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November 29, 2016

Staying Mentally Strong

My Republican friends, Trump supporters, the ones who aren't ranting on airline flights about Hillary Bitches but are more subtle in their celebration are posting this advice.

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And while I agree with the sentiment I'm not sure the motive behind it is pure.

When I first saw this I dwelled on the final suggestion that we should celebrate other's successes, I recognized that many times it was clearly the right thing to do. Your friend's daughter is accepted to Yale; their son just ran the marathon making a personal best. But that's not quite the same as it is in zero-sum games those situations where one's gain comes at the expense of another's loss. Did anyone expect the Detroit Tigers' fans to celebrate the win of the Chicago Cubs? Perhaps a better word here would have been to congratulate them on their win. To expect a celebration seems to me to be just another form of taunting, of poor sportsmanship and if the game were football rather than a national election, I'd expect a penalty. But to be fair, I'll just accept that celebrate is just a poor choice of words, that what they really mean is to congratulate them.

But there is an irony here too rich to pass by. Hillary Clinton is leading in the popular vote by more than two million votes. Is Donald Trump a mentally strong person, one worthy of holding the highest office in the land. The man who is now claiming that he would have also won the popular vote too if all the illegal votes for Hillary were subtracted, and he makes this claim with no evidence at all. Is he suggesting a recount? Maybe he should follow my Republican friend's suggestion and show us that he is mentally strong. He should celebrate Hillary's win in the popular vote by acknowledging that he has no mandate, that he recognizes that more people are for keeping Obamacare than are for destroying it. That more Americans want a livable minimum wage than the status quo. That being a poor winner is perhaps even worse than being a poor loser.

November 12, 2016

Fear and Loathing in 2016

We long ago agreed to disagree with our Republican friends on the basic differences in our world view. They that if you give a man a helping hand that he will come to depend on you and lose his will to work, a tough love approach to the world. One where if you failed it was because you hadn't done enough. You'd been lazy, and when you suffered the consequences of your laziness you'd learn and be better for it.

We, on the other hand, believed that if sometimes took more than one try. We knew what they called lazy wasn't always a lack of character but a lack of opportunity. They believe that we all have an equal opportunity to succeed. We watched as Donald Trump told us he was a self-made man, and although there are a few that are self-made, it is much more common that they got more than a little help from others, fourteen million in Donald's case. Sometimes that little bit of help was the right schools, or the network of friends who helped with the first job, and their sense of entitlement. They thought that everyone had an equal chance while we knew that there was no equal opportunity, the deck was stacked, and it was the role of government to level the playing-field.

But this election was about more than those philosophical differences. Their candidate who spoke of policy only in the most general terms, but spent the days of campaigning repeating his xenophobic, racist, misogynistic hate. Their candidate was a man who spoke of core values but had none. A candidate who asked not what he could do for his country but what he could get from his country. And we watched the hate grow.

Now they're surprised at how we react because in previous elections we accepted the results with equanimity, if not with delight. But this time we stand up, we protest, we wail because this man they elected doesn't just differ from us on a philosophical level but one of basic human decency.

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