Because I had a really nice, relaxing weekend and I entered Monday full of energy. It would have been good to blog about.
But then the election happened. And no matter how bad I thought it was going to be Tuesday, it’s getting worse. And petting the puppies is losing its effectiveness as a stress-reliever. Because even though I’m a white male, America’s already suffering a wave of hate crimes (hat/tip LGM).
There’s an optimistic (sort-of) theory of the “extinction burst,” that this is the last gasp of the hate-filled right: “The old world order is SCREAMING right now. What I’m seeing tonight are the death throes of a system that cannot last. Whatever the outcome, remember that what happens at the federal level is not the end of the story. We can take charge in our communities, and we can continue to move in the right direction. Let ’em scream. The rest of us have work to do.”
I’d like to believe it. Certainly what we’re seeing is partly fueled by frustration that women, gays, non-whites are no longer as securely subordinate as they used to be. But I don’t think it’s going extinct. Rick Perlstein has pointed this has been the dream since the 1960s, that the old-school segregationists and haters would die off and things would improve. And it hasn’t happened. And still hasn’t — we’re “still the country that killed Emmett Till.” And now the anti-gays hope we’ll be the country that rolls back gay marriage.
It’s true, of course, that most voters didn’t go for Trump. For the second time in sixteen years, we picked the Democrat and the Electoral College gave us the Republican. The college was created partly so that slave states could use slaves to boost their electoral clout — in a straight vote, the South was too rural to match the north. The Founders also thought that the Electoral College could override the people if the people succumbed to a demagogue. Instead, as Charles Pierce says, the people picked the sane candidate, now the College will give us a demagogue.
Where’d it go wrong? A lot of people are crunching vote totals (what data we have) and figuring it out. A big part of it seems to be smaller minority turnout which means voter suppression worked, though that’s probably not the only factor. Certainly sexism played a huge role — too many people still weren’t willing to accept a woman president. And as Bouie noted, the appeal of white supremacy. Plus probably lots of factors, but those big ones are pretty horrible.
The next four years under a Republican congress/White House will be very ugly. And I’m not optimistic after that. Repubs are positioned to gerrymander the hell out of the next redistricting; the Electoral College benefits them; and they have lots of opportunity to suppress the minority vote (I will go out on a limb and say the federal government under Trump will not be interested in tackling the issue—except helping suppress). Any hope of stopping climate change is dead in the water. Trump’s got at least one Supreme Court judge to appoint and possibly more, which will enable Republicans to roll back god knows what. Obergefell, I’m guessing, Roe vs. Wade too, and that’s just for starters. Some judges believe there’s no legal authority for any government regulation of employer conduct, product safety, food safety … If they gut enough it will take a long time to rebuild.
On the personal level, I can see lots of ways this could wreak havoc on our personal finances. In the grand scheme of things that’s trivial (there are lots of people staring at much nastier situations) but it’s us, so I can’t hep but fret.
I’ll leave you with a link from Samantha Field pointing out it’s not like hate crimes and injustice weren’t here already: “We had a long road ahead of us already. It just got longer and rougher … we’ll fight like we always have and always will.” I recommend reading the whole thing. It’s not helping me right now, but I think it may later.