It’s been a few years since I’ve written anything on this site. Life happens, and frankly I’ve had better things to do. But the last few days have been a bit jarring for me intellectually and that means now you get to hear my thoughts about it all. Or not I suppose, that shit is up to you. And I will warn you this will largely be a collection of unorganized and loosely edited thoughts that will extend over a number of posts and days. But if you want to come along for the ride, well, here we go.
First of all, this is really bad. The election of Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States is historically about as large an electoral disaster as the nation has ever seen. That’s not hyperbole. Terrible candidates have existed in the past. Sometimes they lose, a few times they’ve won. However, a President Trump could very well go down as the worst of the bunch. At the very least, James Buchanan didn’t have Twitter (or CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc., but we’ll get to that later). His stupid ideas and bad decisions didn’t invade the public consciousness in the way that Trump’s already have.
Which leads me to the most troubling realization I’ve had about all this, and a thought I can’t seem to shake off. The election of Donald Trump has shown that millions of Americans literally don’t care about racism and bigotry and hatred towards others. And they also don’t care about silly ideas and ludicrous assertions. Trump voters (not just his actual supporters, if you didn’t like him and still voted for him this is on you too) have clearly announced to the world that these things are pretty much fine by them. Why? Because, wahhhhh, we’re upset that things aren’t perfect for us right now.
The criticism of this line of thinking is easy to see coming. Millions of Trump voters will say that of course they’re not racists and bigots, that’s offensive! And sure he had some crazy ideas, but they just wanted to see a change in Washington. It’s not fair to label everyone as racists and stereotype all Trump voters as morons who want to build a wall. Blah fucking blah. Even if you don’t typically act the part of a dumb, bigoted lunatic you told us with your vote that someone who does can still make an argument for your support him that sits well enough with you to overlook that stuff. If the election of a man who had the full support of the KKK was somehow the “lesser of two evils” for you, than you’re a jackass and your opinion is neither valid nor important anymore. Your vote for Trump has empowered the forces of hate whether you intended it to or not. That’s not okay.
That said, there is obviously an undercurrent of anger in this country that was difficult to pinpoint and still even somewhat hard to define. And I’m struggling with this, because I don’t see what’s so bad about today’s America in the eyes of so many of these Trump voters. Realistically, what’s so hard about being like you, folks? Being like you has been a decent way to live in America for pretty much always. It still is. Virtually no one is trying to make being a straight, white, middle-class male in the United States more difficult. It’s just that a lot of people (including this straight, white, middle-class male) want to make it better for everyone else. Making life better for people who aren’t like you doesn’t automatically make things worse for people who are like you. That’s not how reality works.
And by the way, it’s not our job to understand this line of thinking. It’s not our job to meet them in the middle somewhere. I’ll get more into this idea later, but what’s the middle between bigotry and acceptance anyway? What’s the middle between make believe and the real world? Compromise in this case is for apologists. I’ll warn you now that I’m not going that route.
But anyway, I’m running out of time today. I’ll definitely get into these ideas and more a lot deeper in Part 2 of this “essay” (yep, there’s going to be a Part 2, most likely more). I’ll also touch more on an idea that I’ve long had about what perception of reality can even be. And then why I think that a perceived wrong against yourself, even if objectively false, is far more motivating than an actual wrong against someone else. There’s a lot to flesh out, but I’ll see what I can do. Plus I do want to talk about the political parties as they stand, and the media, and much of what I’ve been seeing online about how to “fix” what’s wrong with our electoral system. So stay tuned I guess…
I toyed with the idea of watching the State of the Union Address this evening. I had the night off. And I was a Government major in college. So a part of me thought that checking it out would be a nice idea – a way to reconnect with a topic I once had a great interest in. I even went so far as to turn on the television at about 9pm. I think it was tuned to NBC (Channel 4 in these parts), but it didn’t really matter. I kept the television on for about 5 minutes before I came to my senses and switched it back off.
The very first thing I saw on the broadcast was a graph showing the percentage of people in the United States who feel that the country is “heading in the right direction.” It was a couple of jagged lines on a white background tracking what is apparently now a real “statistic” over the last 10 years. One of the lines – in red – was trending up and one them – in green – trending down. I guess it shows that people are slightly less optimistic than they were a decade ago. I mean it was on a graph so it’s science, right? The camera then cut back to the panel who proceeded to talk about the trends for approximately a minute. This was just enough time to demonstrate to anyone with thoughts in their head that it wasn’t a topic actually worth discussing at all.
Next came, and I shit you not, a word cloud. A fucking word cloud (I’m getting heated just thinking about it again). Again on a white background there was a sampling of words – positive in green and negative in red – that were supposed to demonstrate how the nation is feeling about itself. The red words were bigger than the green words, so I guess that means we’re not doing so great… Surprise!
It’s almost needless to say, but I didn’t stay tuned to find out what anyone had to say about that. Nor did I listen at all to President Obama’s speech, or to the Republican response. What would be the point? None of those people are talking to me anyway. Not even one of them. Not the President, or anyone in Congress, or even the media. In fact, what was solidified in my thinking tonight was that none of those people are actually talking to anyone. They’re simply presenting information that a few people glance at and forget about before they go buy that iPad.
We get entertainment from our televisions, and during that entertainment we’re sold things. It’s basically why TV was invented in the first place. There’s certainly no harm in being entertained by TV if you understand that’s what it is, but when news folks and politicians try to make us believe that they’re doing something different than everyone else who stares out of that soulless light box it makes me angry. I’ve learned my lesson; and you should too, America. Stop watching the news, all they’re trying to sell you stuff just like everyone else is. But at least the NFL and American Idol aren’t pretending that they’re not.
That means traveling and doing stuff. More tomorrow.
Today is Thursday – the day before I get paid. And I still had money to not only buy groceries today but to do so relatively unrestrained. Anyone who has paid close attention to my finances these past few years (and, including me, that is probably no one) would know that it’s a pretty big deal. Maybe budgeting does work after all.
I spent 12 hours at work today – mostly due to a burst pipe and flooded carpets. I’m tired now, and going to bed.
I took this picture earlier today out my kitchen window. It looks all sunny and nice. But it was “kill you in hours” cold out there (I think the technical term is freaking freezing – that’s science). This Polar Vortex thing is serious even though it sounds kind of ridiculous. Stupid Canadians and their air…
UPDATE: Actual picture added. No more guessing due to my inability to add a photo…
I actually woke up this morning and felt fine. So I guess we’re good now. Don’t worry about all that stuff I said yesterday. Just move along.