Something Happened

Back in 2012 there was a vicious little display of Schadenfreude called White People Mourning Romney that showed endless photos of, well, exactly that. Extra points for deflating campaign balloons or peeling posters in the background, and of course unhinged tweets always welcome. The referent wasn’t just that the candidate lost, it was that somehow (went the meme) all these supporters had been so completely deluded by FOX news or Rush Limbaugh or some other conservative echo chamber that they had never quite realized their candidate was losing. Might lose. Could lose. The apotheosis was the moment Jon Stewart called “an avalanche on bullshit mountain” on election night. After an intimidating display of shaking jowls and shaky predictions, Karl Rove asserts that Ohio is in the bag for Romney, and Megyn Kelly asks “Is this just math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?” Together Rove and Kelly walk down the hall, on camera, to the FOX news statistics room where the statisticians are clear- Romney lost Ohio. Ha ha, Karl Rove. Watch his face.

There’s a pretty clear analogy this week, after another candidate who ran on the basis of inevitability and snob appeal inexplicably failed to live up to the predictions smart people had been assuring themselves were airtight. Nobody’s started a photo tumblr yet, but I don’t know if people still do that. They’ll have plenty of material if they do: its tears, tears, latte tears all across the internet.

Let me apologize in advance for the rambliness of this post; I’m having a very hard time writing something here in response to the election that doesn’t come across as trolling. I should say right up front that I did not predict this outcome- my best guess, in friendly bets with assorted correspondents, was that the Republicans would keep both houses of congress, but Clinton would win the presidency. I expected the tallies to be challenged by lawsuits from the Trump organization and drawn out almost up to the oath of office, and I expected congress to impeach Clinton on everything they could find. I was pretty damned surprised that Trump won straight out. I’m still surprised.

I’m not happy about the outcome either- though I would have been probably about equally unhappy with a Clinton win, for different reasons- and among other things I’m probably going to lose my health coverage in the next few years over this. I worry that much of the “predictions” I’m hearing from liberal-leaning friends are really just imported from a Generic Bad Guy profile from some comic book somewhere. Really, E. J. Dionne? “Use the powers of government against the opposition” starting with protesters? Really, William Gillis, “Trump will begin turning the ICE into a military operation capable of the industrial-scale ethnic cleansing”? Really, I don’t expect mandatory straightness therapy for gay people, or bounty hunters rolling up everyone on the DACA list either. Everybody take a deep breath and remember you’ve been wrong a lot over the past year and you’re probably wrong again.

Me too, come to think of it.

Of Course There Is Something To Learn Here

Trent Lapinski absolutely nails this one to the wall. It turns out, conservatives who like FOX aren’t the only ones who can trap themselves in an echo chamber. To wit:

By ignoring [wikileaks], you ignored reality. By not listening to your fellow Americans, and accusing them of being “conspiracy theorists” and trusting the corporate media, you ignored reality. By only following other liberals on social media, and only reading liberal or corporate news, once again ignoring reality. When Hillary Clinton was caught rigging the primary against Bernie Sanders, and Democrats nominated her anyway they ignored reality.

Everyone was simply insulating themselves within their own echo chamber ignoring anything outside their bubble.

I am convinced that the opposite of “conservative” in this country isn’t “liberal” despite what conservatives will tell you. Neither is it something so abstract as Scott Alexander’s “Blue Tribe” (vs. Red Tribe). The opposite of conservative is “smart” and yes, the scare quotes are necessary. What’s the line about hegemony- hegemony means never having to admit you have an agenda?

The “smart” set believe that they know the facts, they are better able to interpret them, and most of all, that they are immune to bullshit- that their minds seek only to touch the very marrow of reality. I wrote the Unnecessariat in connection with a series of conversations I was having with more coastal friends. Repeatedly I said that it was the poorer, more working class people out here who loved Trump, and could talk a good line about him that never mentioned race, Muslims, immigrants, or Hillary being a woman. Nuh-uh said my smart friends, Trump’s support among the working class was a myth, he drew his backing from the rich. How’d that work out?

