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1. Like probably most of the country, I was prepared for Hillary Clinton to win the presidency last Tuesday night. As the poem goes, I clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
There were inklings. There were Trump/Pence signs sprinkled throughout this heavily Democratic city, where we had never seen a Romney/Ryan or McCain/Palin sign before. And Mr. Pete thought he was seeing a lot of support for Trump as he went on his weekly road route out in rural Ohio.
I also felt a glimmer of hope when I arrived at the polls on Tuesday when I walked right in and cast my ballot. In 2008 and 2012, I waited for over an hour to vote. I live in a very African American precinct and it seemed to me that folks weren't coming out for Hilary like they did for Obama. But with early voting and absentee voting, I thought it might just be hard to judge those things, so I didn't let it fan the flame of aspiration that Hillary could lose the White House.
Election night I sat alone in front of the t.v. toggling between MSNBC, Fox News, and the Runaway Bride. I kept seeing that Trump was in the lead but I was absolutely certain that at the last moment they would dump a few states in the blue column and it would be over.
As we know now, that big electoral dump never happened.
2. My first reaction - was relief. Another Clinton White Hous would have been a disaster for the country and I feel reasonably certain that Hillary will never run again. In 2020 she will 74 and in 2024 she will be 78. Her time is over.
Yet at the same time, I felt profound sorrow for her. It's terrible to see someone work and strive for something so hard and never achieve that goal. I totally understood why she couldn't come out to disperse her supporters on election night; I don't think I could have either.
3. So far I have been very happy with how President Obama, Mrs. Clinton and President-Elect Trump have been handling the election results, and I have been trying to follow that lead of being conciliatory and kind. It has not been easy.
I reached out on facebook to one of my liberal friends that I knew would be taking this election pretty hard and wanted to know why anyone would vote for Trump.
This was met with accusatory questions such as, "
When I thought about the question, I actually had something to say:
Well, I didn't know I was obliged to answer Peter's question. But since you asked:
- I have been harassed during the Obama years, and the Bush years and the Clinton years. Mostly for being a woman.
- I had a white lady call me a dumb bitch as I was helping her son and his bridal party prepare for their wedding. I am half Hispanic and I suppose other than my Eastern European nose and cheeks, I look it.
- Lately, however, I have noted almost a dismissive attitude, probably because I refuse to color my gray hair. I have a feeling Ageism is going to be an issue.
- One of my sons was punched hard in the face when he was about 11 years old because he was playing with his African American friends and talking like his friends. An older boy heard him and didn't take kindly to it. So he physically pulled my son out of the group and punched him. My son's friends accompanied him home because he was lightheaded and couldn't see.
- My 21-year-old son went to help a girl whose groceries fell out of her cart as she went to put them in her car. He was being pleasant and helpful and when they were done she said, "Thanks but I don't date Hispanic guys," and drove away.
- My other son, who doesn't take after me but more his father with blue eyes and sandy hair, couldn't get a job last summer around here anywhere he looked, although most of his African American friends could - kind of a reverse discrimination.
- My oldest son had one of those broken snakes from the Revolutionary War era on his back pack and a gay man confronted him at Panera Bread - My son invited him to sit down and talk, but this man could only spew profanities at him and didn't really want to have a conversation. I'm sure if I think on it I can come up with more.
The friend I initially set out to comfort didn't. say. a. word. Nada.
4. My exuberant, Pro-life godson wrote, Good Bye Abortion, Good Bye Planned Parenthood on his Facebook page in celebration of a Clinton defeat. A mutual friend of ours wrote something like, "Hello internment camps, hello stock market crash..." and a litany of other "hellos."
When another commenter suggested that the campaign was over and we needed to start with a clean slate, she mentioned that Hitler had a clean slate too!
Internet discussions often slide into references to the Fuehrer. This is called the Godwin Law.
an Internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazism or Hitler approaches 1"—I pointed out that bringing up Hitler or the Nazis does not help the discussion, does not further understanding, nor is it particularly helpful.
that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.
This was met with the famous Santanya quote, "Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it."
So naturally I pointed out that the only president that ever put citizens in an internment camp was a Democrat. For that, I was defriended.
That was the only "defriend" I had in the whole week, so that's not too bad. To be defriended for assisting my godson- totally worth it.
5. Except said Godson also got defriended and is miffed at me today - proving the proverb, "No good deed, goes unpunished."
6. I have another nephew who was a strong Clinton supporter.
In past decades, if you were a truly average voter, you'd get your political information from a couple of sources: your local newspaper, your pastor, the nightly news. And these sources were reasonably strongly selected for agreeing with the Overton window of the educated elite; your pastor and the editor of your newspaper had gone to college back when that was rare, after all. And the average person could be convinced to vote within that window, because the people who they trusted as experts were all speaking within that window.
What can we, the traditional educated elite, do now? It's all well and good to talk about persuasion tactics, or about better candidates, but a large chunk of America has stopped listening to what any of us has to say- they're not even ignoring us, but they're choosing sources that will never repeat our points in the first place
What I'd like to say is, "Maybe if you drop the arrogance and just speak to people, you might hear what they actually are thinking about and then maybe they will start to listen to you too." But I didn't. Instead, I pointed out that in three generations he went from automaker to "educated elite." He corrected me - his parents also have done some graduate work. So apparently to at least some folks, you only have something worth listening to if you have some graduate school on your resume.
7. Today is the Feast of Martin of Tours. It is also Veterans Day.
In our home, we remember Mr. Pete's father Isadore - who fought with General Patton in North Africa and through Sicily and Italy into France until bombs burst overhead and shrapnel pierced his body. When they were taking dog tags off the bodies, they noticed that Isadore was still alive, and he was able to make it to a medical facility and then shipped home for recovery. Luckily he made it home, married Virginia, and had nine wonderful children. I'm particularly fond of the eighth one. He wasn't one of the "educated elite." He was still a brave and wonderful man.