Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Unfriendly Fallout from the 2016 Election

I’m still a little stunned in the wake of Mr. Trump’s rather unexpected election as President of the United States.  During the campaign he said that the polls, which overwhelmingly predicted an easy victory for Ms. Clinton, were wrong.  He was correct.  What was his source of intel that eluded all of the journalists and pollsters?  Did the Russian hackers tell him, and if so, how did they know?  Mr. Trump also insisted that the election was “rigged,” which turned out to be true but not, presumably, in the way that he meant.  Rather, the Electoral College with its winner-take-all system favors older, white, conservative rural voters.  Just as in the 2000 election, when the Electoral College enabled Bush to win despite the fact that Gore had won the Popular Vote, likewise nearly 2 million more people voted for Hillary than Donald, but he won the election anyway.  Our founders did not want a true democracy and the system they instituted has been successful in preventing it.  And of course, the system is also completely rigged against third parties.

So voters have taken to the streets in protest over the Electoral College trumping the will of the people as demonstrated by the Popular Vote, partisan interference by the FBI, and/or their dislike of Trump, his policies, his personality and perceived incompetence to run the country, to which conservatives have responded, “Shut up and go home!  He won fair and square.”  Ironically, Trump himself had said during the campaign that if he lost the election, he would not accept the results because the system was rigged, which it was - in his favor.  Imagine if the opposite had happened, if Donald had won 2 million more Popular Votes but Hillary became President via the Electoral College with the help of hackers from a hostile foreign country, say Iran:  Would Trump supporters quietly accept the outcome?  Probably not. They would take to the streets too, and justifiably so.  We the people have the right to peaceably assemble and express our opinions, among other Constitutional rights including bodily autonomy.  At least for now.  But since the GOP has managed to hijack the Supreme Court as well as gaining control of both the House and Senate, that could all change.  Mr. Trump has vowed to reestablish “law and order,” and to overturn Roe v. Wade, among his first priorities.

Needless to say, over half of the participating voters, i.e. those of us who voted for Hillary, are more than a little worried about what is going to happen to this country, particularly in regard to our civil rights.  But, I’m being told not to worry.  At least one of my friends who voted for Trump insists, “Give the guy a chance!”  This friend admits that she only voted for him as “the lesser of evils,” making me question whether there is a new definition of the words “lesser” and “evil” of which I am unaware.  Be that as it may, “Give him a chance” to do what, exactly?  A chance to follow through on the mostly hateful agenda that he promised during the campaign?  Or, the chance to show us that he wasn’t serious about all that stuff; he only said it to win over angry white male voters, and he’s actually going to be moderate and reasonable?  Too late, that ship has done sailed.  Y’all already gave him the “chance” when you voted him into office and handed him the keys to the White House and the nuclear code.  Now with the Supreme Court hobbled and the GOP controlling our entire government, President Trump is going to do pretty much whatever he wants and there is not a goddamn thing you or I can do about it.  

I think it’s very possible that Donald may have been serious about some of the less savory things he said during the campaign, judging by his selection of Stephen Bannon from Breitbart News as his Chief Strategist.  In case you haven’t heard of Breitbart, it is an uber-conservative, “alt-right” white supremacist, misogynist media source that resembles Fox News on steroids, except without any pretense about being “fair and balanced.”  White males should run the world, Jews and Muslims are evil, brown people should put up and shut up, and women ought to be pregnant and in the kitchen, but not barefoot, because that would be bad for the economy.  The women’s footwear industry generates a significant amount of revenue.  But don’t take my word for it and don’t even bother googling Breitbart’s critics. Just read their own articles and judge for yourself:

On the other hand, Donald is also making his wife and kids an official part of the Presidential team, even going so far as to obtain top-level security clearances for them.  While this is somewhat unusual, to say the least, and could be considered a conflict of interest since they will also be running his company, I’m in favor of it because I love Melania, who shares Michelle Obama’s progressive views, and I think she and the kids have way more sense than Donald does.  They might be able to help keep the crazy train from going off the rails.

BTW, building that wall and deporting all those people is going to be not only unkind, but more importantly, quite expensive.  How the hell are we going to fund it?  Mexico already said they will not pay for it.  Am I the only one who is worried that the hard-working middle class will once again end up footing the bill?  

Whatever else happens, what will become of all the lost friendships?  Over the course of this campaign I have been un-friended, blocked and/or banned because of Donald Trump, despite (or in some cases, because of) the fact that I sincerely gave him credit where it was due.  People became bitterly angry with me for not liking him.  At first I tried, I swear I really did, but then he kept opening his mouth and saying weird shit including reversing his previously held positions where I actually agreed with him, e.g. that he was pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, and not religious.  Others criticized me when I supported him for the "wrong reasons," (yes, that actually happened), like back when he opposed the discrimination against LGBT people in North Carolina and when he boldly defied the GOP platform by saying that maybe abortion would be ok if the woman’s life was in danger or if she was a rape victim.  

