This is not a political blog and I refrain from writing political commentaries here. I do not know the composition of the subscribers, nor do I know their political bent. The reason I am making an exception and writing my thoughts on the presidential election is the extraordinary nature of it. Comments are welcome, as well as sharing the post. If you decide to comment, please do so after reading the entire post. Talk is good so long as we maintain civility and accept that disagreement should not be disagreeable. And, we must avoid the toxic trilogy, fear, anger, and hate.
We All Got It Wrong, Even Trump
The election is over, finally, and the person most people thought would lose badly has become the president-elect of the United States. Following the polls, done by all kinds of research organizations yielded results that totally missed the mark. On the days leading to the election and even the election day, even many Republican strategists were predicting Clinton to get 322 votes, over and above the required 270. All this is certainly disappointing to me and people who share my political and social philosophies, disconcerting and worrying in many ways. But, for me, this is not the time to give into fear, anger, and hate, the toxic trilogy, for then I will become just like Trump supporters who were particularly charged by this trilogy. And it is time for reflection and some lessons. Had the results been the other way around, I am sure the Trump supporters could have said similar things except for perhaps the toxic trilogy. Here are my reflections, thoughts, lessons to take, and what may come in the months and years ahead.
- There is enough fear, anger, and hate, no reason to add more to it. They create a highly toxic mixture that hurt the people carrying them as well as those to whom they are aimed.
- Political polls, even the best, even the opposing party polls for your party candidate can fail miserably. The poll that counts is the vote we cast.
- Media has fed the fuel this toxic trilogy, more or less live with an apparent lack of editorial filtering. It is impossible for me to even think of, let alone to suggest controlling freedom of expression and freedom of the press even when the quality of reporting may go way below par. But, we have the option, perhaps responsibility to turn off the TV and communicate to them our displeasure. And, I am not talking only about Fox News, The Media, in general, have acted very irresponsibly and without journalistic principles and standards.
- There is a great deal of difference between “facts” and “information,” the latter may be incorrect, inaccurate, or even a lie. Regrettably, it has become easier to accept the “information” presented by “people we agree with,” with no questioning. This is not a Republican failing, it applies almost equally to Democrats as well.
- Social media is a great vehicle to carry “information” whether true or not. Simply engaging in an online argument has not changed enough minds. Truth be known (what am I talking about!) I have tried to present facts and reasons which were rebutted by “beliefs” not facts.
- Ignorance spreads faster and easier than reason, especially among those with little or no critical thinking and among those who have been unwilling to research the facts at their original sources.
- When we are upset with the party we belong to or support, abandoning it and casting a “protest” vote is not productive. Instead of disengaging from the party and attacking your own candidate, we may need to engage more and focus on the election in hand.
- Both major parties have either totally abandoned their core principles and/or miserably failed to clearly communicate them as the backbone of their struggle.
- Creating a parallel movement alongside a party’s core principles does not guarantee its success unless it is done for the party, not for a candidate.
- “Bernie or bust” may actually yield “bust” and that might have contributed to making “other” voices heard than yours.
- Decades in politics brings a great deal of experience but also comes with all the mud slung and stuck on the person, whether for good reason or based on falsehoods.
- We don’t have to “like” a candidate but “like ideas” of a candidate and what those ideas may bring or have brought.
- Finding people, in this case, Hillary, “a flawed candidate” has become fashionable and widespread because it has been repeated so many times and has become a sign of showing a clear and unbiased mind. Yet, the reasons cited were mostly not rooted in truth, just “information” that has been properly shaped and packaged based on falsehoods.
- Truth does not trump lies, at least perhaps in the short run; shown an event and its distorted view side by side, people will accept the one coming from the person they support, not the version they see as happening. Perception is the reality, and those who control what and how we perceive will create an alternate reality for us if we are not mindful of it.
- Politics is a contact sport, it has many ugly sides, perhaps beyond ugly. Rules of the game are hard to change in mid game; taking the high road may be, but is not always a good strategy. Expecting that only creates disappointment and dissatisfaction in the minds expecting to see the high road.
- Institutions that are supposed to refrain from engaging politics may throw themselves on the stage and create an unfair situation for the election, not only for the candidates but for the process itself.
- Early voting is a double-edged sword. We will not know how much the voters between Comey #1, and Comey #2 interventions might have been influenced by the first burst of “information” put out on the election stage. Just as well, we will not know how much the second Comey intervention might have cost the Republican candidate.
- This kind of intervention can, and most probably have altered the perception of and the trust in the main investigative body of the federal government, the FBI.
