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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The World Turned Upside Down

I was twenty years old on September 11th, 2001, just a few days into my junior year of college. In the closing hours of that day, my dad suggested I take some time to write down how I was feeling, to record my immediate reaction to the seismic events of that day for the sake of posterity. I took his advice, and did so. This morning, in the wake of another, possibly even bigger, seismic shift in the history of the world, I remembered his words, and as an act of both posterity and catharsis, tried to put into words how I was feeling. I did my best to limit the histrionics and hyperbole in what I wrote, while still capturing the essence of what I feel (which is very much filled with hyperbole & histrionics), so as not to drown out my very real concerns and fears.

Back in 2001, I wrote my reactions by hand, in a journal I was keeping at the time. I'm putting this here now because this website is a bit like a journal, and because, in part, it represents a sort living body of my work. Today is a day I will probably always remember, so it feels appropriate to work this recollection into that body.

Generally speaking, I try to avoid making things too political on this site; there are plenty of places online that are good for that, and it's not what anyone really comes here for. But I'm also not shy about my opinions, and any regular readers who have been visiting this site for a long time shouldn't be surprised by how I'm feeling today. I contemplated not allowing comments on this post, not because I want to shut down discourse but just because I'm not really in the mood to get into it with anyone who's celebrating today. But I'm leaving them on, because some people might need a friendly place to vent as well. If not, that's fine. And if you comment, I may respond, and I may not. But if you're a Trump supporter, congratulations, and I hope we can find a way to work together. But right now, today, I really don't want to hear it, so please, keep it to yourself.

Anyway, here's how I'm doing today. Tomorrow, we'll be back to talking about how crappy X-Force is right now, and continue to do so for as long as we're able. Make America Great Again? You've just made America frighteningly, probably irrevocably, worse.

America has never been a perfect nation: we enslaved a race, committed genocide nearly to the point of extinction on another, interned a third. America's saving grace was always, ALWAYS that we were striving to do better, to BE better, to repudiate our mistakes by moving forward, progressing to a better world. We stumbled along the way, but we got back up, and kept trying.

But we've failed. In one day we've thumbed our nose at what actually makes America great because, what? We're afraid? Because life for many of us is hard, and instead of taking personal accountability for that, we blamed SOMETHING and decided to vote for the snake-oil salesman who promised to single-handedly solve all our problems and do everything you've ever wanted, even the stuff that somehow contradicts the other stuff he said he'd do?

America has had great presidents, and we've had bad presidents. More often than not, we've had thoroughly mediocre presidents. But for the first time, we've elected a demagogue. And out-and-out, unapologetic demagogue. This isn't a liberal hyperventilating because my candidate didn't win; Donald Trump is definably a demagogue. He has openly advocated the limiting of free press, the deportation of American citizens, and bans on religion. These are the promises of demagogues, of dictators, of the kind of people America used to go to war to stop. Now, we welcome them with open arms and hand them the keys to the country.

I mean, bans on religion? My God. Is there anything more fundamentally American than freedom of religion? This country was founded by people seeking religious tolerance, and America just voted to tell them "nope, sorry, not here." We just reached back through time and looked those first pilgrims in the eye and said, "sorry, we've got our own problems, and you're slightly different than us, so we can't trust you. Park your ship somewhere else."

You know what, all you red-blooded Americans who want a strong military, who want to protect our borders and "git 'er done"? The terrorists just won. They pulled our planes from the sky and toppled our buildings, and it worked. They wanted to destroy the Great Satan and they did. ISIS doesn't need to come here anymore. They scared us so much we fundamentally changed the country. We were a shining beacon of hope and progress, that anyone, ANYONE, could come to this country, be free to worship as they saw fit, and make a better life for themselves. That's why the terrorists didn't like us, why they attacked us. And because we are afraid, we elected a demagogue who has vowed to turn off that beacon. And give the terrorists exactly what they wanted on that September day in 2001.

The KKK is celebrating today. The KKK is celebrating today. They are out in full hooded regalia, on bridges cheering. If America's oldest in-house terrorist organization is happy, we have done something very, very wrong. This is not a difficult equation to grasp.

A frighteningly large number of people in this country has embraced bigotry, misogyny, hatred, and lies. Has signed off on it. With their vote, they've said, "as along as I get what I want, whether it's the promise of a better job, the potential for the judicial codification of my personal agenda, or a validation of my religious beliefs, I don't care who I hurt. I don't care if the world ends up in a worse place. I don't care that the fundamental value of truth, that some things are true whether I like them or not, has been destroyed. I'm fine with all of that, as long as I get mine."

