Hello old friend…

I’m back.  For a little while, at least.

I won’t lie.  This election was deeply unsettling and upsetting.  For the first time in a long while, I was reminded that I was _not_ an American, i.e. a caucasian-American, but merely the other.  If not the intruder or the unwanted, then at the very least, the not-worth-giving-a-damn.

I am lucky and thankful that my ethnicity, my location, and my community have spared me from the outbursts of racist vitriol happening across the country.  We have sown with indifference to and normalization of racist, sexist, and xenophobic language and images; and emboldened hate-mongers are the whirlwind that we must now reap.  And in horrific non-irony, it is the GOP that has sown, but it is minorities and women upon whom the whirlwind has descended.  I pray that these hate crimes do not continue, and I do hope and believe that the majority of Trump voters condemn these events as well.  But even if the veneer of respectability were to be restored again, the festering underbelly of racism and sexism in this country has been made plain for all to see, as well as our adamant refusal to actually grapple with it.

To be honest, I don’t know what to do with what I’m feeling and how to channel it.  Or even know what exactly what it is.  So even though it feels a bit self-indulgent, perhaps it is time for me to dust off ye ole blog for now.  To process, to post, and to journey alongside of others.


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4 Responses to Hello old friend…

  1. Eric says:

    I’d normally post this on Facebook, except I don’t use Facebook (and I’m really glad I didn’t during the campaign season). I have a few thoughts about the election:

    (1) Nothing has actually happened yet. I suppose the tone and remarks made by Trump and his allies have already caused great harm to society, but I’m a little wary about reacting too much to what are still just words. Plus, I’m not sure the atmosphere would have been better if Clinton won; instead of hate crimes being committed out of triumph, they would have been committed out of grievance. Once Trump actually takes office and enacts harmful policies, I might go out and protest, but I’ll wait until then. Right now, there is only fear, and actions based on fear are rarely good.

    (2) I think we have to acknowledge just how elitist we are and that we really do not understand the plight of many Trump supporters. They feel their lives have been treated as disposable, and Trump gave them a sense of self-worth that other politicians had long denied them. They’re like a social outcast in high school who was been asked to the prom by the popular, attractive homecoming king/queen. It’s easy to see why many people would say “yes,” even if the king/queen was insane. Sure, they may end up dead in a ditch somewhere, but I can see why people feel that’s a risk worth taking.

    (3) I hope this will force Democrats to take a more local approach to governance. I think that they’ve engendered too much distrust by doing everything on a national level (particularly through the Supreme Court) when half the country doesn’t want it. I would welcome higher state taxes in exchange for lower federal taxes – it doesn’t make sense to spend federal tax money on people who don’t want it.

    (4) For what it’s worth, I think Trump and the GOP generally will crash and burn pretty quickly. Either they’ll go on with business as usual, in which case Trump’s supporters will turn on him (those factory jobs aren’t coming back), or they’ll do something so drastic that it destroys the economy (45% tariffs). It seems like a fair number of Trump supporters aren’t that ideological; they voted for Obama in 2008, and I doubt they’ll stick with Trump if things go badly. And who knows, maybe Trump will deliver his promised utopia by following neither his campaign promises nor traditional wisdom. We won’t know until it happens.

    • hermyt says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Wise as always, Eric. A few quick responses.

      1) I would say that the tone and remarks and tactics have caused great harm to the country, or at the very least exposed the deep fault lines within the country. I think the appropriate counterfactual here is not “What if Hillary won the election”, but “What if Jeb Bush/John Kasich/Marco Rubio was the Republican nominee?”

      2) Agreed, but with a caveat. Empathy should be a two-way street. Also, if any party has treated their lives as disposable, wouldn’t it be the GOP, which for the sake of political power made government as non-functional as possible? e.g. governors who refused gov’t $ for the Medicaid Expansion? Continuous fillibustering of gov’t appointees, even those that pass handily? Blocking stimulus under Obama but now being interested in it now that a Republican will be power? Passing an opioid bill with minimal funding?

      3) Interesting. I’ll need to think about that one more. If you’ve thought through these, I’d love to hear what you think. How do we avoid a “race-to-the-bottom” sort of system where companies just migrate the states with the least regulations/taxes (see: Credit card companies, Delaware)? How do you handle things like auto-emissions or even industrial pollution that crosses state lines? Also, how would one handle regulations that affect people (e.g. antidiscrimination laws)? It’s not a kindly thing to suggest that people should just uproot their lives.

      4) I would separate Trump and the GOP. Both frighten me for reasons beyond racism/sexism: Trump for his vanity, vindictiveness, unpredictability, serial lying, apparent lack of desire for policy details, cult of personality, conflicts of interest, etc. GOP for their highly cynical approach to government and their general desire to privatize and de-regulate everything (not that government is the answer for everything either.)

      • Eric says:

        (1) Good point.

        (2) I think a lot of Trump voters did feel that the GOP, not only Democrats, treated their lives as disposable. Anyway, we’ll see how everything plays out between Trump and Congress, especially given that it looks like the next government funding bill will last only until March 31, 2017.

        (3) I think companies already race to the bottom, not only on a state level, but on a global level. There’s no avoiding it. With respect to regulations, each state can (and does) enforce its own. With respect to taxes, again, companies already do this to some extent, but not nearly as much as they could – it’s not like Google and Apple are relocating to Kansas. Pollution is hard, of course, but that’s already a global issue, and the current pattern of Democratic administrations instituting a bunch of rules only for Republican administrations to dismantle them doesn’t seem very productive.

        As for people uprooting their lives because of uneven anti-discrimination laws, that already happens. I doubt many gay men stay in rural Alabama if they have a choice.

        (4) Again, we’ll see what actually happens. I’m particularly curious about what the infrastructure plan will look like and what happens to healthcare.

  2. Becks says:

    Hey Harold,

    It’s nice to see you on here again – I was definitely peeking in a few times throughout the campaign to see your thoughts on the current climate and situation.

    I am – in short – mortified at the state of the country at this point. I like many thought for sure that there was no way people would be able to vote Trump in. Proven wrong of course. But at this point – the hypocrisy that surrounds each decision that is made and the justifications that supporters give is mind boggling at best. Act first, lie later!

    I btw also separate out Republicans from Trump Supporters, but at this point I don’t know if I can separate GOP from Trump. I think the GOP is moving the threshold of what is acceptable so that when they want to get bills through Congress, Trump doesn’t become a liability.

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