I feel heartbroken and sick this morning, as I’m sure many of you do as well. How could this happen? I had a post ready to put up today or tomorrow…I was going to wait a day or two until the election fever died down. As it is, this fever isn’t going away any time soon. It’s mutated into a chronic infection. I can’t imagine getting past this sense of tragedy, failure, disgust…for quite some time.
All I can offer for now is an analysis/prognosis provided by Michael Moore a few months ago. Moore is one smart cookie. And here’s a recent blog post by Tim Urban. This one is really excellent for post-election malaise. I promise it will cheer you up.
When things feel overwhelmingly bad, one of the things we try to do is to explain and understand what happened. These two commentators help put it all in perspective.
Too many people with damaged lives in that country of yours — which feels in many ways like my country too. Never mind that most of the damage was extended and entrenched by Republican policies over the last many years: opposition to raising the minimum wage, opposition to universal health care, guns for all, reduced taxation on the wealthy, training people to blame others for their misfortunes rather than look at the elephant (pun intended) in the room.
None of that seems to matter now. People with damaged lives will try anything to change the way they feel. They will take extreme measures to change reality, to wrench it, twist it, with whatever comes to hand, something strong, powered by defiance. Consequences be damned. It’s sort of the ultimate “fuck you” directed at…well directed at the adults upstairs….Obama, Hillary….the adults who seem somehow to be responsible for whatever pain we’re feeling.
We know about that — better than most.
I don’t have much else to offer that might help with your despair (if that’s what you’re feeling). I hardly slept. I watched the election returns until about 5 am local time….then I started to give up hoping and fatigue got the better of me.
Maybe just two things to mention:
Sometimes a sick system needs a chance to swing all the way wrong before the pendulum reverses its direction. Maybe with a Republican president and Congress, legislation, policy, the courts will have had a full run, their unfettered chance to make things as wrong as possible — and then things will swing back leftward. Because there won’t be anyone to blame and because the politics of selfishness and fear are unstable — they can’t last indefinitely.
The other thing is: I’ve been ranting to my kids about the election, what’s at stake, almost daily for a couple of months. My boys are just ten, so they’re not political pundits, but Julian would often ask me at breakfast if there was any more news about Trump in the newspaper. They knew who the good guys and bad guys were…at least from our perspective. So this morning I stumble into their room while they’re getting dressed and I tell them: Guys, the news is really bad. Trump won. At first they thought I was joking: I’ve been citing the polls to them daily — how could that be? But after a minute or two, they just went on with their day. They finished getting dressed, practised a bit of piano for their lesson this afternoon, had their cereal, and forgot about it. Life goes on for them, and I guess it does for all of us.
Shit happens. That we know. But we persevere and make the best of it. We try to look ahead and hopefully we notice the slant of the sun in the autumn leaves and the invigorating air that enters our bodies with each breath. And we try to be aware that everything is impermanent. Stuff just keeps changing. That doesn’t mean it’s the end.
We can learn a lot from kids. A little knowledge might be a dangerous thing, and just being here now is still the only place we’re ever going to be.