This is not America. America is better than this. America HAS to be better than this. We are supposed to be helpers, we are supposed to help the world, help each other, even people who look and act different than us. We are not supposed to be selfish, to be content just saying "I got mine" and then going home.

Assuming we can stave off a full scale nuclear war (a pretty big "if" at this point), assuming that Minnesota doesn't become ocean-front property and/or we don't run out of food due to environmental ravages or the economy doesn't tank so hard I lose my job (even bigger "ifs"), I'll probably be fine. I'm a Straight White Male, and my personal spirituality hews close enough to traditional Christian dogma that I can successfully fake my way through any kind of "Prove You're an American" shibboleth or Loyalty Oath required by our new all-Republican government.

What I worry about is everyone else, everyone who looks different or loves different or has different reproductive parts or whose relationship with faith and spirituality doesn't fit within one narrow, fundamentalist definition of what is "right" and "normal".

I worry about my wife, who now lives in a country where sexism doesn't just exist (because it always has), but has been formally codified and given a stamp of approval by a vast number of Americans, for all the women out there who now live in a country where millions of people (men and women), either tacitly or implicitly, said yes to a president who has no problem with men of power forcibly exerting that power over women without remorse just because they can, of perpetuating a very real rape culture instead of suppressing it, who now have to worry that they can be, literally and metaphorically, grabbed by the pussy at any time so long as the grabber believes himself famous enough, and that a large segment of this country is a-okay with that.

I worry about the African-American community, who has already endured so much, fought so hard to even reach a base level of civil rights. Eight years ago they cried tears of joy, now they cry tears of fear, because the people who hate them most have won, have shown that while their number may not be a majority, they can convince a majority to side with them. Disenfranchisement of minority voters has happened, in the 21st century, in America. And it sure as hell will happen even more now, with full Republican power ensuring that less and less of the people who would oppose them are even allowed to vote.

I worry about the LGBTQ community, who will see the rights they fought so long and so hard for rolled back, and who will face ever more mockery, discrimination, fear and violence in the years ahead, instead of less.

I worry about anyone who exercises their constitutional right to freedom of religion, which our newly-elected president has promised to curtail, who are forced to go into hiding, or are ghettoized, or outright departed or harmed.

I worry about all the lawful immigrants who will be caught up and deported, told the American Dream no longer applies to them, all because enough people are willingly ignorant enough to believe in a problem that doesn't really exist.

I worry about the members of the press, the actual press, not the echo chambers of message boards and Fox News, the ones that strive to educate and inform America, who have received a strong message that America doesn't WANT to be informed, that it doesn't WANT to be educated, that it will make up not only its own mind, but its own truth, and believe what it wants even if what it believes flies in the face of what is actually true. The press who will find their very livelihood and role in the process of democracy eliminated by a president who has vowed to curtail the freedom of press, another previously-fundamental American right soon to be savaged.

I worry about the environment, with our new president vowing to destroy the EPA, our best protection against the human ravaging of our planet. Even if you don't believe in global warming (and you're stupid if you don't), there's no denying that water, coal, oil and natural gas are finite resources. There is only so much of those things in all in the world, and we cannot make more. And we are blowing through it all. It will all be gone someday, and what do we do then? Can our children drink smug sanctification that a woman who did email wrong lost her bid for the presidency instead of water? We are dangerously close to a tipping point that could spell the end of life on this planet as we know it, and yesterday, all we did was press down on the accelerator even harder.

I worry about my son, about having to one day try to explain to him when and how America broke, that I won't be able to teach him to always be himself, because if he happens to not fit a narrow, outdated definition of "normal", who he is will get him mocked, bullied, repressed, jailed, or worse. Because America just made the biggest bully of them all, a man who mocked the disabled, veterans and anyone who disagreed with his personal vision of reality, president. I worry that someday I may not be able to provide him the food and water and he needs to survive because this day, America embraced their fear and hatred over common sense, the well-being of our world be damned.

America just told all those people, my wife, my son, the planet itself, that it doesn't value them, it doesn't like them, it doesn't care what happens to them so long as they can feel safe and pretend new jobs are going to magically appear out of nowhere and go about their lives like it's still 1950 without anything anything even slightly outside their definition of "normal" coming along to shatter that illusion.

