Trump. I Get It. I do.

I know so many of us are stunned at Donald Trump’s surprising win against Hillary Clinton.  At the same time I completely understand why so many want radical change.  People are angry.  I am one of them.

For years our lives have been a steady decline.  We have lots of toys.  We have a million distractions.  Most of us who have jobs have watched prices climb, companies make billions, executives win big even when they fail, while our salaries stagnate.  Good middle class jobs have been sent elsewhere consistently for decades.  If you don’t have a post-secondary education, your options are limited.  And even if you do, there are no guarantees.

We are angry.  The government we fund isn’t looking after us.  There is inherent corruption at some level of every government.  Doesn’t mean everyone in government is bad.  The system needs a major house cleaning, especially in the U.S. where money in politics is rampant.  If you believe that is only true on either the right or the left, you are fooling yourself.  It is pervasive.  It is everywhere.  Why do you think fundraising is a 24×7, 365 effort for these people.  Who has time to look after the people when there’s an election coming.  There’s always an election coming.

No one wants to deal in reality anymore.  I mean real reality, not tv reality.  Because of the lack of good paying jobs and stagnating wages for most of us, no one wants to pay for anything.  So many believe that cutting taxes is going to save us.  It will not.  It’s the same reason so many are cutting their cable and strictly dealing with internet for entertainment and news.  The same reason Spotify and other streaming services have changed how we consume music.  The deniers around climate change find traction because no one wants to pay for fixing it.  No one wants to take responsibility for anything.

We’re at a point in history where it is all “the other guy’s fault”.  The right, the left, government, business, Muslims, Mexicans, Syrians, ISIS.  Do we ever tell ourselves the truth about anything?  Is it always someone else’s fault or do we have to take responsibility as a people, as a country, as humanity for the state of things?  How many of us look at Canada but judge it based on the U.S.?  How many people in each country think the left wants to ban all guns?  Can you name one motion put forward in the last 30 years that said that?  Nope.  Because no one is doing that on the left.  The most anyone on the left is asking for limits and controls.  I have no idea why that’s a bad thing.

My fear is that democracy, which in the U.S. hasn’t truly existed in a long time, may be dead.  Money in politics, religion in politics, gerrymandering districts are not what America was founded on.  You can pretend it is but it truly isn’t.  There’s so much misinformation now that no one bothers to look at what is real.  People want to hear and believe what they want to hear and believe.  There was never a time when the founding fathers wanted corporations/companies/money to define the government.  Religion was something to be protected but not to inform the government because it meant you were only leading for a group of like-minded individuals, not the whole country.  Manipulating districts so your party can win is cheating.  Does anyone care?

What happened to running on a platform honestly and letting people decide direction, without lies or interference?  What happened to compromise?  What happened to working together?  Democracy doesn’t exist and the bulk of the population has no clue.  This is not a jab at right-wingers.  This is true on both sides.  Do you bring up your children to lie?  Do you teach them to cheat?  Do you tell them that winning by any means is right?  Do you tell them to bribe people to get what they want?

The issues here go far beyond politics.  Education is the problem.  We have elite schools for people with money.  We have poverty based education which does not allow the have-nots to move up in the world.  We have governing bodies changing textbooks to reflect political views rather than reality.  We’ve lost the ability to look at ourselves and question whether what we think is really true.  Critical thinking is all but dead.  We blame everything and everyone but ourselves.

Will Donald Trump be a good President?  I don’t know.  If he governs as he campaigns, no.  If he really wants to enact change to the corrupt culture in politics, he has a hard road. Chances are, because he is someone who grew up with a silver spoon and the ability to be smug because of money, no.  I hope he will take the idea of fixing government seriously.  Truly.  I don’t expect that but I am also willing to let him govern and see what happens.

My biggest fears out this election are women’s rights, minorities/immigrants and climate change.  I hold little hope right now that right will defend and fight for these people and the planet.  I’d love to be wrong about that.  I doubt very much I will be.  How they all govern and how the world looks in four years is unknown right now.  People have fears on both sides.  We can only hope leading for the greater good is on the agenda.  And truth and reality are part of it.  We see so little of that from anyone these days.

This feels somehow appropriate for both sides today.

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3 Responses to Trump. I Get It. I do.

  1. Deborah says:

    Thanks for stating your view. I deeply appreciate it. I live in Portland, OR, an extremely liberal hot-bed and come from an East Coast Massachusetts family in higher education–very liberal. Both of my parents were from the South and mid-west originally and very active in the civil rights movement.

    While I absolutely feel horrible that an individual of such character and intent was elected, and scared for all of those who are now terrified for their safety, my heart has been crushed by the amount of hate being slung by my liberal peers and family rather than a close listening to, and a sound evaluation of, the reasons that a wide range of people of varying genders, races, needs, values, religions and beliefs voted for Trump. Only after the election have I started to see some more in depth profiles on the people who voted for Trump. Where were our “highly educated” journalists BEFORE the election? I had to stop reading the news before the election because the so-called superior papers seemed very biased and so deeply in love with Trump-bashing and Trump-supporter bashing that not only couldn’t I take it, but it gave me no new information.

    Today I read the first opinion piece that feels sane to me–granted I have been on a fairly intense media diet as I have to somehow keep functioning. But I thought I would include it here as it seems that you might be interested. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

    I look forward to more from this author and when i remember to check this email, find i usually am very interested in your opinion. Thanks for keeping up your blog and speaking your mind.

    -Deborah

  2. David Newton says:

    Nicely put Larry, and I appreciated your thoughts.

    To share some of mine, which may or may not help assuage some of your worries:
    1. IMO, the US president doesn’t have as much of an impact as most people think he does, there are still a few check and balances left in place. I’ve always believed that we should be reducing the power that the executive branch wields, perhaps in light of yesterday’s outcome more people will finally agree and support that direction.

    2. Turns out campaign money in politics wasn’t as much of a factor many thought it was, since Clinton outspent Trump something like 5 to 1. Perhaps there are other power inequalities that are actually harmful and can get attention now, such as corporate cronyism, which the parties might agree to collaborate in addressing.

    3. It seems Trump was actually listening to the people, much more closely than the political industry was. Whether or not we agree with him, he was able to hear and respond in a way that totally surprised and mystified the professionals. Possibly, and we won’t know for a while, but that could be a lever for better outcomes in the future.

  3. touchaku says:

    Me too. Good article!

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