Several friends asked me this morning why I haven’t written a blog about the election. In reality, I started to write several times, but found the words hard to come by. I am stunned, disheartened, and afraid. My mind is muddled today by the confusion over the outcome of the election, and the extreme fear of the future. There are many excellent thought pieces being posted online this morning. Most express my feelings, and perhaps yours, better than I can today. You can seek them out.
Briefly, my basic thoughts on the Trump victory … he tapped into several kegs, not any one of which could fill his glass alone but collectively added up to enough electoral votes (though apparently not enough popular votes) to bring him victory. He was excellent, a master, at painting a dark picture of America that was largely false … and he promised with few details to bring us out of the depths of this great make-believe chasm. It is difficult to turn down a promise like that.
He was also very successful at awakening the racist underbelly of America that had been slumbering under decades of both Republican and Democratic presidencies. Like it or not, his anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican, anti-women, anti-LGBT rants (along with supporters from the KKK) found an audience that finally had a candidate who espoused their views.
He was also very good at personally attacking his opponents in such a way that his vapid characterizations became reality in the eyes of some voters. Using rude childish behavior with demeaning catch words such as “lying,” “little,” “stupid,” “crooked” he painted all his challengers as unfit candidates and human beings. Like calling a kid on a school yard “big ears,” or “four-eyes,” you do it enough and it begins to stick.
He also was running against a deeply flawed candidate whose baggage bogged her down (and of course, no favors were done by Mr. Comey’s fourth quarter interference). His unconventional (and some may argue unlawful) threats of arresting his “nasty” opponent and his encouragement of cries to “lock her up” all added up for a Trump victory. Though highly qualified, Ms. Clinton suffered in likability and represented the establishment that Mr. Trump made voters feel is the problem.
Finally, I can’t go without expressing my thoughts that the news media has become an embarrassment and is largely responsible for the outcome of this election … particularly the broadcast media. Many newspapers did admirable jobs of covering the issues, but with so few people reading print anymore, the power of the press had been hugely diminished. Television, for the most part, grasped onto the entertainment brought by a TV reality star turned politician granting him unfettered access to “news” broadcasts with little analysis of substance. It is easy for TV stations to cherry pick the most salacious and titillating soundbites which lure in viewers for the entertainment factor. TV news did a deplorable job of providing any insight into this election and the issues. And while they can now go back to their regular fare of car chases and neighborhood stabbings, their shortcomings in providing a public service (for both candidates) should prompt outrage among the dwindling number of viewers.
This morning, Mr. Trump said he wants to bring us all together. After his incendiary talk during the campaign, that may be extremely difficult to do. As Hilary Clinton spoke live this morning several hours after Trump’s plea, traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange broke into chants of “Lock her up.” And Trump surrogates appearing on a handful of talk shows today reiterated their candidate’s demands that people be rounded up, jailed, and deported immediately. The candidate who depicts Mexicans as rapists and murderers, who mocks an individual with a physical disability, who calls for a ban on people based on their religion has a long way to go to bring us all together.
I will likely lose some “friends” on Facebook after this, and that is fine with me. This morning, I actually unfriended two “friends” who were gloating about the Trump victory in language reflecting the unleashed bravado that their candidate exhibited. They won’t see what I write here now because I have unfriended them, not for their political views, but rather for displaying the type of hatred that I am afraid Mr. Trump has legitimized through his fiery rhetoric and threats.
As of this writing, more than half of those who cast their votes did not want Trump to win. Yet he is the new president. I will support him as best as I can, which admittedly will not be an easy task for someone I find so morally, socially, and politically reprehensible.