Tag Archives: fear for the future

This Shouldn’t Happen


Just a short addendum, and then I’m going to shut down the part of my brain that thinks about these things (or try to, at any rate).

I had students in my class today in tears over the results of yesterday’s elections. Young people (girls, with some major identity issues to begin with) who are terrified about the future of the country. Petrified that they’ll lose their rights, or that friends will lose their rights. Sickened that the nation has essentially endorsed a man who … well. Who represents some of the worst that American males have on offer.

Now, these are teenage girls, I’ll grant. It isn’t like hyperbole and overemotionality aren’t the standard operating procedure. I wouldn’t have anticipated a reaction like that, but it’s not hard to understand it, either. Most of them can’t even vote, but that’s hardly insulation against the all-consuming house fire that this campaign season has been. But it’s exceedingly difficult to picture the same reaction swinging in the other direction; that is, young boys (or, okay, girls) crying over a Trump defeat.

And I can peddle platitudes, and I can share my optimism (such as it is) and I can acknowledge their fears (many of which I share). But words kind of feel empty when the future generation is looking at you with tears in their eyes, asking in despair how this could happen.

And the fact is, this shouldn’t happen. A disagreement in ideology is one thing. A healthy thing. Uncertainty about the future is normal in a time like this. But fear — real, visceral fear for the future, or even for their safety — that shouldn’t happen.

Then I come home, and I see protests springing up in major cities across the nation (and it turns out, one is scheduled for my neck of the woods tomorrow). And I think, holy shark. This shouldn’t happen.

Trump came out with a pretty positive message in his acceptance. Clinton came out with a similar message, as did Obama. Move forward. Work together. Heal. Unite. This is all good, but for a lot of people out there, the message clearly rings hollow.

This shouldn’t happen.

…I don’t have any answers tonight. I just know this shouldn’t happen.


A Last-Chance Election Post


I’ve made it a point not to write about the election around here for a while. Partly it’s because I’m not an expert (and my lack of expertise is surely readily apparent to anybody who has read a word of my election-related drabble), partly it’s because I’m sure it was tiresome (how much can you really say about these two deplorables that hasn’t been said in this election season), and partly it’s because I needed to preserve my own sanity — nothing frays your edges like trying to make logical sense of people who aren’t using logic to guide their actions.

The fact is, I’ve been puzzled by Trump supporters from the word go in this thing. (I’m puzzled by some Hillary supporters, too, but more on that later.) This is a man who made it obvious to anybody who was paying attention — pretty early on even in the primaries — that he didn’t know or care much about policy, that he was painfully (maybe even dangerously) ignorant on foreign and military matters, and that he would say or tweet anything if his opponents poked him the right way.

And the farther we went, the worse it got. Not only did we learn that he’s simply unprepared, by almost any measure, for the office, but he’s been revealed to be an even worse human being than we all thought. Responding to questions about his pretty detestable attack on Ted Cruz’s wife with “he started it.” Posting his nonsense about  former Miss Universe and encouraging the whole of the country to look up a sex tape. Mocking the disabled.Claiming that a judge of questionable lineage couldn’t rule fairly on his court case. Claiming that the election is rigged. And then there was the so-called “boys on the bus” video, wherein the man literally bragged to a fanboying idiot about sexually assaulting women.

His apologists can spin it any way they want. They can divert and argue, well, Hillary is WORSE. But you can polish a turd only so much. The man is a joke and an embarrassment. And even if you think he’ll blow up the system and that’s what the system needs (and that may be true!), it’s hard to get around the fact that electing the man president is a more-or-less tacit endorsement of everything he’s done, everything he’s said, and everything he represents.

I really don’t know how Republicans can swallow that.

But in the waning days of the election, polls show that the race is tightening. His numbers are growing. And he may well have a chance at winning this thing.

What that tells me is that politically and ideologically, things in this country are as bad as ever. It tells me what I began to fear about a month ago: that the Republicans who took the moral stand, who stood up and said no, this man does not and cannot represent us, party loyalty be damned, are suddenly going weak in the knees. When it comes right down to it, even those Republicans whom Trump alienated are going to walk up to the voting booth, look at that binary choice between Trump and Clinton, and pull the lever for Trump. Not because they like him. But because they’re Republicans, and voting party is just what we do. Everything is us versus them. Trench warfare. Never give an inch.

