Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President Trump

The United States of America - the nation that helped lead the world in the war against fascism, the nation that landed a man on the moon and brought him safely home, the nation claimed by Democrats and Republicans as the fabled shining City Upon a Hill - is now the nation that elected Donald J. Trump as our 45th president. We did it, and we can hardly be surprised that the rest of the world is staring at us with shock and disbelief.

There's no point is counting down the litany of unhinged things Trump said throughout the campaign (though one comes to mind: "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters"). No honest observer of this national trainwreck can say that we were fooled in this election. Ignoring precedent, the pundits, and his own advisors, Trump - President-elect Trump, I mean - promised to bring the whole system down. And I am confident that he can deliver.

And yet I'm still horrified. I remember sometime last night, when Stephen Colbert's comedic coverage of the election became a national dirge, I nearly spit out a mouthful of scotch while exclaiming, "Oh my God, the Supreme Court!" Yep, this guy will select the next two or three (or more!) justices who will shape the law of the land for generations to come. He's also the guy who pledged to deport 11 million immigrants, build a wall on our southern border, prosecute Hillary Clinton, dismantle Obamacare, and defeat whoever's winning the "War on Christmas." This is the same guy who after being caught on tape bragging about his ability to grope women dismissed the ensuing furor as "just words."

Well, he said those words, loud and clear. We listened and we elected him anyway.

I imagine that political junkies around the country are looking up that alleged Pauline Kael quotation: "None of my friends voted for him!". She didn't actually utter those words, but never mind. I can honestly say, I don't have a close friend who will admit to voting for Trump, which says a lot about me and a lot about the country. In my benumbed sadness, I'm tempted to put David Bowie's This is Not America on repeat for the rest of the day, for the rest of the year maybe. But doing so would merely demonstrate the provincialism of that apocryphal Kael quotation and my own failure to see what has been in front of my face for the past two years.

This is America. We elected Donald J. Trump as our next president. And now we face the consequences.

Trump image from Wonkette • "I am going to eat you" (by Paul Noth) from The New Yorker • Electorial map from The New York Times.


amy mendes said...

Thanks for putting words (eloquent ones) to my grief and shock.

Andrew Wood said...

I appreciate your kind note, Amy!

Brett Lucas said...

I was never a Trump cheerleader, as I would have preferred a different candidate from the Republican field. Let me offer an economic geography perspective.
The election was about the economy in many parts of the country. We all knew FL, VA and NC were toss up states with the latter two going either way based on the changing demographics between urban and rural. The surprise was the rust/manufacturing belt. While the economy may be on fire in San Francisco, Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth, it is anemic and sputtering in much small town, manufacturing and rural America. Many factors here at play. This is where Trumps populous message resonated with those who are employed or unemployed in the secondary economy. While the environment, global warming, social causes, the Supreme Court or foreign policy are important issues, what is even more important in this region is day to day issues such as jobs, and food on the table. I was just back in the Ohio Valley and Appalachia and saw this first hand. In this election, working America (generally high school educated) resonated with Trump and not with Clinton. The Democratic Party took working America and those in strong union areas for granted. Rust Belt America was looking for a change in direction. For working class folks, as Reagan Said, I Didn't Leave The Democratic Party, The Party Left Me. The county by county results are quite telling.