Another time, I mentioned Assange and a friend told me that wikileaks was BS because everything they posted kept playing into the “Clinton Cash” narrative. Or someone who told me in all sincerity that there was no class in America “other than race.”

Lets be clear. Even if you go outside the echo chamber, this was a narrow and surprising result, and I don’t think people who expected Clinton to win were all crazy or deluded, or only listening to news sources that kept clear of “conspiracy theories” or dubiously low numbers of degrees of separation from, say, the Washington Times. I am reserving my wrath not for those who were wrong -I was wrong, fer chrissakes- but for those who never imagined they could be wrong.

What do you do when you’re wrong, and you’re absolutely convinced that you are the one with the facts? Nate Silver’s being asked to “delete your accounts” after failing to… to what? conjure up a Clinton win? Give more advance notice than he did that margins of error are literally that? We’re hearing that we need to get rid of the electoral college, because surely a country in which the New York Metropolitan Statistical Area counts as much as Florida is going to be better, right? Or where increasing your turnout in Dallas-Fort-Worth by 5% gets you more votes than getting every single American Indian or Alaska Native in the US census? Why would anyone ever care what effect their actions had on Nebraska when Chicago is worth five Nebraskas and only has just fourteen broadcast stations to reach all of them? I’m sure there will be more retrenchment from the democratic party; some kind of explanation why the world really works the way we’ve been told and this was just a mistake or anomaly. I hope I’m in a better place then and don’t just mock it, even though it’ll probably be garbage…

Again, I really can’t write this post very well. Did I mention most of my friends have stopped speaking to me? I didn’t put Trump over the line- I didn’t even vote for him- but I kind of lost it over the smugness and lectures I kept getting about how all of my beloved flyover country was just a bunch of KKK rednecks who had no place in the America of the future. I failed to conjure properly and now I’m being held responsible. I guess I should delete my accounts? Nah…

For those who were concerned about my car, my friend was able to weld a patch on the frame, but it stayed bent and the suspension was never right again. Roads are terrible here, and at some point this fall it must have bottomed out on a rock and cracked the transmission housing. By the time I got it in, all the gear oil was drained and the gears were starting to grind. I found a different car on craigslist for less than a new transmission, so its sitting in the driveway getting alternately stuffed with random junk and stripped for parts.

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23 thoughts on “Something Happened

  1. Thanks for the link back to my post, I appreciate it (and very much appreciated the Unnecessariat post as well).

    As I mentioned in my post, I’m seeing the same sneering from my urbanite coworkers, the same “blame the uneducated dumbfucks” as you. I’ve shared your post pretty far and wide for that reason.

    Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne, thank you for once again trying to bridge the gap between rural and urban America. It’s hard, when you have so many people that have staked their identity and sense of self on fighting against racism and for social justice, to admit that someone like Trump didn’t win *because* of racism, but because he tapped into problems that were in their blind spot.

    That said: although Trump didn’t win because of racism and bigotry, his win has very much empowered and encouraged racists and bigots, even in liberal places like New York City. I’ve personally heard from minorities who lived in the States all their lives, who were shouted at to “go back to their country”. And a Muslim prayer space was defiled with Trump graffiti at the local university. That’s a lot of what people are scared of, that this could become the new norm.

    So people who are trying to bridge the gap have an uncomfortable tightrope to walk: that of condemning this kind of bigotry while supporting and raising awareness of the problems that got Trump into the White House in the first place. There are a lot of people, especially on the internet, who genuinely don’t believe that such a position can exist, or that assume that support for the latter is identical to allowing bigotry to exist.

    That said? Blogs like this help a lot. So keep fighting the good fight.

