Everyone I know is depressed. So only one last downer on the topic before I end this cycle with celebrations of the Obama years.
Everyone I know is depressed about what is coming, and that of course has already started. This follows the shock. But maybe it's worth defining what the shock was about. Because this wasn't just a bad outcome. This was pretty scary evidence that the entire political system as we knew it is done.
One candidate broke all precedent and refused to release tax returns. One candidate lost all three debates. One candidate got almost no newspaper endorsements, including from those newspapers that had endorsed Republicans for a century or more. One candidate was called--and not just by his opponents--unqualified and unfit for office.
One candidate was widely called out for authoritarian rhetoric, for racist statements, for bluster and bullying, for making fun of a disability.
One candidate was accused by multiple women of sex crimes. One candidate lied in a documented 3/4 of the statements he made. One candidate made statements that by any reasonable standards would be called crazy, and those statements were often dangerous.
One candidate talked enthusiastically about reviving torture, and encouraging the spread of nuclear weapons. One candidate said the climate crisis doesn't exist, that there should be a registry for Muslims in America, that the US must build a wall along the entire length of its southern border to keep out the hordes of Mexicans crossing it illegally, even though illegal immigration has measurably declined.
One candidate called for ending heathcare coverage for millions of Americans, through Obamacare and Medicaid. One candidate spread easily rebutted falsehoods about the economy, crime and many other topics. One candidate was clearly ignorant on topics a President must address.
One candidate has no experience in government whatever, on any level. There was evidence that one candidate had ties to a foreign government run by a dictator that he praised, and evidence even before the election that this government of Russia was using illegal means to intervene in the election on his behalf.
That candidate was elected to run the federal government and represent the United States as chief of state.
But that wasn't all--the Republican party held on to majorities in both houses of Congress. After refusing for the first time in history to even consider a President's nominee for the Supreme Court, that Republican majority will make the balance on the court, and possibly reshape it even more drastically in years to come, for many more years to come.
Every institution involved in this election campaign failed miserably. But whatever the reasons, the country has gone from a new hope to the Dark Side.
And that's what people are depressed about. Many are afraid about losing healthcare. Women, Latinos, Muslims are among the groups with specific anxieties. But they all see individual rights, the economy, peace and the future of the planet at risk.
Most of the people reading these words today know this already. I don't know if hearing some of the reasons for their shock and anxiety expressed will help them in any way, or perhaps make things worse.
But for those who stumble across these words in coming years, if you've wondered what people were thinking and feeling about all this, now you know a little more than you did.
For those of us now, a little solace, maybe: An American Tune.
Beginner's Mind - Finding a very nice hardback copy of Bruce Chatwin's last book in a bargain bin, a kind of miscellany of previously uncollected pieces called What Am I Doi...
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