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29 November 2016 @ 10:04 pm
An Ugly Win / Ugly All Over  
This was not the post I was intending to write. I was going to come on here and share a fun writing exercise and then do a(noter) movie review. Those things are coming, but this has been floating around in my head for a while and needs to come out first.

So. I've been reading up on the many conflicts of interest that President-elect Trump has, or at least potentially has. The Atlantic has a good primer;<./a> there's several on the list but the two that got me thinking were the Argentinian Office Building and the Philippines Ambassador. I've been torn, because while I love that these things are coming out, I am also wondering where the f*** these articles were before everyone voted. I felt kind of traitorous, being a journalist but jumping on the "blame the media" train- in this case, I guess, for not doing their jobs well enough. (Of course, there are many good reasons you or I could come up with to explain this. This isn't my point.)

I attempted to talk to my journo friend about this, and her certainty struck me. "He's teflon," she said. Nothing sticks to him, nothing could hurt him. Trump himself said it:, on (where else but?) Twitter Nov. 21 "Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world.Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!"

I guess the saddest thing is, even I don't really believe the stories coming out sooner would have helped. The people who were tired of being ignored and feeling left behind wanted to overcome those feelings so badly they ignored everything else. They wanted their values respected, their lifestyles supported, their views validated. They wanted a victory of some kind, in other words. For them and Their People, not the Others.

Trump played off the natural tendency for us as humans to think in terms of in-group and out-group, us versus them. To many of his voters, Them is "the elites," "the city folk," "the liberals-" the people who got Obama elected, and heralded a new vision and new direction for the country. One They wanted, but Us did not.

In many ways, I think the election was more about winning for the sheer fact of winning than any substantive issue or agenda. Much of the debate focused on questions of character and not policy. Take the insistence on "radical Islamist terror" as the phrase to use. Or the opposition to "political correctness." Those have nothing to do with policymaking or governance. It's just petty, symbolic victories, small wins over what They would have us do.

And to get those small victories- which admittedly feel really good when they are for your side- many decent people ignored the decided not decent things Trump has said and done, and said and did during the campaign. I guess this is what Washington (my boy George!) was warning about when he cautioned against forming parties. Things become about victory for your team at all costs. It's like in football. The Ravens intentionally committed holding against the entire Bengals team in the last 11 seconds of the recent game, but we won! You hear it said, "It's not pretty, but a win is a win."

In everything except football (a literal game) I think an ugly win is just, well, ugly. But more to the point: Politics shouldn't be about winning at all. It should be about helping people, making things better. I have been working- nay, living- far too long, to believe it actually was like that. It has been, for a very long time, about nothing except winning and extending the careers of those in power. But I've had flashes of hope before. This election took away what little glimmers I had been able to see. And worse- the people were complicit in it this time. I've always had faith in the American public. And that's why this election was so devastating to me.
I'm feeling: melancholymelancholy
Listening to: "Jesus, Remember Me"