The ground game is in our hearts

I’ve tried to write a coherent post-election post, but nothing comes together. It’s probably because I still haven’t decided what to make of the result. I was as shocked as the next person (unless the next person was Bill Mitchell) that Trump won, and so decisively too. Like a lot of folks, I really underestimated the number of white voters. In my defense, I don’t do this for a living. But I feel more than a little silly for having overlooked the most relevant fact: both candidates were about equally disliked and distrusted, and the one who was currently in the spotlight always suffered for it. Apparently, Trump’s campaign managers managed in the last week to do what they’d failed to do for the previous 15 months—take his iPhone away so he couldn’t Tweet something stupid to distract people from whatever was happening with Hillary. I guess I didn’t notice because I gave up on this election in July.

July was when I officially left the Republican party, after 18 years of loyal partisanship. Nothing dramatic–I just changed my registration to “unaffiliated” (like George Will, except I did it myself rather than pass the task off to my secretary). (P.S. I don’t have a secretary.) In the 27 years I’d been voting, I’d always disdained those whose politics were too pure and precious to be sullied by the two-party system. Despite its obvious drawbacks, it’s proved to be a pretty useful tool for keeping fascists out of Congress. Now that the Republicans had nominated an authoritarian, narcissistic conman who wasn’t conservative in any sense but the Hollywood movie villain caricature, I figured, what the hell am I sullying myself for?

This left me a voter without a party and therefore without a viable presidential candidate. I live in a solidly-blue state, so even if the Republicans had nominated a normal human being, my vote wouldn’t have counted for anything, but it was just the principle of the thing. I like having someone to root for, preferably someone with a snowball’s chance in hell. I didn’t believe Trump would win, but he at least had a snowball’s chance, as did Hillary Clinton, but since I didn’t like her either, I was reduced to doing my part to get the Libertarian Party ticket to the magical 5% threshold. It was not entirely unfulfilling work, but I was still pretty pissed about the whole situation. I tried to get over it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how different things would have been if Donald Trump had just stayed in his stupid Tower, cheating and groping innocent people. During the primary season, I was in denial; now I was firmly in the anger stage of grief.

“Anger” doesn’t even really describe it. I felt enraged. I wanted to punch things. Okay, I wanted to punch people. In my defense, I did not punch any people. But I wanted to. I was so angry, I even started blogging again. (Not here, but on my personal site, where no one would read, much less argue with, me.) I used very uncharitable words and phrases. It didn’t make me feel better, but it was good to get it out, nonetheless. I like to think it kept me from being completely insufferable on Facebook. The rage was relieved only by bouts of depression. I became even more socially withdrawn than usual.

Somewhere along the line, I just became resigned to a Clinton presidency. The prospect didn’t please me, but I figured the best possible outcome in an election with no particularly good potential outcomes was for the Republicans to be forced to re-discover their alleged values, if only out of spite. It seemed the most likely road to repudiating Trumpism without having to actually live through a Trump presidency. I was picking out new White House china patterns on Bill’s behalf when suddenly the world that had already turned upside down turned upside down some more.

On Tuesday morning, my Facebook feed was filled with photos of happy women (and some men) looking forward to electing the first female President of the United States. One friend posted a particularly lovely one of her and her daughters, dressed in white (to honor the suffragettes), posing by a Hillary sign, against a bright blue sky. I personally do not find Hillary an inspiring feminist figure; however, I understand why others feel differently. Their excitement and hopefulness touched me. Just a few hours later they would all be devastated. The pictures they posted earlier still showed up in my news feed, a cruel irony. Their pain wasn’t my pain, but I winced all the same.

Oddly enough, as much as I’d dreaded a Trump victory, as certain as I was that it was the worst entrée in fate’s cafeteria this year, I did not feel the existential dread I’d assumed I would. Was I simply existential dread-fatigued? Did I, in fact, hate Hillary more than I thought I did, to the extent that I couldn’t help being pleased by her defeat? (I never thought I actually hated Hillary at all—just found her corrupt and wrong. Not the same thing at all. Or was it?) My daughter, who turned 18 and voted for the first time this year (poor thing), was freaking out. Maybe that made me feel like I had to be emotionally strong and super-rational and detached. When Barack Obama was elected in 2008 (and again in 2012), our kids knew he wasn’t our guy, but they also understood that we didn’t think he was a bad man. This year our kids knew Donald Trump was not only NOT our guy, but was also, in our opinion, a bad man. “A horrible human being” was, I believe, our preferred phrase. I’d already spent much of the day reassuring my existential dread-prone daughter that the republic was strong enough to withstand a Hillary Clinton administration, and now suddenly I had to explain why it was also strong enough to withstand a Horrible Human Being—not an easy task when five minutes ago, the silver lining of a Clinton presidency was “at least it won’t be Trump.” (I tried “at least it won’t be Hillary,” but she wasn’t in the mood for jokes.)