Yesterday, I went to my polling place and exercised my constitutional right to vote, an act which has always made me feel immensely proud to be an American.

Tomorrow, I will try to take heart in the fact that those of who didn't give in to fear and hatred yesterday are strong, and technically more numerous than those who did. That the majority of us are fundamentally good people, and that even the good can occasionally fall, that the better angels of their nature can be, momentarily, overwhelmed by their fear or ignorance, and that they'll eventually see the error in aligning themselves with the truly evil, those who legitimately believe the hatred and bile routinely spouted by our new president.

I will try to believe that we will pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, and continue to fight the good fight, continue to do good, no matter how much harder it is now, no matter how many obstacles are put in our way, for as long as we have a planet to fight on.

Because doing good is the right thing to do.
But today...
Today, I have never been more ashamed to be an American.

36 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. That's really all I can muster right now.

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  2. First of all, (cue applause).

    And to keep this comics-related...

    In a bizarre case of ironic timing, this site has recently covered the beginning of the "Iceman's bigoted dad" subplot in Uncanny X-Men #289. And we are currently only a few issuesbaway from Graydon Creed's appearance in #299. The funny thing is that when both of these people appeared, at the time they were being derided for being too exaggerated and over-the-top with their prejudice to be believable. Before this year, that was an assessment I would have agreed with. Now though...

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  3. America didn't break down because they elected someone like Donald Trump. The left side is just as culpable for him being elected, and just as culpable for the breaking down of American politics. To simply say Trump was solely elected due to racists and misogynists is simply an easy out by blaming it all on some boogeyman. To be fair, yes, a lot of gross people voted for Trump for gross reasons, but to simply assume everyone did so means that you underestimated his appeal, and the same thing will happen in 4 years if you keep underestimating why he got elected in the first place.

    The DNC is just as morally bankrupt and corrupt as their Republican counterparts, they're just better at selling themselves as the people's party and not beholden to multi-national corporations and billionaires. Trump was pretty much an Independent who hijacked the Republican party, and knew he needed to be on one of the major 2 party tickets to be elected. American deserve better than what they have. In their own way, the elements of the left have become just as bad as the elements of the right (weren't all those liberal media outlets echo chambers themselves, telling us Trump would lose?).

    At the end of the day, both sides offered a shitty option, and while it's too bad the more shitty option was elected, I'm hoping this will be a wake up call to the Republican and Democratic sides to take a look at themselves, see what's wrong, fix themselves, and move forward. I really do love America, even though I'm not American, and really hope for nothing but the best for it.

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    1. Couple quick things:

      1. Absolutely, Trump was not elected solely by racist/sexist/misogynistic bigots. They are his base, but they themselves are not large enough to carry a national election. He won on the strength of that base combined with enough people being willing to overlook his racism/sexism/misogyny because he also offered something to them they valued enough to turn a blind eye to the more reprehensible elements of his platform. This piece illustrates the relationship between racist and non-racist Trump supporters nicely: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/11/10/the-cinemax-theory-of-racism/

      2. Trump also got elected because the Democrats failed to get out the vote/motivate their base. Trump won with fewer votes than Romney lost with in 2012, which means a bunch of people who voted for Obama in 2012 just stayed home. That is bad. Blame the Dems for failing to motivate their base, blame them for putting forward a candidate that, for whatever reason, failed to preach to a specific part of their choir. That's on them. But they're also not the ONLY reason Trump won. Lots of people still voted for him. Whether they voted for him because they believe in his platform or just didn't like Hilary, the end result is the same.

      3. Part of the reason previously-democratic turnout was so low was also because of new (Republican-backed) voter registration/ID laws were enacted between last election and this one in many places. Actual voter fraud is 100% not a real problem, statistically speaking. These laws are enacted because they work to turn away minorities aka people who traditionally vote Democrat. I'm not saying those laws (which are, by their letter, 100% legal as much as I don't like them) are the only cause of the lower-than-previous Dem turnout, or solely responsible for his election, but they're part of it, and it's only going to get worse before the next election.

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    2. 4. Yeah, the Democratic Party has problems (you know, beyond their epic clusterfuck in this election). It has flaws. It's not perfect. I don't agree with every one of their planks. You know what they're not? Racist. Sexist. Homophobic. At least not openly, and I'll take secret racists who aren't going to pass laws to oppress large swaths of the country over those who will. The Democrats don't want to build a wall. They don't want to eliminate the freedom of press. They don't want to ban an entire religion from the country, thus violating one of the most fundamentally American principles. This what the Republican wants to do, as evidenced by the current leader of their party, and what every one who voted for him wants to do, by dint of having voted for him, whether or not they voted for him for reasons entirely different than those goals.

