Reflections on Trump’s Election
This was a good week for Robert Scoble and me. Early reviews for our new book, The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Change Everything have been extremely favorable. Requests for appearances and business relationships have been coming in and we’ve had a lot of fun with each other and with videos of me zapping aliens on Hololens and Robert posing in the shower wearing Snap Spectacle.
None of this would have happened had not Robert and I struggled and succeeded in stepping away from the recent election and putting our focus on our new book. We can do little right now by staying focused on the disappoint results of the election: but we can screw up the fruits of a one-year collaboration on the book coming out in a few weeks.
I can only speak for myself, but the more I turn away from this election and the appointments being announced, the better my mood. When I think of the world, business and the children in our lives, I get optimistic when I think about AR/VR and the wondrous things to come, I get optimistic to the edge of giddiness: When I think about the election, I saddened by the results to the point of paralytic gloom.
When I do think of the election, I try to be unemotional. I try to get above the immediate events and look forward to see what can be done and I try very hard not to get angry or feel morally superior to those who voted for Donald Trump. I think of my heroes: people like King, Mandela, Gandhi, Jack and Robert Kennedy, the Dali Lama and the others who have shaped my thinking, ethics and personal identity.
I even think of Jay Baer, a popular marketing guy who wrote a book called “Hug your Haters.” I admit that I have not read his popular book in part because I think the title says it all.
I must admit that I am not yet ready to hug the many hateful people who voted for Trump, but in stepping back, it becomes clear to me, that not all of the 61.5 million Americans that voted for him may not be as hateful and bigoted as the 65 million or more who voted for other candidates.
People I know and like voted for Trump, and while I feel angry about their choice, I do not feel hateful. I feel puzzled. What have I missed, I wonder. How could they possibly have chosen this deceitful monger divisiveness.
I have thought long and hard about this and while my main focus has returned to AR/VR and other matters such as the great future of the Golden State Warriors who earlier this year handed me what I thought would be this year’s biggest disappointment.
If not hate, what drove them to vote for Trump. My answer comes down to a single word: frustration.
The frustration comes from not being heard, included or served in what is supposed to be a land of unlimited opportunity. It is a frustration of broken bipartisan promises that goes back all the way to the 1960s.
It is about an ethnic group who has seen their personal opportunities steadily diminish, while others seem to be getting catered to. It is about their never being affirmative action for them, despite the promises of trickling down by one party and serving family needs by the other.
It is about no longer having the dream of being the one percent or having kids that could grow up to be president of the United States. It is about those very same children growing up with even fewer opportunities than their parents have had. It is about government that serves lobbyists more than constituents, a court that recognizes Citizens United to be for rich vested interests on not citizens like them and their families and friends.
I am starting to better understand by looking back at my own personal roots.
I was born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. When I grew up, it was a working class city of factory workers and commercial fisherman. But then the factories moved to the south where labor was cheaper and government regulations of workplaces more lax. The fisherman had their problems because of Russian Trawlers over depleting George’s Bank where most of the fish came from.
My father was an immigrant factory worker’s son. My mother sold dresses in retail clothing stores. What held the family together was the commitment o my parents that their kids would go to college so that they would never work in factories r sell on retail floors.
They want us to do better economically and socially than they had done. And we did. Both my brother and I worked to help pay for our own educations. But when got them, we moved on and out. Neither of us looked back much on where we grew up.
New Bedford has actually evolved and enjoys far more affluence today, I am told, then it did when I grew up there. But all over the country, there are people who grew up in places like that, who had seen opportunities for their children to do better. They grew up in Nebraska and Western Pennsylvania, Detroit, Flint, Michigan and elsewhere.
The hopes of the American dreams tapered for them. The torch held by Liberty near Staten Island no longer burns for them. They are excluded and overlooked. They see no promise in the future for their children. They have voted left and voted right and nothing has happened and they have become deeply pissed off.
In the past election more than 25 people ran for president. The two that drew the greatest enthusiasm were Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Ideologically, these two are as far apart as candidates could possible be: Except they shared one common thread. They both pointed angry fingers at Washington. They said that our government was to blame for ignoring everyday people, while serving themselves and special interests.
The message certainly resonated with millions of voters. The problem was government and the solution was fundamental change. Sanders almost captured the Democratic party with this message and Trump did capture the other one.
So what’s my point to people who like me supported Clinton? My point is that we need to stop hating, and publicly wining to each other and pay attention to those 61.5 million people, people who have not just felt excluded, but really have been excluded.
We don’t need to hug haters, as Jay Baer suggests, but we really need to listen to them, to understand them, to put aside the abundant evidence of bigotry, it see the legitimacy of other parts of their arguments.
We have lost an election. The last time the voters were this divided about the results, as when a candidate who did not come close to mustering a majority of the voters was elected.
The results was that Abraham Lincoln preside over a great, bloody and divisive war. I fear that if emotions and thinking continue in the direction they are now heading, we may see a second such outbreak.
People are marching on the streets in protest of the American process of electing a president. To show their dissent they have begun to break windows and start trash bin fires. One protest has been killed.
Police will use whatever strength hey have to suppress these protests and I see no good coming of this situation, unless one believes that a most uncivil war is the only resolution.
There is that danger. My hope goes another way. My hope is that we understand that a segment f our society has been ignore for so long, that they united with some of the ugliest segments f our society to elect an incompetent and dangerous leader, along with a Congress likely to play ball with him because they consider it wiser to get re-elected than to think of the good of the country and the planet.
I believe it is time to stop shouting and start listening. It is time to regroup and reorganize, so that two years from now we may start making changes to the mess we have in Washington and that four years from now we can unite behind someone who is more inclusive and compassionate than who is president today.