Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


Election Thoughts

A patient grabbed my wife’s crotch while she was working today at the hospital. You know what he said? “Hey, just like the new Prez!”

Other patients have recently begun refusing to allow Muslim women (identifiable by their hijabs) to treat them. Some have refused all people of color.

Even before taking office, our President-elect is changing our country.

I worked my first election yesterday. It was a very good experience.

Coming home and watching the results after, that was not such a good experience.

My immediate thoughts once the result was inevitable, as shared on Facebook:
  1. Hate wins
  2. And we have a system of government based on checks and balances that now don't exist.
Additional thoughts on the first, that I wrote in the post's comments:

  • Seriously. History, philosophy, psychology, theology, ethics, sociology, and more are basically studies in whether human nature is more inherently good or evil. Today is yet more evidence that hate trumps love. Hate wins.

  • In response to: "I think it's less an endorsement of Trump and more a collective rejection of the establishment corruption in Washington. Hillary was the poster child for what many voted against."
Exactly. People didn't vote for FOR, they voted AGAINST. They voted to reject. The emotions behind rejection are fear, anger, and hatred.

Though I don't believe it was a rejection of only what Hillary represents; there is a singular, passionate hatred of her as a person that has been cultivated for as long as she has been a public figure.

And from that hatred of the establishment and the person emerged support for a man whose campaign was all about hate. He has threatened to destroy everyone and everything he dislikes. He has attacked his opposition in ways not seen before ("unlike politicians, he says it like it is"). His rallies consisted of him whipping up angry mobs. His entire campaign strategy, from the start, has been to create passionate hatred and division.

Hate won the election yesterday.
  • Way back in February, during the primary, I wrote this blog post about that very idea: that, though Bernie Sanders most accurately represented my ideals, I wasn't sure I could get behind his campaign because it was based on anger:

    "In 2008, Obama's campaign was about channeling hope, and Sanders's is about channeling anger — well-deserved, righteous anger, but anger nonetheless."

    (Also: "Even Donald Trump, who I believe is so fundamentally wrong in so many ways that the thought of him as president scares me to my core, even he should be heard and considered. Well, not him so much as the countless people who are supporting and voting for him. They have concerns, and we have to figure out how we are all going to live together, so we need to figure out ways to address their concerns. Maybe, I would hope, not in the ways that Trump wants to, but in some way nonetheless. They get a say in things, too.")

    The Quintessence of a Democratic Society

I also shared as a comment an image from this series of graphs of exit poll results:

It certainly supports the idea that Trump voters are unhappy with the status quo and are ready to shake things up.

My question, not addressed in our discussion, is just what they see as the status quo and what about it makes them unhappy. More from the exit polls:

They feel we’re on the wrong track and it’s likely related to their financial situation. Hmm. Okay, that adds a bit to the picture. Another graph shows they feel the most important issues facing the country are immigration and terrorism—and not, surprisingly, the economy:

They think the fight against ISIS is going poorly and are in favor of a wall along the Mexican border. And they feel international trade hurts the job market in the U.S. So they’re worried about their finances, but even more worried about potential threats from outsiders.

And who are they? They are, for the most part: white, middle and upper class, and older.

So, it would seem, the majority of those who support Trump are the people who have traditionally benefited from racial privilege and are worried about losing it.



A couple of other tidbits I found interesting from the exit polls.

Those who decided who to vote for well in advance of Election Day were more likely to vote Clinton, and those who decided last minute were more likely to vote Trump. And those with an unfavorable opinion of both candidates were twice as likely to end up picking Trump:

And I can only assume that this means the sample wasn’t quite a full reflection of the actual voters: 53% would feel negative if Clinton won while 57% would feel negative if Trump won.

I'm so glad, at least, that the campaigning is over. And I'm not talking about TV commercials or other ads, because I don't get much of that, but more the news reporting, debates, and things like that. A few days back I got so fed up with the tone of this year's rhetoric that I exploded a bit on Facebook. Every hour or so for a day I posted an impression of the media messages about each party--either what others were saying about them or what they were saying about themselves--alternating between the two candidates:















And, finally, since I started this post with my immediate reactions to the result, a few thoughts about where I am right now.

Many of my friends and those on my Facebook feed have today posted about love, hope, and continuing to fight for our issues. They want to move beyond their dismay, disappointment, and grief, go from negative to positive. I’m not ready for that yet. I still need to dwell in this for a bit, give the feelings a chance to run their natural course and process through it. I’m sure I’ll get to someplace better in the end, but not right away.

One of the things I’m processing is that idea above of unchecked power. The Republican Congress leans heavily to the right. We’ve had that in Kansas for a few years with our Governor and state legislators, and the results have not been pretty—even with a (state) Supreme Court to counter some of their more radical ideas, which a President Trump most likely won’t. A few of the scenarios playing out in my head:

  • Ever increasing income inequality and concentration of wealth (along with power, quality of life, health, and everything else that goes with it). We already have this, but proposals coming from both Congress and Trump could make things drastically worse. Tax policy, market (de)regulations, and more.
  • Would they repeal the federal minimum wage? I could see it happening.
  • Less safety net and fewer government services for those in need.
  • More privatization of essential services.
  • Obamacare’s gone, of course.
  • Removal of environmental protections and exploitation by destructive industries. No preparations for environmental changes due to global warming.
  • Both less and more war. Isolationist positions that will allow for more international catastrophes along with conflicts over petty grievances.
  • Lessening of first amendment protections to allow for more lawsuits and prosecutions over petty grievances.
  • Increasing racial injustice and mistreatment. Muslim immigration ban. Mass deportation. Muslim internment camps? And who knows what else.
  • Increasing gender and orientation injustice and mistreatment.
  • Removal of legal protections for marginalized groups.
  • Concentration of power. Laws have already been changed to make it harder for minority groups to vote. Districts have already been ridiculously gerrymandered to give incumbent Republicans as much chance of reelection as possible. If these trends continue and amplify, it could become increasingly difficult to remove the party from power.
And the list goes on and gets even more anxious. Will all of it come to pass? I doubt it. Will some? I have to think it will. I worry we’ll end up with a federal government that looks more like what we had prior to the New Deal than what we have now.

Even with all of that--my worries about what will be and my unreadiness to get over my dismay--one thing I won’t do is hope that Trump’s presidency is a failure. If he fails, he takes us with him. I will hope many of the changes he’s promised don’t come to pass, and I will speak out against them. But I will also hope that the ones that do get implemented aren’t harmful disasters, that they surprise me with their success and benefits. Or, at the least, that they are something we can weather until a new administration comes along. And I will hope he learns what the job requires and proves a capable leader.



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