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    • You know, there’s a post idea that’s been kicking around for a while in my head about the “again” part of Trump’s slogan. I mean, there are people who long for the fifties and sixties, and the Official Answer is usually that they miss an all-white homogenous world. But they also miss (or only miss- not all these people are white) jobs where you could sign on after high school with a strong back and a good alarm clock and expect to own a house by the time you were thirty, or banks where you could get a meaningful small business loan without venture capital, or heck, neighbors who didn’t have to relocate away from you (and their kids away from your kids) every couple years when the economy changed. Can’t we have that and civil rights? I don’t think Trump will bring any of that back, but when the knee-jerk response to any kind of nostalgia, even the Piketty-esque kind, is to assume the worst about people’s fantasies makes it very hard to talk about actual negative changes in American life.

      I also worry that democrats are ceding the “brand” on anti-globalisation and populism, saying essentially “we can’t win on Trump’s territory, lets be the pro-sweatshop, pro-(sub)urban, college-degree-required party!” Then they really will lose me for good.

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      • I’d love to see that article. The web could always use more nuance.

        The part about people needing to relocate is an understated problem, I think. It’s hard to keep friends these days, and we’re losing our sense of community. It’s a big casualty of modern life.

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  3. The overwhelming feeling I am getting is that people on the left are elitist idiots who should just shut the hell up now. Your post seems to affirm that. I am despondent, anxious, and confused. I guess those are invalid responses, since I also drive the wrong kind of car, read the wrong books, and care about the wrong stuff. I am having a hard time empathizing with the people who gave us this New National Order, but I realize that I am out of step with the Zeitgeist (again, your post hammers that home). They rule now, and it’s somehow the fault of people like me. Okay, point made. I will retreat into my private life and just stop giving a shit, I guess. I could quote something meaningful to prove I am a Sensitive Humanist, but what’s the point? We are nothing now–just a bunch of sad cliches. Thanks for reminding me.

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  4. A great piece, as always. Thanks, Anne.

    I’m really sorry about your friends. I went through the same thing with a very, very good friend of mine. My crime? Saying that I intended to vote for Jill Stein, that I disliked Hillary a lot, and refusing to change my mind even after he carefully explained to me that I was smug douchebag for not fighting Trump. I thought that not voting for Trump WAS fighting him. Guess I was wrong.

    We live in New York, by the way. My vote meant a whole lot less to the country than my fart in the voting booth on election day.

    Anyway, we reconciled a few weeks later, and before the election, him just pretending nothing had happened. My recommendation: give it some time, and let it go – completely – when they start talking to you again. Emotions are running high right now.

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  5. This was the first Presidential election in my life that I could not bring myself to vote in. I now find the whole two year plus process a disgusting waste of time. Endless wars, the war on drugs, the surveillance and police state, disappearing outsourced jobs to the lowest bidder, the gig economy, to name a few. Nothing changes of the things that really matter to us. The system is owned by others and we ain’t invited to be a part of it. Unless you want to join in as a serf barley making it, living off the crumbs that all others are fighting for as well. Then I am asked,”yea? what are we supposed to do?’ To this I say, partake in the consumer system as little as possible. Live on as little of industrial society as you possibly can. Enjoy doing nothing as much as you can. Observe how animals are perfectly content without any kind of modern device. Take a nap when you feel like it. NO TV watching. The list can go on and on. Stop trying to make a living and start living with intent of no goal. If you have kids none of this may work, I have no kids and got to a point about ten years ago where I had enough money to start with and a paid of house so I now live week to week on what little my room mates pay in rent and what I can make on the side. Last year I made about $5,000 and did well very well indeed. Thanks for another great post.

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  6. So, are you at all worried about the alt-right who think they have won, and this is all on their timeline for promoting white nationalism and misogyny as American culture and policy?