What to expect? Hard to predict the future, one thing I am certain of is that some, many, or even all of these may prove to be wrong!
- It is hard to see exactly what will happen, but the future is not very promising, at least from my vantage point and others who share similar views.
- The president-elect will spend a good deal time initially to do damage control to make himself somewhat presentable in domestic and world stage. Simply being supported by his own party will not be enough inside or outside the United States.
- His training will soon begin, and he will find that the work in the Oval Office is far different from the work in the Trump tower.
- He will likely appoint his cronies to important cabinet positions as he recently stated, Giuliani for attorney general, Gingrich as secretary of state. They too are “seasoned” politicians with experience and mud stuck on them. They will try to hide the mud by fast talking and browbeating the media as they have shown they can do. I find it hard to fathom an attorney general that denies facts, documented facts.
- The world stage will be divided into those who embrace the president-elect and those who will try to avoid him. The countries whose ruling leaders with similar traits to Donald Trump will rejoice for the new member in their club with a big stick in his hand, mainly uncontrollable mouth and tweet fingers.
- There will be a series of bills to undo what previous Democratic governments have done. Affordable Care Act may be high on the list but millions of people using it will not make is an easy task. There will be others that will be reversed, regulation on banks, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies will be relaxed. These will likely be done as propaganda pieces because of their high visibility and emotional charge.
- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and their beneficiaries may see changes that will negatively affect their lives. Ironically, there will be a good number of Trump supporters in theses groups that will be squeezed. These fall under “the entitlement programs” umbrella, a term I find used with negative connotations when used in some circles.
- Stock markets have already shown a good deal of drop, it may continue for a while. But as a general trend, stock markets have an upward trend, probably because the big stockholders do not want their stock values to erode that much.
- There may be lower taxes for the rich, not much tax benefit for the middle and lower-income families. We may have entered the second Trickle Down, Supply Side economic era knowing full well supported by data and facts the first trickle down economic policies failed to produce the supposed benefits for the population.
- The president-elect may do all or most of the above, true to his word, and hurt millions of people; or, he may walk back on most and show his true colors of speaking false promises to get votes, also known as “lying.”
- GDP, the gross national product increases are not good measures of how well a country is doing. Economic gains are meaningless unless they are brought down to benefit the masses. Simply looking at how much we are producing, without considering how much people can afford to consume is like running a marathon on one foot and expecting to win.
- If some, or many of the points above come true, they will seriously squeeze a large portion of the population. Could that negatively affect the elections two years from now and then two years after that? It may or may not. People seem to be willing to vote against their self-interests as they have shown in this election. But there is a possibility that the squeezed masses may yield a different election result creating a better balance of powers. There lies the hope!
- Democrats need to regroup, not only the political leaders but those who consider themselves Democrat, to minimize the internal backlash and splintering. Is electing a Democrat more important than electing the candidate we may support? This is worth pondering for all Democrats.
- Any segment of the population who may find new “powers” in following some ideals will have to learn how to use that power instead of using it for “making their voices heard.” We have all seen that protesting your own party is akin to cutting the nose to spite the face.
- I have never understood the appeal of “outsider” and not being a “professional politician.” First, one has to be “inside” to govern, knowing how the inside really works. Second, why are we willing to accept that a non-professional politician will do an excellent job while we will not accept a non-professional surgeon to perform even the simplest surgery on our bodies? But, as I said earlier, ignorance seems to spread faster than reason.
- There are systemic problems in the American politics, perhaps as seen in many other countries. Until we see them, accept them, and fix them, changing the people will not make much difference. Just as you cannot fix your car’s engine by simply changing the brand of oil you put in it, you cannot fix politics by changing the people. The systemic problems need to be understood, some reasonable and productive options to fix them must be the subject of the next round of conversations. We seem to get too bogged down in tactical fights where the strategies are wrong. We are trying to add synthetic motor oil to our failing car, or add pigskin seat covers and expect it to run better.
No fear, no anger, no hate! Cool heads will prevail, eventually! We need more conversation, not less; more talk among friends who may think differently from us, not only among the like-minded; need to learn and exercise being civil in all dialog, not screaming and yelling; accept the possibility we may be wrong, instead of insisting we are right. But, we must allow the facts be facts, no distortion, no spin. Opinions can be spun, facts cannot be!
My thoughts are on record now, I have many opportunities to be wrong, and you should call me on them. But, in the meantime, I stick my neck out counting on the possibility that some of you may take the time to think about some of these issues. That makes it worth being wrong while doing the right thing.
Take care, good care.