drwex (drwex) wrote,

Oh yes he is

Dear #notmypresident people: oh, yes he is. Just like Barack Obama was president for all the people who voted against him (twice, some of them) and all the people who were scared of a black man in the White House. Obama is (was, will have been) their president. And soon Donald J Trump will be our president. Yours. And mine.

That is not to say that we have to be happy about President Pussygrabber, nor do we have to accept whatever racist, isolationist, sexist, anti-scientific, homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-woman policies and statements emanate from him or his administration. But this is our country, right and wrong, and building mental and social walls between ourselves and that nearly-50% of voters who chose hatred and white supremacy is not going to get us anywhere. It certainly won't make the next four (or eight) years any more tolerable. [1]

So by all means protest but if you're going to go around putting arm's length or more between yourself and the result of the election then you're going to be setting yourself up for failure again. I continue to believe that the "older white male" demographic is going to change, but that doesn't excuse ignoring the concerns of the millions - the majority of whom are still white - who've been discarded by the system.

I've been struggling for a couple days to put this post together and this afternoon I got an email from Senator Elizabeth Warren. She says things I've been trying to formulate and I hope nobody will mind if I block-quote her here:

[T]here are many millions of people who did not vote for Donald Trump because of the bigotry and hate that fueled his campaign rallies. They voted for him despite the hate. They voted for him out of frustration and anger – and also out of hope that he would bring change.

Working families across this country are deeply frustrated about an economy and a government that doesn’t work for them. Exit polling on Tuesday found that 72 percent of voters – Democrats and Republicans - believe that "the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful." Americans are angry about a federal government that works for the rich and powerful and that leaves everyone else in the dirt.

The truth is that people are right to be angry. Angry that wages have been stagnant for a generation, while basic costs like housing, health care, and child care have skyrocketed. Angry that our political system is awash in barely legalized campaign bribery. Angry that Washington eagerly protects tax breaks for billionaires while it refuses to raise the minimum wage, or help the millions of Americans struggling with student loans, or enforce the law when the millionaire CEOs who fund our political campaigns break it. Angry that Washington pushes big corporate interests in trade deals[2], but won’t make the investments in infrastructure to create good jobs right here in America. Angry that Washington tilts the playing field for giant corporations – giving them special privileges, letting them amass enormous economic and political power.

Angry that while Washington dithers and spins and does the backstroke in an ocean of money, while the American Dream moves further and further out of reach for too many families. Angry that working people are in debt. Angry that seniors can’t stretch a Social Security check to cover the basics.

President-Elect Trump spoke to these issues. Republican elites hated him for it. He criticized Wall Street and big money’s dominance in Washington – straight up. He supported a new Glass-Steagall. He spoke of the need to reform our trade deals so they aren’t raw deals for the American people. He said he will not cut Social Security benefits. He talked about the need to address the rising cost of college and about helping working parents struggling with the high cost of child care. He spoke of the urgency of rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and putting people back to work. He spoke to the very real sense of millions of Americans that their government and their economy has abandoned them. And he promised to rebuild our economy for working people.

The deep worry that people feel over an America that does not work for them is not liberal or conservative worry. It is not Democratic or Republican worry. It is the deep worry that led even Americans with very deep reservations about Donald Trump’s temperament and fitness to vote for him anyway.

That. If you're trying to understand how anyone could want President Pussygrabber, if you're stuck in the mindset that his supporters are all a basket of deplorables, then you are on the road to handing him a second term already. These problems are, as Warren says, the issues that we should be addressing. Ms Clinton was promising more of the same to a group of people who've felt screwed over, left out, and taken advantage of. Mr Trump was promising them he could change things. You can rationalize all you want - Trump isn't going to fix these things, isn't going to build walls, isn't going to be able to revitalize manufacturing - but it makes no sense to me to applaud people voting for hope eight years ago when Candidate Obama promised it and then condemn them voting for hope this time.

Yes, a large chunk of Trump's supporters are indeed deplorables, some of the worst sort. The KKK endorsed him. The Putin administration has come out and admitted they worked with his people. His transition team is headed by a giant slimeball and I expect we'll see further really vile characters emerge in the transition. None of the preceding means that Trump ought to get a free pass, nor should any of the above be read as an excuse for bigotry and hatred. The fact that people can't get relief from crushing debt isn't an excuse for demonizing refugees and immigrants; the reduction of vast swaths of middle America to abandoned wastelands is not an excuse for further victimization of brown and black people. But if you believe our mission is to come back from this defeat, to limit President Pussygrabber to one term you cannot do better than starting to understand the pain and fear and actual disadvantages that caused nearly half the voters to cast their ballots the way they did.

So by all means protest. By all means name the bigotry, sexism, racism and intolerance for what it is - un-American hatred. But don't claim this isn't your president. And mine.


[1] If you don't want it to be eight years then the mission for the next four years has to be building up a better Democratic alternative. The Republicans managed to field 17 candidates and while each of them had some measure of flaw and 16 of them got brutalized out of the race it still remains true that there were multiple viable candidates on that side. The Democrats had Ms Clinton and... um, yeah. An aging socialist who more or less got shanghaied into running against her. Where are the real successors to Obama? Where are the 40-something and 50-something Democrats who can carry forward the ideals that the party says it stands for and for which Ms Clinton did so poor a job campaigning despite being dragged around by Bernie? Who's going to train these 2020 candidates into the kind of sharp debaters that will let them stand on a stage with President Trump and make themselves look better?

[2] Warren doesn't say it here but I think it should be said: when you call a deal like TPP "free trade" when in fact it enforces and extends protectionist regimes like supra-national intellectual property courts you are lying. When a "trade deal" is not in fact about trade but in fact is about secret negotiations to set up corporate privilege structures you are on the wrong side. I don't know if Trump has the savvy to realize this; we'll see soon.
Tags: politics, thinky stuff
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