Let’s Play the Blame Game


America’s been shot through the heart. And who’s to blame?

OK enough of that.

Yesterday, I posted about how the people of various nationalities reacted to the news that Donald Trump is now the President. As of yesterday the sheer magnitude of that fact had not sunken in yet, as I proclaimed 2016 to be the most bizarre year of my lifetime, thus far. Today, as I take to Facebook and see how my American friends who live in the States are reacting, I can’t help but get slightly annoyed at the whole lot of them.

After the initial and completely understandable cries of shock, there immediately followed a squabbling of the sort barely fit for a second grade schoolyard.

Deport the Bernie Sanders supporters! It’s all their fault that people don’t like Hillary!

Those of you who voted third party are no longer my friends! Fuck you this is all your fault!

No, it’s the people who didn’t vote! It’s their fault! How could you not vote in such an important election!

It’s all old people’s fault! Young people voted Blue! Fuck old people!

No, it’s young people’s fault, for not having voted more!

How dare you care about principles? Being principled is being privileged! It’s the hipsters’ fault!

Stop talking about Bernie Sanders! Us moderate Republicans who never wanted Trump in the first place are going to rally to him now if all you talk about is a Commie who promises free stuff for everyone!

People. Enough.

Yes, Trump being President is a scary reality that few people anywhere thought could ever have been possible. But now it is a reality, and this squabbling will get us nowhere. Do you know what else is a reality? There is a giant portion of the country which is outraged, and wants to make sure that Trump is not able to enact his vile, hateful policies and campaign promises, destroying the world economy in the process. That is also a reality, and squabbling over whose fault it is, raising hackles and alienating every single person who shares your goal of opposing Trump, but did not decide to vote exactly the way that you did, will get you precisely dick.

There are a million reasons why Trump won. For decades, the US has had one of the lowest voter turnout of the developed world, due in large part to the fact that it is an incredibly complicated voting system, as well as intentional measures to suppress voter turnout, exacerbated by the repeal of key parts of the Civil Rights Voting Act. Meekly letting that skate by, and accepting it as a fact of life, does not then give you the right to turn around and scream at people who didn’t vote in this particular election. Maybe, instead, acknowledge that the voting system is at best flawed and at worst designed to have as few people as possible voting, and make fixing it a cornerstone of your platform going forward.

Do not condescend to progressives who didn’t like Hillary Clinton. Some voted for her, some voted third party, and some didn’t vote at all, but they are adults who made their own adult decision. The American political system allows for third parties and for people to decide whether to vote their conscience, or vote for the lesser of two evils. Do not pretend to love democracy, and then scream at adults who choose to not employ their democratic vote the way you see fit. Maybe, instead, acknowledge that the United States was founded to get away from monarchies and aristocracies, and that in this election people finally had enough of it. Enough Bushs, Clintons and Kennedys. Enough telling us that it is this person’s “turn”, as if anyone has a fundamental right to the Presidency. Acknowledge that it is time to return to actual representatives, who represent the people, and listen to those people when they have concerns, instead of telling them to shut up, heel, be a good dog and vote no matter how poorly represented, or how ignored you feel.

I do not think that the majority of the country actually wants Trump to be President. I think that Trump (accidentally) capitalized on this fragmentation, and bickering, and squabbling, and rode a wave of extreme right wingers who came out to vote for the very first time and tipped him straight into the White House. If you actually want to prevent him from enacting his loathsome policies, continuing the very squabbling that won him the Presidency is most likely not going to do it.

Putting aside left vs right policies for one second. Can we all agree that it should be easy for every eligible voter to vote, across the entire country? Can we agree that it should be no more difficult than buying a cup of coffee? If my pathetically organized home country of Italy can make it that easy, the US certainly can, if they have a mind to.

Can we all agree that allowing giant corporations to buy elections is the antithesis of democracy?

Can we all agree that people actually want to be heard, and represented, rather than insulted, and condescended to?

