observations and opinion
The Twin Towers and the Trump Election stand as America’s worst 21st century disasters. So far.
The ambitious, confident America of the 20th Century took a body blow on 9/11 (September 11, 2001). It was traumatized, terrified and enraged. A temporary patriotic unity took hold, but soon dissipated – but the trauma, terror and rage seem to have set in as a permanent condition. Disunity and distrust has corroded the national psyche, leading perhaps inevitably, to the next body blow – 11/9 – when on November 9, 2016 America awoke to find it had elected a bloated, bigoted demagogue as President.
On the dark weekend before that election, many people (although few in the media) felt that the tide had turned against Hillary Clinton’s anemic campaign and that it was possible – maybe probable – that the terrible Donald Trump might ascend to office.
Today – November 5, 2017 – is the anniversary of when I sat in a coffee shop and poured out my grief and angst about the seeming dissolution of the American democratic ideal and the particular wound that Trump’s looming election would inflict upon women. These are the articles I wrote that day, and in the days surrounding the dark election.
IDIOT WIND October 29, 2016
“Ten days remain until America votes. The professional political class will tell you, to a man and woman, that Hillary Clinton will be elected President. Everything they know and see, tells them that is going to happen. Personally, I hope and pray they are right, but in the last several years we have seen, over and over again, shocking behaviour by the democratic electorates. This election, more than those before it, may decide whether what’s great about America can be sustained, or whether the centrifugal forces and idiot wind, will blow the country apart.”
AMERICA BETRAYS ITS DAUGHTERS November 5, 2016
“We know the kind of person Donald Trump is. What kind of person are you?
Your vote for Donald Trump tells your son, “it’s okay -grab her by the pussy” (sorry but that’s Donald’s word, not mine). And it tells your daughter: “You are a lesser being. You are meat. You must give in.” That is the truth. That is what you are saying to your kids.
So you’re going to have to decide whether “Hillary’s email” is more important than showing respect for your daughter or son. In your mind – and in your heart – you know it is not. You know that whatever Hillary is or did, it’s not enough to justify making a terrible, stupid mistake.
But if you do – if you do vote for Trump, well you had better be a pretty good liar, because when your daughter finds out, she will never forgive you for it.
Never. “Believe me” – she will never forgive you.”
EXILED FROM THE PROMISED LAND November 5, 2016
“America may or may not have met its fascist overlord, but much of America wants that overlord. Respect for science, art, civility, secularism and constitutionalism – the essence of the Founders’ faith and the institutions they created to settle peace and justice upon the land – ebbs. Instead, a bullying cruelty rises up like bile in the throat. Cretins rule, because gerrymandering has secured state houses and Congress for the bought and paid for slaves of money. Voting rights are stripped away, “legally.” It is a terrible time and it will still be, even if Hillary Clinton somehow survives the onslaught and becomes President.
Not for the first time, we see America’s virtue tested. But when before, did we think it might fail that test?”
WHEN THE BATTLE IS OVER November 6, 2016
“But in the days to follow, whether America clings to sanity or throws itself into the abyss, there will be a true struggle. The truth is, Bernie was right: the political elites have lost touch and lost control. The organized right has taken the country by the throat. Its servants stuff the pockets of Congressmen and the minds of voters. People feel sorry for themselves and they don’t give a damn about anyone or anything else. It is a civic disaster.
Democrats must accept their share of the responsibility for this (I said “their share” — it is a meager slice compared to the Republicans’ guilt) and must open their minds and ears. That doesn’t mean surrendering principles of equality or justice. It means re-teaching them, to millions. Have faith, it will be like carrying water to people stranded in the Mojave.
If there is to be a democracy of any kind, democrats (small “D”) must disenthrall themselves, think anew, act anew and reach out to the broad mass of Americans. Some 50 million or more have decided that a charlatan strongman better served their needs and beliefs, than a good woman. Those people need a new message.”
MESSAGE TO A YOUNG DEMOCRAT November 10, 2016
No-one can identify all the causes of what happened, or how they meshed together to create disaster. But they did mesh together to create disaster – a virtually unelectable man, whom two thirds of Americans say is unqualified for the office, will be inaugurated in January 2017. That is what the Democratic Party, in part, helped achieve this week; a grim fact that must be acknowledged. An honest, painful, necessary analysis has to be done, in good faith, and with courage.
Better than any advice I can give, is that of my favourite Republican: