the 2016 election write-up you desperately have been waiting for

scanned-from-a-xerox-multifunction-printer-1Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer (1)

i’ve been taking a calligraphy class!  the class itself has been not lifechanging, but it has been fun learning something new and having a creative outlet.  this is my homework from this past week; the slants (especially the t’s) are a bit of a mess and there are a couple of oddly shaped characters (and some really greatly shaped characters!).  but i’m also learning, in a world where computers can be perfect, it’s sort of the imperfections that make calligraphy interesting.  (hah!  i would say that.)

calligraphy class this past tuesday (11/8/16) was a bit hard to concentrate.  class already is a bit light on content, and with the election results swinging from the direction of a hillary win to a trump win, it was hopeless concentrating on the spacing and rhythm of the writing.  though, i do have to say that practicing the same two letter combinations over and over again was perhaps more enjoyable than going to an election party, where a pretty incredible election upset would have led to an undoubtedly somber vibe.

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SNL – Election Night (both a funny and insightful sketch imo)

the results the day after were, of course, heartbreaking and scary and angering.  i came across a piece the day after that mentioned that, when obama moved into the oval office, he got a new carpet with 5 quotes on them, four from former presidents, and one (pictured) from MLK (though it’s paraphrased and misattributed and originated from an abolitionist).  an appropriate sentiment to guide us through the next couple years–perhaps a minor setback for now but we have to believe things will get better in the long run.

it’s been quite an emotional, crazy week (for us and the nation)! my election “hot takes” and not so hot takes:

  • just like we would have needed trump to concede for a peaceful transition of power to heal this nation, we need to concede and work together.  not doing so would be hypocritical and petty.  rooting for trump to fail is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  i am especially respectful of democrats who try to find solutions with trump instead of doing what the republicans did to obama and lead us through another 4 years of obstructionism.  and, to quote matt yglesias of the weeds, also very respectful of the nevertrump republicans who now have to work with him.  life is messy, and the high road often sucks.  the vindication and smugness of trump crashing and burning perhaps is not worth it.
  • i’m sick of the blame game and the infinite “what we missed” pieces.  i’m sick of monolithically defining and stereotyping donald trump supporters (i don’t think it’s obama’s fault, but can you really blame the white lower/middle class for not loving the last 8 years?  not sure if calling people “racist xenophobes” is going to sway any minds… i mean, talk about the vocab word of 2016).  i’m sick of the idea that we didn’t need to empathize before the election, and now we do.  i’m sick of the idea that we didn’t know racists were in america, and now we know.  i’m sick of the narrative that the democratic party was flawless before, and now inherently broken (and vice versa for republicans).  a mis-estimation of polls by 5% in 5 states (or, a lower than expected turnout) should not have the earthshattering implications that everyone is reeling from right now.
  • who has ever had an enjoyable conversation with someone with differing political views?  and, asked more rhetorically, how do we create more productive discourse about something so important in our lives?
  • from the bleeding hearts of keepin it 1600 (politics-focused podcast hosted by obamabros in a nonapologetic, passionate fox-news sense. never have i heard the word “CRAVENLY” exclaimed so many times with so much intensity <3), we have got to stop thinking of the election in terms of “red team vs blue team, we lost this round, let’s win the next round.” which is important in a couple ways, but to me, it’s more about the over-polarization of politics that has come to dominate the “echo chamber” of facebook.  we need to stop “crying wolf” over everything (like–you can’t say trump will be the worst choice for the president ever, and then complain about how pence would be worse).  for all my liberal friends that complain about inexcusably biased conservative news stories, stop sharing the same deluded, unreasonable liberal news stories and cherry picking the stories that work for us!  again–someone has to take the high road.
  • i admire hillary’s grace, passion, preparedness, and temperament in a vicious election against a vicious opponent with unending, unfair attacks. i despise trump’s values, his “fake it till you …file bankruptcy and make it someone else’s problem”, his ego, his inability to apologize or take responsibility, his blatant self-interest and track record of taking advantage of those unprotected by society, his petty bullying and name calling.  but–i also don’t want to conflate being a great guy with being a great president.  correlated to a degree, but there are checks and balances, and i think our discourse would benefit from more policy discussion than emotional intensity of these personal attacks.
  • yes, i believe that trump’s policies are flimsy, unrealistic, and will likely hurt his supporters more than clinton’s policies.  i’m trying to gauge what i’m most concerned by, in descending order: foreign policy/nuclear proliferation, supreme court, environment/climate change, institutionalized racism/etc, exacerbation of wealth inequality.  and you know what, it’s still okay to be optimistic and believe that trump is really a moderate at heart and will hire educated people and that he will change course once he’s elected.
  • i am concerned about “emboldened” trump supporters (factoid: post-brexit has seen a noticeable uptick in hate crimes).  but, hate crimes were still a problem under obama, and would have continued under clinton.  it has always been a problem and we can’t use trump as a scapegoat for everything in a post-11/8 world.  a personal aside: while i’m really worried for victims of hate crimes, i also empathize with the less overt but still damaging experiences/”microaggressions” faced by women/minority democrats in red environments feeling silenced and like second class citizens.  being gay in a christian high school definitely did a number on me, and i cannot thank my (gay!) (bible!) teacher enough to unequivocally tell me that i should get out of georgia as soon as i could. (and–if anyone has ideas on donating time or labor to a helpful defender of these people, daniel and i are in the market for ideas!)
  • i don’t like that the lesson of the 2016 election (and, to some degree, obama’s elections) are that inspiration and making promises you can’t keep make a better candidate than well informed, well researched policy substance.  we should all listen to the weeds!!!!
  • some silver linings: 1) a republican president with a republican congress is in some ways better than hillary facing an obstructionist congress.  there certainly are good republican ideas (case in point: obamacare is not perfect!  the tax code is impossible (and in many ways regressive but that is probably not a republican plank)), and the degree to which we can actually pass laws with a republican president might be better than another 4 years of bickering gridlock.  (might!  i said might!) 2) historically, midterms tend to swing the opposite direction of the presidential election, so this could work out well for democrats in 2018!
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