      The Democrats are pro-environment and pro-social progress. Are they perfect? No. Are they flawed? Deeply. Is the two party system problematic? Yes. Do Americans deserve and need more options? Absolutely. But for now, I have no problem preferring the flawed party who doesn't advocate tearing down fundamental American principals (and laws) over the one that does.

      One can say that voting Democrat is just the lesser of two evils, and that's fine. But in this election, right now, the gap between the two has never been larger.

      5. Yeah, absolutely, there are left-leaning echo chambers just like on the right. And, of course, social media can easily become a personal echo chamber for everyone, since each person has full control over what they see and hear. But I don't believe ALL media is an echo chamber (I've found Vox.com's coverage of this election to be very informative but limited in its bias, as one example). To point out that Trump said racist things is not bias. To say racism is bad is not bias.

      Did the media drop the ball on this election? Whooboy, did they. Do they have some culpability in the ascendance of Trump? Most definitely. Do they need to improve? Yes. But shutting them down, limiting their access (as Trump has already started to do) so only the outlets saying what you want to hear are allowed to operate, is not the way to do it.

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    3. Yeah after two false starts for a comment of my own, I'll just have to +1 this one.

      FWIW I believe you will very soon notice that you didn't elect Lex Luthor or Norman Osborn, but rather Daniel Clamp from Gremlins 2.

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    4. Man, I hope you're right; Daniel Clamp was great!

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    5. But from my foreign viewpoint, two things made Hillster unelectable in my eyes:

      1) Nevermind if all the Benghazi stuff or other stuff was a conservative fantasy, she could have done away with it by opening her email correspondence from the applicable era. Instead, she finds herself joking "what, with cloth or something" when asked if she did wipe her private server.

      2) The DNC chair had to step down because the pre-election was revealed to be slanted towards Hillary. Thanking her from everything she has done and catching her straight from the fall for a high position into your own campaign is just WTF.

      That's sheer arrogance. Yes, Donnie has been a moron too, but not whilst holding a public office.

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    6. "The Democrats are pro-environment and pro-social progress"

      As long as it doesn't get in the way of big money (see what is happening in the Dakotas, for example), sure they are ;)

      Anyway, enough politics. Let us go back to looking at some shitty X-force art. How many more issues till Greg Capullo arrives?

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    7. (For the record, I wasn't in any way justifying or saying the Dems were a worse option than Trump. Just that a lot of work needs to be done on both sides to figure out where they go from here; the old model and system is clearly not working)

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    8. Austin, if the worst was to happen, at least the end of the world video will in all likeliness be awesome.

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    9. Yeah, the Dakota situation is...not good. Still, I'll take the party that at least tries to protect the environment SOMETIMES instead of the one that never does it.

      And two. Two more issues before Capullo. :)

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  4. I was btw secretly hoping that you Gentlemen of the Blog would have been making another Marvel election campaign post series but with a pair of villains running for the office this time. But then the final candidates cleared out and I learned to be careful what I wish for.

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  5. As a rule, I don't generally discuss my politics online -- I tend to believe a person's beliefs are their own and that's that -- but I think I've mentioned here and there that I'm a bit more right-leaning than not. Mainly I favor low taxes and a microscopic Federal government. Honestly, I'm probably more Libertarian than Republican -- social issues mean nothing to me; let everyone do what they want with who they want because it's none of my business! -- but I've been a registered Republican since college and I've voted Republican pretty much every election cycle in that time.

    But this year, I just could not bring myself to vote for the Republican candidate. I couldn't do it. Even if you set aside all the horrific racism/misogyny/everything else about him; even if he was otherwise the most squeaky clean guy in the world, Trump just doesn't have the qualifications or temperament to be president! I'm seriously worried about World War III now, and I can only hope he will, for perhaps the first time ever in his life, have advisors on his team willing to stand up to him if he's about to make some awful, irrational decision.

    (I half-joked to a friend on election night that there's a very good chance Trump's presidency ends in some red-tinted war room someplace when a conscientious general shoots him rather than obey an order to launch the nukes.)

