Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A Brief Note On the Election

The results of yesterday's election, in which Republicans Donald J. Trump and Michael Pence defeated Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine by winning a majority of Electoral College votes (about 290 so far) versus 230 and despite losing the popular vote, was a difficult day for so many of us. Making it even worse, the obstructionist GOP caucus also retained control of the US Senate and House, and will now have the power to give President Trump whatever he asks for--or they can convince him wants, including a far-right jurist to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia. As I told a friend and colleague, we've lived through times as tough as these and worse, and we'll get through it if we stick together, though we'll suffer along the way.

 The first step, though, is acknowledge that Trump's victory occurred, recognizing the many people and things that made it possible, and then not throwing up our hands in sorrow, anger and apathy, and allowing him to steamroll over everyone and everything.

This election reminds me a lot of 2000, only torqued up a few hundred notches. That one also included a Democratic duo winning the popular vote yet losing to the Republican ticket, after over a year of grotesque media malpractice, and lots of liberal handwringing about how the successor of a popular president could lose. Republicans and the media salivated over having an allegedly "compassionate conservative" "businessman" take over the reins of government, promising us reform and a new path. Most voters then, as now, and particularly African American and Latinx voters, rejected it. The true outcome, however, would become clear shortly thereafter when the US suffered through rolling blackouts, the beginnings of warantless wiretapping, a major trading firm (Enron) collapse, and finally, in spite of warnings and red flags, the worst terrorist attacks on US soil on September 11, 2001. I hope and pray that horrors of this magnitude do not befall us under Trump and Pence, though after the experience of that earlier election, I am trying to steel myself for whatever may unfold, and remind myself, organization, coalition-building, dialogue, and resistance, in every way are key.

There were some bright spots in yesterday's election, however: The US Senate will now have the most women of color in its history, with the election of Kamala Harris (CA), Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) joining Mazie Hirono (HI), all of whom are progressive Democrats. Also, the Democrat Maggie Hassan eked out a win for the New Hampshire Senate seat, so the Democrats will have 48 votes (46 + Bernie Sanders and Angus King), meaning they'll be able to provide some semblance of a check on Trump, McConnell and Ryan. I'm holding on to this, and to the knowledge that we won't give up, because we cannot, and will keep fighting for a better future for all of us. That's what my ancestors did, what my parents did, and that's what we must do.

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