Maybe it’s about the Supreme Court. Maybe it’s about his stand on terrorism (which, at least on rhetorical terms, is stronger than Hillary’s — he at least calls the spade of Islamic terrorism a spade, even if he takes it to ridiculous and unfounded extremes). Maybe it’s because they’ve bought into the Republican crusade against Hillary that has raged for decades.

Whatever the reason, on the day, they’re going to return to the party, much like the Blob reforming itself after being hacked to bits with an axe. (And Trump has most certainly done that to the Republican party.)

And I get it. Hillary’s not a good candidate. I wish there were another democrat to vote for. People who get all glowy-faced and glassy-eyed when they talk about Hillary? I don’t get that either. She’s a politician who represents basically every unsavory thing we associate with politicians: corruption, cover-ups, political flexibility for expediency’s sake. The e-mail thing is a legitimate and real problem for anybody considering a Hillary vote.

But it’s Hillary or Trump.

don’t fear that she’s going to feed our entire democratic system into the wood chipper the way I fear Trump will. I don’t fear that she’ll feel slighted by a foreign power and reach for the nuclear button the way I fear Trump will.  I don’t fear that she’ll abuse the power of her office to jail political opponents or shut down critics in the press the way Trump has explicitly said he will.

This race is bigger than party. I feel for the Republicans — like my own parents! — who are crushed in between the rock of party loyalty and the hard place of voting for the orange monster. It sucks that he’s the guy for Republicans this time around.

But he is.

Which is why all of us who recognize how dangerous he is have to, have to, have to vote.

We see the most recent polls. We know he’s getting a late surge.

We have to surge harder. We have to stand up and say that hate is not okay in a president. That idiocy is not okay in a president. That narcissism and degradation of women and unhinged twitter rants and the constant threat of violence and censorship and and and… these things cannot be synonymous with the American president.

Don’t waste your vote on a third party. While that sends a message (maybe), the fact is that one of these two evils will be president. And making sure Trump is not president is immeasurably more important than whatever message a third-party vote sends.

It’s okay to vote for the lesser of two evils.

In fact, if we think ahead to what might be, one could easily say that voting for the lesser of two evils is a moral imperative.

We need less evil in this world.

We need less evil people like Trump.

That’s why I’m with her.

(As half-heartedly as possible.)

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Trumped: An Uninformed Overview of the Primaries


(As told by a guy who knows of politics only what he learned a long, long time ago in a freshman government class far away)

I seem to be saying it a lot lately, but this is the part where I say that mine is not a political blog; it’s just that politics are, for better or worse, a part of life, and as such, well, they dwell in the mind from time to time. This little post snowballed on me.

TL;DR version: Trump might win the Republican primary — and that should be exactly what non-Republicans want.

We’re exhausted over here in America. In recent decades, our election cycle has bloated and fed upon itself to the point that it stretches out, without blinking an eye, well over a year. I remember seeing on the Daily Show or something similar several months ago that Canada had just gone through an election cycle. It had lasted about a month, and none of the Canadians could believe how long it had taken. Ha! If that’s democracy, you’re doing it wrong. Silly Canadians. No, our elections are interminable affairs; in fact, if you happen to be a fan of the losing party during an election year, have no fear, because the pundits in your corner will begin immediately discussing the ways they can turn the electorate in their favor four years off.

To that end, the current election cycle feels like it’s been about seven years long so far. Quite a lot of people have been really surprisingly upset about our president ever since his election and all through his re-election, and I can clearly remember interviews with high-ranking Republicans wherein running in 2016 was referenced even a full year or two ago. Now we’re within a year of the election, and people are really freaking the fargo out.

Let’s calm the hell down. The president has not nearly as much power as anti-Obama types would have you think; he’s hamstrung by the checks-and-balances system established by those founding forefathers that pundits so love to idolize.

Second, if you think this election cycle — featuring over 20 presidential hopefuls at one point (and maybe still? surely some other backwoods senator has wandered into the light and declared a presidential bid since lunchtime) — is anything other than idolatry and pandering at this point, you are deluding yourself.

Take Trump. (No, seriously. Take him. To Saturn, if you have the means.)

I’m going to go ahead and put my dollar down: he will not be the next PotUS.

Never gonna happen.

