Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gauging Trump's Election Win Via the Internet With Humor & Horror

Okay, okay, I know. Everyone wants to stop thinking about this week's election results. After all, we were bombarded with election news for the better part of the last two years. Then, this week's election results served as a shock to many of us, and not in a good, energizing kind of way (except for those who did actually vote for "The Donald" on Tuesday.

Still, I have not quite gotten over it yet. The thoughts of just what kind of country we are going to be, and what direction this country is now going to take, are just staggering. He's a volatile kind of guy, and indeed, with his fingers on the button, just how easily will he be shaken up when events or people around the world shake him up? After all, Hillary Clinton was not right on many of the issues, but her criticisms of him, particularly of just how easily he allows other to get under his incredibly thin skin, are pretty much on the mark. Are we really going to get into a war, or possibly more than one war? With a clear Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, just how much of what we have got right now will be dismantled? Trump has already appointed some climate skeptics to key positions, and apparently Sarah Palin herself might wind up being one of his appointees (there has been talk that she will be Secretary of the Interior). Just how polluted will the country be, and how quickly will he pull us out of treaties, like the environmental treaty we just signed with China earlier this year? For that matter, how much will he pull us out of other international treaties, and how much will our traditional alliances be hurt? He said, over and over again, that our NATO allies are not pulling their weight, and need to step up. The people of the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, feel that the election results were tantamount to our abandoning them at a key point, and feel extremely vulnerable with Putin already having shown signs of aggression. It is unclear that Trump would do anything should he show further aggression, and that could mean trouble for these republics. How much will he dismantle things like Obamacare, Social Security, unions and workers benefits, and other domestic issues? Will he appoint very conservative justices to the Supreme Court and, if so, will Roe v. Wade possibly be overturned? Will he actually build a wall and, for that matter, will he really step up deportation of illegal immigrants? I saw some headlines that he plans to get rid of the Department of Education? Can he do that and, if so, will he actually go through with it? While we are at it, will he actually go through with investigations of Hillary Clinton?

Those are just some of the questions that I, and surely millions of other Americans, have been stressing over for the last few days. In some respects, it is amazing that is has only been four days since election day, and that we have only had three full days to really digest the surprise results. We are only still speculating as to the ramifications of what this will all mean. 

Most of us are trying to process all of this, and some people I know were actually half hoping that he would turn around and say that he was kidding with a lot of what he had said, or at least not to go through with much of what he did promise. Wishful thinking, I know. I, for one, am trying to also take a step back, and be hopeful about some things that he seemed to suggest. For one, during the meeting with President Obama on Thursday, Trump seemed quite impressed with him, and even came out saying that he would try to leave parts of Obamacare alone. That, at least, could be a good sign. 

There are other good signs, as well. Trump may have been...well, excessive, but it is not like all of his ideas were bad. He wanted to install term limits for Congress, which I think would have been an excellent idea. Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell already said that was a nonstarter, suggesting that term limits already exist. Quite smugly, he said in dismissing the idea that these already exist. "They're called elections."

Hmmm. Yeah, right.

Anyway, Trump said that he could not be bought and sold, and he is nonetheless an outsider to Washington politics. Maybe he will somehow get big money out of politics. Maybe he will create the jobs that he promised to create, and being back manufacturing jobs in particular. Maybe, just maybe, he will not be able to pollute or do quite the damage to the environment as much as it seems he could, because of existing laws that perhaps he will not be able to so readily dismantle, or perhaps even Congress will stand in his way. I am trying to be hopeful about all of this. 

On the night of the election, and each night since, I have admittedly gone on Facebook, to see what people are saying and posting. This is probably a bad habit of mine, but I am curious as to what people are thinking and saying, about how they are reacting to this. 

Some people are as distraught as me, torn up about it. I know a few people who really are thinking about moving to Canada. Maybe this is just talk, or maybe not. For years, I had thought about making a move to Canada myself, and that was long before it was the "cool" thing to think about, although when I applied, it actually did not work out. They go by a points system, and I was right on the borderline of passing or failing. But my bank account was not what they required, and also, I never actually heard back from them, for a yes or a no. Not even sure my damn application was ever seen, frankly. And then, I just forgot about it, for years and years. This was probably around 2002 or 2003, if memory serves me correctly. Maybe I should look into it again, although with what I imagine would be a spike in applicants from the United States following this election, maybe I waited too long, huh? Supposedly, the website for application to enter Canada crashed right after the results of the election became apparent, so clearly, there were a lot of people thinking of making that move. Plus, I have a son now, and that complicates things, obviously. 

Short of moving to Canada (which really, admittedly, is running away from things), what else are people posting? Well, many have expressed dismay. I know some people who made it clear that they were going to bed, that they just could not stay up and watch another minute of the inevitable results as the hour grew late. Many pro-Hillary people quickly blamed Jill Stein voters, which seems ridiculous to me. Many blamed Bernie Sanders supporters, and I have already stated my reaction to that particular criticism. Many Jill Stein/Bernie Sanders people posted messages that, in some form or another, suggested, "I told you so." Admittedly, I posted some things like this, because many of us really did see this coming. If Hillary was a weak candidate during the Democratic primary, and on the verge of needing help to get past somebody who had a little known public profile prior to this election season, then maybe she would not suddenly turn into this unbeatable candidate during the general election season. But many of those pro-Hillary people dismisses this, and suggested that I and other pro-Bernie people did not know what we were talking about. They knew better.


