How Did This Happen?

I am shocked, in mourning for our nation. There is no reason to expect this president elect can govern. We cannot expect this man to shed his racist, misogynist, immature, vindictive and invented reality ways. I could go on, (and on and on!) but it just makes me angry. This is a very sad day.

Still, we have to get up, go to work, eat, sleep, pee, breathe. And ask. The first question is “How did this happen?”

In my conservative part of the world, I will tell you that everyone to whom I have talked did not vote for Trump, so much as against Hillary. There was a huge fanning of flames to vilify Hillary. So many people say things like, “Trump may be unqualified, but I hear Hillary is corrupt.” Somehow the two candidates were equivocated, and Hillary was found to be the worse. The average person in conservative America has bought the street talk what has nothing to do with reality, the facts and evidence. These are not people who give much thought (and I say this with respect and what I feel is empathy and understanding) to issues beyond a few: abortion, gun rights, government over-reach, and punishing bad people. Their views aren’t shallow; they feel that these issues “Trump” all others. They feel that their values have been disregarded by the mainstream’s efforts to make what should be simple, complex. We can trace these things back to two causes: conversations with friends and family, and religion. The right media and social media simply reinforces all those beliefs.

So, the fact that Trump has provided next to no policy on such an array of issues doesn’t matter.

The mainstream media which I have heard so far has focused on demographics, and guessing what Trump will do. Their analysis doesn’t address what seems to me the real explanation for this shocking election. Trump was supposedly the lesser of bad choices, so they thought. This is significant because the ability of mainstream media (NPR included) to reflect and have a meaningful impact on the public mindset has taken a back seat to street talk – which is contrary to its self-perceived good work. It’s not just that the polls were wrong, and so the media reported it, but the right has taken possession of a corpus of the entire public concision, which is, by their design, separate from and contrary to the mainstream. In short, hatred of Hillary went largely unnoticed.

JP and I agree, the media has a duty to put forth the truth, correct misinformation, and to call out mistakes and bad judgment. But this places a semi-political duty on the media. In this post-fairness doctrine polarized era, to try to actually BE fair and balanced is inherently contradictory and really, impossible. If JP had his way, the media would think carefully, choose the same facts he does, follow the same polls, and arrive at complementary conclusions. And I, too, would like something like that, though with a little more modest approach and moderate policies. Right now, there are few common ground values that pretty much all media share.

It should be clear, today, that polling is not accurate. There are two causes for this: one, the internet/social media, which allows anyone to feel like their opinion is dominant, and two, the backlash/mistrust of anything Establishment. That word, Establishment bothers me. Its meaning is in the eye of the beholder. It means, in effect, “Anyone who has power that I don’t like much.” For the right, it seems contradictory to me. Of course it means Democrats in power. And for most of them, it also includes the powerful, lobbying kings of corporations. But those are the same people Trump has been in bed with.

Anyway, the issues for the right seem simple. Again, they have a short list, but they want it implemented, dammit. The left’s attempt to see nuance, to find root causes of problems and solve them were rejected by a lot of voters, enough to make all three branches of the federal government red. The left’s claim to facts and truth (however legitimate) have been rendered inadequate, maybe self righteous. The right has dismissed the left’s claim to reality. They are wrong, but they are now in power. The left – evidently – has to get over it.

I long for common ground. We can find some middle ground on abortion, gun rights and gun safety, and we can reform the tax code. Trump has been all over the map on these issues. I certainly don’t trust his record on any of these. Still, the best we can hope for is that this little boy will surround himself with some people who have discerning minds, who can think and hold his knee-jerk vacuous ego in check.

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About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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One Response to How Did This Happen?

  1. Aimee says:

    “Still, we have to get up, go to work, eat, sleep, pee, breathe. ”
    Unfortunately a few of us could find it harder to find a place to work or to pee. I am continuing to fight for equality, but fear what may become of some of my less priveledged friends.

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