To be honest, I still don’t know where I’m at emotionally. Mostly, I feel nothing. Maybe I’m in denial again. Maybe I’m hoping against hope that just as I was completely wrong about Trump’s chances of winning, I’m also completely wrong about the certainty of him being a complete disaster as a president. Maybe Paul Ryan sold his soul to the sea witch for a set of audio CDs that will effectively sleep-teach the U.S. Constitution to even the most ardent fascist dirtbag. Maybe Jesus is coming before January 20. I don’t know.

It’s not in my nature to be optimistic. At least I don’t think it is. At best, I am a reluctant optimist. That is, I am optimistic only when there seems to be no other option. The fact is that I have a daughter who is prone to globalize every negative shift in fortune. (“We’re having spaghetti for dinner, again. Life has no meaning and I want to die.”) Unless I want her plunging into the psychic abyss, I have to convince her that things are not that terrible. Maybe that forces me to believe my own bullcrap. Or maybe I’m just tired of being angry. I’m tired of feeling contempt for my fellow Americans.

I understand why people are angry and scared. I also understand that I’m just a white lady who voted Republican for 18 years and no one cares what I think. But here’s what I think.

I think Hillary’s defeat is partly explained by sexism in our culture that makes it difficult for people to accept women as leaders (particularly at a level like the presidency of the United States) and easy for people to dismiss the blatant misogyny of Donald Trump’s worldview. But I think it’s mostly explained by three other things: 1. Obamacare. 2. Americans don’t like giving three White House terms to the same political party. After eight years, they’re ready for a change. 3. Fair or unfair, people just don’t like her. She doesn’t have her husband’s political talent or charisma. Personally, I find her awkwardness charming, and like Donald Trump—dear God, I’m about to admit common ground with Donald Trump—I admire that she’s a fighter. (I admire her in the same sense I admire Scarlett O’Hara. The lady’s got gumption, but I wouldn’t necessarily hold her up as a role model.) But she’s not an inspiring figure to most people. She’s like a female John Kerry. He also lost (for more than one reason). Also–I’m sorry, I know this drives people crazy because freaking e-mails vast right-wing conspiracy blah blah, but here goes–even people who don’t reflexively hate her because she’s a Democrat just don’t trust her. (We shall not waste time debating the validity of their mistrust. Let’s just be grown-ups and stipulate that’s how it is.)

I think Donald Trump is pretty racist. He may not have personal animus toward people of other races, but he says racist stuff and has no compunction about exploiting other people’s racial animus. That’s not leadership. That’s demagoguery. He’s also a misogynist—a genuine misogynist who doesn’t think of women as human so much as unwilling contestants in a beauty contest that he is judging. He’s also a bully and a pathological liar. He’s spent his entire business career buying government favors to bolster his own power and screw the little guy. He admires dictators, i.e. he admires strength and power, regardless of whether it’s used for good or ill. That is messed up. What he knows about the Constitution would fit inside a thimble. (A small thimble, for small hands.) Even if I agreed with him politically—and I’m sure I must agree with him about something, though I can’t think of anything offhand—I would find him odious and incontinent and morally unfit to hold any position of public responsibility. I still can’t believe he’s going to be the next president.

But he’s been fairly elected, and so here we are.

It may be that the reason I’m not freaking out right now is that I’ve had several months to mourn the results of this election, because I knew that regardless of who won, I wouldn’t be happy. It also may be that the collective outrage I’m witnessing (on my Facebook feed and on the news and on the freeways that have been shut down because some woke a-holes want to start a revolution) is reminding me that John McCain and Mitt Romney were also supposed to be dangerous people who would oppress minorities, throw Grandma off a cliff, and give uninsured people cancer, and George W. Bush was literally Hitler for eight whole years. At the same time, I remember how people flipped out when Bill Clinton was elected, and flipped out even more Barack Obama became president. It’s all so familiar. I know Trump is a different sort of Republican, but I don’t know that I’d be seeing anything much different on Facebook or in the streets if Marco Rubio had been elected. And I don’t imagine I’d be seeing puppies and rainbows everywhere if Hillary were putting together her transition team right now.

