Home Living Beardcicle Chronicles Dear America: A Post-Election Reaction and Reflection

Dear America: A Post-Election Reaction and Reflection

1266
2
SHARE
Photo by Thomas Belarde.
Photo by Thomas Belarde.

Reaction

What. The. F — Seriously?

Okay. Gut reaction vented. I can’t say that I am in disbelief about what has just happened. I can say that I am disheartened that we have come to a place in our great country’s history where we elect a man like Donald Trump as our commander in chief. I’ll not go into what I feel are his flaws and weaknesses. Those have been covered elsewhere by authors with a better command of the written word than me.

I’m not even all that concerned that Trump will actually do what he promised in his campaign. No politician does. Sure, there will be some things like repealing the Affordable Care Act, because, you know, not everyone deserves healthcare.

No, what I fear is more what Trump winning will do to America in general.

Trump has made it okay to give voice to hate and bigotry and sexism. We have just elected the biggest bro in the world who thinks, because he’s got money, that the rules don’t apply to him; that he can force himself on women; that he can force loyalty tests on those who do not look like him. He can baldly lie about things he has said and done — lies disproved by hours and hours of video footage — and yet he gets a pass.

We gave him a pass.

Good job America. What the hell were you smoking, cuz I want some.

Remember that scene in Back to the Future where Marty comes back and Biff Tannen is the mayor living in Biff Tower while the city burns?  Yeah. Welcome to America.

So, the far right — the racists, bigots, Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan — are now legitimate factions that politicians will need to court going forward.

I want to know what happened to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

What about civility? What about being better together, taking care of each other regardless of race, creed, gender, or (gasp) sexual orientation? Aren’t we only as strong as the weakest among us?

“But he represents the working folk. He built a successful business from the ground up. He’s worked for everything he’s got.”

The narrative is bullshit.

Let me tell you a story. I am a liberal. Duh. Or, rather, I have a number of liberal leanings. I want my government to protect and defend the common person, not the corporation. I want my neighbors to have the best life they can have and have the access to all of the services I have access to. I want to know that, if I’m going to be paying taxes, that at least some of that money is going to be used to help raise up my fellow man.

I work two, sometime three, jobs. I have lots of student debt. I don’t have a lot of expendable income. I’ve had to fight and work to get where I am. And yet, I still want others to get a similar chance in life to better themselves. I want to know that in times of trouble, I have the same access to those social safety nets.

And for all my bitching, my life hasn’t been difficult at all. Comparatively speaking. I’ve pretty much always had everything I’ve ever wanted. Even so, Trump can have no clue what my life is like, let alone someone who has had it much more difficult than me.

I mean, I know what commodity cheese tastes like. I know what it’s like to wear shoes until they literally fall into pieces before being able to get new ones. I also know what it’s like to wear brand new designer jeans and have my own car as a 16 year old punk.

Trump went to private schools and started his first business with a million bucks from pappa. Yet, the out-of-work coal miner in Virginia, who blames the guv’ment for the coal mine closing, thinks that Trump understands their plight?

Wow. Just wow.

Reflection

It’s been a few days now since I wrote what just preceded. I’m still shocked, though, not as much so as at first.

What I find more shocking now is that no one is really talking about how much of a politician this outsider is. He’s doing all the things that any other politico does after the election: He’s, to use a phrase that really just rubs me the wrong way for some reason, walking back many of his more audacious promises. He’s getting cozy with the people in “the swamp” who he promised to flush out. He’s not going to completely gut the Affordable Care Act.

He’s, almost, in some strange realm, acting presidential.

He’s also still Trump. And we elected him.

While I think it sucks that someone like Trump is going to be leading this country for the next four years, probably enacting policies that will have an effect for years to come, I can’t get behind the whole #notmypresident thing. Maybe a better hashtag, for all y’all out there protesting, would be #DontblamemeIdidntvoteforhim.

But here’s the issue, as I see it from my limited dataset. The youth vote was down this election. The youth voters are protesting the election. Overall voter turn out was lower than in the past 20 years. The election is being protested.

There are protests in New York — where only 52 percent of eligible voters voted.

There are protests in California — where only 52 percent of eligible voters voted.

There are protests in Colorado, Oregon, Illinois — where voter turn out was in the low- to mid-60 percent ranges.

You know what, protesters? Life sucks. We don’t always get what we want and the system has generally worked the way it was designed to work. Given the rules we as a people put into place, we got the president that we elected.

Is the electoral college archaic? Sure it is. Broken? Probably. But you can’t change the rules after the game is over in order to change the winner to the one you like. You want to change it going forward? Then get it done. But quit acting like, because you’re pissed and because you think president-elect Trump is a moron, if not dangerous to the union, that you can protest the game. The game that so many of the players sat out of. If it was such a big deal to you, you would have voted, you would have played the game.

