11.10.2016

A Shared Burden

TL;DR this is a post that's sort of a political mea culpa and rant. Added another 2000 words to the billion or so written on the topic of the election. Read on and despair.

In the throes of disgust at the results of this election, the first thing I posted on Facebook was that I'm glad that the old white people mainly responsible for this travesty are going to die sooner than later and that the more forward-thinking and progressive among us might actually have time to thrive in a society free of their malign influence. I, like others, at times find it hard not to wish evil on those whose viewpoint I simply can't ever endorse. Of course I'm referring to the racist, misogynist xenophobes so relevant to this election cycle, not to other frustrated people who just didn't want to vote for the 'other person'. A troll on my Facebook feed countered with a definition of the word 'bigot', which I'd used in the original post. True, I had to admit to myself, my position was rather bigoted. Is it bigoted to want bigots to go away and die? Well, by definition: yes, it is. Of course, that obviously ignores any valid reason for the rejection of said bigots. I blocked this person not over this particular comment, but rather over his constant spamming of threads with a .gifv of Hillary Clinton's eyes turning into those of a snake; a troll is a troll after all and I see no reason to allow those who have nothing substantive to add and, worse still, no compunction about it, any free reign.

I deleted my original comment. I didn't find it representative of anything other than my pure disgust at both the rampant ignorance in this country and at the lack of empathy that surely must exist in the minds of some or most or all Trump voters; in that, however, is a glaring hypocrisy that I'll allow you to work out on your own. It wasn't a productive comment, obviously, at a time when more divisiveness is the last thing we need to promote. This is not, however, synonymous with the rampant apologism from bereaved progressives hoping to mend ties; I don't have any reason to believe every human is inherently good or that generally human nature guides us all to try to work together towards a better future. I think we've built a structure to help us try to be better than our instincts and to collaborate towards that end but that there are absolutely no guarantees. I also think that certain rhetoric from the 'other' side is absolutely inexcusable and I'm incapable of either forgiving or forgetting it. Perhaps my initially wishing death upon them falls into that category as well, which is why I'd rather shelve that truly nasty, pointless vitriol and for now refocus a different wavelength of it at people I align with more closely who need to hear it more right now than those shamefully ignorant cretins reveling in having elected a subhuman whom they believe to be their white-privilege messiah.

I, like many of my contemporaries, fancied a Bernie Sanders presidency run. I gladly participated in the growing leftist angst directed at Hillary Clinton over her being a representative of a now-unacceptable status quo. When Sanders lost the primary via a combination of the sheer popularity of Clinton among Democrats and the banal mechanisms of the DNC, I got upset at the unfairness, then mired in the doldrums of having no real good of candidate. Finally, I threw in behind Clinton because I knew she would be far, far better than what we ended up with.

What we ended up with is an absolute catastrophe. It's the perfect nightmare for anyone who cares at all about social justice. It bodes terribly for immigrants and for all minorities in this country who still have to struggle with stacked odds and persecution despite half a century of apparent progress. It bodes terribly for women and girls whose inalienable rights to their own bodies are about to be viciously attacked.

It's easy to blame the people who supported the subhuman and its ilk, but ignorance is a shared burden between direct supporters and those who, via apathy and just plain irrationality, refused to oppose them.

Now to redirect said vitriol in a kind of 'open letter' format:

To the apathetic and disaffected who have the privilege that allows them to feel apathetic and disaffected: not voting is not a protest; apathy is not a 'response' to anything; non-participation because of a vague feeling that the whole process is 'rigged' isn't an action. Substantiate your fucking claims that the whole process is rigged. First and foremost I say: fuck the DNC for enabling this viewpoint among the Bernie Bros. It's obviously a complete sham and needs to be dismantled and rebuilt. The DNC exists in part to keep populist candidates from gaining favor over establishment candidates, by hook or by crook. However, you knew this ahead of time and it still gave you no valid reason to just stop and say 'fuck it' when your favorite candidate was swept under the rug. You still had a responsibility to everyone to pay attention and vote for the choice that would cause the least harm. We just had an objectively fair electoral process in which we elected a subhuman troll who ran on a platform of hatred, racism, nativism and misogyny. It's your fault for not doing your part to keep it out of elected office.

To those who think that politics is so corrupt in this country that the result is the same regardless: it's not. The next four or eight years will prove that in so many ways. We knew what we would get under a status-quo Democratic administration hamstrung by Republican controlled congress: basically nothing. But under a neutral government unable to inflict egregious harm upon previous legislation (Roe v Wade, gay rights, women's access to reproductive care, health care, tax reform, foreign policy) our other grassroots movements would have more space to grow and thrive. Like it or not, your apathy doesn't change the actual objective reality. This idea that somehow a lightning bolt would come from the sky (Bernie Sanders) and fix everything is as incredibly naive on the left as the belief that Trump is that bolt for the right; they'll soon wake from their revelry and realize just how badly they've fucked themselves and everyone else in this country. But you helped them do it by being apathetic and resistant to logic and reason. You share in their ignorance immensely.

To those who think that since our system of government needs a huge change and that since Trump is something 'different', this must somehow be a good thing: I appeal to you to consider the rudimentary logic it takes to prove your notion dead. fucking. wrong. It's pure delusion to think that the current scenario represents any change as you want it. You were much more likely to be able to effect your desired change during the last eight years. Under a unified ultra-conservative government, your chances to change anything now approach zero. The world will not end tomorrow as the nihilistic among you secretly or openly hoped for, reemerging as a perfect anarchic utopia somehow free of all the problems it had. Rather, we now all have to fight tooth and nail to maintain the things we've fought for over the past decades in the face of people who specifically want to erode those things. Burning down the house because of the paint color is completely irrational. Believing that this burning of houses can somehow come to resemble the fairy tale outcome you wanted is just inconceivably stupid.

I'm going to make the logical jump that ignorance and lack of reason comprise an outright epidemic that knows no bounds politically. My original anger and disappointment with Trump supporters is now shared equally between them and the equally clueless who think that somehow they can live in their little bubbles with no blood on their hands and not be affected in any way by what happens around them. Disinformation and conspiracy theories run rampant in a world without the checks and balances of simple logic and the willingness to challenge questionable and weakly substantiated ideas. This is a call to arms for people who still see the importance in constantly challenging their viewpoints against reality. We have to find a way to educate people to think for themselves again, to make decisions based as much as possible on objectivity and the common good, as something we've worked so hard over the millenia to construct and that's in more and more danger of toppling catastrophically. Rationally, it's possible to say both that the system that's been in place is untenable and that the result of this election is a thousand times worse in the same sentence. This bullshit wasn't the answer. Reform isn't a zero-sum game, but that's how this election was treated by many throughout the political spectrum and we're about to see just how bad this country can get.