Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Still In Denial - Keeping Election At A Distance

I had a meeting downtown today.  I knew there'd be no exercise time, so I decided to just walk the 3.5 miles.  I don't have studs on my bike tires and I wasn't sure how icy the trail would be.  I know the sidewalks aren't great, so walking would have to do.

Urban hiking is an idea we came up with when we were living in Hong Kong.  A three mile hike is no big thing in the woods on a trail, so why not do the same in the city?  In Hong Kong we could go explore new places that way and we could always get a bus or train back home if necessary.

Today I just took the bike trail downtown.  As I knew it would, an hour of walking through the woods would clear my head.

I even got to see a young moose eating grass at a playground.  The trail veers to the right and through a tunnel under C Street.

The meeting was fascinating in a troubling way and one day I hope to be able to post about this project.

It did feel like there had been a death in the family and I wanted to go by the cemetery downtown and hang out a bit with the departed.  But the meeting was on the other end of downtown and I was on foot.  Like with a death, I was trying to keep busy with my to do list and increase the distance from the initial shock before I deal with it.  Though in this case, the magnitude of the loss is going to grow and grow.

Trying to be positive, I was thinking that how I feel now is how many conservatives have felt since Obama was first elected.  I'd like to think that my feeling is more legitimate, but feelings are feelings. They may or may not be tied to a rational, realistic assessment.   But it's clear that progressives haven't really listened to the pain of the working class.  As I walked I thought about Trump's childhood.  From what I can tell, it was about always trying to please his father and avoid his wrath, avoid being a loser.  I suspect that a lot of families had similar dynamics and that Trump has that in common with many people who come from families with a strict and mercurial father.  He understood that pain and his audiences caught that.  And his own mercurial behavior - sometimes glowing and kind, as with his first speech as president elect, and other times nasty and insulting and bullying - is something they recognize from their own fathers.  What many of us saw as outrageous and unacceptable behavior, many others recognized as very familiar.

People know when they aren't being respected and I think liberal rejection of frustrated white working class was part of their resentment against Clinton.  Every other group is given a context - discrimination, poverty - with which to excuse unacceptable behavior.  But poor whites are called hillbillies or trailer trash or poor white trash when equivalent ethnic slurs are not allowed.  This is why in this blog I try not to use any kinds of slurs, try to respectful of the people I write about or who comment.  We need to talk and come together.  This is probably a good time for liberals to talk to Trump supporters, because now they are happy and feel like they matter.

Good night.  Don't let this fool you into thinking that things aren't going to get lots worse before they get better.  That I don't expect the mean and brutish Trump to be back soon.  He's 70.  He's not going to change.  As soon as someone crosses him, we'll see the nasty Trump back.


  1. Sleep tight, Steve. I can see you feel now what I felt with our nation's (UK) Brexit vote. We are both caught up in what appears to be a rising reconsideration of nationalism.

    What is so strange for both of us is to find ourselves on the outside of a revolution looking in.

  2. I posted this to Facebook yesterday after meditation and my morning walk at Creamer's Field. We are wrestling with similar thoughts.

    Maybe this election will be the catalyst for America to work for all of us instead a few of us. We really are in the same boat and we need to care about the well being of all of us, not just the rich, the privileged, the young, and the educated. Everyone needs the opportunity and the support to realize their full and diverse potential. We are one, very diverse, nation, and we have ignored and disrespected the needs and dreams of many of our citizens. Now is the time to listen and not to judge. Now is the time to share and not to isolate. And now is the time for mutual compassion not judgment. Many of our citizens are hurting and our only hope is compassion and empathy. One nation means all of us not just those we agree with.

  3. wait, it's not at all true that anyone can say, 'progressives haven't listened to the pain of the working class'.

    That's not a true statement, progressives are the only people who have paid any attention to the pain of the working class. That hasn't changed.

    What's changed is the propaganda from the right has 'trumped' that reality.

    We know that unions are good, we know that healthcare for all is good, we know that minimum wage is good. Progressives have and still do champion the working class. The right never has and never will.

    Don't fall for the false meme that TRump is the result of progressives not caring about the working class.

    The working class has been led by the right to vote against their own best interests time and time again. And they've been led to do it once again.

    The working class isn't going to gain anything in a TRump presidency.

    Neither TRump, nor the right will 'care' for the working class.

    They've been led astray again and no one should fall for some false notion that it's because progressives 'don't care for the working class'. That's trope isn't true.

    That trope was invented to further the denigration of 'progressivism' in the minds of the 'working class'.

    The last thing progressives need to do is fall for that false notion and adopt some idea that it could ever have been an actuality.

    1. Jacob,Steve, and Oxo, thanks for your comments. I think it's wise to prepare for the worst, lead with kindness and respect, but stand firm on what's important.
      Oxo, I needed time to respond to your comments. Thanks for the challenge. I've made a whole new post to do it here. Since posting it I've seen some of my thoughts echoed in statements from others I respect such as Naomi Wolf and Russell Brand. They, of course, give a broader context than I have.


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