    Anyway, I try my best not to get sucked into all the "end of the world/end of democracy/etc." hyperbole, and despite this bizarre, awful, surreal situation in which we now find ourselves, all I can do is give him the benefit of what little doubt (if any) remains, and hope that we will somehow see a more level-headed Trump when he assumes office and the full gravity of his situation sets in. A great deal of damage has already been done to our country and the relationships between our citizens simply as a result of the campaign, but I just have to stay optimistic and believe that, as insane as things are now, they can't get worse.

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    1. I too don't want to get too hyperbolic about things, but I can't deny I have some legit fear about a nuclear war (and significant environmental damage). I mean, he can theoretically have the nukes launched on his say so, whereas a lot of the other awful stuff he's talked about doing theoretically has to go through other people, where there's a chance they might stop it.

      "It's always darkest before dawn" isn't terribly comforting, but any port in a storm...

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    2. There are many, many fine gentlemen and ladies in the Department of Defense who have had very long-standing policies of world scale in place for decades and who may more or less consider the Commander-in-Chief occasionally changing a nuisance more than anything else. If there was a real danger of something irreparably breaking down like for reals they certainly wouldn't allow you to vote over it. 2016 is the year of Dr. Strange, not Dr. Strangelove. For further references on how it goes I point to the hilarious 80's British comedy series Yes Minister.

      Besides, he's been swarmed by the Men in Black since the first day of his candidacy and it wasn't him who hired them and gave them their initial orders.

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  6. Thanks for this. All we can do at the moment is be thoughtful and try to talk this out. Every day I wake up and Trump winning the presidency is the first thing that hits me. It's a fucking nightmare. I still can't really believe it. If we'd got a house and/or senate majority I wouldn't be too worried because he has literally no political experience and I couldn't see him getting anything done with any opposition. But, realistically, the Republicans are going to have about 2 years to do whatever the fuck they want. I am trying to see the big picture, though, and figure out where this is going and what we can do about it. Obamacare will definitely be repealed but I'm not upset about that. As a self-employed person, my experience with it has been shockingly bad, and I don't mind at all if it's eliminated. The only thing I'm hopeful for is that the republicans will actually implement a better insurance program. They wont meet any opposition and they may actually create a better system, if for no other reason than as a fuck you to Obama's legacy. Healthcare may just go back to what it was, which would still, in my opinion, be preferable to mandatory overpriced healthcare that doesn't really help with anything.

    The scariest thing in the environment. Social issues are important and there's going to be a LOT of work to be done there, but deregulating all of our industry may actually ruin the planet. What the Republicans have planned there is, I believe, the most permanent, large-scale problem. The only way I can spin it to keep my sanity is that the Democrats really weren't doing enough. Obama was way more of a moderate than we ever wanted to admit and Hilary was even moreso. They were doing SOMETHING to delay global warming but we were still on that path. It's possible that things need to get worse before they get better. The two parties are looking less and less alike as time goes by and that's a good thing. We almost got Bernie as our candidate and the next 4 years will hopefully push us in that direction. That the next 4 years are going to be really fucking bad and we may just get a true liberal socialist progressive to represent us in the next election. The face of progress in the US has largely been a smokescreen and, this time, the face of conservatism has been honest for the first time in I don't know how long. Instead of implementing racist policy with doublespeak, Trump is just straight up racist. Instead of destroying the environment with something called the clean air act, he's just straight up admitting that he's going to destroy the environment. Hopefully this will push the left to be more honest, and to allow for real talk with real people. The fact of the matter is that minorities are now the majority in the US and all we need is a candidate that they feel will represent them and their interests. Unfortunately that didn't happen this time but I really believe that it will soon.

    I am thinking about Obama's first few years and how little he was able to get done even with a Democratic majority. He really was inexperienced, although, compared to Trump he was a fucking veteran. And how many of his big promises ever came true? How many politicians achieve their campaign promises? Trump is unopposed in the house and the senate but he's also only a republican by name. He's sort of his own thing. And he's really hard to deal with. We are going to see infighting among republicans like we've never seen before. There will be consequences to this election and I'm sure that we'll lose some basic rights that we've taken for granted, but there's no way that all the shit that he's saying will be enacted. There will be deportations but there's no way that wall ever gets built. There will be massive deregulations on corporations but it may lead to a democratic party that has to actually do something about it.

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    1. Every day I wake up and Trump winning the presidency is the first thing that hits me. It's a fucking nightmare

      I'm with you there.

