Goodness help us, it’s inauguration day for the 45th president of the United States. And while yes, three million more citizens voted for his opponent, and that out of the 58 elections so far, only 12 have snuck into the White House with fewer electoral votes – we can’t deny it any more: America has taken its obsession with scary clowns way too fucking far.
My last post or two were about how in the US we don’t talk about the class divide because it goes against what we like to think about the American Dream. How each class is brought up with values so different that they might as well be from separate countries. And that when we can’t acknowledge that others were raised with such different priorities, we find ourselves flabbergasted, if not outraged, at their rudeness, insanity, or dangerous-stupidity. And of course they feel the same about us. Well, I didn’t want to admit it at the time, but those posts were the beginnings of me trying to figure out the popularity of the Golgothan Shit Demon that’s since become the leader of the free world.
I’m not here to be just another voice, lost in the cacophony of cries and howls, bellowing, “The emperor’s got no soul.” Not why I’m here just yet anyway. This, I feel, takes precedence.
The slogan “Love Trumps Hate” now seems naive. But there are worse things to be than naive. I for one am not ready to give up on Love. Not just yet anyway. We lost the battle, we have to accept that, but don’t believe for a second we’re losing the war.
Just a reminder, but today we’re the same country that elected Barack Hussein Obama twice. Right now only 37% of Americans polled report being against same-sex marriage. That still may be too much, but if you’re as old as I am, you know the amazing amount of change that’s taken place in the last 30 years. Legal abortion is favored 56% to 41% opposed. The majority of folks do support universal healthcare. Also 64% are worried about Global Warming. And even 59% of US citizens agree immigration helps this nation. So no, I’m not quite ready to believe that half my country are xenophobic, racist, misogynist, homophobes…
You may be able to sway me that about a 1/3 are though. After all, 250 years ago one third of the people in the colonies were for the Revolution while another third were against it, and the remaining third were too indifferent to act. Also, when Hitler rose to power it was only one third of the German citizens that were with him. One third opposed, and the last third kept their heads down, tried not to make waves, and waited for the whole thing to blow over. Trump got about a quarter of eligible voters to vote for him, and I don’t believe they were all deplorable.
Obviously I’m not here to say don’t worry, don’t fight, or don’t care. I’m saying don’t give up, not even on the others your stuck on-board with. We’re still on the same ship we were a few months ago, it’s just the captain that’s changed. And there’s already mutiny in the air.
As I’ve said, I hate the news. It’s not healthy to watch all the evils of the world be paraded in front of you day and night. It sours your outlook on all of humanity, shucks the joy out of life, and twists the soul. Over the last few months of trying to rationalize the rise of Donald JackalSoul Trump, I’ve watched more news than I have in in the last few years. I’m obsessed. Not with how so many souls could back a shallow, greedy, narcissistic, boob; we do that all the time. After all, it takes a certain type of person to claw their way to the bottom of a vicious political netherworld in hopes of becoming the most powerful creature in the known universe. (I know, I know, your candidate is different.) No, what scared and enraged me was how Trump stoked the flames of fear and hostility into a prairie fire that consumed 63 million.
But as satisfying as that shot of self-righteous hate-adrenaline is, reverting to that good ole’ “my-good-guys are right, and their side is full of monsters” tribalism would just be too easy. So instead I made myself sick on media trying to make sense of it all. And I think it’s helped me be more understanding, even if it did not make me feel better.
One thing I did find somewhat comforting though were those who believed that no matter who ran to challenge the incumbent this year, they would’ve won the presidency. Back in the early 1980s Allan Lichtman used pattern recognition methods on U.S. presidential elections going back to 1860 and came up with 13 “keys” that accurately predicted all 37 previous the winners. No polls. No parties. No names. No news. Just 13 yes or no questions about the big picture. He then predicted all 8 popular vote winners from 1984 to 2012. And yes, this year he predicted that the keys to the White House would be taken away from the incumbent party by the challenger.