It reminds me that these people I’ve spent all of 2016 being angry at, i.e. Trump voters, could easily be me. Don’t misunderstand me. I think voting for Trump was a foolish choice, and it’s not one I can personally fathom making. But I find I don’t have the stomach for writing off 59 million Americans as hopeless cases, and I don’t think shaming them is going to help anything. My contempt doesn’t make anything better.

Here’s where, ideally, I would write something inspirational and profound, but I’m afraid all I’ve got is a feeling that I need to repent, and I’m still figuring out where to begin.


  1. Aussie Mormon says:

    Not being a US citizen, ultimately my views don’t matter in a US election, but your views seem to align quite strongly with mine in this case.
    As someone who would normally vote the local equivalent of the Republican party, I could in no way see myself voting for either of the two major candidates (if I were over there and eligible to vote). Like you I don’t feel the terror that everyone is saying should.
    In my case I think it’s a believe that the republicans in congress aren’t going to want to lose their seats next time around and so aren’t going to authorise anything to insane, and also a hope that he picks advisors that he will actually listen to, and that those advisors will slap him (either literally or metaphorically) if he tries to use any of his executive powers badly.
    As it stands though, we’re still quite a while out from the inauguration, so we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

  2. I’ve lived in small rural towns and in big cities. Based on my experience interacting with people in both places, I think Trump won, in part, because rural American lives in a bit of a bubble. For the most part, they don’t have friends who are Muslims, or immigrants, or openly gay. When Trump talks about not allowing Muslims into the U.S., those of us with Muslim friends are alarmed because it will affect our friends; most rural Americans don’t feel that alarm because they don’t know any Muslims. In fact, the rural Americans I’ve lived around look forward to getting rid of what they see as potential terrorists. If they actually knew Muslims they’d have a different reaction to Trump.

  3. I am in the U.K. but of my American friends the 3 who openly support Trump are 2 white women one of whom lives in rural New England and the other small town but has lived in the UK in the London area. The other is a Haitian immigrant voting in his first US election but having strong views on Clintons track record of support to Haiti. Totally agree with Tim.

  4. Rebeeca, this post is really thoughtful. I happy to agree with a lot of it, but even if you don’t, this is a really good example of how to think through a divisive election, or really any contentious social issue: refuse to condone evil, but refuse to reduce the other side to a monolith of evil. In my experience, if I can’t see at least some sliver of goodness in the other side, and understand what appeal the other side has for decent, non-evil people, then I haven’t thought through the issue very closely. That doesn’t mean that there’s some kind of equivalency, or that all positions are equally valid. There’s still good policies and bad policies. But understanding and being humble enough to listen is the first step to change, both in ourselves and in others.

    Tim, I totally agree. By the same token, though, rural America would say that it is the coasts and cities that live in the bubble. I think we all live in our bubbles, and reality is more complex than any of us like to admit.

  5. Tired and broke saint says:

    Decisive win? He lost the popular vote. He barely won and I would judge that by the time many of his voters recognize what direction he intends to go in and feel the impact of an expanded economic divide he will have little support at all.

  6. I feel 100% the same. Very well said, Rebecca.

  7. Rebecca. I’m with you. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either candidate. And my young adult son is one of your described a-holes protesting in downtown Salt Lake. We can ask, where were they before the election? We can ask, what are they protesting, democracy? But millennials have a lot of anger about Trump, and it seems to come from the same place as the Black Lives Matter campaign. Having said that, today, on Veterans Day, I’m going to do what I can to help the country pull together, and I’m removing my “2016 – We’re Screwed” bumper sticker. I’m going to remind myself and others that Trump still has some good qualities: He will likely nominate conservative supreme court justices, even if he is arguably not conservative himself. And as laughable is it sounds, if we have nothing more hopeful to go by as a sign of how he will govern than his “Celebrity Apprentice” shows, at least there he showed that in his actions, he was not racist, he fired people with a modicum of compassion, and he showed reasonably good judgment in the people he promoted. We have got to stop impugning people’s faith and morals for how they chose to exercise their voting rights in an election where these two were the “best” candidates our system could nominate.

  8. Thank you so, so much for this post.

    I’ve been proud to be a non-partisan voter all my life. It’s seeming to be more of an option lately to a lot of people tired of the party politics not really matching what they believe. I try to push back against my family and friends who throw out blatant falsehoods that seem to be nothing but cries of “[they] turned [him] into a newt!”.