      One of the things that I try to tell myself to soothe myself is that even without checks and balances, not every Republican in government agrees with his more extreme views. McCain & Rubio are, relatively speaking, much more centric on immirgration reform than his "ship 'em out/build a wall" blustering, and it seems like any immigration bill is going to have to go through them. And the Republicans, despite this victory, are very still very fractured, and had a hard time agreeing on things before this, when they still held legislative majorities.

      Which isn't to say a lot bad shit won't still happen. But hopefully most of it won't be irrevocable. Again, any port.

      The environment deeply frightens me as well. He's already appointed a climate change skeptic (how is that even a thing?!?) head of the EPA. You're right that things in that area weren't great under Obama and probably wouldn't be any better with Hilary, at least the speed of degradation would have stayed steady. Now, Trump is slamming on the gas towards something awful.

      I just hope that when we do reach a point that the environmental situation can't be denied, it's still early enough that we can get our best minds working on a solution.

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  7. I'm worried for women and people of color, too, and most of all muslims. But this is a wakeup for us liberal white men, who feel like we're not part of the problem. I try to do the right thing and I like to think that I'm coming from a good place but this election has made me really realize that it's not enough. WE are the ones that have the most work to do because WE are the problem. We can't act for one second like racism and misogyny and xenophobia aren't running rampant, because it's undeniable now. WE need to do better and WE need to take action.

    This result is fucking horrible but it also may be the alarm that we needed to actually get to work. We've been sitting on our asses for too long. I really do think that things need to get worse before they can get better.

    One last thing I'll say is that I believe that the next 2 years will be a free-for-all and some really bad stuff really is going to happen. Like I said, I see a more divisive republican party than we've ever seen but they will also implement some really deplorable policies. That's inevitable now. But there's no way that the democrats don't sweep the primaries, and a house and/or senate majority of democrats will be able to block Trump's stupid bullshit. With any opposition at all he's going to be a totally ineffective president. Hopefully we'll get him outta there in 4 years with minimal damage, but anything is possible now.

    Obama was our perceived solution to the damage that W Bush did. Things got better but not that much better. I'm interested in and optimistic about what our solution to the Trump presidency will be. It'll be a long wait to get to that point but I have to believe that real progress is on it's way. I can't think of anything that could motivate it more than what's happening right now.

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    1. But this is a wakeup for us liberal white men, who feel like we're not part of the problem. -clip- WE are the ones that have the most work to do because WE are the problem.

      Nah, we're kind of cool in the non-jive way, and too many too loud people going around spouting things like this, whilst at the same time claiming that every person is an individual and should be judged as one and that race itself is an outdated artificial concept, is the reason why Trump won, cos that's a pretty fucked up and incoherent message.

      You can ask a feminist to name all the countries run by the damnable white patriarchate on a map, and when you overlay it with a map where the women and the minorities have it best on the world scale, curiously the maps would more or less match. These are also the places where feminists gets funding; in many other places they'd get stoning.

      Deep down the white man is pretty decent guy.

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    2. People are tired of the guys who spout fucked-up and incoherent messages, so they voted for Trump.

      That makes sense. I myself am tired of this persistent,pesky cough I've got so I voted for the bubonic plague.

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    3. Well if you put it like that. :D

      But yeah. If one adamantly insists on people's legal rights to be respected (as they should), then one maybe shouldn't at the same time be insisting that something that is illegal by existing laws and statutes should be called "undocumented" instead because it works better for their personal politics. And if one says that misogyny is a very serious problem, the message gets kind of warped if one's answer to it is to vote back to the White House the same older white gentleman who's the biggest honcho ever known to have had his dick sucked by a young female employee in his office.

      I'm not surprised if folks get fed up by the message changing case-by-case, with only the fact that they're the bad guy remaining. And by "folks" I think I may be meaning the white men demographic.

      Of course opting to vote Trump for all this would mean ignoring some of his less-savoury election promises, but I think it's a safe bet that Trump will be ignoring them too.

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    4. Of course opting to vote Trump for all this would mean ignoring some of his less-savoury election promises, but I think it's a safe bet that Trump will be ignoring them too.

      I took some initial solace in this idea - that while he didn't moderate after the primary season, when most candidates do, he'd at least moderate when he had to put his money where his mouth is - but now he's got a climate change-denier positioned as the head of the EPA, a Creationist as the head of the Department of Education, and the guy who is almost a god to the alt-right/white supremacists as his top adviser. Even if Trump's just a figurehead who enjoys the perks of the job without really doing much, those people are positioned to do some serious harm. And he's not even done filling out his cabinet.