    I grew up in a small town, and was surprised but not that surprised by the outcome. I don’t think Trump is Hitler (he seems more opportunistic than idealistic), but I do see the army of trolls that intimidate journalists on Trump’s behalf and who show up on every blog post about feminism and every article about politics as comparable to the SA and propaganda machine Hitler had. Megyn Kelly was harassed for a year and had to hire private security for doing her job as a journalist. This happened to many journalists this year, and has been happening to many online female personalities for a long time, and the organized nature of these attacks doesn’t seem to getting much coverage.
    These alt-right trolls have a plan, a timeline, a strategy, and a vision for an all-white America with women in “traditional” roles i.e. subjugated to men. To be specific I’m referring to this (and that whole site):
    http://www.dailystormer.com/a-modest-proposal-for-trumps-first-term/

    I get we have no idea what will happen, but…are you at all nervous about this? I don’t think Trump or even Bannon is their leader or Trump voters are all part of this or that most of them even know it’s a thing. But regardless, the alt right definitely used this whole election to their advantage. They don’t seem to believe they need a leader, and maybe they don’t. They certainly seem to be effective at recruiting and changing the conversation. I’m having a hard time gauging what level of threat this really represents. What do you think?

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    • Personally, and this might be a bigger conversation, I’m less concerned about the Daily Stormer whackjobs and more about the shovel-ready initiatives that republicans have been slavering after for decades. The risks of a full-scale crackdown on journalism, for instance, or round-ups of muslims are real, but they would require not just a change in policy, but also the willing consent and participation of a large number of people. What I worry about initially anyway are actions that could be taken quietly, or by small coterie of professionals- I’m very worried about the infrastructure reconstruction plan turning into an infrastructure privatization plan, for instance. What better way to revitalize the Flint water supply, or the port of Hampton Roads, than to transfer them from municipal corporations to private for-profit ones? Who could then charge end-users whatever they wanted, outside the public-utility model of service provision? I noodled through a sci-fi story (never finished, will post if I do) in which wildfire suppression is handled by “partners” who bid for contracts offered over their smartphones by insurance companies. The main character is now unemployable because in the course of digging a firebreak, his crew cut a landowner’s favorite japanese maple and got a two-star rating. That’s what I’m worried about right now- if it comes to registering Muslims (in a way other than the registry that existed from 2002-2011) we’ll have to do something about it then, but for now it seems like borrowing trouble.

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      • I agree Anne. I believe Trump is nothing more than a Born Again Capitalist and his whole agenda will be about acquiring more wealth. All this other stuff is smokescreen to hide his real agenda. Ignore smoke and mirrors and follow the money…..

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      • I’m not worried about registering Muslims or other Nazi-type stuff in the *immediate* future. I’m worried about it 10 years from now. Their immediate goals are to normalize the idea that anti-racism is racism against white people and feminism is sexism against men, increase voter suppression laws, and expand the social media info wars. And stop immigration to lessen Democratic votes. Does it even matter if there is a “crackdown” on journalists if people are in their propaganda silos and no longer trust journalists anyway? I think there is a cultural shift going on that will unfold over the next few decades. Especially as the movement is run by young people. Things that are unthinkable now become thinkable only through cultural shifts, which is what they are trying to do. They would never be able to do the things they want now–but they are laying the groundwork for a cultural shift that would make it possible to do them. See also: http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/alt-right/

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      • Huh. Okay, this is something all completely worth talking about in detail, but its a lot at once, so please let me break it down a bit? I will reorder and rephrase a few things so if I’m oversimplifying say so.

        1) Crackdown on journalists vs. delegitimation/confusion of journalism: Yes, I think there’re two meaningful distinctions. As much as I am worried about the “propaganda silos” problem (and how universal they’ve become) I find the latest “fake news” meme more troubling. While it still seems far-fetched, I can easily imagine a “fake news” label being attached to anyone facebook, or acxiom, or Trump or whoever feels shouldn’t be getting the attention they’re getting. As much as bullshit machines suck, giving anyone, from a content provider to a political entity, the power to establish whitelists for “real” (or blacklists for “fake”) news seems worrisome. The other distinction is that a crackdown on journalists is a crackdown on people, and for all they like to talk in J schools, the truth is a crappy partner in any dangerous situation. People are very, very fragile and being on the right side of history is a bitter compensation for what can be done to reporters and editors in the short term.