He’s gotten a lot of attention in the current cycle for saying some, uh, inflammatory things. People are freaking out because he’s leading in the polls. But there is no cause for concern. (Well, I guess that depends on where you stand politically.) Trump is not going to be president, and the reason for that is that most people don’t care who the president is.

Don’t believe me? Join me in a thought experiment.

You go to the polling place, sign in with the elderly, cheerful volunteer, and wait in line for your chance to do your civic duty. You approach the booth, and go to place your vote — but you find that the names have been blacked out, and all you can do is vote Republican, Democrat, or Other.

Looks a bit too much like a line of urinals, doesn't it?

Looks a bit too much like a line of urinals, doesn’t it?

I submit that an overwhelming majority of people in this situation would go ahead and vote Republican, Democrat, or Other, without making too much of a stink about being unable to see the name of the person they’re voting for. Hell, I probably would. That’s because we don’t care who the president is, we just want to make sure it’s one of our guys in the White House.

But everybody needs to remember that Trump is not currently running for president. Sure, he says he is, and his campaign literature says he is, but what he’s really running for is to be the Republican Nominee for president. A subtle, but key, difference.

For those of you looking at the American election wind-up and scratching your heads or vomiting in the corner, we have these things called Primaries, wherein hopefuls from each political party battle to the death for the right to represent their party in the national election.

What, sorry? They don’t fight to the death? Oh.

If only.

No: in the primary, candidates do battle with members of their own party for the right to represent that party. In other words, the republican candidates must prove they are the most republican, the democratic candidates must prove they are the most democratic, the libertarians must prove they are the most libertarded.

Thing is, to prove that you’re the best something, you must epitomize every aspect of that something. This will prove to your “base” (the faithful voters who will always vote R or D without a second thought) that you are the right man for the job. So what you end up with is a gaggle of otherwise intelligent politicians scrambling like hell to get as far to the right as they can to appeal to the base: those voters who are really concerned about politics.

And here the Republicans have a problem: what has their party been about for the last seven years (and yes, I’m talking specifically about the Obama presidency) outside of being against everything the democrats, specifically Obama, do and say? Republicans have to contend with the fact that a big swathe of their voters are really pissed off that Obama is the president, and nobody — NOBODY — is more vocal about how pissed off over the Obama presidency he is than Trump.

I’m not going to postulate on why this is the case. I’ll leave that to people much smarter than me. But for every possible Republican stance — clamp down on immigration, free market, women’s (lack of) rights — Trump turns it to 11. No immigration, Mexican or Islamic especially. No regulation of the market. Women? More like crazy PMSing baby factories, amirite? (His words, not mine. Okay, maybe not exactly his words.)

This is why he’s leading in the polls. The Republican core is mad as hell and Trump is expressing thoughts that they agree with. And if you’re a functionally intelligent Republican, then, yeah, I might start getting nervous. Because the challenge that sane Republicans now face is, how are we going to get a majority of our non-zealot population to turn out and vote for just one of these unimpressive faces in the crowd? How can we mobilize people who don’t care all that much about all this against the horde of slavering, racist, sexist, Trump supporters?

It’s a problem the Republicans are going to have to solve very soon, or they’re going to reap exactly what they’ve sown over the last seven years.

But by the same token, I see a lot of Democrats and other non-Republicans getting nervous about the Trump bid. His racism scares them, his intolerance scares them, his flightiness and willingness to say or do anything scares them.

But the fact is, if you’re a non-Republican, a Trump ticket is exactly what you want to see.

Why?

Because even though most people don’t care who the president is, people will still turn out in droves for the general election. Something about deciding the fate of the most powerful man (or woman, Hillary’s running after all, and so is that woman who isn’t Donald Trump on the Republican side) in the world gets our American juices flowing. And on election day? The horde of Trump supporters will be as a speck in a fly’s eye compared to the rest of the electorate. Democrats will never vote for Trump. Most independents will never vote for Trump. Even a lot of Republicans will never vote for Trump; just look at their rhetoric: he doesn’t represent the party, he’s not a Republican, etc. Some will vote 3rd party, others will just stay home; either way benefits the Democrats.

If Trump wins the Republican primary, it’s the closest thing to a guaranteed victory for Democrats that you will ever see.

Insert your own conspiracy theories about how this is exactly what Trump wants below.


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