    Course now it’s shifted into “They’re just whining because they lost” and “lets pressure the electoral college to change their votes”, gloating and grasping at straws. I just wish people would learn to listen more to the people who are now more afraid than before and the people who are slightly less afraid now. We gain strength from diversity, especially diversity of experience.

  9. We can ask, what are they protesting, democracy?

    They’re protesting Donald Trump and his policies.

  10. Eric Russell says:

    Good post. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I happen to know people who did, and many of them are good people. Of course, some of them, such as my former Stake President, who was paid by Trump to get a high visibility church member to pray at one of his rallies and paid to coordinate a vicious robocall against Evan McMullin, are not good people and are going to hell. But many of them are good people and it’s important to remember that.

  11. Rape survivor says:

    They are protesting the country electing a man who brags about sexual assault, who has said that he will take away Healthcare from millions of Americans, and who is willing to accept the endorsement of the KKK.

    I’m speaking of the women I know from 20+ years of participation in sexual assault support groups; we are traumatized in ways that are crippling for many. I consider myself lucky that I’m only having nightmares and the occasional flashback while awake. I know 2 women who were already pretty fragile who have attempted suicide. One is in the hospital, the other will be buried next week.

    I talked to my doctor about changing my meds this week. She said that over half of her appointments have included people asking for help with depression and trauma issues. She had 4 patients who had never disclosed their sexual assault before, disclose in the week after the Trump tape with Billy Busby went public. (2 were still within the statute of limitations and needed to be reported to the police.) She said that in their practice they have had to revise their policies on same day appointments, with each doctor agreeing to add 2 more appointments a day, to meet the needs of their patients, post election.

    I should add that I live in a very conservative state, in a conservative town that voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates. With 2 military bases close by, it is still an area that has more than 20% of the population covered by some provision of the ACA (and that without covering the young adults able to stay on their parents insurance longer) and patients and providers are worried about the healthcare situation in the area.

    So, I get that many Republicans are hopeful that somehow Trump won’t be a disaster. I get that they may be looking forward to getting rid of Obamacare and excited about the tax breaks for millionaires. What I can’t believe is that they care so little for the trauma that Trump has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause, once they have to actually face it head on. I hope that they do a better job being loving and helpful to those who will lose their health care while dealing with even greater emotional trauma. It seems like those who voted for Trump live in the communities who can least afford what he has said he intends to do to them.

  12. Tired and broke saint – In the legal sense, he won decisively. In other words, this wasn’t like the 2000 election–no states that were too close to call, no need for recounts. Perhaps “decisively” was a poor choice of words, but I expected this to be closer, in the electoral college sense. The popular vote was very close–within a rounding error, if I’m not mistaken. (I’m having trouble finding final totals–my Google skillz are subpar–so correct me if I’m wrong.)

  13. Sorry, I am angry. Angry at Democrats who didn’t bother to vote. Some because they didn’t like Hillary, others because they thought Hillary was going to win by a landslide. But now we’re all in the same boat (not really because some of us have a better cushion and class position in society)and are going to sink or swim under this Trump experiment.

    Frankly, I am really scared for the future of our country. On the campaign trail Trump, by the things he said, revealed himself to be uncontrollable and a racist, sexual harrasser, narcissist and liar. (Yes all polititians lie, but Trump exceeded the percent of untruths of Romney, Clinton and Obama, hands down).

    As for his purported business acumen–six times his businesses have filed bankruptcy–meaning people don’t get paid and people lose their jobs. He has a long trail of stiffing small business people that have done work for him from. One, a painting contractor in Doral Florida sued and Trump had to pay his legal fees. Others just settled. His golf course in Doral Florida has had 23 leins against it for non-payment. His “success” is largely due to good attorneys and accountants. Some who’ve had business with him report Trump doesn’t understand anything about finance. On November 28 Trump will be required to appear in court for a class action lawsuit against another of his businesses–Trump University.

    Meanwhile in Congress we have a group of Republicans who are willing to push the limits/ignore of the Constitution, declaring had Hillary won, they would not allow her to fill Supreme Court vacancies. They will quickly resort to the “nuclear option” ie change the Senate rules to do away with the filibuster since they do not have a filibuster-proof majority. But even with a filibuster, they will be unable to unwind Obamacare and do other things. Insurance companies will go back to selling “junk” policies that people, too late, discover doesn’t really provide a safety net in case of a medical emergency or illness.