        2) Normalizing reverse oppression: Yeah, that’s happening. I don’t see a Trump administration really changing that trend much. I also don’t think its as much a goal (other than in the snot-nosed provocateur sense) as something that happens when icky people find themselves with a weapon and the power to use it. Hate crime laws exist, they can be interpreted liberally, and unscrupulous prosecutors will be happy to use them against their “enemies.” I had an animal rights friend who gave money to some anti-abortion group that was trying to prevent RICO laws from being used against clinic blockades, on the suspicion (correct, as it turned out) that the same laws would be used to charge protesters for any cause that a future administration found politically unpleasant.

        3) Time frame: are you borrowing from the Great Holocaust Analogy? I don’t think the Trump administration will be stable for that long. Either they’ll get blown up by history in the short term or they’ll morph into some as-yet-unpredictable form. You may be right, but I’m too overwhelmed in the medium-term I guess to worry that far.

        4) Suppression/stop immigration to lessen democratic votes: While I don’t doubt both parties are going to pull as many stunts as they can to change who votes (end the electoral college! concealed carry permit or DD214 required to vote!) I don’t know how secure the demography=destiny assumptions really are. I think the anti-immigration thing is a lot less about voters and a lot more about You Know What.

        Hey as long as we’re worrying, have you noticed we’re only two states short of an Article V Convention?

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      • But who benefits from calling white nationalists “whackjobs” and dismissing them? They are not wildly different from the core Republican platform — their positions are in many ways just logical extensions of Republican policies and politics. If you think it’s fine to suppress the votes of anyone who is not white, aren’t you basically saying white people have a more legitimate right to vote? If you support a criminal justice system that has been proven over and over to create racist outcomes, aren’t you basically saying you believe white people deserve a different standard of justice? What possible justification could their policies have except white supremacy? The reason Republicans are turning a blind eye to them is that their interests are aligned and have been for a long time, and will only continue to grow because Republicans are running out of voters they appeal to and white people are the only people who vote for them. Coalescing around an overtly white identity is the next logical step anyway.

        Trump just brought it out in the open–but the building of an alliance between rich whites and poor whites based on shared whiteness and suspicion of minorities has been the basis of the Republican party for decades. Republican power depends on white voters, exclusively; it is already the party of white people. The only thing that is missing is a racial narrative, because we’re all supposed to pretend race doesn’t matter. What the alt-right is doing is promoting a white racial narrative and giving people permission to overtly identify with it. This isn’t just the normalization of racial violence, it’s the normalization of a white cultural identity that is based in white supremacy.

        And as power consolidates around an overt racial narrative, racism will get more and more normalized. (Well, re-normalized). At the end of the day, as white people have more permission to be racist, the Republican party will too, because the Republican party depends on white people. So I don’t see these people as aberrant “whackjobs”, I see them as the vanguard of the Republican party. Not just because they want to be, but because it was going there anyway.

        I take from the Holocaust an awareness of what people are capable of, not a specific timeline. I already stipulated that this is not a direct comparison. I said 10 years because I wanted to emphasize this is a movement that will outlast Trump, because it predated Trump and is much bigger than him. He’s just helping it move along a little faster.

        See also:
        https://newrepublic.com/article/138990/safe-space-racism
        https://newrepublic.com/article/138923/donald-trumps-government-white-people

        On the other hand, I don’t think Trump can actually fix the economic problems that mobilized his base, because they are mostly unsolvable by traditional means. You can’t bring back the jobs that are gone, and we don’t have new jobs for people in the Midwest. You can’t incarcerate your way out of the opioid issue. Automation is coming. Global warming risks are rising. He can’t handle any of these problems. So, I don’t think he’s going to keep his base happy for very long. I think he will eventually fail, it will just get much uglier in the short term, and the damage to civil rights will be nontrivial.

