Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In shock

I'm sure plenty of people will write eloquent articles analyzing the phenomenon that brought Trump to the White House.  Here is one that I think is pretty sage and reserved, all things considered.

For my part, I am left speechless.  A lot of ink has been devoted to exploring the psychological or metaphysical angst of the legendary white, working-class voter.  This is a fair theme to explore, and one close to my heart, since my family, perhaps like most white families in the country, springs from humble, even miserable, origins.  But in the end, angst or no, we all have to be accountable for our actions and our decisions, and I don't see under what circumstances it's okay for someone to dehumanize others, or for someone to vote for an elected official who promises to dehumanize and oppress others.  By my rough calculations, about 70% of white folks in the US affirmed with their vote that they essentially don't like anyone else in the country, and won't brook the idea of respecting the equal rights and humanity of others who don't look like them.  They would put the nation and the world on the verge of economic and social collapse, not to mention war, rather than grant equal respect and equal opportunity to colored folk in the US.  This is sad, and I don't know what to do about it.

I'm sure the Republic will go on, but I'm worried about what form it will take.  President-to-be Trump seems not to have much knowledge of, nor respect for, the basic functioning of our government or Constitution.  You know, division of powers, checks and balances, protection of basic rights of a minority even against the majority.  I am not one of these who thinks the Constitution is some sort of sacred document.  It works pretty well, and it's open to tweaking where it doesn't work well, and that's good enough.  That's in fact what's so great about it--that it's good enough, without being perfect, set in stone.  If the citizenry chooses to modify or skirt some provision of the Constitution, I don't a priori have a problem with that, if it serves to make the polity more inclusive, more protective of its people.  I don't get incensed at the possible un-Constitutionality of Social Security or other effective programs of the welfare state that make us all better off.  But Trump's proposals and his supporters seem to wish to modify the law not to expand the rights and wellbeing of all of us, but rather to make some people more vulnerable, to take away their rights and wellbeing.  I can't get on board with this.

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