Humans aren’t the best at looking back, (or forward). Our brains are made to be more concerned with the present moment. But if we look back, a pattern seems to appear. The free and Roaring 20s were followed by the Great Depression. And science tells us that when times get scary, people get conservative. That’s why Right Wing campaigns usually revolve around fear mongering. In response to the up-tight 1950s came the 60s and 70s, the backlash from that (and the recession) was the neocons of the 80s, eight years of Regan and four of King George the First. Then came the economic boom of the 90s and the Clintons. Then King George II, The Boy King. Then Obama. Tea Party. Occupy. Black Lives Matter. Bernie Sanders. And of course, now Trump. Left, then right, then left, then right. Time marches on.
As I said, studies show that the more scared we are, the more conservative we tend to be. And unfortunately, that Great Recession that most of us have all but forgotten about, the one that devastated much of the world, and whose recovery seemed to take forever – well, much of rural America is still waiting for that recovery. And it looks like it might never come. So there are a lot of scared, forgotten, people for whom, anyone running on “four more years” wasn’t going to cut it. And the pendulum will continue to swing.
“So what if times are tough? So what if they’ve been fucked-over when they had shit to take, and ignored when they had nothing. It’s been happening to minorities since before America’s conception. How can they just excuse all the racist, xenophobic, hateful shit Trump spews?” I wondered. Then I tried to imagine being one of those people.
The only job around, be it factory, mine, or plant, closed down years ago. There’s been no work since, and I can’t move to find anything new. I’m trying to feed my family and keep them healthy with a roof over their heads, but unemployment’s run out. In short, I’m just trying to fulfill the very base needs of Maslow’s hierarchy, the ones that need to be taken care of before one can even think of anything higher. So yeah, I might vote for the guy who promises to help keep me and my family alive. Maybe I would ignore all the other stuff that only affected my life when I saw it on TV. Why not? Isn’t that what we all do?
We can excuse the people we feel are on our team of just about anything. If their side runs on, “marriage is between a man and a woman,” they’re homophobes that must be stopped. But when Obama, just 2 terms, 8 years ago ran on it, he got a pass. Their side makes the Patriot Act, a gross injustice. Our team takes over, doesn’t repeal it, but expands it, “Well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.” Their side has flying death machines that kill innocents, we have precision drone strikes that occasionally incur some collateral damage. Only racist xenophobes talk of deporting illegal immigrants, unless it’s the record numbers our guy did. Their spying on American citizens is outrageous; we find out our NSA was reading EVERYONE’S emails, and “I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m no terrorist.” If they’d put boots on the ground in Syria after promising more than a dozen times they wouldn’t, we’d be smitten nickels. But they didn’t. Obama did. I could go on and on, but I’m not here to slag on Obama. He’s not perfect, but it’s not a perfect world, or an easy job. And besides, he seems like a nice and cool guy.
I’m sure some can feel themselves bristling at these accusations of the former president and have all been shouted “heretic” at their computers. Others probably didn’t even make it through the list and just defensively shutdown as surely if I was attacking them. And many won’t believe (or remember) any of these things no matter how much evidence they see. Hell, they all gave him a second term after he launched thousands and thousands of airstrikes in his first. And that’s the point. He’s on our side, so we forgive and forget. I could tell you that over the last 8 years Our Team has; deployed Special Ops more to more than twice as many countries as his predecessor, King George II. Waged war without congressional approval. Sold tens of billions of dollars in weapons to a dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. Signed the NDAA into law making it legal to assassinate US citizens without trial or charges, and then used drones to kill 4 Americans. And still detains people indefinitely at Gitmo, but that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Obama’s popularity is the highest it’s ever been and people would hack off body parts to be able to vote for him again, some maybe even their own. I might even be one of them. Now think, if we can overlook all those lives destroyed or ended, and still think of the captain of our team as a good-guy, just imagine how easily it is for Trump supporters to excuse his words.
I think I’m going to stop there for now. Not because I ran out of things to say, but just the opposite. I’m only half done and I don’t like to bludgeon you with too many words for too long. So, if after you finish your death threats you want to read on, click here.