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A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mourning in America

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –

--Emily Dickinson

It's like a death in the family, isn't it?  First the brutal shock of the news, the unbearable, inescapable fact - then the cold, gray, leaden feeling that takes away all your strength, leaving you stunned, and groping for words.  But words won't come.

Hillary's gracious concession speech:

The sickening nationwide results, as of noon today.  Click to enlarge.

Garrison Keilor:
Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones, and they will not like what happens next. . . .

We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses. . . .

Don’t be cruel. Elvis said it, and it’s true. We all experienced cruelty back in our playground days — boys who beat up on the timid, girls who made fun of the homely and naive — and most of us, to our shame, went along with it, afraid to defend the victims lest we become one of them. But by your 20s, you should be done with cruelty. Mr. Trump was the cruelest candidate since George Wallace. How he won on fear and bile is for political pathologists to study. The country is already tired of his noise, even his own voters. He is likely to become the most intensely disliked president since Hoover. His children will carry the burden of his name. He will never be happy in his own skin. But the damage he will do to our country — who knows? His supporters voted for change, and boy, are they going to get it.

In an optimistic mood, President Obama addressed the nation from the Rose Garden shortly after noon today:

This New York Times map plots the election results by counties:

Frank Bruni:
The party had a night so miserable that its leaders cannot chalk it up to the Russians or to James Comey, though there will be plenty of talk about that, much of it warranted. They had a gorgeous chance to retake their Senate majority, and not only did they fail to do so, but Democratic candidates who were thought to be in tight races lost by significant margins.

Clinton struggled more than had been predicted in the so-called Rust Belt — states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — in yet another illustration of how disaffected working-class white men had become and how estranged from a new economy and a new age they felt.

Their anger was the story of the primaries, the fuel not just for Trump’s campaign but for Bernie Sanders’s as well. And it manifested itself in the general election. Both parties are going to have to reckon with it.

And they should. If this were all that Trump had shown us, we’d owe him our thanks.

But there are darker implications here, too. After all the lies he told, all the fantasy he indulged in, all the hate he spewed and all the divisions he sharpened, he was rewarded with the highest office in the land. What does that portend for the politics of the next few years, for the kinds of congressional candidates we’ll see in 2018, for the presidential race of 2020?

I can’t bear to think about the conflagrations to come.

The NYT summary of exit polls shows that the president-elect got 14 percent of the LGBT vote:

Thomas L. Friedman:
Before I lay out all my fears, is there any silver lining to be found in this vote? I’ve been searching for hours, and the only one I can find is this: I don’t think Trump was truly committed to a single word or policy he offered during the campaign, except one phrase: “I want to win.”

But Donald Trump cannot be a winner unless he undergoes a radical change in personality and politics and becomes everything he was not in this campaign. He has to become a healer instead of a divider; a compulsive truth-teller rather than a compulsive liar; someone ready to study problems and make decisions based on evidence, not someone who just shoots from the hip; someone who tells people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear; and someone who appreciates that an interdependent world can thrive only on win-win relationships, not zero-sum ones.

I can only hope that he does. Because if he doesn’t, all of you who voted for him — overlooking all of his obvious flaws — because you wanted radical, disruptive change, well, you’re going to get it. . . .

Unlike the Republican Party for the last eight years, I am not going to try to make my president fail. If he fails, we all fail. So yes, I will hope that a better man emerges than we saw in this campaign.

But at the moment I am in anguish, frightened for my country and for our unity. And for the first time, I feel homeless in America.

David Remnick:
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.

There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve. . . .

All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit; it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering. . . .

The commentators, in their attempt to normalize this tragedy, will also find ways to discount the bumbling and destructive behavior of the F.B.I., the malign interference of Russian intelligence, the free pass—the hours of uninterrupted, unmediated coverage of his rallies—provided to Trump by cable television, particularly in the early months of his campaign. We will be asked to count on the stability of American institutions, the tendency of even the most radical politicians to rein themselves in when admitted to office. Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty, struggle, and misfortune. There is no reason to believe this palaver. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his band of associates—Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Pence, and, yes, Paul Ryan—are in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law; he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment. Fascism is not our future—it cannot be; we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.

As of 5 p.m. today, it appeared from this NYT map that Clinton had edged out a bare majority in the popular vote. Click to enlarge.  

Readers in other lands, before you curse and castigate "Americans" for whatever may befall your countries in time to come, please do remember that more than half of us did NOT will this catastrophe upon the world, and in fact did all we could to prevent it.

And anonymous commenter rgfrw from Sarasota, Florida, sums it all up nicely:
The Republicans now own the country lock, stock and barrel. The own the white House, the Senate and the House. They will soon own the Supreme Court again. They own a majority of Statehouses & Governer's Mansions. If thing go wrong I don't want to hear any "it's all the fault of the liberals."


Frank said...

"Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses. . . ."

I like your take on this...except for reading Jane Austen perhaps. My tomatoes are still producing here, in November, and we will likely do a little traveling around the state, if not the country. As for the beer, "here's to YOU, Russ."

Russ Manley said...

Back at you, Frank. We will cry in our beer together.

Davis said...

We are both devastated, horrified and feeling hopeless.

Russ Manley said...

We also, and physically sickened. But at least you fellas up there have a good chance of beating the Gestapo to the border, if you step lively.

Frank said...

I keep going around in my head with all the horrible consequences we might be subjected to...have we forgotten about PENCE? He'll likely be steering the ship at least till Donald gets his sea legs. Scarier than Donald alone.

Perhaps our finding a home on the Cochiti Pueblo reservation was fortuitous. Leon has been working with the Cochiti at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and the Cochiti like him a lot. And it's warmer here than in Canada. God only knows whether the new administration will nullify treaties and try to take the Sovereign Lands. The things that go through one's mind...

Frank said...

P.S. I don't like Emily Dickinson either. Literature/poetry was NOT my best subject - was in fact my hell. The only course I ever got an "F" in was Romantic Literature which was a requirement choice in the Humanities tract. Bad choice.

Russ Manley said...

It's a waking nightmare, Frank, and one distressing thought leads to twenty others. I can't believe this has happened, is happening. All the nasties will be running amok now, a true catastrophe for the nation and the world, the beginning of horrors.

But maybe when the pogrom starts, you guys can go blend in with your Cochiti friends. Buy some Coppertone and shave your chests.

You don't like poetry? I'm amazed, you being such a good writer. But I admit that math is much more useful in this hard, cold, material world.

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