front page of Hamburger Morgenpost

Front page of the Hamburger Morgenpost, 8 November 2016.

Now that the shock has worn off (and it was only a shock because the supposed pros who do the polls did a piss-poor job of it)—now that the shock has turned to mere wonder, I am filled with almost giddy curiosity about what this guy* is going to do, and how he is going to do it. I wonder how on earth he is going to please the people who voted for him—please them enough so that, in four years, they will be showing up in droves in weird shirts shouting incendiary things** and just going nuts in the love of him. I wonder how he is going to succeed with them, how he is going to deliver on his many vague and strange promises.

I feel guilty about this, because I know a lot of people may be at risk with such a neophyte at the helm, especially one who cannot seem to hold a conviction for more than a few seconds (beyond an unwavering affection for himself, of course). Many people have already suffered from the intolerance and hate he exploited in his campaign—I cannot ignore that. And the forces that might restrain him (was it Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) who said this past summer of our discontent, “Well, there’s only so much damage Trump can do, there are a lot of factors that can hold him back,” or something to that effect?)—these counterforces cannot be counted on to do the job.

But my guilt is softened by the realization that I did not vote for him, I unceasingly voiced my objections to him, and I am not him. He is responsible for whatever he does. That would leave sadness for me, not guilt, if and when it goes kablooey.

The funny thing about nowadays is that, with all the tools available to make one’s thoughts and feelings public, everyone thinks they have a real role to play in all this important stuff. They think people are listening, and not just people, but those people, the people who run the show. They think if they only tweet a little harder, or publish a wittier post on Facebook, the world will right itself and we will all be happier and more secure. The truth, unfortunately, is that most everyone is just gathering likes from the like-minded and sailing past everyone else sight unseen, word unheard.

And what if the guy actually does some good? Raises wages for working people, protects the vulnerable, makes the wealthy pull their weight, humbles violent fanatics abroad, helps transform dirty energy to clean, starts the reversal of global warming, induces a flowering of the arts and sciences to rival Periclean Athens … What if? Wouldn’t that be grand? Wouldn’t that be worth the anxious uncertainty of these few days? Wouldn’t that make up for the fact that a truly qualified person got passed over for the job?

We will know soon enough where all this is headed. God (if you are there, and care) help us.
*The president-elect formerly known as the real estate developer and TV personality Donald Trump.
**It is doubtful “Lock Her Up” will make sense by then (not that it ever did).

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  1. Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the “piss-poor polling”: the polling might not have been so bad, it might have been a few days behind. It is yet to be determined how much James Comey’s high-handed, Trump-favoring insertion into the final days of the campaign affected the outcome, but it sure as shit did not help Clinton, and it may have, in fact, doomed her (in an admittedly overly close race).

  2. Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    As part of my program to get past blather that HRC could have won, HRC should have won, and all variations involving the words HRC and won, I offer this essay resurrecting and commenting on reporting by Hunter S. Thompson from decades ago—his book  Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. As noted by the author, a granddaughter of Carey McWilliams, the famed editor of The Nation, the “ethic of total retaliation” described by Thompson certainly resonates today with regard to Trump supporters. One can be sympathetic to the feeling without subscribing to the actions taken. The fact that its adherents do not seem to care if their actions are self-destructive offers no comfort to the rest of us.

  3. Posted January 31, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the McConnell allusion: an article at Talking Points Memo has this:

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in May [2016] said he believed Trump would understand “the limits of his authority” after he was sworn in and would have the advice of the White House counsel. He added, “There will be others who point out there’s certain things you can do and you can’t do.”

    “Donald Trump will respond to the basic positions of the Republican Party, and there will be constraints on some of the things that he would like to do that, for example, I don’t, I just don’t agree with,” McConnell said.

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  • Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
    Gravity’s Rainbow

    ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
    The Third Policeman