    Republicans will return to the same old failed “trickle-down” economic plan. They will again falsely claim tax cuts “pay for themselves,” and ignore the debt (as exhibited by the Bush tax cuts).. Oh, they say they will trim govt spending but not touch one of the biggest items–military spending. What is their plan for Social Security?

    Trump is comfortable doing business with mobsters. I have no doubt he will feel at home working with Putin and other dictators.

    Heaven help us.

  14. A fair number of individuals who I know, who voted for Trump,did so because they think he will be impeached, & they liked Pence better than either Trump or Clinton. I chose 3rd party, but even tho their logic approaches rationalization, I can understand where they are coming from.

  15. Everyone has the right to be as angry as I was for as long as I was. (Longer, even.) I just can’t recommend it.

  16. A very interesting statistic: Trump won because of 107,330 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. If Clinton had won those votes, she would be President-elect.

  17. I’m in the bargaining stage of my grief. Maybe if I plant a tree at the elementary school, it’ll be okay. Maybe if I email my old high school government teacher and tell her how my heart now bleeds, it’ll be okay. Maybe if I become a vegetarian, it’ll be okay. Maybe if I fast, it’ll be okay. Maybe if I try really hard to be more environmentally, fiscally, and socially conscious, it will be okay.

  18. Trump won because of 107,330 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. If Clinton had won those votes, she would be President-elect.

    Democracy is sure a kick in the head sometimes!

  19. Democracy? I think you mean “the electoral college.”

  20. NYT projects Hillary won the popular vote by about 1.7 percent — much more than Gore 2000, Nixon 1968, and Kennedy 1960. Nearly as much as Carter 1976 and Bush 2004.

    Millions of votes remain to be counted, and it will be a while before we have official numbers. But it seems this was not an especially close popular vote, historically speaking.

  21. EnglishTeacher says:

    This post resonated with me. Thank you for writing it. I’ve been in and out of the GOP since I first registered to vote, vacillating between supporting conservatism because I think it might deliver small government (ha) to libertarianism because conservatism is a misnomer, not so much conserving anything other than the power of the state. However, the ambivalence I feel about Trump’s win, on the bright side, has afforded me some levelheaded perspective on voting and what it means to meaningfully participate in the political process. I live in a big, population-dense, blue state, in a fairly blue area, and I teach college students. Some of them were horrified, some were happy, most probably didn’t care because they realized from the beginning that neither candidate really had any of their interests at heart (speaking generally here). I was able to invite my downcast/apoplectic/traumatized students to come talk to me about how it feels when your candidate loses, since libertarian principles and figures almost never win–probably because we nominate bozos like Gary Johnson. I can empathize with their disappointment. I can also invite students who were pleased with the outcome to remain civil, rational, and treat everyone with respect. I count myself lucky to not have the fear and dread and gut-wrenching sorrow that so many of my peers in academia had this week when they felt the need to try to explain how Trump won the presidency. It’s about power; it’s always about power.

    As far as Trump’s misogyny and nativist tendencies, I suppose I can take strange consolation in the fact that he’s not the first president to hold those views, and he won’t be the last…but has that stopped marginalized groups from making headway in the past? Historically, we tend to make headway in spite of state power, not because of it. Eventually the state catches up, but meaningful change is wrought by ground-up efforts exerted by engaged individuals. In a weird way, Trump’s attitudes don’t matter because I can still vote, still participate, still exercise speech rights, etc. If he tries to dismantle those rights with the apocalyptic fury that so many have predicted, do you really think he’s not going to get any sort of pushback from anyone? I’ve arrived at this silver lining after months of fretting while I watched the lead-up to the election. But, the collective meltdown following the announcement of the results, to me, demonstrates that the office of president is invested with far too much power; no one should inspire such emotional investment in an election. To paraphrase Penn Gillette, a president should have so little power that it doesn’t matter who has the job. I recognize the idealism of the thought; that’s a feature of much libertarian philosophy. Pragmatically, and in the meantime, I can watch and judge and encourage others to do the same, and when necessary…act.

  22. What I can’t believe is that they care so little for the trauma that Trump has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause, once they have to actually face it head on.

    Rape survivor, this is America. Of course they don’t care about that.