Of course, not everyone was unhappy with the results of this election. In fact, many people were downright euphoric. That included many of my old high school classmates (I come from a pretty conservative town - even depressingly conservative). Many people were, frankly, jubilant. Quite a few were rather obnoxious, clearly sore winners, and showed no desire to actually allay people's fears. Some were hoping that Hillary would indeed be locked up, some taunted people who were hurting after Trump's victory (or Clinton's defeat, depending on how you viewed it). Some dismissed the protesters as "losers" and suggested that they were nothing more than thugs. Quite a few seemed to suggest that now, police lives would not be lost by blacks, and here is where we get into the whole racial thing. Some people were suggesting that lawlessness had been allowed to go too far, that President Obama was a divider on the issue of race, and that those who disagreed with Trump should get behind the new President-elect and begin the work of unifying the country. Funny, but they did not seem so conciliatory when President Obama first got elected eight years ago. In fact, many of them seemed to harp on supposed "issues" that they had with him which, in fact, had no basis in terms of being factually correct. Many of these people could not bring themselves to accept that he was not born in Kenya and, moreover, that he was born in the United States, in Hawaii. Many others expressed their belief that he was secretly a Muslim, and often referred to him with his full name of Barack Hussein Obama, implying a connection with Islam was evident in the name. Quite a few suggested that illegal immigration had been running rampant with the supposed "open borders" during the Obama White House years, even though in point of fact, Obama significantly stepped up deportations. 

Clearly, some of these people seem to feel that their country was taken from them with the election of Barack Obama, and they had taken their country back with the election of Donald Trump to the White House. Whether or not there were some racial overtones to all of this is open to speculation. I do not want to criticize anyone of racism, although in some cases, some people really did not have issues with revealing racist attitudes. The fact that many people seem to feel empowered now to go ahead and express formerly closeted racist views is one of the most unfortunate aspect of this campaign. It was a big mystery to me how so many people were untroubled by so many of the things that this man said and did during the campaign. An amazing number of people ignored his blatantly racist, sexist, misogynistic, and xenophobic statements and actions, overlooking that and going ahead and electing him to represent the country in front of the entire world. He received a clear majority of white male voters, and even 53% of white women voted for him, too. That came as a bit of a shock to me and many others, given his actions and words of the past. One thing seemed clear, though, and that was that this country still has some clear issues with racism. 

Well, everyone has their viewpoints, right? 

Some of the other controversies surrounding this election was surprisingly low voter turnout for such an election with an enormous impact. Perhaps that can be chalked up to the less than inspiring choices from both major party candidates. But almost 50% of voters failed to show up. That means that one out of every two eligible voters did not bother showing up. Clearly, that is a problem, as a Trump presidency affects us all. Included in that number is Colin Kaepernick. Now, he has kind of been the leader of the protests during the national anthem during sporting events, and you would think an activist of sorts like him would, at the very least, exercise his right to vote. Not so, at least not in this election. He seemed to clearly lose quite a bit of his credibility by opting out of that right. How can he complain, when he did not manage to do the bare minimum that you should in that respect?

Okay, so. I have spoken quite a bit about the election these last few days. It has almost been the only thing that I have written about since about Tuesday. I just realized that I had forgotten to finish last week's week 9 review in the NFL, let alone predictions for this coming weekend. But the election was preoccupying.

There were some funny reactions to the election, as well. Some of them, in fact, were funny enough, that I just had to share them here.

So, here was one of the first ones that I saw on election night itself, when it was becoming clear that Trump was indeed going to be the winner: 

Britain: Brexit was the stupidest, most self-destructive act a country could take.

USA: Hold my drink

Now, that is pretty funny. And here's another humorous post that literally had me tearing up with laughter at the thought of it. This woman sounds very composed and dignified early in the evening, when she is quite certain that her candidate will win. She speaks of the deep divisions and the need to mend and heal to restore unity within the nation. But less than four hours later, when it is clear that Trump won, she insults literally every white:

I can certainly sympathize with the frustration of watching highly disappointing election results. Again, I cannot really identify with the Democrats any longer, but never have I been able to identify with Republicans as they are in these modern times. The thought of their quick and easy dismissals of anything to do with climate change, and scientific reality in general, is more than a little disturbing. Yet, their approach always seems to make light of it with a quick joke, usually insulting in some kind of a way or another, like George H.W. Bush referring to Al Gore as Mr. Environment and seemingly dismissing him as an environmental wacko. Now, people are not quite so quick to dismiss it these days, but his son sure did. Granted, he was a bit more subtle about it, even suggesting that he would be the environmental president himself. But within a couple of months of being in office - surprise, surprise - he cited new scientific research that essentially discredit climate change and the idea of reducing emissions for a healthier environment, and the deregulation and weakening of the EPA began. It got so bad, that former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman, who Bush chose to head the EPA, decided to step down, feeling that she was unable to accomplish anything. And who could forget Romney's snarky little remark about having more humble goals than "to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet" like Obama wanted to do. 

At least Romney lost. Trump, who seems far worse in so many ways, actually won.

Now, below was another very amusing post. There was this:

At least we had a chance to laugh. We are going to need it now, as we stare, for the first time, down the barrel at what faces us for the next four years.

Frankly, the next four years will be no laughing matter. Neither was election night, for that matter.

But we have to keep our wits about us, and part of that is to keep our sanity. As dire as these election results were (and boy, were they ever dire!0, we still need to be able to step back and laugh every now and again, no? Laugh, and put things in perspective, in order to get ready to fight what's going to happen next. 

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