Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Long National Nightmare

Is either ending or just beginning today, Election Day, U.S.:

Parents held their children in the air to get a glimpse as Mrs. Clinton voted for herself in Chappaqua, N.Y., on Tuesday morning.

“It’s a humbling feeling,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Mr. Trump appeared to be in good spirits when he arrived at a Manhattan polling place on the Upper East Side just before 11 a.m. with his wife, Melania, to vote for himself.

He was met with a mix of cheers and boos as he left his motorcade and waved to pedestrians.
It certainly has been an ugly, sordid, myopic election, especially if you compare it to eight years ago.
The elections of 2008 and 2016: twin political moments that cannot be disentangled — an earthquake and its aftershock, jolting the American psyche into an era of spectacular contradiction.

An increasingly popular departing president is leading a country that most voters believe is on the wrong track.
It's rather ironic, that with the end of his presidency in near sight, and with Clinton v. Trump dragging into its sixth month (the election overall, 18+ months),  that more people wish we could scrap the 22nd amendment and allow Obama to serve a third term. His approval ratings today, Election Day, have never been higher. 

But the differences in the elections are startling. '08 was about optimism, hope, and history. This election has been the polar opposite: cynicism, pessimism, and loathing. 

On the one hand, it's the last dying gasp of a white majority soon to be minority, with race having been the absolute central motivating factor in all the anger, resentment and obstruction that greeted Obama from day one. And now with Hillary Clinton's probable ascension, a new wave of misogyny and sexism will greet her from day one (endless and pointless investigations, congressional obstruction, etc.). And believe me: it has everything to do with gender, no matter how much the obstructionists will claim it doesn't (like they said race had nothing to do with Obama's obstruction). Men in general are on their way out of the offices of power, and like the dying white majority, they won't go quietly either.

So, we'll see what the results are in mere hours, but I think it's worth noting that if Trump loses and refuses to "accept" or "concede" the results, it's 100% irrelevant. The results are the results, and it doesn't matter whether he concedes or approves or accepts them. The Electoral College meets in December and certifies the results, and the winner is sworn in January 20th. The end. It will be interesting to see if the media continues to cover the disgruntlement of the loser, simply because he's good for clicks/ratings/ad dollars.

At the end of the day the republic has certainly suffered worse and more controversial elections. What's changed, though, is our ability to come together and move forward as a culture. It's now to easy to hide in social media world and get only the information that affirms your preexisting thoughts. And so if you believe the election is "rigged" and Clinton wins, then you can spend the next four years reading conspiracy theories that absolutely prove you were right. 

Wonderful thing about social media and this election: it really pulled the scab off all our latent fears, anxieties, stupidity, racism and sexism that have simmered beneath the surface for years. I guess that's the price of change. Just like hate crimes surged after Obama's election, all this ugliness will have to be exorcised too as the first woman to be elected president plays out tonight and the coming weeks (assuming it isn't "rigged" and Trump wins, right?).

We'll see what America is really made of soon.

1 comment:

MRMacrum said...

Indeed. We will see what this country is made of.

I wondered back in the 1990s if the Whites of this country realized their day in the Sun was coming to an end. I know now they do know it. This knee jerk election has proven it.

I would say we have tapped bottom, but then .................