Friday, November 18, 2016

The Great Comeuppance

   It’s hard when someone says, “I told you so.” I know.  I’ve been feeling like someone has been saying, “I told you so.” Big time.       
   It’s even harder to get my head around the fact that, in just over two months, Donald Trump will be our president.  It is hard to believe that “the Donald,” a television celebrity who has never held any office and appears to know very little about what doing so involves and who has said horrible things about women and minorities, mocked the disabled, encouraged violence, bragged about groping women and lied about President Obama not being born in the U.S, among other things, was elected to be president, the “leader of the free world.” But Trump was elected, squarely if not fairly, winning the electoral college but not the popular vote, and he will be our next president come January 20.
   I thought it was bad when Reagan was elected president.  That was a Sunday in the park compared to this.  All the more so when we see the people, like alt-right promoter Stephen Bannen, who Trump is relying on for the help and advice he so desperately needs in his new position. 
   What is easy is to say that nobody saw this coming.  That is what everyone has been saying, starting with all the newscasters and commentators on Election Night.  There has been many articles and much chatting about how most people thought Hilary Clinton would win and how they all got it so terribly wrong.  Even Trump’s supporters and backers and even Trump, a bit like a deer in the headlights, are surprised. 
   Too easy, in fact.  It’s too easy to say this was all just such a surprise, a shock. 
   We should have seen this coming.  Especially us Democrats.  We sh
ould have seen this coming. 
   There were signs that this was coming.  Signs that were telling us.  Signs now saying, “I told you so.”
   Yes, racism played a role in Trump’s victory, with mostly white men – and white women! – voting for him. As graphically seen in Henry Louis Gates’ new PBS documentary series on African-American history, this is the same racism that lead to white flight and the rejection of racial quotas right after black power became a big thing. And the fact that it now turns out that most people get news – more to the point, news that they want, including fake news, like Hilary and Bill going to sex parties or the pope  endorsing Trump – from Facebook and Twitter was an issue. 
   But it was more than these and other related issues.  They are easy.
   Again, we Democrats should have been listening, should have seen what was going on. 
   As one friend said, Hilary should have been down in the hood.  She should have been taking $25, $5, whatever from folks, like Bernie did, instead of whining that she should be the first woman to be president as if it was her right and taking $10,000 checks from whoever was lucky enough to see her in Hollywood and on Wall Street.  This not only made Trump’s supporters and those open to him feel all the more forgotten and angry – on top of their resentment that others get help with their tax money, as I say in my previous post - and determined to vote for him, come Hell or high water.  Worse, it alienated the non-rich minorities and young people who were supposed to vote for Clinton and cut them off, leaving them with no reason to vote for her.  (I voted for Jill Stein, which didn’t matter here in dark blue California.) 
   No wonder the Donald is no longer a joke and will now be our president, the commander in chief, the leader of the free world.  Hell and high water may well coming, and we should have seen it coming.  Because, by not listening to those who listened to Trump, by not taking them seriously, we let it happen. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

It's not about Trump

   Next Tuesday is Election Day.  At this point, it’s turning out to be Y2K.2.
   Remember Y2K, when everyone was worried that the world would go out of whack or maybe even end when the year 2000 came? No one knew for certain if computers, which pretty much run the world as we know it, would switch over to switch over to 2000 or revert to 1900 or even 1000. There were dire warnings from agencies and institutions, and everyone was stressing out, writing up plans and stocking up on goods and supplies. 
  It turned out that all the warning and all the stressing was all for nothing. The calendar went from 1999 to 2000 without a hitch.  All our computers and all our devices switched over to 2000 with no problems to speak of. 
  I’d like to say that the bizarre, twisty, anything-can-happen presidential campaign, which has essentially been going on for nearly 2 years, will end up the same way with the final voting on Tuesday. The election will be over – finally! finally! – and our life will go on.
   But will it?     
   It is possible that the election won’t be over on Tuesday. Donald Trump hasn’t said if he’ll concede if Hilary Clinton wins, and he says he may contest the election if he doesn’t win.  It’s hard to say, however, if this isn’t just more of Trump’s blowhard self-promotion.  (There are those who argue that Trump doesn’t really want to be president – see his lack of preparation and research – that his campaign has just been a publicity stunt.)
   Or there are those who say the election will be too close to call, a la 2000 and the hanging chads in Florida.  This could get particularly hairy, with the 8-member Supreme Court evenly split. 
   The mainstream thought, though, seems to be that Clinton will win outright, although perhaps not by a landslide.  I’d like to think and I pray that this is what happens.  But even if this is what happens, it will be an uneasy victory. 
   This all may well not end on Tuesday, because, despite what he says and thinks, this election hasn’t been and isn’t about Trump. 
   This is obvious, because he has gotten this far no matter how vulgar, lewd and stupid he has been.  As he has said, he can stand in street and shoot people and still get votes. And why would a millionaire be so attractive to the blue-collar workers who are Trump’s core, die-hard supporte? 
   It really isn’t Trump that these supporters, primarily older white men, are voting for.  And they’re not just voting against Clinton.  No, they are crying out, angrily, in a world that is leaving them behind, that they don’t understand.  It’s a world that is no longer right and fair, where women can easily get abortions, where men can marry each other, where there are more and more restrictions on guns, where some people can not only get by but get ahead with tax payers’ help, where a black man, most likely benefiting from affirmative action and other such government help, can be president. 
   “I call it the pissed-off steel workers party.  A lot of people like someone who causes trouble,” a Trump supporter in Youngstown, Ohio, was recently quoted in the Los Angeles Times.  A lot of people are pissed off and want to stick it to the man.  Trump, who is just famous for being famous, is merely taking advantage of this anger and riding it. Trump is just these people’s vehicle, and, like rioters who burn down their own neighborhood, they don’t care if they ruin the country in expressing their anger. 
   Even if Trump loses fairly and squarely, with no doubts and lingering questions, there will be a lot of angry people.  Or people who are even angrier. 
   On the other hand, if Trump does win – God help us – there will be a lot of people who are not happy, to say the least.