A couple of people were horribly offended when I failed to censor other friends posting rude but accurate criticisms of Trump and his supporters on my Facebook page, e.g., “You are stupid to vote for a guy whose policies are not in your best interest.”  They demanded that I do something about it.  I was subsequently accused of “typical liberal censorship!” and un-friended when I politely invited people (both liberal and conservative) to say something positive about their own candidate without attacking their opponent.  As my mother used to say, “You can’t please everyone,” and sometimes you can’t please anyone.  I wonder if these people, some of whom were long-time dear friends, are planning to stay angry with me for the next 4 or, God forbid, 8 years, or can we be friends again now that their guy won?

In addition to the rejection by conservative friends, I also was un-friended by at least one liberal for having the nerve to suggest that Donald Trump might have any redeeming qualities.  I was also un-friended for defending his beautiful wife Melania against slut-shaming because she had modeled nude.  I suggested that people who call themselves “proud liberals” probably should not be slut-shaming women.  When I said that I myself have modeled nude in the past, I too was shamed for “confessing” it.  

Another Democrat un-friended me over whether or not Mr. Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  When asked my opinion about this, I replied that it seemed entirely possible based on some of his comments, a classic example being when he was asked during the debate, “What do you see as the proper role of the Supreme Court?” and he essentially responded, “Justice Ginsburg said some very mean things to me and I made her apologize!”  But, I went on to say that I do not diagnose people without having interviewed them and in any event I don’t think the psychological diagnoses in the DSM-IV are scientific, an opinion for which I was shunned despite the fact that the NIMH has recently said the same thing.

This was a difficult election for me, not only because of my doubts about Mr. Trump, but also due to the unusual circumstance of having to choose between several candidates that I liked very much.  Naturally I adore “my” Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, and his running mate Bill Weld, but would have happily voted for Bernie Sanders because he supports many of the same policies and besides, unlike Gary, he might have slightly more than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.  While I am not a Democrat and don’t like her position on some issues including the enforcement of a Nanny State and her coziness with Wall Street and the pharmaceutical lobby, I do think Hillary is smart, strong, experienced and very competent.  And I would be thrilled to have a woman President, preferably Jill, but that was not going to happen, since Jill had even less of a chance than Gary.

Hillary supporters attacked me for favoring Bernie.  After he lost the primary, Bernie fans were horribly insulted when I suggested they ought to support Hillary (which Bernie himself recommended), and Democrats attacked Gary and Jill in an unprecedentedly vicious manner merely for having the audacity to dare run for office.  As much as I really wanted to vote for Gary, who at one point was polling at around 9%, there was tremendous peer pressure to vote for Hillary.  Democrats cried, “A vote for a third party is a vote for Trump!” and I went along with it, asking my Hillary-hating third-party friends, “Would you really prefer that Trump win?”, at which point they un-friended me merely for asking the question.  I joined Mr. Weld in suggesting that, given the respective qualifications of the major party candidates, perhaps we really ought to vote blue…  

Ultimately I cast my vote for Hillary, as did probably half of Gary’s other supporters, only to watch in horror on election night as state after state, including my own, turned solidly red and Donald Trump was declared the new President of the United States.  Gary ended up not getting the 5% he would have needed to obtain federal funding for Libertarians in the future.

And the viciousness didn’t stop there.  We were cruelly chastised for being unhappy about the outcome and/or questioning the Electoral College system.  One of my friends became quite upset with me when I merely posted on Facebook that my cat and horse both got sick over the election and a rat drowned itself.  The snark should have been obvious.  The horse and the rat could not possibly have known the results of the election since they have neither a t.v. nor a phone in the barn.  The cat, however, was actually watching t.v. with us and as he is very sensitive and will barf at the drop of a hat, could have been responding to the shock and dismay emanating from us, not that he probably preferred any of the candidates himself.  If the KittyCat party ran a candidate this year, he or she was not acknowledged by the media.

The same friend who objected to my sharing about my cat barfing had told me that while she was not extremely thrilled with Mr. Trump, she very much likes VP Mike Pence “because of all the great things he did for Indiana.”  Now, this person is a highly intelligent, rational, extremely well-informed healthcare professional, non-religious, and [I thought] a feminist.  So I don’t know exactly which “great things” she was referring to - making it a felony for gay people to apply for a marriage license?  Trying to outlaw abortion and, failing that, to require funerals be performed for aborted or miscarried fetuses?  Promoting the spread of HIV and hepatitis C by opposing condoms and clean needles for addicts?  Requiring public schools to teach biblical creationism in science class?  I’m all in favor of kids learning about the Bible, the Gita, the Koran, the Torah, the Tripitaka and other religious mythologies in social studies or literature classes - but not in science class.  

My friend, who is not by any stretch of the imagination a Bible thumper, for some reason was not concerned when I informed her that Pence is a theonomist, but in all fairness, like most people she probably had never heard of “theonomy,” the belief that civil law ought to be based on biblical law.  A religious person [Episcopalian] myself, I find theonomy downright scary, but maybe that’s just me.

