Having watched Arrival and learned the language of the aliens, it seems I posted this the year Donald Trump was born. Some will suggest I should’ve done a very nasty thing to him in his crib, but I’ve read enough of the literature to know that trying to outsmart time is usually a bad idea. As to what’s going to happen after he becomes president, well, nobody likes spoilers.
newest addition to the Lost in Translation Keep Calm collection
Since the election I’ve been trying to figure out how to process Trump. I mean besides the usual OMG!, which I honestly don’t feel (OMG!!). Although I didn’t follow him and barely clocked his utterances for most of his run, knowing full well that seekers of political office will say practically anything to get elected, I did stay up half the night to watch the ‘debates’, even the VPs-to-be; they provided more than enough ammunition to make any thoughtful person properly worried. And yet, I will admit to an outrageous glimmer of hope on seeing him elected(!!!). What gives? Am I one of those people so disgusted with the status quo that *anybody*, even a man critics are comparing to Hitler if not Satan in all his unholy blood orange majesty, would’ve been preferable to Clinton?
Somebody was going to get elected. The thought of Hillary in the Oval induced a dull acceptance of dreadful business as usual. You know, endless wars with the added frisson of a new cold war with Russia, continued enabling of the bloodthirsty vampire squid sucking financial sector, a term or two chock full of grand words (if less eloquence than Obama) but serial disappointments. That Trump won was, at its most basic, validation of the notion that we are given a choice on election day. Part of my pleasure was getting to witness so many people choose not to swallow what the enlightened media/celebrity complex was trying to force feed them.
This has been compared to Brexit. I know something about Brexit. I voted Brexit. This was no Brexit. OK, it was a bit-ish, I just wanted to pull a Lloyd Bentsen. Still, Brexit was fundamentally about autonomy, not temporary regime change. I was not best pleased when Obama weighed in about another nation’s referendum; it was also not cool to lecture African Americans to take care not to besmirch his legacy.
Brexit turned my head around. It’s the first time I’ve been way outside a group I normally identified with – lefty liberal sorts – and seeing how organs popularly associated with the left reacted to the result was very much an OMG! moment, though perhaps it shouldn’t have been…
It may have been at Daily Kos, aka the Great Orange Satan (oh no, another one), that I first came across the phrase “throw under the bus”. As in, Michael Moore/Paul Krugman/pick-a-liberal-icon doesn’t currently agree with me, out he goes. If I’ve found myself drifting away from John Oliver and even Jon Stewart, it wasn’t because I couldn’t abide them straying from my worldview, it was because I was starting to feel I had outgrown their often kneejerk and facile bashing. (Not to mention that the likeable Stewart had long thrown softballs to powerful people who deserved a harder accounting.) Pie is more my guy these days. I don’t make the mistake of having to always agree with him.
We almost all of us live in bubbles. I do try to see outside mine. I read The American Conservative as well as The Intercept, and lots in between, though I now draw the line at DK, which spectacularly threw Bernie under the bus, joining the forces who arguably enabled Trump’s victory. I try to be fair to alternative points of view. I’m sure I fail regularly.
One could do worse than to take a page from Rudyard Kipling: keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.
Yes, my parents too gave me a copy when I turned 18
If you’ll forgive my own translation from that old bestseller, everything is permitted, but not everything is going to keep you from going WTF? Social media (can it be any great surprise America elected a Twitter addict?) is a notorious black hole of earnestly wasted time. Have fun, but try not to be part of the problem. Avoid fake news sites. Question sources, including that, and don’t drink too much from the same one. Cultivate a sense of what’s wheat and what’s chaff. Think for yourself. #notmypresident is a bandwagon going nowhere.
I was one of the millions suckered in by Hope & Change in 2008. I let the critical thinking part of my brain get flooded with endorphins released by the gloriously broken colour bar, with the result that the droner-in-chief progressively drained me of any capacity for belief in the pretty words of progressives who are anything but.
I believe the status quo is more dangerous than the best of what Trump offers, should it come to pass (less military adventurism, more investment in infrastructure, term limits, a wedge shoved into the revolving door between government and big business, a breaking of the stranglehold of money in politics). I have hope that the worst of his pledged policies simply won’t come to pass any more than the best of the promises of others so often don’t.