        Ultimately, we still need a real leader with real solutions and a narrative that is truly inclusive. Hopefully one will emerge eventually out of all this mess. If we don’t have a nuclear war first…but that’s another post. 😉

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      • Hm. I don’t know, and in fact I worry a bit about this kind of analysis. I’m sure there’s some named internet-argument fallacy that applies here, maybe one using four-dollar words (teleology?) but if the ends don’t justify the means, I would be careful about claiming they explain them. That is to say, while plenty of bad and racist things are likely to happen in the next four years (and the four after that, and the four after that) I’m not yet willing to say that this was the point of, or the motivation or the basis for the Trump vote. I could prop up a dozen analogous straw men (did I take a car, instead of walking, to work this morning to drown Dhaka some day?) but I don’t think that would be very enlightening.

        Lets just take the criminal justice system for a start. You ask:

        If you support a criminal justice system that has been proven over and over to create racist outcomes, aren’t you basically saying you believe white people deserve a different standard of justice?

        First the criminal justice system isn’t on the ballot, but never mind. More importantly, the shape of the criminal justice system isn’t just off the ballot, its off the table. Right now, there are essentially two criminal justice systems in the country- the one that responds to reported crimes, and the one that doesn’t bother. Why people might want to see police more heavily armed, or drug use more severely punished, or cops better overseen by civilians, is bound up in issues of municipal efficacy, safety and poverty. People whose air conditioners get ripped out the window and stripped for copper (this was more of a thing ten years ago) are voting for more police empowerment for a different reason than people whose kids go to school near, you know, bad neighborhoods, who are voting for more police empowerment for a different reason than people who kept having their junkie kid sent home to use because there was no rehab in their county and the jail was full. Are they all equally racist? Because your “proven over and over” applies equally to all of them.

        And I want to say something about that “proven over and over” thing. I really dislike the idea that somewhere out in the world are a set of indisputable, internally consistent, and comprehensive facts, the full knowing of which would make everyone a liberal. The right make the same claim with “common sense” but I don’t have as much critical traction over there and besides, its less of a concern to me to try. I had to TA a global health class for a few years, way back when, and I was amazed how many cultural variations and material conditions were “explained” in student papers as a lack of education. The implication was, if people only understood the value of a solid, year-round roads network, refrigerated haulers, and a reliable cold-chain that could bring vaccines to remote distribution centers, they would build one, hence their continued susceptibility to, say, measles, was simply a matter of ignorance or worse. I am willing to argue with people who disagree with me, but I try very hard not to start out with the assumption that their point of view, their desires, plans, whatever, only differ from mine to the extent that they don’t know as much as I do.

        No, Trump won’t be able to fix the country, or the economy, but not because we’re careening unstoppably towards a world of self-driving cars, endless highly-paid coding and consulting jobs, and 3D printers. Trump won’t be able to fix the country because its unfixable. But that’s my pessimism I suppose.

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      • Hmm. I feel like you’re missing my points by a wide margin and kind of summing up everything I’m saying as something other people said but what is not actually what I’m saying at all.

        First I didn’t say racism was “the motivation or the basis for the Trump vote”. I said that economics was the reason for the voters who voted for Trump, racism was the reason they let all the racism that Trump clearly displays slide. Because racism does not affect most white people, most white people live in mostly white communities, and they like to tell each other stories about race that have nothing to do with reality. That lets them ignore racism when they see it. This is on the whole not a conscious process which is why they never regard themselves as racist.

        Secondly, when I was talking about Republican racist policies, I was talking about politicians and policy makers, not voters. On the whole I don’t think most voters know much of anything about what is really going on outside of their immediate sphere of experience, which is usually quite limited.