Don’t even get me started on those who mounted a write-in for Sanders. You are just as much to blame as those who didn’t vote at all.

Don’t get me started on the popular vote versus the electoral college vote.

Yes, the system is fucked. It is designed by and for the benefit of those in power. It can be manipulated. It can be gamed. It can lead to outcomes that we don’t like. We are all guilty in letting it get to this point, though. All of us who ever sat out an election because we didn’t like the candidates. All of us who vote for our candidates and then sit back and forget about them and what they are doing on our behalf in Washington D.C. until the next presidential election cycle comes around. All of us who don’t do our own research into the candidates, but rely solely on which color they are, red or blue, as the only qualification to win our vote. All of us who go to only a single news source that tends to align with our views. All of us who don’t bother to get our news from any source other than social media.

All of us. All of us are to blame for where we are right now as a country.

Protest after the fact? That’s weak. And lame. And childish.

If the shoe was swapped and Trump had lost and those on the right were protesting? I’d say the same thing in the same terms. Moreover, I’d bet most of you protesting right now would be slinging verbal daggers at the protesters if the shoe was on the other foot .

The game may be rigged, but don’t wait until after the final buzzer to try to change the rules. Change them before the game even starts.

Put your energy to good use.

Oh, wait, taking real action doesn’t play well on your social media feeds.

My bad. I’m old and out of touch. I forget that the new mantra is Pics or it didn’t happen.

Okay, I’ll go back to my rocking chair now.

And, by the way… stay off my lawn.

Phil was born and raised in the Midwest. He moved to Alaska in 2010 and started his bike commuting life then and hasn’t looked back yet. He is primarily focused on how bikes can be used to supplant other forms of transportation, when it makes sense to do so, but he is also interested in how to combine different forms of alternative transportation to create a sustainable and enjoyable commute. Besides cycling, Phil works as a business analyst, is a recovering poet, teaches technical writing, and still harbors a dream to write a great novel some day.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Phil, what did you personally do to keep Donald Trump from getting elected? Did you volunteer for Hillary? Did you discuss any of this with your bike bros, 66% of whom likely voted for Trump? Did you go hard for Hillary with any friend who was a third party or Trump voter even if it pissed your friends off? Did you sacrifice any wistful bike-riding time to make calls or knock on doors or anything, anything at all, of substance to campaign against Donald Trump? Did you even write a letter or email to Lisa Murkowski to call her out for not going hard for Hillary? Did you do anything at all?

    Have you ever in your life ended a friendship with a man because of his disrespect towards women?

    Have you done ANYTHING to keep this from happening, anything real?

    “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for him” is not good enough in a country where two thirds of white men voted for an aggressively racist serial abuser of women, and likely rapist.

    Resignation and muttering “the system is broken” into your beer is not good enough when real people of other demographics are likely to suffer greatly over the coming years, and make no mistake – Trump’s reach is well beyond four years. He’ll be able to appoint at least one Supreme Court justice, probably more. You’re a white male, so very little will actually change for you. But your female friends, your gay friends, your friends of color and your immigrant friends are all in real and substantial danger. I bet that more than a few of your female acquaintances have already experienced sexual aggression based on Trump’s words and actions (I have and so have my female friends). Your friends of color have probably heard and seen slurs and taunts that haven’t been uttered in the open in this country in fifty years. You shrugging and saying “don’t blame ME” is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

    We don’t need any discussion criticizing protesters who are out there doing SOMETHING, at least.

    We don’t need any more musing thinkpieces from white men who absolve themselves of any responsibility for what our society has become when they are quite clearly the foundation of the deterioration. Your attitude and approach as voiced in this article are not good enough.

  2. I believe it’s reprehensible for Phil B to attempt to dismiss protesters as lame, weak and childish.

    As for attempting to demean the very act of protest by the specious pronouncement that it’s occurrence is or was ‘after the fact’. Here’s a clue for you Phil, most protests occur at a point after some event, action or announcement. Actions taken beforehand are known as interventions or early advocacy.

    Despite your groundless sniveling, protests are not made any less effective, any less worthy, nor are they any less justifiable by whether they occur according to your irrelevant arbitrary timetable.

    Once the proverbial breaking point has been breached, protest often follows if you’ve got what it takes to stand out and stand up against a wrong.

    You should be ashamed, Phil, you should only be thankful that someone else is standing in your stead.

    At least they’re pushing back against the hate and fascism threatening our nation. You? Not so much. Not at all.

    You’re just flapping your gums with your unwarranted and unfounded smug condescension.

    …that great novel central to your trite self-aggrandizing in your bio above? Not going to happen, great novels are awash with authenticity, insight, candor and principled validity. All of which are missing in your scribbling.

What do you think?