Reflections On the 2016 US Election

So, on 11-08-2016 the American people have chosen Donald J. Trump along with both the Senate and House. That’s the second time recently the Republicans have been given so much power. The last time didn’t work out so well, if I remember correctly, but we seem to have short memories. For me, the day after, 11-09-2016 is tough. Knowing I am not alone is a small consolation because I feel very alone. Sleep was difficult, thoughts randomly bounce around within my head and assembling them in any meaningful way is challenging. I am just drained, but I will try.

Probably the most basic questions has to be how did this and does this so often happen? My initial thoughts here go back to what it takes for a true democracy to evolve and then continue to function as such. Two of the most basic factors of any democracy: a “free press” and an “educated populace”, have been corrupted or largely eliminated. Today the press is owned by a few large multi-national corporations with definite agendas. News is infotainment, largely fact free, loaded with propaganda and possibly a new form of reality TV. The web offers a multitude of information, but filtering through the gunk to find clarity is not easily accomplished and often leaves a confusing residue.  As a society our cumulative political education is stunted at best. We spend little to no effort educating our citizens about democracy, let alone finding ways for it’s practice. It requires so much more than watching commercials and standing in excessively long lines to vote. It requires historical perspective of how we got to where are today, what battles were fought and by who to gain the freedoms we so ignorantly take for granted, fail to defend and often abandon.

My greatest fears continue to center on the same two “critical issues”: Climate Change and Corporate Personhood. I see them as paramount. Climate is in danger of reaching it’s infamous tipping point and corporations and the wealthy have further enhanced their hold on our democracy, infecting it at every opportunity. Yes, I am very down and I hoped (I guess naively) for so much more in this election. So what do I/we do? I received and email (paraphrased below) from today that provided me with a simple encouragement to help keep “hope alive”.

“It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like this … But tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, the movements for climate justice, for Black and brown lives, for immigrant justice, for democracy and everyone who believes Donald Trump is the opposite of what makes America great — will step into our power together and show that the people who want justice represent a force too great to ignore.”

I will try to remember this.

Posted in Democracy, Elections, My Thoughts and tagged , , .


  1. What is it that keeps us from shouting, “I won’t take this anymore!”? Clicking is not demonstrating, emails and ‘likes’ are not political action. Why is it parents of children disappeared in Mexico demonstrate every day, get out and walk with their photos and placards? There are too many issues for us perhaps and we are too comfortable, too rich, or too lazy to stand up for what matters. No one has murdered our children–or have they, or are they about to? This stuff makes me crazy. Can you tell?

    There were some interviews taken during the election season and verbatim turned into songs that helped me see what Trump supporters were looking for. Some of those songs are here:

    We need to see through other people’s eyes, have our hearts hurt in similar ways.

  2. Hi Bruce,
    I’d be really depressed if I wasn’t planning on legally being stoned out of my gourd for the next four years. Here’s the Fred analysis of the election results, not to be confused with any meaningful analysis. When Obama was elected it was widely stated that the U.S. was in a post-racial period. Trump, and anyone who studied the history of a country not only based on racial bigotry but continuing to use racial divisions as public policy (welfare, inner city policing, urban neglect, the strangling of government when civil service is one of the chief means of minority promotion, and… you get the picture and can come up with your own examples) knew that post racial is a laughable term. Trump early on tested the waters with his birther pronouncements. The fact that it was taken seriously and given press confirmed his beliefs and all he had to do was open his candidacy attacking Hispanics and later, Muslims and he had tapped into the very core of American politics. It’s not new. Since the Civil Rights Act we have had Nixon’s Southern strategy, Reagan who opened his campaign for the presidency at the site of the murders of three civil rights workers and advocated state’s rights, Bush 1’s Willie Horton, Clinton’s welfare reform, I give Bush 2 a pass, and finally, Obama who feared being seen as an angry black man. So underneath all the ‘come together’ and ‘unity’ BS is the real slogan of Trump, “Make America White Again”. That’s how Trump got elected. How he governs is another story. Republicans need to come to grips with an economy that has left behind huge numbers of workers mostly white. The Democrats never did this. I see very little discussion on this topic other than restating the problem. This is not to diminish the most pressing problem we have, climate change, but unless people are given jobs, they’re not going to be receptive to this issue.
    So I say good luck to all of them and quit bogarting I need another hit.
    -Your friend Fred.

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