Election Thoughts

It is hard for the reality of last night’s results to sink in. I have dozens of thoughts flowing through my mind:

  • We need to prepare ourselves, and our children, for the normalization of racialized, xenophobic, and jingoistic rhetoric. I don’t think we need to elect almost beatified individuals into office. However, presidents have a huge impact on children and are naturally looked to as examples of civic virtue.
  • When it was clear that Trump would take the Republican nomination I held the assumption that he had activated a new voting block that could carry him to the presidency. Then I let the overwhelming media consensus assuage my concerns with their heavily Hillary favored projections. I suspect the Democrats did the same. My initial instinct was correct. It is clear that journalists are totally disconnected with huge segments of the electorate, and their concerns, so their “expertise” has immense blind spots.
  • I don’t expect much self reflection from Presidents Bush and Obama on this point, but they have set us up for dismantling of the institutions that protect the Constitution and the individual liberty of millions of American citizens. Signing statements and executive orders may have helped them sleep better at night or accomplish their goals in the face of opposition, but they’re cold comfort to us now. The Executive Branch’s power has expanded in the face of a feckless Congress and now an authoritarian with no regard for the Constitution or its institutions will take power when the precedent tells him that he can do whatever he wants under executive authority.
  • Scapegoating out-groups and strangers has always been effective in taking power during crises. It works for dictators everywhere. Hitler, Castro, and Hugo Chavez come immediately to mind. If you can blame outsiders for a country’s woes then you can bypass the immune system of any check or balance. We’re seeing it today with immigrants, Muslims, and our supposedly dishonest trade partners.
  • Since I have often voted Republican I have always bristled at the too-easy aspertions of bigotry and authoritarianism. Trump has taken this cartoonish characterization and made it real. The Republican party is lost, and genuine conservatives who respect the law have no home.
  • I expect law enforcement and state surveillance abuses to only increase.
  • I fear for the recriminations against those who opposed Trump. His famously thin skin cannot abide those who do anything less than adulate him.
  • I pray that unneccessary war is not in our future. The thoughts that go through my head when I think about U.S. foreign policy are chilling.
  • If you were caught off guard because everyone you know on Facebook votes the way you do, let this be a lesson. Social media algorithms are set up to give you more of what you want, not give you an accurate view of the world.
  • Liberty is ours to keep. It naturally fades away in the face of crisis, negligence, apathy, expedience, and lethargy. Vigilance is our only defense.
Donald Trump Election Presidency