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    5. Dues to be paid to the support core. At least science is in good place to show its worth now. Being challenged should be in the core of the science-making.

      About Bannon, he may at this particular time be better inside pissing out than outside pissing in. I don't think Trump is that good advice-taker, and there's few things to take the wind out of protest(er) more effectively than being put in governmental responsibility.

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    6. Deep down the white man is pretty decent guy.

      Yeah, don't tell us. Show us. Not saying I totally disagree with the assertion (or agree with it, actually) but I suspect all of society (including those "pretty decent guys" would be better off if this was seen as a challenge or a dare toward self-improvement, rather than a PR defensive manuever.

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  8. "we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender"

    It's time to start pushing back, and hard. As the "Humans of New York" guy said, Trump cannot be allowed to rebrand himself. He's not a healer. He's not allowed to pretend that he wants to bring the county together. He is a dedicated divider who succeeded on a wave of fear and racism and misogyny and hatred; and to believe that he'll act differently now that he actually has the power he sought is foolish. He, and the people who voted for him and are inspired by his success, must be fought every step of the way.

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    1. Yeah I don't know if likening half of the Americans to the Nazis of whom Winnie C was talking in the quote after the result of a democratic vote has cleared out is the correct approach to the slight peccadillo at hand.

      I don't know what to make of the fact that there apparently seems to be demonstrations against the result especially in the university cities. Donnie Trump is going into a trial for the alleged Trump University scam, but the tenured progressive professors around the country can thrown Pepe the Frog lectures and have the millenial kiddos charged heftily for the privilege and laugh all the way to the bank.

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    2. It's because the tenured progressive university professors have not perpetrated a crime known as fraud. Donald Trump has. But sleep well, Teemu, knowing that Trump will settle out of court and then do the same thing he's spent his whole life doing.

      I won't say what that thing is, but it might just involve jocularity during his entire perambulation toward a financial institution.

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    3. Admittedly I haven't followed the case at all except for what came up in the press during the campaign, and am totally oblivious if he's been found guilty of fraud in the court of law yet (seems to be clear enough case though if his "University" didn't tick the mandatory boxes of being one); but I understood the onus of the class action case was that the people feel done wrong by having had paid heftily for education they thought would have set them financially sound and put them in good place in life but in the end was useless and not what was promised.

      Fair enough, though there was a recent report of California law school alumnus who sued his school because because he couldn't land on a job after years spent in a genuine tick-the-boxes facility of education so such a suit apparently is a thing that can happen in better circles. Not saying the one against Trump (University) wasn't with better merit.

      Of course if no one actually complains about paying thousands to be taught about Pepe, then it's a different thing altogether.

      My perception is effected by an article in a local progressive-leaning paper recently, where the writer set out to US to find if the students there really are such hurtful special snowflakes that they are nowadays accused to be, and the result was that nope, they're on the whole actually pretty career-conscious bunch who mainly wish there isn't anything compromising to their name to be found by a potential employer googling them. The reporter did attend on a lecture though where the lecturer, I don't know of what field, was proposing them setting up a social experiment of having one of the two black men in the class walk through the campus area at night with a backpack and see if they were stopped by the campus police. One of the black men in question confined to the reporter that he won't have anything to do with this shit if he only can avoid it; he just wants to learn the useful stuff so he can get a good job.

      I can't escape thinking that if it was the young man who spoke out what he feels is handicapping him in the society, rather than someone from very privileged class and position who has self-appointed himself/herself as the spokeperson, the mess wouldn't at all be like this. The problem with paying people to solve issues is that generally they're very aware that if they'd actually solve the issue, they'll be out of job.

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  9. I'm sorry to add more bad news on this shitty situation, but for those of you expecting a wake-up call from the DNC or the GOP, don't hope too much.

    Starting from 2002, when a xenophobic far right candidate made it to the head-to-head second round of presidential election, I've heard politicians down here claiming they heard the message sent by the "left-behind" people and promising changes that never appeared. This year again, it got so bad, socialists candidates voluntarily withdrew from the second round in two out of our 13 regions, because far-right was so close to winning.
    That was followed by the same parade on TV/radio of promises to change, which they conveniently forgot when our presidential primaries started two months ago.
    Either they don't care (reading "Chelsea Clinton being groomed for Senate" just two days after this clusterfuck. Seriously ?) and/or are ok with electoral alternance ("they will fail because nothing can be done to actually fix it all and we'll be elected next time") or they can't act because of their ties to big business or they don't want to alienate white voters, or more probably they realize that populism is actually the best way to get elected.