        And my belief in people’s ignorance is not based on smug assumptions about how right I am and how everyone would agree with me if they only got themselves educated. It’s based on the fact that before I volunteered in a prison, everything I thought I knew about the criminal justice system, and much of what I thought I knew about America, was absolutely, completely, and fundamentally wrong, and took me several years to unlearn. And I was raised with a heavy liberal bias. I had no idea how bad it was, why people commit crimes, who criminals really are, etc. Because I just didn’t care. Like most average people who are not part of the criminal world, I was trained to think of criminals not so much as people but as characters in a movie.

        But the people in government–it’s their job to know. I can forgive a voter quite a lot, a politician less. I’m not saying Trump voters are motivated by racism, on the whole. I’m saying Republican politicians are because they want to stay in power and are running out of voters who support their policies, and they don’t really care who gets hurt as long as they get elected. And white supremacists are because they are fundamentally racist. And the two groups are aligned because they both support a racist state, either as an outcome or a side effect. Most Trump voters just got took for a ride on the wings of despair. The racial resentments of white people are mostly based on economics, ignorance, and lies. Not conscious lies, but lies nonetheless–the propagation of untruth that science and history has proven wrong about human nature and why people do the things they do.

        I don’t claim to know everything. Rather, I know enough about what I didn’t know to extrapolate that other people also don’t know quite a lot. I now know something that many people “like me” don’t know much at all about: being married to someone in prison who is half-black, raised in the projects in Dallas, and has been in prison all of his adult life. I learned a great many things in the last few years about a side of America I had no idea existed in any real sense. I also grew up in the country, and I lived for many years in the heart of the bubble of Portland OR. So I have travelled through these various environments and experienced how little a typical person in each one understood about the other. So I do know something about ignorance and assumptions. Not enough to stop me from making ignorant assumptions myself sometimes, but enough to be confident that there’s a whole lot of ignorance out there, on all sides.

        In sum, I’m not saying I’m smart and others are ignorant. I’m saying we all have a piece of the pie and we don’t talk to each other enough to find out what the other people in our country know from their lived experience. Like the blind men and the elephant. I have touched enough different parts of the elephant to know that any answer that doesn’t include everyone’s experience is not going to be based on the fullness of reality.

        In any case, my worry is in no way that the average white person is racist. They are, but mostly unconsciously and they have so little power it doesn’t matter. My worry is that there is a small group of actual conscious deliberate racists, and they have studied manipulation techniques that work on average white people, and have just gained a lot of power and want more. And since that manipulation serves the interest of Republican politicians, they will turn a blind eye, just like they did in this election.

        I’m not a pessimist at all. I’m just not sure how to gauge how bad it will get before it gets better. But maybe that’s an unknowable mystery and we all just have to do the best we can to live with integrity, compassion, and find our own sources of hope and courage to face whatever comes.

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    • I don’t really consider this to be a helpful comment, nor is the post it links to helpful either. I certainly hope I’m not a plant- its not something I’m conscious of anyway, though I’m obviously influenced by my environs and experiences which may be different from yours- and I certainly hope that endorsing the democratic party isn’t a litmus test for not “helping the right.” I don’t know what I think about a lot of things, to be honest, and writing is one way I work through ideas- I don’t like much of what’s happened since Trump took office, but I’ve been absolutely flabbergasted by what the- dare I say “relict”?- opposition seems to think will fix things.

      I found this article to be insightful on this, particular the following quote:

      “[Some currently popular slogans are] the rallying cries of the liberal Left that finds solace in the fantasy of an uncompromised past, the inverse mirror of the Right’s “traditional America.” This is an America without Guantanamo Bay. An America where drones have never seen flight. An America without police executions. It is an American democracy that irresistibly arcs towards justice. It’s an America that doesn’t exist.”

      If I consider myself to be left-wing right now, I think I’m the kind of left-wing that cheers when Richard Spencer gets punched in the face, not the kind that lines up behind the loyal opposition.

      Like

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