Now that sometime has passed and we know the results, I wanted to share my election thoughts.  I normally try not to talk about politics partly because I dislike the two party system, but wanted to say what is going through my head at this time.  I might be right, I might be wrong.

Our world is changing.  Technology, the economy, socially, even our weather—I don’t know when the last time in human history people have faced so many changes at the same time.  Change is scary.  The way a previous generation succeeded no longer works. Groups that had it good before don’t have it so good now, some that weren’t doing great are doing horrible, and others are doing wonderful.  What we should be doing as a nation is coming together to decide what changes we want to encourage, what we want to accept, how to help those who are most hurt, and what from the old world we want to fight to keep.

2016 saw Trump emerge because he was able to tell a story.  He promised those scared of change he would turn back the clock.  It is Make America Great Again, which taps into nostalgia—looking back, not forward. He tapped into something real that shouldn’t be ignored.  He knew how to manipulate the media and spin the story.  He knew how to use the legal system to cover himself.  The mainstream media didn’t take him seriously, and spent a lot of time asking why is he so popular which is a story about us, not him.  They weren’t asking about Trump himself—is he the success he claims to be?  What would his policies actually do? By the time they did take him seriously and did thorough reporting, Trump had managed to convince his followers that everything negative about him was fake news.

Part of this is practical.  Hillary Clinton spent decades in public office—troves of information could be gotten from a simple FOIA request.  Trump had been a private citizen, and investigating him and his business was expensive and took time. I do wonder if there was a window when more critical coverage would have made a difference to his supporters.

Everyone has a story we tell ourselves about ourselves.  Like all stories, it is a selective narrative. In this divided country, we no longer agree on the story of our nation.  People accept things that reinforce their prejudice at face value and reject what contradicts our beliefs.  Every narrative is by its nature imperfect, but some stories are more accurate and inclusive than others.  Once people accept a story it takes a lot to dislodge it. But this also means as a country we can’t even agree on what the problems are, much less come together to find a solution to them.

I came to the conclusion several years ago that the anti-vax movement would grow in power until enough children died from preventable diseases to scare people shitless into getting vaccinated.  I think that is what will happen with Covid.  I am not wishing anything bad on anyone, but human nature being what it is I think it will take personal experience that can’t be explained away to get some people to see it as a threat.

I try to be hopeful, but there are so many things that make me sad.  Solving big issues will require paying a price, and too often the group who gets the benefit and the group who pays the price don’t overlap.  I am sad to see so much cruelty.  There have been policies that hurt people that came about through ignorance, misinformation, and prejudice.  But so many policies of the last administration were cruel simply to be cruel—not because there was any good that was to be accomplished from it.  I am sad to see that face, but maybe it was me who didn’t see it before.

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