Tag Archives: November 3d

The Explanation

I  no  longer know where  I found  this quote–I neglected to record its origin. It  may have been from  a private exchange, but if not, and if any of you reading this can point me to the source, I’d appreciate  it.

The thing  is, it really explains a  lot:

I looked at the hundreds of people at Trump’s rally tonight, unmasked and older, and almost all so very white, and saw a group of people so afraid of the future they are willing to say yes, willing to throw in their lot with a malignant narcissist because he tells them they can recover a world in which they felt more relevant, a world they control.

A reactionary group of older white men look at a global future in which questions of clean energy, climate change, economic fairness, and human equality are uppermost, and their reaction is to cling to a world they control.

I’ve recently read several commentaries pooh-poohing what their authors  regard as  “over the top” descriptions  of what’s  at stake on  November 3d. I don’t know what reality those authors inhabit, or what histories have informed their opinions, but I firmly believe that anyone who doesn’t see this election as an existential choice is either willfully blind or disastrously uninformed.

Every single day, credible media report on new actions taken by this administration that intentionally undermine the common good. Environmental protections have been eliminated, public schools undermined, the rule of law decimated. Trump’s tweets and rhetoric continually set Americans against each other. Agencies charged with the health and well-being of the population have been subverted, and people have died  unnecessarily as a  result. A lot of people.

In place of the  accountability and communication Americans have a right to expect, we are   inundated daily with lies, manipulated videos, altered quotations–constant disinformation and propaganda.

If Trump was simply incompetent, that would be troubling but not existential. If  he  was simply corrupt, that would  be concerning, but  also not existential. But he and the supine GOP have gone  much further than mere incompetence and corruption.

Traditional aspirations–think “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” have been turned upside-down in favor of an increasingly explicit white nationalism. In the place of  a platform and policies, Trump and the GOP  that is now his reflection simply promote fear–fear of the “other,”  fear of losing white Christian male dominance, fear of social change. In place of efforts to bring us together, they continue to sow discord and encourage political tribalism. 

In the last  few days, Trump has increased  his encouragement of violence and mayhem,  presumably believing  that increased unrest will cause voters to rally to  his  “law and  order”  candidacy.

What keeps me up at night is the possibility that my life-long belief  in the essential goodness  of most Americans–not all,  but most–has been misplaced. What if there  are many more white guys afraid of a future they have to share with women and dark people than I ever thought?

I follow Nate Silvers’ FiveThirtyEight.com, and have  trouble wrapping my head around the polling that shows a steady 40% approval  of the childish buffoon who has commandeered our government. I look at scholarly research showing that “racial  anxiety”–i.e., racism–is the single most  reliable  predictor of support for Trump and his GOP. I see  comments on Facebook  by presumably reasonable people endorsing  bizarre conspiracy theories and patently obvious untruths.

And I’m terrified. When I wake up on November 4th, I want to breathe a  sigh of relief because the people I believed in have gone to  the polls and put an end to our four-year American nightmare.

What  if I’ve been wrong all these years? What if  it can  happen  here?