There is a unique opportunity here to unite rather than to fragment further. Regardless of how differently you would have acted if you were in another’s shoes, I beg you to not let that stand in the way of uniting with those people under a common goal. This has happened, there is no going back, so maybe you can use this as a lesson and an inspiration to fix a broken system. You can find so many allies and together, stronger, you can fight for a political system in which people participate, and feel included, and feel represented. United, you can put enormous pressure on your representatives, whether they have an R or a D next to their name, to not allow Trump to run roughshod over the country.

Or you can keep pointing fingers at each other and bitching until you’re blue in the face, while Trump skips along unawares doing whatever he wants in the face of a fragmented thus nonexistent opposition. There’s that too.

Comments

  1. says

    Putting aside left vs right policies for one second. Can we all agree that it should be easy for every eligible voter to vote, across the entire country?

    You ask that as if it’s a rhetorical question and not a very real disagreement.

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      If it wasn’t a real disagreement, there would be no voter suppression. However, amongst those who are angry at a Trump election, and wish to fight him, and make sure such a thing doesn’t happen again? You’d be surprised how many ordinary people who identify as Republican feel that way, and you’d be surprised how few of those actually agree with the concept of voter suppression.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I think that Trump (accidentally) capitalized on this fragmentation

    Of all the pointless, counter-productive, deluded things people are saying to one another right now, can we at the very least acknowledge that Trump didn’t do this by accident. From day one, people have dismissed him as a clown, a joke, assuming he was making it up as he went along, he didn’t really want to be President, he was a false-flag Democrat subverting the Republicans to get Hillary in, he was the puppet of Putin/the media/whoever. From day one, people have underestimated him, and here we are, and people (not just here) are STILL pretending this is all a horrible mistake and he was just lucky.

    He. Won. The. Presidential. Election.

    You do not do that “accidentally”, and pretending it was all just a cockup is the first step to never, ever coming close to having someone you agree with in power ever again.

  3. polishsalami says

    This is a better analysis than I’ve seen in a lot of high-profile publications.

    Blame must fall with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic establishment — not Jill, or Bernie, or “white men” (54% of Trump’s vote came from PoC and white women, apparently). The people who caused this mess have to own it.

  4. EigenSprocketUK says

    Dear USA, want to get rid of the arguments about how the turn-out was unrepresentative? Just make voting mandatory.
    Sounds like too much for your first amendment? You’re allowed to spoil your ballot or write in your own opinion.
    Mandatory voting sounds too much like government over-reach? Make voting rights automatic for every single eligible voter no exceptions, extremely easy to access, extremely easy to exercise (open for ten days including no-questions-asked mail-in), and simpler to use (get rid of huge multi-ballot and down-ballot confusion)
    All this sounds like too much for the WorldGreatestDemocracy®™? Listen up, USA: you aren’t.
    (ps, as my nym suggests, I am in the UK where our first-past-the post system is woefully undemocratic, though even it sounds better than the electoral college.)

    • StevoR says

      In Australia, my homeland , we have preferential voting and in many European nations they have that and /or run-off elections where a series of elections progressively eliminates candidates.

      There is also mandatory voting here in Oz and there’s no fixed electoral terms or limits on the number of times some one can run for election to our de factohighest office and there’s a rule here that you cannot block supply – or in other words do what the Republicans have now twice done in shutting down the US govt.

      I think these – along with abolishing the Electoral College – might be good reforms for the US to make to its system which, seconding EigenSprocketUK, is definitely NOT the ideal democratic and electoral model in the world.

      Now I’m an Aussie so perhaps its not my place to say this but then the USA has such a huge influence and impact on my nation and so many others, why shouldn’t I be able to make some constructive criticisms and suggests solutions when the US system hurts so much of the world? Please Americans, please start making some much-needed political system reforms.

      • StevoR says

        NB. De facto highest office here = Prime Minister, we also have a Governor General and the British Queen symbolically and there was the whole Republic debate here ten years ago and its all complicated.. anyhow.

        Most democratic nations in the world, I think, most European modelled ones (incl. Israel) have multi-party systems that are preferential and fairer and more rational than the USA’s in my view. I wish the United States would join them and reform its system to a fairer one ASAP.

