election aftermath

I have been giving myself some processing time before writing about the outcome of the US presidential election. I also delayed writing because I have been busy with family/household issues, but I am awake at an obscure hour so I may as well start in on this post.

I had written before about by afraid of Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign; I also had written about being a supporter of Bernie Sanders, whose policy ideas most resemble mine, who went on to support Hillary Clinton when she won the nomination and supported most of those policies.

I had also expressed hopes that the country would come together after the election.

Things don’t seem to be going that way.

I admit to be being puzzled by Speaker Ryan thinking the Republicans have a mandate to privatize Social Security, block grant funding to the states, cut business taxes, and other long-time Republican establishment goals when a) Trump campaigned against the Republican establishment b) Trump lost the popular vote c) the Republicans lost seats in both houses of Congress d) 47% of registered voters didn’t vote in the election and e) he thinks that somehow President Obama, who did win a majority of the votes in his two elections did not have a mandate.

I had hoped that Trump would gather a team around him who had experience and background in various aspects of government which, as a businessperson who has never held elective office, he lacks, but, so far, many of his picks have been problematic, especially in regards to preserving civil liberties.

I am still afraid.

I am most afraid for the American people.

I’m afraid for those who believed Trump’s promises to bring back their jobs in manufacturing, mining, and the oil and gas industries. A president does not have the power to do this because these businesses are part of global markets. The price of oil is influenced by supply and demand worldwide. Appalachian coal can’t compete with Wyoming coal because it has different properties. Most manufacturing is highly robotized and doesn’t employ as many workers as assembly lines used to.

I grew up in an area that lost a lot of jobs and population when mills closed down and have lived for the past 34 years in an area that lost a lot of population and jobs in tech and manufacturing. I know what it is like to have the younger generation need to move out of the area to find work and to find different kinds of work than their parents and grandparents had. I’m sorry, but no president can restore towns and cities to what they were ten or twenty or thirty or forty years ago. Our country was built on change and ingenuity. We have to adapt to present realities and educate and innovate and create new opportunities for the future. I’m afraid for those people who have been left behind and afraid that they are going to be disappointed again.

I’m afraid for all those who belong to groups that have been blamed, vilified, or characterized as suspect during the campaign by someone or other. Muslims, Jews, Christians. Latinos. Immigrants. Syrian refugees. LGBTQ folks. Women. Black voters. Those who are in the lower socioeconomic strata. Reporters. The less educated. Experts. (I admit that I have a lot of trouble understanding how people can vilify those who have devoted years of education, research, and experience to become experts in their fields, yet this happened frequently during the campaign. Not that I understand other parts of the blame game any better.)

I’m afraid for anyone who has ever suffered bullying or abuse and who has experienced renewed pain due to words and behavior brought out in the campaign.

I’m afraid for the US-born children and spouses of undocumented people who fear the deportation of their loved ones, and even their own deportation if the administration tries to overturn birthright citizenship.

I’m afraid for those in the military who might be deployed in unwise ways.

I’m afraid for public health if the ACA is repealed rather than being amended.

I’m afraid for public health and the environment if industry is allowed to increase pollutants and if greenhouse gas emissions go up. Many areas of the country and the world are already being impacted by climate change and the US cannot afford to pull back from our participation in international agreements. I think that most states and companies will continue to pursue greenhouse gas decreases and renewable energy increases no matter what the federal government says, but it would be much better to have the federal government leading the way instead of fighting it.

The last time I was afraid about the qualifications of the incoming president and administration was the election of George W. Bush, another candidate who was elected despite having lost the popular vote. I thought at the time “How bad could it be?” and it wound up being ten times worse than I had feared.

I am much more apprehensive about the upcoming Trump presidency. Given his volatility and lack of experience, I am very, very afraid of what may happen over the next four years.

I’m not alone.

Is it over yet?

I am finding it increasingly difficult not to be discouraged about the upcoming US elections.

The attack ads have gotten ridiculous. I happen to know one of the candidates in our Congressional district and would laugh at the distortions being used against her in ads, were it not so serious. To her credit, her own ads tend to be positive ones, but there is a lot of outside money getting thrown into this race, which tends to make it nasty. Our current representative, who is a Republican, is retiring, so the parties are being very aggressive in trying to get the seat, and there is an independent in the race, too.

This pales in comparison to the presidential ads. Because we live right next to swing state Pennsylvania, our television programs are filled with ads, most of them from political action committees or super-PACs who have no qualms whatsoever about slinging mud at the opposition, even if they have no evidence to back up their claims.

Unfortunately, the behavior of some of the guests on news programs isn’t much better. It has been particularly hurtful to me to see the Trump campaign be so demeaning and dismissive toward women. Even as a 59-year-old, Donald Trump appears not to have understood what “consent” means, which is totally unacceptable. What is even worse is that candidate Trump, who has bragged for years about his extramarital affairs and his sense of entitlement toward women sexually, refuses to admit that he has ever done anything wrong in regards to his treatment of women.

He says that no one respects women more than he does and he often adds, “Believe me.”

I don’t believe you, Donald.

There are years of evidence to back me up.

And I know plenty of people who exhibit true respect toward women – and all people – and have behaved in accord with that respect for decades.

I have been dutifully watching the debates, but I am not sure I can make myself watch another one. The lies are sickening.

Just a few more weeks…

the t-word

I’ve written before about my support for Bernie Sanders as the presidential candidate whose views most closely resemble my own.

I have not been writing about my opposition to the ideas and the tone of the Republican campaign, particularly those of the frontrunner whose name I use sparingly, if at all, so as not to spread the hatefulness.

This finds me avoiding using a word that I tend to use when speaking and, more sparingly, when writing.

The verb “trump” means “to be more important than.”

I can’t use it without clarifying that I’m not being unduly ironic.

I resent not having use of a perfectly good word, but not as much as I resent the way our Constitution, our values, and common decency are being trampled this election season.

 

Trump is un-American

I would say that Donald Trump has gone too far this time, were it not for the fact that he has gone too far so many times before.

Yesterday, he proposed that no Muslims be allowed to enter the United States, even if they are US citizens, or tourists, or diplomats, or refugees, or young children, or US military personnel.

Apparently, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who became the first Muslim in Congress in 2007. wouldn’t be allowed to drive back into the US if he traveled across his state’s border into Canada. Would Trump try to have him removed from his seat?

The United Nations would have to re-locate, as many of its Ambassadors are Muslim.

Muslim members of our military deployed overseas would not be allowed to then post back to the US or to come home on leave.

He has also said that all Muslims in the US would need to register as Muslims and that mosques would be surveilled.

It is ridiculous and against our values as a country.

This flies in the face of our Constitution, which promises free exercise of religion.

It harks back to some of the shameful actions of the United States during World War II, when Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were interred in camps based only on their ethnicity, along with some Italian- and German-Americans in the East.

The only positive aspect of this is that leaders across the political spectrum are publicly condemning Trump for this viewpoint.

It is hard to say whether or not Trump’s supporters will leave his camp over this. ┬áMany of them are scared and believe that Trump would protect them by this action.

I can only say that Trump’s supporters are a very small proportion of the population. With so many candidates in the Republican primary, having 30% support looks like a large percentage, but because Republicans are only a fraction of all US citizens, it only equals about 8% of the voters in the United States, some of whom may not support all of Trump’s platform.

To Mr. Trump, I say, “NO!”

Just NO.