  23. reaneypark says:

    I live in a red part of a blue state. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I understand why he was elected. Working class people are tired of being left behind in this country, tired of the liberal elite pointing their fingers at them telling them that they are what’s wrong with America. I believe they had enough and voted for the candidate who actually talked to them. And it is crazy to think that a billionaire from New York City won as a populist outsider, but that’s what happened.

    So here we are, with President Trump. This petulant whining about the injustice of it all is pointless and counter-productive.

    The best we can do is hope for the best, remain engaged in the political process and hold him and other politicians accountsble if they do not preform.

  24. This petulant whining about the injustice of it all is pointless and counter-productive.

    I dunno. The petulant whining about the injustice of being left behind and blamed for America’s problems put the preferred candidate of a bunch of disaffected Americans into the White House. I’d say that was worth 8 years of petulant whining, especially if you believe a liberal New York billionaire is going to act in your self interest.

  25. perfectly said, Peter

  26. reaneypark

    I think “tired of the liberal elite pointing their fingers at them telling them that they are what’s wrong with America” is part of the narrative. Working class conservatives don’t like to feel judged by snooty liberals… and they LOVE clicking on right wing media stories about snooty liberal slights. (Go to any right wing media site and you’ll see that these stories form a huge fraction of the headlines, and include all sorts of nonsense most of us never hear of.) Hillary had a difficult job: to denounce Trump while showing his supporters she wasn’t denouncing them (knowing she only had a few chances to get through an unfiltered message, and that the right wing media would amplify every deplorable mistake…)

    Of course, were it not for the FBI and truly bizarre electoral college fluke, we’d be telling quite different narratives. In a close election, there are so many individual factors that could have swung things differently…

  27. Tim, I agree with you. I have lived in both rural areas and cities as well. I am in the agriculture sector and love it. In fact, because of that, I will disagree with you slightly. I agree that rural americans lack minority friends. But us folks in rural areas generally work with several immigrants, mainly from Mexico and other spaish speaking countries. So I would say that us rural Americans also have a fair share of time with immigrants. Trump saying things about deporting illegal immigrants also bothers me. I have several spanish speaking immigrant friends that his policy could affect. Not to mention the economy.

  28. EnglishTeacher wrote: “As far as Trump’s misogyny and nativist tendencies, I suppose I can take strange consolation in the fact that he’s not the first president to hold those views, and he won’t be the last…but has that stopped marginalized groups from making headway in the past? Historically, we tend to make headway in spite of state power, not because of it. Eventually the state catches up, but meaningful change is wrought by ground-up efforts exerted by engaged individuals. In a weird way, Trump’s attitudes don’t matter because I can still vote, still participate, still exercise speech rights, etc.”

    This is a highly educated person, a college teacher, expressing the ignorance of the privileged as clearly as anyone I’ve heard over the past few days.

    Here is the reality, EnglishTeacher: The struggle for marginalized groups to “make headway” has always culminated in state action, without which there would be nothing. Here are some of the priceless gems of our liberty as a nation: the Thirteenth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Nineteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, the Voting Rights Act. None of the rights protected by these laws was achieved “in spite of state power.”

    These laws can be undone, and they are being undone as we speak. Did you know that, EnglishTeacher? Three years ago the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice Roberts announced that the VRA’s strongest protections for minority voters were no longer needed, so he and four other members of the court simply voided that part of the law. Upon which white-majority legislatures and election commissions across the South promptly and dramatically reduced minority access to voting. Oops.

    I am glad that EnglishTeacher “can still vote, still participate, still exercise speech rights, etc.” But EnglishTeacher, along with the vast majority of people who read this site, is not among those who are most endangered by Trump.

    What makes me sad right now is the sense that the Mormons who voted for Trump did it mostly from their comfortable, willful ignorance. In our secure, white neighborhoods we can go on with our lives not caring about the brutality that Trumpism will unleash. Like EnglishTeacher, we can go on pretending that America is great as long as it is great for us.

  29. Tired and broke saint says:

    It’s entirely possible that the “petulant whining” is how we discover we’re not alone and that there’s a community of people who still believe in justice and decency and supporting one another as we work to undo the crazy that is about to descend on this country.

  30. reaneypark says:

    When I said petulant whining, I was talking about the people crying about the election being unfair because they don’t like the results. There is nothig that will change the results, so being energized in constructive ways is much better, in my opinion.

    I am in no way a Trump supporter. I am disappointed that he won, but I also realize that the president does not have unfettered powers, that American politics is cyclical and that the Democrats will again have their day when the nation is sick of Republicans being in charge.