        Perfection and some Utopian ideal system may not be ever completely attainable by FSM y’all can get a lot closer to that ideal than you now are.

  5. Jake Harban says

    I do not think that the majority of the country actually wants Trump to be President.

    Given the results and the exit polls, it appears Trump has the actual support of about 17% of American voters. About half the country didn’t vote; of those that did, a majority voted against him, and of those who voted for him, a majority were merely picking the lesser of two evils.

    Can we all agree that allowing giant corporations to buy elections is the antithesis of democracy?

    Talk about giant corporations buying democracy usually focuses on Citizens United, but that’s not necessarily the biggest elephant in the room— especially given this election, where Clinton raised and spent more money but still lost.

    When talking about money in politics, the biggest problem is the government/corporate revolving door in which giant corporations bribe legislators with the promise of cushy jobs as “lobbyists” or “consultants” after they leave office. How has Italy addressed that problem?

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      Italy is a very corrupt country, but the corruption is still technically illegal. Italy now needs to address the problem by actually applying the law evenhandedly, instead of deciding to prosecute the occasional rich guy who is not currently in favor politically. While I cannot ever claim that corruption is not a giant problem in Italy, legalizing that corruption, as is done in the States, can hardly be any better.
      My mention of Italy in the post was not to hold it as a high standard for a corruption-free government, that would be ludicrous. Rather, I was saying that the ease of voting is something that the States can aspire to. There is no such thing as voter registration, all citizens are automatically registered to vote as soon as they turn 18 and receive their voter card in the mail. Voting happens on Sunday, when a majority of the country is off work, and every school becomes a voting station. For those who do not have Sunday off they can request a few hours off work, but hardly anyone needs to, because it takes all of 5 minutes, 10 perhaps if you have a slightly longer walk to the nearest school in your area. If you are old or infirm, you simply inform the appropriate office early that you intend to vote, and a shuttle bus will come to pick you up. If you are too infirm to leave the house, you inform them and a person will come to your home with a ballot. Every time I have voted in Italy, it took me less than 3 minutes to complete the entire process, and one of those times I was voting in a referendum with one of the highest voter turnouts in recent history, so the ease and speed was not due to the fact that no one was bothering to vote. As easy as buying a cup of coffee, in other words.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    of those who voted for him, a majority were merely picking the lesser of two evils.

    Citation needed.

    Or to put it another way – what possible defensible reason can you point to for this arbitrary pronouncement?

    allowing giant corporations to buy elections is the antithesis of democracy?

    Yes, I agree, which is why the US election was an excellent example of the opposite. Clinton was the big money, big business, big banks candidate. One of the funniest (from thousands of miles away) sights of this whole election was watching politicians and businesses scramble to DISassociate themselves from Trump. For an apparent billionaire businessman, he seems to have remarkably few “friends”, certainly compared to Clinton. Which was, of course, one of his main selling points. That and the fact he didn’t spend a good portion of his campaign actively, shrilly insulting the people he was going to need to vote for him and quizzically asking why the hell he wasn’t fifty points ahead in the polls, like he was fucking entitled to be or something.

    On a lighter note, Jonathan Pie explains…

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      The Presidential election is pretty much the only election in the States in which big money has the least influence, because of the giant amount of free media. Instead, look at the congressional and senatorial elections to see the influence of big money. Those happened too, you know. Also, look at the democratic primaries. The fact that Bernie got so close to Clinton despite taking no big money was a fucking miracle, and should have been the first giant indication of how this election was going to go. Had they had the same amount of money, and an evenhanded representation in the media, and no dirty voting tricks, and a similar support from the DNC, would she still have won the primaries? Now we’ll never know, of course, but it would be naive to suggest that all of those things did not give her an edge. Considering he managed to almost catch up with her, given the fact that when the primaries started he was at 1% name recognition whereas everyone knew who she was, gives you a good idea as to how much his message resonated with the electorate, and how much closer the primaries would have been had there been an even playing field

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