Archive for the politics Category

Ode on a Prospect of Botched Election

Posted in politics, race on November 12, 2016 by darryl zero

I haven’t been this entertained being wrong since Guardians of the Galaxy turned out to be Marvel’s best film.
I probably seem mean or dismissive when I talk about the election. I know a lot of people are legitimately afraid of the aftermath of Drumpf’s ascent to the Oval Office. I am too, but, unlike a lot of you, I had reason to be afraid based on the strength of his candidacy alone, and just as much to be afraid of even if Clinton had been elected.

Violent racists and white supremacists are a threat to my very life in places where they feel emboldened. Now, thanks in large part to a Clinton campaign that helped lift Trump to the GOP nomination, those scumbags feel emboldened just about everywhere.

It’s a nice feeling, knowing my already-endangered life was further threatened as part of a campaign strategy, especially the campaign of a woman who had already placed a low value on my life in the first place. Some of my fellow people-of-color were able to overlook Clinton’s extremely callous disregard for our well-being, but a fair enough amount of us, myself included, were not.

The smugness of Hillary Clinton supporters, from the OGs relentlessly condescending to Sanders’ impressive group of followers to the shrugging line-followers who fell into place like good little mice to the reticent holdouts that claimed to be holding their nose in anticipation of a time more conducive to actually having the fucking balls to stand on unpopular-yet-right principles, did Clinton absolutely no favors. Sanders supporters were told, essentially, to shut up and do what they were told, that the “people” spoke (despite all the evidence of blatant election fraud), and their needs were simply not the will of the electorate, but that it was subsequently their duty to get behind the candidate who pretty clearly embodied the very institutions they were attempting, through Sanders, to topple. Third-party voters, progressives in particular, were greeted with outright derision if not blatant intimidation, constant invocations of the 2000 election–an election, like this one, tipped more by the outright rejection of a pro-business, center-right, career politician trying to ride the goodwill of the Clinton Administration with an overt conservative as a running mate than any other factor–were often paired with aggressive, superficial-if-not-outright-false takedowns of candidates the inescapably disaffected would inevitably turn to. This, paired with a lazy campaign whose sole defining stance was, at its core, equal parts condescension and threat–I’m not THAT guy. Do you really want him? Look at who’s voting for him. Come on; children are watching–essentially told millions of potential voters that their values, supposedly the lifeblood of American society, were less important than Clinton’s belief that she should be President.

Is it really any surprise, then, that more people elected to stay home than play a game that they’d lose regardless?

Apparently it was to Clinton followers, who frantically began to scramble to find anyone else to blame for what was arguably the most embarrassing defeat since John McCain’s inability to beat a Black guy with the middle name “Hussein” (something with which Clinton herself was intimately familiar). The Stein finger-pointing immediately fell flat as the Green Party barely mustered 1% of the popular vote; even more desperate was the screaming at Libertarians, who were spared all but cursory hit takes by Democrats in the campaign because they were more likely to steal votes from Trump. And they did; Johnson managed to pick up 3% of the popular vote, to no avail to the Dems, who suddenly decided they were even somehow entitled to votes cast for a man who considered himself too fiscally conservative for the Republican party.

The comedy wrote itself. The DNC spent inordinate amounts of time and money to orchestrate Bernie Sanders’ defeat and elevate a man as unqualified and unlikable as he was likely unwilling to be President as the opposition to their preferred candidate, used the awfulness of that opponent to keep progressives, young people and minority groups from voting for candidates that actually spoke to their interests, and propped up a candidate who could only spoil the opponent. With a pathway that clear, you can understand how someone like me would assume the fix was in; nobody as unpopular as Clinton could so obviously manipulate things in her favor unless she was merely guaranteeing no one would challenge her mandate, right? I mean, would she have so completely and utterly spat in the face of nearly half her base if the outcome hadn’t already been decided? Would one of the country’s most intelligent political minds actually try to take on racism, sexism, and anti-establishment sentiment in a straight-up fight?

[I’m on my phone and driving right now, so I can’t format it the way I’d prefer, but if I were at a keyboard, you’d see a collage of stuff like LeBron James or Chicago Cubs fans holding 3-1 signs or Casey At The Bat depictions. I’ll have you use your imaginations.]

As much as I want to be the better man, as incumbent as it is on me to be kind and gracious in a shared defeat, I…just fucking can’t. All of the self-righteous, haughty, moral-imperative-izing Hillary Clinton supporters, belly-up and vulnerable, legitimately destroyed by the one thing this cycle they couldn’t justify or rationalize or philosophocally assail, left to squirm and grasp at solutions like the Electoral College, and the ruthless zeal with which they belittled, attacked, and otherwise attempted to discredit anyone who dared believe in anyone other than their chosen candidate, self-righteousness spent in a broken heap on the floor…I gazed upon then in their agony and terror and I just fucking laughed. 

The Clinton voters had wasted their votes on someone who wouldn’t win.

The Clinton voters had stupidly chased a fruitless dream; if they’d only used their votes on a Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, they’d have been able to help get matching funds for both of the most prominent third parties.

The Clinton voters had backed a candidate whose agenda had been thoroughly repudiated.

The Clinton voters had shit-talked all of their opponents’ voters, relying upon a campaign of “America is better than that, “ only discover America didn’t think they were better than the alternative.

The schadenfreude warmed my soul enough to forget, albeit temporarily, the weight of what it all meant.

Astride the utter delight at watching white liberals fail miserably trying to capitalize on shaming people into act against their own self-interests for the greater glory of someone neither great nor glorious, however, was an exhausting dismay that makes me sag in the saddle like the old man I am. Being a dad does it; I am unafraid to explain to my sons what happened, but the knowledge of what they face five, ten, twenty years from now has me on that Thomas Gray ish:

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,

         Then whirl the wretch from high, 

To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,

         And grinning Infamy.

The stings of Falsehood those shall try,

And hard Unkindness’ alter’d eye,

         That mocks the tear it forc’d to flow;

And keen Remorse with blood defil’d,

And moody Madness laughing wild

         Amid severest woe.

The road ahead is, to be nigh-delusionally gracious, grim. The battles to be fought may, in fact, have to be fought by me and people like me. When the amusement fades, I remain, as ever, a target, and to be honest, while I have to be sure my sons will have a better world, I don’t have a ton of hope.

But a man without hope is a man without fear. So that’s a start.