    America is great because good people refuse to let the fools in charge ruin their lives and they mostly go about their business.

    That’s the comfort I take as I contemplate the thought of four years of President Trump.

  31. “America is great because good people refuse to let the fools in charge ruin their lives and they mostly go about their business.”

    How nice for you that you have the luxury of ignoring the fools in charge.

    But you are wrong about what makes America great. America is great only if we extend to the least among us the liberties that we expect for ourselves.

  32. Reaneypark,
    By “unfair” do you mean people are complaining that the election was rigged in some way?
    Did anyone suggest that here?

    The president normally doesn’t have unfettered powers unless all branches of govt are dominated by the same party and that party is willing to push the boundaries–deny Supreme Court appointments and susupend the filibuster. And, there is plenty of damage that can be done in a short period of time that will have lasting effects. For example, the practice of gerrymandering has resulted in only 90 of 400 congressional districts being competitive. So even in midterm elections there will likely be few congressional changes. Trump has proposed an increase in military spending of nearly $1 trillion and undoing banking regulations could set the table for another recession. Undoing Obamacare could leave millions without health insurance. Tax cuts that favor the wealthy could cause a decrease in revenue and higher debt. Decreased regulations could result in more pollutants in our air and water etc etc etc.

    Sorry to say this, but Trump played us for fools. I’m not sure what you or I can do when the people who have Trump’s ear are lobbyists with deep pockets.

    I hope I will be proven wrong, but I see little reason for optimism.

  33. One person’s idea of petulant whining will look like constructive, engaged pushback to another. No one says the election was unfair, or disputes the result. What you see as petulant whining are folks who don’t have any intention of going about their business pretending this is normal.

  34. reaneypark says:

    Fair enough.
    Peace to all of you.

  35. EnglishTeacher says:

    I don’t disagree that state power has helped effect positive change–I’m looking at impetus for it. The state acts benevolently when people pester it to do so, or so follows the Libertarian philosophy of where valuable participation originates. This is why it came as no surprise to me today that Mitch McConnell is planning on fighting term limit legislation; it’s against his vested interests to remain in power. Each election, for me, is largely an exercise of having to choose which head of a hydra I’d rather be subject to. I can cast a symbolic vote against the powers that be (which I did for this election), but that doesn’t change the inevitable outcome that one of those heads is still going to be in charge of the US. Please don’t mistake my ambivalence about the result as privilege; lack of outrage doesn’t indicate heartlessness. I just believe that meaningful change–and empowerment– comes from the ground up. It starts in the home, in a classroom (where I can encourage debate, discussion, and participation), in grassroots movements that gain traction. I feel similar to the O.P.’s observation: “It may be that the reason I’m not freaking out right now is that I’ve had several months to mourn the results of this election, because I knew that regardless of who won, I wouldn’t be happy.” Yep.

    I don’t hold myself responsible for the outcome of the election (even though third-party voters are historically maligned by the losing side), nor do I feel responsible for whatever happens while Trump is in office, nor for his neanderthal attitudes…because I’m not frightened by authoritarian windbags, even when they ascend to the presidency. The least I can do is encourage other people, including the marginalized, to challenge oppressive power when it manifests itself and not cower before the new demagogue, which he almost certainly will be.

  36. Petulant whining? Not exactly the words I would use to describe the two Hispanic students I had to comfort today, they had fears their families would be deported. They had been threatened by community members. Both families are here legally. My youngest daughter’s Hispanic friend had a fellow ward member (a Trump supporter) tell her the he was glad that her family would soon be deported. A Trump supporter told my daughter that she would be thrilled if my daughter (who after much thought and prayer decided to vote for Clinton) was murdered. This is not in the rural regions of the Rust Belt states or North Carolina. These events occurred in Utah. Everyone in these accounts is LDS.

    I don’t mind that there are protests around the country. I’d be absolutely terrified if there were none.

  37. reaneypark at 6:08 neatly expresses the reaction of many to this election:

    1. I don’t support Trump.
    2. But I don’t like listening to all of you people whining about the election.
    3. What we really need is to be energized in constructive ways.
    4. But I’m just going to go about my business. (Because that’s what makes America great!)

    In my dudgeon, I would describe this as an excuse for privileged complacency. But it is better to acknowledge that I understand this reaction. It is natural for most of us to retreat when we see injustice that we feel powerless to address. We turn away, we cover our ears, we go on with our business. I have done this too, many times.

    reaneypark, I ask only this: If you don’t have the wherewithal to fight the problem, at least recognize that there is a worthy fight to be had. Don’t drag us down. You have wished us all peace. I sincerely wish the same for you. Now we must earn it.

