Three Things That Won’t Change After Trump Loses
Because he’s definitely not going to win.
I’m so ready for the madness to end. Listening to election coverage is actually starting to make me slightly queasy. And it’s hard to avoid headlines thanks to social media — in any normal year, I’m interested in my friends’ links, videos, likes. But my Facebook feed has been an endless stream of election garbage for the last few months.
And so while the end of this election cycle will be like breathing fresh mountain air after a year of living in smog — my eyes, ears and brain finally finding respite from the endless disgusting coverage of this incredible election — there are a few issues that have bubbled to the surface will continue to make me slightly queasy. They aren’t new, but have exhibited themselves more loudly in the past year, thanks to Mr. Trump.
The Silent Angry Majority
Trump was never the root problem. Rich, idiotic, egomaniacal bigots have always existed. The problem is that enough people in our country wanted one to be leader of our country and the free world. A significant number of people have little to no problem with the hateful nonsense spewing from his mouth. The particularly despicable ones have defended and will defend his words and behavior to the bitter end. Many would rather have this deceitful, selfish, hateful man making important decisions for the US than “Crooked Hillary” (because no politician before Hillary was ever crooked? Not even Nixon had earned that nickname, and instead received the much softer nickname of “Tricky Dick” for all his misdeeds).
And Trump’s strategy of claiming that the election is rigged? It’s genius. After he loses this election, his supporters, who are already ready to believe anything that favors and defends Trump, will never let anyone forget that “The 2016 election was rigged! Trump should have won!” He can’t lose.
So Trump goes away, but nearly half the US is still filled with hateful people, or at least people who don’t think his hate is a problem. That disease is still in the body. And they’ll be more hateful than ever because they were so close to being “represented” by their Guy.
The Media Circus
Remember when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated as a Justice? The Washington Post had live minute-by-minute text coverage from the Senate confirmation. Media was going nuts over whether or not she would be able to be “unbiased” (Because white male = unbiased, neutral worldview). There was drama surrounding her one quote that suggested that a “wise Latina woman” might judge better than a white male.
I made a prediction, “This is going to blow over the minute she is elected as a Justice, and no one will care and will probably forget the name Sotomayor.” And I must be a prophet, because that was exactly what happened.
What a letdown the media has been in this year’s election. Their biggest mistake was legitimating Trump as a candidate at the beginning of the race, giving his candidacy and his words a seriousness that he didn’t deserve. What belonged in the back alleys of YouTube were projected into the limelight.
Would any sensible parents allow their five year old to make house rules? He is upset that the neighbors’ kids have started coming into the yard to rake the leaves. “That is my job!” (He ignores that fact that he doesn’t even like raking the leaves, and hasn’t raked the leaves in years. You have been paying the neighbors’ kids to do it for years now. “But the principle!!”) Your precocious kindergartner then proposes building a fence between your houses. “And I’m going to make THEM pay for it!” You don’t bring this issue before the HOA, demanding that they take his requests seriously, no matter how absurd it sounds. You pat your little one on the head and ignore everything coming out of his mouth. Maybe film it for laughs and share privately with family.
But we don’t like reading healthy, and media management has to sell the news. And so the media give us the sugary, fatty, processed, the absurd (KFC Double Down Dog), when we should probably all read the party platforms, watch a few debates, and call it an election. None of this day-by-day coverage of bitty pieces of news that don’t change most peoples’ minds anyway.
Meanwhile, other news gets lost in the noise of election madness. I couldn’t even tell you what else is going on in the country and world because it’s all Clinton and Trump, and everyone’s opinions on Clinton and Trump.
The Two Party Trap
Do these parties even make any sense anymore? Why do I have to choose between believing in climate change and austerity? Who do I vote for if I am pro-life, pro-universal healthcare? Who is actually going to fix the national debt? Every four years we pretend like we care about these issues and then we have two choices for someone who represents our interests on those issues. Inevitably, we have to choose one or two issues that are most important to us and make compromises on the rest.
And we’re always discouraged to vote third party, because it’s never a good time to vote third party. The major parties have too much at stake. People are mocked or shamed for even mentioning the possibility that they will vote for a non-major party. And so in a year that brings us the most unpopular presidential candidates in more than 30 years (according to ABC Polling), we’ve got to just suck it up and choose the “lesser of two evils” (I don’t remember an election that we’re not told that we have to choose the lesser of two evils). Is this system working out for us?
I have no solutions to any of these. Maybe I’m bringing these to light because the call to “Get out there and vote!” feels so empty because without working on these problems in between presidential elections. The quadrennial exercise of following the latest election news/gossip, making decisions based on theatrics, showing off our “I voted!” stickers feels more like a pep rally than a political process. Those who take their civic duties seriously do not need to be urged to “Get out the vote!” If people need to be convinced, cajoled, guilted into it, then maybe they shouldn’t be voting in the first place!
If you truly care about the state of our union, then the actual important work is having constructive conversations with people with different worldviews, educating ourselves on issues that are important to us and developing our own system of beliefs, learning how to change our broken political system so that we can have candidates who actually represent our interests, and so much more. It’s not sexy, but it’s good — for us and country.