Everyone around me is losing it to some degree or another, and as I'm coming out of the emotional bunker that is my default reaction to, well, anything, I'm having a hard time feeling the same.
Yes, I'm unhappy Trump won, and yes, I'm angry at the Democrats for fucking the dog.
But I'm having a hard time rending my garments the way everyone else seems to be. Honestly I feel better than I have in awhile, simply because the whole thing is over, and we can get on with our lives. As Stephen Colbert said in his amazing sign-off last night, we have to make room for other things. Don't forget too that Obama's election (both times) was literally the end of the country for some, and we're still here.
More to the point, I don't think the end is really nigh. Unless Trump legit causes the apocalypse, the odds of which are small, I'm not convinced it's going to be that bad. Trump's incompetence means he's unlikely to accomplish much of his agenda. His thin skin and resentful nature mean he's going to have a hard time building coalitions in Congress, even with Republicans (especially with those who have snubbed him recently). It's hard to know if he'll just rubber-stamp everything Congress wants to do or if he'll get into petty squabbling with them (which would be better). I also think it's important to remember that his platform is so non-distinct that we don't really know what it is (and I suspect neither does he), so it's tough to evaluate it. And this is an important thing to remember: we have to find out what he's actually going to do rather than project our own fears and stereotypes onto a blank (if yellowish) slate. Intellectual snobbery and a refusal to think that working-class voters had any kind of legitimate claims is, in large part, why Trump won. It's easy to dismiss this as a case of people voting against their interests, but Democrats have done a terrible job of addressing the total economic collapse of the middle 2/3 (geographically) of the country.
I don't want to minimize the very real effects on people's lives this election will have, but my concern is only that we're (a) overstating it, and (b) ignoring that a Clinton victory also would've had very real and negative effects for some. It's easy to say that Trump will cause more damage, but the truth is there's no way to know, and in some respects I question that (see above).
At the end of the day, I think there're two possible outcomes. Either things are terrible and he meets a lot of resistance, followed by the Republicans getting their asses kicked in the midterms, or things don't end up being that bad.
In the meantime, I'm hoping that the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party is now well and truly dead, and we can get actual liberal candidate(s) for a change. Why is no one trying to do a leftist version of the Tea Party at the state level?
I also think it's healthy in the long-term for racism and sexism to come out in the open, because then we can identify it and deal with it head on. It's like cleaning a wound, you have to get the putrefaction out first before healing can begin. Plus, if anyone around me secretly feels this way, I'd like to know about it. I did have a thought this morning about how to one day tell my daughter that she shouldn't let anyone treat her the way Trump treats women, but Trump's election means that conversation is actually more likely to happen, that we're not just going to check the "eliminate sexism" box and move on.
As the saying goes, life is not a problem to solve, but a reality to experience. Let us hope that voters made the right choice, even if we don't think they did.
With that, I'm done for awhile. I'll reply to comments here, but otherwise I'm going to stay out of political discussion and handwringing. After all, it was intellectuals' complete dismissal of a majority of the country that led to last night's results, and I'm not going to join that particular circlejerk. We get the leaders we deserve, and now it's time to see what that means. Maybe some penance is in order, maybe not. But I hope we on the left have the courage and self-awareness to consider what went wrong, and we have to start by recognizing that there are some people out there that are hurting a lot.
And now, a poem.
I'm hesitant to express any optimism or point out silver linings because people are so visibly and uncontrollably shaken, especially on Facebook where conversation is much more emotional. And I don't want to dismiss the well-founded fear that people have of being the target, specifically or generally, of the racism that's very alive and well.
But individually, we had nothing to do with the result of this election, and therefore aren't morally culpable. And in the category of "realities we had no hand in making" the only rational action is to accept and work within them, and to seek out any new advantages. That doesn't rule out organizing an opposition, working to elect a future Bernie, improving your community, or what have you.
I'm most depressed about the global warming can we kicked down the road for at least another four years. I think we're past the point now of making it out of the worst effects of global warming. Republicans are already gleeful at the prospect of cutting corporate taxes and growing the economy. The lower oil prices due to innovations in fracking mean there's much less impetus to pursue a sustainable energy infrastructure. And a president who has made promises to the coal miner to give him his job back suggests that we're in no rush to wean ourselves off dirty fossil fuels.