Post-election brain dump

Hello are you new here I process my feelings by writing about things. I’m not done yet, but I’ll put it all here and then we shall all move along.

The Americans I know are good people. Smart, educated, intelligent, thoughtful, kind people. It just so happens that because of my personal and online bubble, and where I live, I probably don’t know many people – if any, even – who voted for Trump. Most of my friends here are all just as mystified as the rest of the world about how this happened – but I think that’s the problem. We’re so divorced from the “other half” that we can’t begin to appreciate their difficulties. Voting for Trump was a cry for help. They didn’t really care what happened afterwards, so long as their voice finally was heard.

No country is perfect. No country has figured it all out yet so that every citizen is perfectly content with their lot. Canada sounds good, sure, but it’s cold up there. Scandinavia has its problems too. Utopia is still fiction.

Therefore, it can only be expected that people will vote for something different, to see if they can make things better than the not-perfect they’re experiencing. Historically the establishment almost always gets voted out after eight years to make way for something different. As a race, we strive to improve our lot – but not always in the most rational of ways.

Almost half the voting public is so pissed off with how their lives are going that they threw their lot in with a man who is a bully and a bigot, who denies climate change and assaults women and tells us that all men are like that. They voted for him because they wanted a big change from the establishment and that’s what he represented. They voted for him because he said the things they thought nobody was supposed to say, and thousands of people cheered him on and drew comfort from the fact that they had all been thinking these same things all along. They voted for him because they hate Hillary Clinton, and because everything they watched and read and heard on mass media and social media confirmed their reasons for hating her. Older and wiser and better people* told them not to vote for him, so of course they went right ahead and did it, to stick it to the man.

This election has made me question the nature of truth and the function of the mass media. The media here is acknowledgedly biased – which perhaps is better than pretending to be balanced when such a thing is impossible. But a voter can live their entire life in the bubble of their choosing, seeing only the information that confirms all their biases, and easily disregarding anything that doesn’t already agree with the opinion they’ve been carefully fed.

Then there’s this: roughly half the country identifies as Republican and roughly half the country voted for the Republican candidate. The fact that the outcome of any election depends on a tiny tipping point in the middle is the fault of the system. There can only be one winner, because America doesn’t do coalitions. A lot of people were unhappy about the Obama administration. Now a lot of people will be unhappy about the Trump administration. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

(New information: almost half the country (46%) didn’t bother their arses voting at all. So one quarter cared enough to vote for Trump and another quarter cared enough to vote for Hillary. This makes me feel like the whole thing is a fucking farce. But anyway.)

I want to find a republican and be friends with them. I want to stop reading terrifying articles about what will happen next and op-eds about what we did wrong and everything that pits one group of us against another group of us. I want a hug. I want to give someone a hug.

I want to move on.

I want to keep believing that most people are good.

*That’s a quote. From Saki’s “The Lumber Room,” if I recall correctly, which is an excellent tale.

pinkish leaves on the ground

Picture of fallen leaves, for you to interpret metaphorically as you wish

5 thoughts on “Post-election brain dump

  1. Angela O'Donovan

    Well, have a virtual hug from me, all the way from leafy SWLONDON.

    I believe most people are nice enough people. We are products of our upbringing, circumstancess, with a dollop of opportunity, bad luck, along the way.

    We had a similar scenario in the UK – the vote to leave the EU was very close and the result surprised one half of the country, mostly far from London.

    We live in a lovely leafy bubble. However, I did work in other parts of the country, plus had a child with special needs which meant he went to particular school for his needs – the only community I’ve been part of that was really and truly ‘classless’.
    Racism keeps being talked about but by a vocal minority. I believe most brexiters were disillusioned and feeling of little ‘consequence’ to the ‘metropolitan elite’ and that they could be no worse off than they already were.

    Its more than a shame but the world is still turning and it’s sad to hear talk with sour much vitriol of another significant number of people. Easy for me to say but we all need to calm down and stop feeling so self righteous.

    Waffling on as usual but you said so much and so well. The voting percentages are frightening though..

    Reply
  2. Angela O'Donovan

    Would to delete above reply, rushed in tired haste after day and evening at Bridge club… I must learn to hold onto myself a bit more. All the best..

    Off to sunny bridge holiday next week. Won’t be watching TV, nor reading newspapers. Bliss..

    Reply
  3. Fionnuala Three Sons Later

    This is an excellent post C! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. To be honest I am not at all surprised Trump was voted in. I am not a fan. I can’t bear the sight or sound of him. But as you say, the people wanted change and there wasn’t much choice.
    P.S. I love The Lumber Room. It is a brilliant story and I have never forgotten it.

    Reply
    1. Maud Post author

      Thank you! An interesting thing I’m noticing is that my one German FB friend is taking it ultra-seriously; I suspect it’s linked to the rise of right-wing movements in his area. Do you see anything of that where you are?

      Reply

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