  38. The country is now in a Constitutional crisis!

    Do you want evil to overthrow the government? Or do you want to keep your freedoms?

  39. While I currently really dislike the current ruling GOP, I would love it if they got rid of filibusters. The Senate could get work done, instead of being worried that they might actually have to vote on issues.
    Stop thinking of filibusters as sacred; they’re an accident.

  40. reaneypark says:

    Who says I will not fight the problem? I will be fighting every day. I won’t, however, be fighting by trying to undermine the Constituition and our freedom. Sometimes in a system like ours you end up with a Trump or a George W. Bush (Or whoever else you disagree with as president). That’s part of the deal.

    The way to fight Trump now is through petitioning people in Congress and electing new people who will stand up to him when he does try to implement disasterous policies. That’s where I am focusing my energy in fighting Trump.

    I do not think holding a sign on a street corner, smashing a window or sharing the #notmypresident on social media is something productive for me to engage in.

    And, I suppose, engaging in this dialogue hasn’t been very productive either, because I have failed to communicate effectively as people seem to be ascribing attitides and motivations to my posts that I have not been trying to convey.

    Again. I hope we all can find peace in these coming days.

  41. As Patton Oswald put it “Guys, the #TrumpProtests aren’t “riots.” They’re to assure a nervous planet Earth that we’ll go against him if he tries something crazy.”

    As a figurehead, Trump is a dangerous pick.The world is now looking to us, the American people, to see if we actually think he represents the best in us or not. I hope we are showing the world that we may put an amoral person in charge, but we won’t be reduced to his level. We will stand together with the most vulnerable among us. This is a country built on immigration and equality.

  42. I loved that there were demonstrations too. (Thanks, Old Man and Angela, for your positive comments.) I loved that they were spontaneous, a natural reaction almost immediately after the election (Wednesday night,) in nearly every major city in America. I had friends who walked up 5th Avenue in NYC. That crowd was estimated at 100,000, and it was entirely peaceful. It was described to me as a bunch of working-class New Yorkers just off the job, kumbaya-ing in the street. And the president-elect noticed, as he tweeted more than once about them. My friends received some pushback and shaming on their social media, but I share the opinion that it was entirely appropriate and very much a benefit to our political process.

  43. Sorry, but my argument is always about Constitutional freedom, choices and power at the local level, not what the Democrats and elitists, including the media, all try to say it is about.

  44. I am curious about how you see authoritarianism. Isn’t all the executive orders, Supreme Court losses, IRS, DEA, FBI, operation choke point, etc., etc. etc. all be real authoritarianism?

  45. Ronkonkoma says:


    I am interested as to what you think this means.

    we can go on with our lives not caring about the brutality that Trumpism will unleash.

  46. Ronkonkoma: I’m not Loursat, but I take that comment to mean that Trump won this election by pandering to the most dangerous xenophobes, sexists and racists in our country–the 2-5% who are emboldened now by his words and have in reported incidents been harassing and even assaulting women and minorities stating that we are now in Trump’s America. Trump’s voters (the majority are middle class white people) aren’t the ones who will be affected by this. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put it back in.

  47. rebeccadalmas says:

    The essential problem here now is that now we do have a president-elect who does pose an existential threat to our Republic. We won’t feel better and we shouldn’t feel better about it until he’s gone.

  48. Old Man, actual threats should be reported to the police. Within a ward, the bishop needs to be notified. Name names publicly and shame people into silence. If necessary, use fast and testimony meeting to name names.

  49. Um, well, I thought your piece was well thought out until you came to Hilary. Did you do any research on out first female candidate for President/ She spent years serving women and children. But of course, she wasn’t serving dinner. I thought that when the brethren said don’t vote for Trump, that might change Utah’s 85% Republican vote and I guess it sort of did since Trump carried the state with 45%. Of course there is that old Obama Care thing. Before he got that through despite Republican resistance, 40 thousand children died yearly, because they had no insurance. But who cares about them? Not Republicans. Hilary tried to pass a similar plan when she was first lady and couldn’t. Fool. Wanting to save poor children. As for the Saints, I am an ex. May gay brother killed himself at age fourteen; I left the Church. And until “The Church” stops ignoring its gay youngster killing themselves, I cannot speak a kind word for the mostly Republican Saints.

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