human society.  I suspect the answer is that we wait.  The world is getting better, but it is *not* a smooth slope.  It is jagged, and there are big steps back that happen when the people resistant to change lash out in anger as they did yesterday.

Trump is a step back from progress.  He is going to do incredible damage to the US and the ripples from his decisions will spread outward through the world.  Heck, he is actually a danger to begin some kind of serious global conflict.  But all we can do now is wait, knowing that once he has made his mess the pendulum will swing back the other way when people get sick of him.  It always does.


  1. There's a few more thoughts to add to your points. The current US system is very divisive and there is no compromise. I've come to realize that the gridlock is not so much the representative's faults as the constituents. Don't get me wrong, the politicians set their platforms, but it's based on what they think will get them elected. It's frustrating because everyone blames the politicians, but if you read comments in regards to any political discussion, the worst behavior is exhibited.

    I don't exactly agree with Hillary either, but she more falls in line with my beliefs. I don't think she's as environmentally progressive as I believe we need to be, but she isn't a step back as Trump is. He's threatened to overturn all environmental controls so he can create more jobs. People think in the here and now and not the future of our world and this is selfish and short-sighted. And honestly, how is he going to bring back manufacturing jobs that are long gone due to automation? Are people that dense that don't realize that technology is moving incredibly fast and we need to adjust?

    I also believe that if Hillary was a male and ran the same campaign, the outcome likely would have been different. Deep down, I don't feel that the US is ready for a female president. It bothers me as a male to think that other men criticize men for supporting women and call them "pussies" or say that any male who supports a female leader has been emasculated. I am saddened by this misogyny because I had hoped we had made more progress.

    I can't stand reading how "republican supporters" blame Obama for adding to the civil unrest and caused more animosity towards minorities. To me, this is pushing the blame off onto others rather than trying to work together. Trump perfectly represents this by blaming everyone else when he doesn't get his way.

    I sway from hoping that he goes to court and is charged and thrown in jail and everything blows up so that the people who voted him realize they made a huge mistake to hoping he acts the part and becomes a man who can fake being presidential (just not good enough for a second term.) I'm going to keep an open mind and hope that this shakeup wakes up the democratic party and gets voters out for the midterm elections. Real change is needed, but really is he a change or just the same old in a different package?

    I have to ask anyone who voted for him... How can you look any female friend, wife, daughter in the face and say you voted for a man who used his power and fame to force himself on another female?

    I hope you and I are wrong and he doesn't do the damage to the US that I fear.

  2. Agreed. People also voted for him for merely acknowledging their economic predicaments and daily realities in spite of all of the offensive things he said. A billionaire was more effective at doing than traditional parties. Lots of women held up their nose and voted for him and they cannot be dismissed as "deplorables".

  3. Things get better, but for a lot of Americans they are not getting better. Those calls back to the "glory days" come from people who would like median income to go back up to 2000 levels, or life expectancy to go back up to 2000 levels or infant mortality to go back down to 2000 levels. Saying that things are going well economically in the states is a huge part of the problem. Those economic indicators people use to say that are useless metrics.

    Trump is going to make things much worse, but the political and expert classes who led America down the path they were on shouldn't be surprised that a massive number of Americans don't want to hear what they think anymore.