Sorry Again, because I should have known about Trump…

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Has it really only been a week?  

On election night, my life was an SNL skit.  This actual SNL skit: 

 

I’m not proud.

Because I should have known.  I should not have listened to all those pundits and insiders guaranteeing Ms. Clinton would win.  Why should I have known?   Because though I live in liberal Massachusetts, where Trump didn’t win one county, and have all my life, my parents were life-long conservatives and would have believed Trump’s message.  Why?  Because they grew up working class.  Working class Irish Catholic. They didn’t go to college.  They adored Ronald Regan’s message of lower taxes.  Having been raised strictly in the church, they agreed with many conservative social policies. 

Now Trump isn’t really cut from the cloth conservative Republican.   All this talk about white men, not college educated people, where were the Latinos and Black, why did this group or that vote the way they did.   It’s not a clear cut as race, economic or gender issues.  No one is just one of those dimensions and no one votes 100% of the time based on any one of those labels.   It’s more complicated.  What Trump did was find that economically disadvantaged people could be made to fear and dislike groups of people they do not know because they believe they will take what is theirs or worse they are being given something that they believe to be theirs.      

Take my own community.  The opening of The Departed is like listening to my grandparents all over again, except they would say two generations from No Irish Need Apply to an Irish Catholic President.  

 

They would also say a facsimile of ‘no one give you anything, you have to take it’.  My grandparents would say you have to earn it (because they weren’t mob bosses in Southie).  But what does that say:   ‘we fought hard to get what we have in this country and you’ll be God damned if you think we’re going give it away to other group’.   That is the mentality of some groups.  When faced with economic survival, there is a prioritization of what is important to you.  Why did any woman vote for Trump?   Watch in that Departed clip how Costello treats the young woman.  Watch her father watch it, too, not do anything.  That store is how they live.  When people feel threatened in that way, they may act in ways that those of us who aren’t threatened find incomprehensible.  It’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

It’s easy to stigmatize another group if you think they will take from you and yours, especially if you’re not exposed to members of that group.  Trump played that fiddle perfectly.  They believe he’s going to change trade agreements so their jobs don’t go abroad, that he’ll build a wall so immigrants can’t come here and take their jobs and that he’ll cut their taxes substantially.  Even though similar things have been promised by Republicans before and their lives haven’t improved.  Why do they believe it now?  Because no one spoke to them so blatantly before?   What happens when reality strikes and he can’t do any of those things to the extent he’s described is not something I’m looking forward to, though I’m sure blame will be deflected away from the administration.

It’s easy to label people as anti-this or anti-that, but doesn’t that also make people ‘the other’?  How is that different?   Shouldn’t we spend the time to understand their real concerns, complicated and interconnected.   We may find a cesspool of hatred and bigotry, we may.  But I suspect we’ll find a populace riled up on rhetoric which blames other groups without understanding those groups, something the men in charge have been doing since the dawn of time.  If we fight each other, we’re not fighting them, and that makes it so much easier for them to stay in charge.  When we give into fear and don’t work together, we get the government we are now facing.  Let’s not do that.  What we all need is more empathy.  Empathy for other’s experiences, lives, opinions and beliefs.  We need to actively fight those who do not want us to do that or will subjugate whole groups of people.  We need a government for all of us. 

This woman’s strength

I finally got the opportunity to watch Hillary Clinton’s full concession speech.   Sure I’d seen bits and pieces, heard the main clips, but when I watched the entire thing all I could do was sit back in awe.   

Imagine working your entire adult life toward something, becoming a lawyer, being the first lady of Arkansas, being the first lady of the United States, a Senator, a Secretary of State… imagine living through some dark times with your husband, being attacked over and over and over and over, but coming back strong each time.  Then imagine after all that work, all that experience that the opponent put before you is a woefully unprepared, narcissist who turns the election to the office you, hold most dear and have the highest respect for to a reality show farce to placate his ego, a person who can’t even figure out when to get out of the tanning bed, and you lose.  

How do you come out and make this speech?   How do you attempt to smooth over the transition, make us feel better about the election results and give little girls encouragement and hope for the future.  How did she do that?   I’d be in the fetal position if I were attacked incessantly as she has been for year. 

She did it with unbelievable strength.  I sat back and just awed at possibly the most impressive person to ever run for President.  Bravo, Hillary.   You show us the class, dignity and strength we’ll all need to live through the next part of history.   Thank you, Madame.  Thank you…  

Our campaign was never about one person, or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted. We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America, and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.

We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle we are all equal in rights and dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.

 

And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.

Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it

Sorry, world…

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This started as a post on the wonder of the first female President’s election.   As of this writing (10:20 EST), it’s so close, so so so close.   I can barely breathe.  This isn’t just disappointment at the potential of the first female losing.   No, this is complete terror at the possibility of the least prepared, least suited, most easily provoked human being become in charge of the most important country in the free world.   I’m afraid that our educational system is so poor that it produces people who can’t see how horrible Trump will be for us. 

In the 2000 election, I stayed up all night, completely dismayed, shocked even, that Bush could win.  It took an extended amount of time and craziness before he did, yes.  But I never, not one time, thought the country would go into complete disarray if he were elected.   I may have been wrong about that.  His eight years in office were among the worst and most destructive to the country, but nothing like this. 

Is there a worse word for terrified?   Because it feels like the Republic itself is at risk.   How all our systems work could change and only in ways that improve life for rich, white males.   The terrorists have won.  Congratulations. 

Last December I suggested my bookclub read The Handmaid’s Tale because it felt like something that could happen. That was the reality show, tabloid farce this election became.  At the time,  I was sort of joking.  But I’m actually scared it could happen.  Here, in the greatest country, the greatest social system experiment in history of the world.  Perhaps I’m over-reacting, and it won’t.  But it could.  It really could.  I’ve never thought anything like that before, not for one minute in my life.  But now I do.

I’ll be taking my pocket Constitution to bed and holding it tight tonight.