As if the outcome of the election wasn’t bad enough in itself, to add insult to injury, Democrats loudly blamed Donald’s victory on the people who had voted for the KittyCat, Libertarian, Green or any other third parties, and those of us who belong to those parties even though we did in fact vote for Hillary this time.  Samantha Bee, one of my favorite t.v. personalities, went so far as to say that she wished she’d thrown my beloved Gary off of the rock-climbing wall when she had the chance on her show.  Gary, Jill and any other third-party candidates and the citizens whom they represent are all a bunch of stupid, bad, horrible people who have helped Evil Donald destroy our country by stealing votes away from Saint Hillary.  How dare we campaign and/or vote for candidates who actually share our values and represent our interests?!  How foolish and uppity we are to think that Americans should have a choice between more than two parties, like our grown-up allies in Europe!  How deluded we are to think that our voice, our vote, could ever actually count!

And it can’t, you know.  At least mine will never count as long as I live in NW Florida, a state in the solidly red province of Dumbfuckistan, whose rural, conservative interests the Electoral College was designed to protect against the damn librul big city folk.  My own party will probably never have a chance in hell to win the Presidency during my lifetime and it’s rare that we ever run attractive candidates like Gary and Bill whom I can actually get behind, anyway.  Usually they are Koch-sucking, anti-choice Republican “Libertarian” poseurs who have a questionable understanding of “liberty,” advocating “small government,” which in their mind means deregulation of big business while regulating the hell out of individual citizens.  And given that Florida leans heavily red despite having all the Democratic gays, Jews and Hispanics in the southern part of the state, I will be lucky even to get my second choice, a Democrat.  It was a bizarre fluke of nature, if not a miracle, when my old schoolmate from Hawaii, Barry Obama, won Florida 51% to 48% in 2008 and 50% to 49% in 2012.  Now my state is back to being red again.  So that’s it.  I’m done playing this game.  My young godson Ian Newlove, a fellow Bernie fan. was right.  Since my vote doesn’t count anyway, from now on I am voting for the candidate that I really want.

News flash, Democrats and Republicans, I realize this won’t be easy for you to hear, but please listen:  It is actually not the job of the third party candidates to help your candidate get elected!  If your candidate cannot win the election on his or her own merits, however excellent they may be, without the paltry 5% to 10% or so that our third party candidates are able to gather, then too bad.  You’re on your own.  We tried things your way and see where it got us?  Nowhere.

Democrats, we refuse to take responsibility for your failure.  Around half of your own damn party members did not get out there to vote.  Let’s be brutally honest:  If you could not beat the bizarre freakshow that was the Trump campaign while running a candidate who was eminently more qualified in every way, whom President Obama called, “the most qualified presidential candidate ever,” then you have a serious problem here.  

The only obvious qualification that Hillary lacked is a penis, which may have been a factor since, after all, women did not get the right to vote until 50 years after black men and we just recently had our first [half]-black male President, so maybe it was too soon.  Maybe Americans really are more comfortable having as President a man with zero governing experience, little knowledge of foreign affairs and questionable sanity than a highly experienced and quite rational former Senator and Secretary of State who happens to be a woman.  Otherwise, I don’t know what to tell you.  Yes, there was a barrage of horrible, downright crazy and almost totally unfactual slander against Hillary, as well as documented interference by the Russian government in collusion with the Trump campaign which the FBI for some reason decided to overlook in favor of focusing on Hillary’s emails asking her assistant to help with her iPad or to print stuff on the other printer, but none of this was the fault of the Libertarian, Green or other third parties.

Congratulations, GOP.  You ran like, how many candidates in the primary, and this was the result?  If you are unhappy now, boo hoo, you made your bed and now you have to lie in it.  But you’re good at lying so I’m sure you will figure out some way to make this Obama’s fault.  Hey, it could be worse, at least we didn’t end up with Rafael “Theonomy” Cruz or Ben “the Bible is factual” Carson as President.  Republican voters are pissed off at the GOP establishment and rightfully so.  It has taken a long time, but they are finally starting to figure out that you do not represent their interests.  They chose Donald Trump because they were sick and fucking tired of y’all and your smug, smarmy platitudes about “family values” and how “anyone who works hard can succeed in America” while middle class voters worked their fucking asses off at low-paying jobs to support their families, or to turn a profit running small businesses bogged down by government red tape, trying desperately not to slide into poverty while being taxed literally to death and watching the wealth trickle up to the 1% while you were busy kissing the asses of your corporate masters.  The people wanted change and Mr. Trump offered that, in a similar manner as Barry Obama did in 2008.  

Will Donald be able to change the system?  I hope so, for better or worse.  God knows something needs to be done.  And if the GOP is falling apart and you have people defecting to the Libertarian party, the true platform of “small government,” you have nobody but yourselves to blame.  And by the way, FYI, “small government” does not mean, “Allowing the banks and multinational corporations to weasel out of paying taxes and exploit the hell out of workers and consumers in every possible way, while keeping private citizens on a very short leash and regulating wombs, bathrooms and herbal substances.”  I hope that President Donald, despite his poor choice in theonomist VP Mr. Pence, has the balls to call you on your bullshit and stand up for the voters.  Because that’s why they elected him.

As for me, I’m crawling back into my cave now.

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