    I've been waiting for that wake-up call from either Socialists or Republicans from almost 15 years. It just got worse as slowly, political topics started to reek of casual racism.

    As Ryan said, the wake up call has to come from the people.

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    1. The wake-up call is coming from the people and they're voting against the EU like maniacs. When you ask "why, why are people everywhere voting wrong!", the question has a serious flaw in its premises. People on the whole are kind of okay and can be trusted with this democracy thing even if it is tough pill for someone who's being voted to stop governing.

      The people are protesting by voting. That's a pretty awesome thing, even if one personally thinks they're wrong in their opinion.

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    2. The people are protesting by voting.

      Eh, not really. I mean, Trump lost the popular election, meaning more voters voted for Hilary than him. And when you factor in the number of people who voted for neither Hilary or Trump, or the vast number of eligible voters who didn't vote at all (which is shamefully large), then a large, large majority of the population explicitly did NOT vote for Trump, by an almost 3-to-1 margin.

      He doesn't have a mandate, by even the most conservative definition (a simply majority of votes), and it's really hard to view his win as the groundswell of a movement the way it's occasionally being painted as. He motivated a strong base and was somehow able to attract enough moderates/independents/people who just didn't like Hilary and/or just wanted "a change" to take advantage of the antiquated Electoral College and get just enough votes distributed across the country in just the right way to win.

      Which, fine, whatever, the system is what is. I'm not saying he's an illegitimate president - he played by the system's rules and won, however wrong those rules are (and to his credit, he seems to be standing by his earlier statements that the electoral college is outdated and wrong).

      But he's also not riding a wave of massive popular support into the Oval Office either, much as some of his loudest proponents would have us believe.

      But the scary thing is, with a completely Republican Congress, he doesn't need a mandate to do damage. And his "outsider" status within the party means he doesn't have to be terribly concerned with the future of the party, such that if he does something truly outrageous (mostly likely at the urgings of dubious advisers he's already appointing around him), to the point that it turns off that segment of his voters who aren't hardcore members of his base and thus threatens Republicans downticket in 2018 and elsewhere beyond, it doesn't matter to him. So has very little checks on his power at this point, either legislatively or out of fear of harming his party (cuz it's really not his party), and that's scary.

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    3. I didn't say that majority of the people are protesting, but a portion sizeable enough to decide the election is. It's the same phenomenon throughout the Western World. The politicos are maybe seen to be much more interested about playing ball with the economical and political elites among the international superstructures than be concerned about the domestic voters' wellbeing.

      It may not be applicable here, but it necessarily isn't all bad that one party is in power, though. Any larger measures taken are made perhaps from the "wrong" ideological starting point, but the end result may still be better-working on the whole than a bi-partisan compromise where the opposition might set out to bastardize the whole idea, if not downright sabotage it just to not make the other guys' solution work. We ourselves got a parliament-wide process of healthcare revamp going on and it's a huge frankenmonster in making when everyone got to get some of their stuff in.

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  10. Seems like you misinterpreted my post. I was not complaining about what people are voting, just that the protest message being sent, whichever side it comes from, is not Heard or ignored by the politicians when it doesnt comply to their opinions. Business as usual.
    "they re voting like crazy against EU" and then politicians quickly ignore the result (see the 2007 Lisbonne treaty being ratified even though the French/Dutch rejected it or some Uk MPs trying to set up a second Brexit référendum).

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    1. I was rather trying to go for the you-passive when saying "you". Though on general note the generous usage of "far-right" of various populist parties around Europe is a huge part of the problem especially when used by the established parties given or expecting a beating in an election. I don't know of FN's policies but in many cases it more looks like unwarranted demonizing of the domestic protest movement that has serious reasons for its existence and that's just pouring gasoline to the flames in these times.

      Trump probably had his share of sympathy vote because of the approach of the press.

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  11. Congratulations Austen! A very distinguished blog (ok, fine, mine) has selected this wonderful post for "Da Mic Drop" status (I'm sure that you're picking out your tux and preparing your acceptance speech right now to celebrate such an prestigious accomplishment.)

    http://twoplustwoequals7.blogspot.com/2016/11/da-mic-drop-austin-teebore-gorton.html

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