Will Trump make life better for most of us, Americans and otherwise? Will creative chaos, if that’s what’s on offer, yield a net benefit? Can we keep our heads and sense of humour? As my wife put it, the world being a safer place has nothing to do with how many body parts he personally may have grabbed. I have hope because Trump, for all his considerable faults, seems to have an open mind. Or at the very least, I’m keeping an open mind about the state of his.
PS. I didn’t vote for Trump. Clearly I didn’t vote for Clinton. In addition to her being a hawk with a proven record of hawkishness, and a more effective enabler of the wolves of Wall Street,
• She had a record of being shamelessly for things before being against them, and vice-versa.
• Nice words are nice, but all that matters in the end is what you do, with high marks for at least making a sincere effort. I had close to zero confidence that Clinton’s more encouraging promises (TTP comes to mind) had any basis in conviction.
• Dems have to learn not to continually take the Left for granted then throw them under the bus, and it’s got to frakking start sometime. Expletive courtesy BSG.
• Just Say No to political dynasties. I didn’t care for Bill’s potential input into another Clinton presidency, for that matter, though that was a lesser complaint.
• She tried her hand at healthcare reform in the 90s and was battered mercilessly for it. This is actually the main thing I like about her. I just threw it in this list to show I’m not all about the bashing.
• She’s a woman.
I’m joking of course. It’s beyond ridiculous that the US hasn’t gone there yet; the glass ceiling was broken years ago in other countries. Sri Lanka née Ceylon elected Sirimavo Bandaranaike prime minister in 1960 (though you might say she hit number one with a bullet). When Thatcher broke it she broke a lot of other things too.
I wanted Sanders, or Warren if she had decided to run; almost anyone other than Clinton. I respect that for enough people who weren’t really with her, she was the anyone-other-than-Trump candidate.
And of course she had her fans, which is fine with me. I feel your vote belongs to you and you alone, and is not something to be coerced or cajoled out of you (though polite coaxing has its place). Those of us who didn’t vote, not out of apathy but because we thought both were worse than each other, felt robbed of a choice.
My hometown newspaper is printing an editorial of mine today very roughly based on this post. I haven’t informed my family, some of whom may be about to have a WTF? moment, themselves.
“Stop fearmongering. Somewhere in America, there are still like three or four people who believe the media, and those people are cowering in their houses waiting for the death squads.”
See also Backing away from the hyperbole and What elections should be.
Satire goes full circle.
Link now broken.
The centre cannot hold, obvs.
“This is going to be a very interesting White House and administration, just because Trump does not have decided views on a lot of issues. Who wins the internal fights will determine the entire course of Trump’s presidency, and may well determine America’s (and the world’s) future for decades. Place your bets and don’t underestimate these people.”
“I can’t help trying to understand what the underlying reality actually is.”
From an email I sent to a good friend who was looking forward to a Clinton victory.
I *want* there to be some chaos. Not Joker-type chaos, and I most certainly am not one of those who shrugs and says blood must be spilled for a revolution, but Trump, to me, represents an almost welcome break from business as usual even as he proves himself in so many ways to be the same old money-grubbing unenlightened charletan we’re all so familiar with. I want the press to be shaken and angry as hornets, and the Democratic party to be in full soul-searching mode (not that I think they’ll find anything there), and all moribund institutions to feel tectonic shifts. For the better, obviously. I cannot offer a coherent theory of how I hope this might come about, and am cogniscent this line of thought puts me smack in the middle of the ‘deplorables’ who the press have exhaustively told us voted for change, any change. (Of course, I say all this like an evil Bond villain, except with a bunny on my lap.)
You ask What on earth have we done. I ask, what on earth have we been doing, for years now?
“A bit of realism helps when dealing with reality.”
This is pretty persuasive (joepeartree’s ‘Naive Billionaire Knee-Jerk Armchair Politician Filter’, if the link doesn’t take you straight there)
Thanks for linking to my comment on Scott Adams’ Blog a few months ago. Just happened to Google for “Naive Billionaire Knee-Jerk Armchair Politician” and saw your reference. (In case you are wondering, I chose that wordy phrase precisely so it could be googled easily in the future, so that I can refer to it in future comments on the Scott Adams Blog.)
My Filter is turning out quite accurate so far.
You’re welcome. If you’re still around.
(Belatedly) interesting, but still, no.
Yeah, OK. Early days still, but clearly business as usual. Oh well. I should’ve known better than to hope he might be a wrench gloriously thrown into the system.
A bit of recycling.