Sunday, November 13, 2016

Now What?

Now What?

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What was your first reaction to the Presidential election results?

By cartoonist Damien Glez
Florida had fallen before I retired near midnight. I slept fitfully and arose at 0425. The news was sobering for one with an intense dislike disdain for Trump. I am unable to excuse, justify or overlook his hateful spew. 
His comment about Senator (and former POW) John McCain, “I like people who weren’t captured,” is unconscionable. 

And while he claims to be a Christian, Trump admits he has never asked for God's forgiveness. "I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don’t. …When I drink my little wine and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness.” Um… yeah - maybe. I wonder if he knows what the little wine and little cracker are about?
I wondered why my Christian friends voted for him; so I asked. My Aunt said it was simple. “We stand for the sanctity of marriage and life. That’s it. God can use any vessel and we will pray for Trump.” Clear - I can respect that. Another evangelical friend said, “She was more of the same. We want change. But I am a little uncomfortable with the thing he said about John McCain.” A little uncomfortable? I’m outraged! Are you? When I asked my Dad’s remaining sibling and devout Baptist about it she said, “Well I can’t vote for a Socialist, I won’t vote for Hillary so whose left?” These are people I know and love. These are people I trust.

His Twitter tirades are sophomoric, a one-sided dress-down of the Pope, current and former US Presidents, Governors, Congressional members, journalists, newspapers, actors, private citizens, people with disabilities, people of color, in essence, anyone who has breached his very thin and chemically tanned skin.1 Why doesn't his total lack of civility matter? Character matters. Temper tantrums and tirades, by-the-way, are behaviors of the emotionally immature. Ask yourself - what is the developmental age of children who tirade? Two to… eight?

By illustrator Thomas McClure
When he was caught on tape  - the braggart boasting about “grabbing women by the pussy” - I was not shocked. It is completely consistent with his public persona. And 100 hours after airing his closing ad - a blatantly antisemitic, national ad - he’s inviting us to come together and heal?2    אױ װײ = Oy vey!

This is Trumps list of On the First Day To-Do’s:
Repeal every Executive Order enacted by Obama.
Obamacare: repeal and replace.
Recognize Israel: the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen are over.
Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy.
Constitutional amendment to impose term limits for all members of Congress.
Announce plans to renegotiate NAFTA.
Label China a currency manipulator.
NATO has to be re-jiggered… for the better.
Hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition.
Make sure the middle class gets good taxes.
A five year ban on congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
Withdraw the US from the TransPacific Partnership (TPP)
Begin swiftly removing criminal, illegal immigrants from this country.
A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
Day one - we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.
The Muslim ban …has morphed into a extreme vetting from certain areas of the world.
A special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton.
A complete ban on foreign lobbyist raising money for American elections.
We’re gonna get rid of ISIS. We’re gonna get rid of them fast. 3
A pretty ambitious list - with some real pearls we are likely to see him walk back in the near future.

Now what?

The proletariat rose up and spoke - they did and they didn’t. Voter turnout hit a historic 20-year low with only 55% of voting age citizens casting a ballot. Clinton won the popular vote so when Trump claims to have a clear mandate - he doesn’t, he has just under 27%. He got the electoral college but he did not get the majority of voting Americans - and clearly - he did not get me.
A righteous rebellion against elites. I agree; citizens are tired of a system that enables the rich to get richer while the middle class foots the bill. Most of us can support that change but Trump’s hateful rhetoric also made a home for racists, sexists and xenophobes of every color: homophobes, Islamiphobes, immigrantaphobes, etc. …and that scared many of us/me.

By cartoonist Michel Kichka
We on the Left tend to paint Trump supporters with a broad brush as racist and xenophobes. In this post election week I have come to realize that people were drawn to Trump for many reasons. 
There are those hoping he will make good on his promises and bring back coal mining jobs. With the rise of fracking, a (theoretically) cheaper and cleaner source of fuel, only the uninformed would hold that pipe dream. 
Some look toward his promise to renegotiate NAFTA resulting in the return of industry and factory jobs to the rust belt. Experts say that job loss in recent decades was due to automation, not Mexico, and that to claim otherwise is naive or deceitful.  AND, if we got serious about renewable energy, the rust belt and its machinist workforce could rise again. 
Others hope he will “drain the swamp” as promised. How would he do that? The President has very little power to fire elected officials. Further he will need those alligators because, if he hasn’t noticed, the President can get very little done without Congressional swampees.
True conservatives hope for smaller government. Trump’s proposed federal hiring freeze and attrition could kickstart that movement.
Evangelicals aligned with him out of truth to their faith tenets. I get it.
Still others hope he repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA was a start, not a final product. It needs many tweaks. 100% of us will use healthcare in our lifetimes. Citizens need access to affordable healthcare without exclusions for pre-existing conditions that allowed insurers to cherry-pick insurees to keep prices down. 

What’s difficult for people to understand is that we pay for people who don’t have health insurance through our taxes. And we pay at the highest price-point - when they are in crisis and seek care in the Emergency Department. Healthcare is not cheap but the absence of healthcare can forebode financial ruin.
By cartoonist JJ McCullough

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, will support Trump saying "It's very important that the American people coalesce behind the president.”4 He also says we “owe him our respect”. 
I beg to differ - respect is earned. Trump has disrespected large swaths of our population and others around the globe; he will need to make amends to earn my respect. An sincere apology would be a good start and I’m not holding my breath. That would be inconsistent with his public persona. …surprise me Donald.

Dave Chappelle, the African American host of SNL said in their first post election show, “I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too.”

Van Jones, CNN commentator, spoke of Whitelash in an impassioned address during the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Later that day, he was more circumspect. “More empathy and understanding can keep us from needlessly inflaming one another, and this should create the conditions for a better understanding of our differences. Deeper insight can only help all sides.”
Talk (and listen) to someone with whom you don't agree. Ask questions about anything that doesn't sound right to you. But don't just fight back. Try to listen. In fact, before you respond at all, carefully repeat back what you hear -- just to make sure you truly understand the other person. Then share your own views and feelings. Be passionate. But be compassionate, too.”
In the week preceding the election, Van Jones went to Gettysburg and met with Trump supporters. He invites everyone to watch The Messy Truth and converse.5

  I know families torn asunder by this election. To them I say, neither candidate is worth it. Do not let an outsider disrupt the sanctity of your familial circle. Apologize, acknowledge your differences, agree to disagree, express support and get back to love. Find a way back to love.

I’ll leave you with a posting from Rick Hanson, a psychologist who teaches essential inner skills of personal well-being, psychological growth, and contemplative practice. This from his blog:
Last, I've found it really helps to have perspective. Without minimizing one bit of whatever is awful, it is also true that humans like you and I have been walking this earth for nearly 200,000 years. I see the trees, the land, the ocean - all of it here before me and lasting long after me. Empires rise and fall. Sometimes the center does not hold - in a body, marriage, or nation - and still. And still people love each other, go out of their way for a stranger, and marvel at a rainbow. Nothing, nothing at all can change this. We keep putting one foot in front of the other one, lifting each other up along the way.6

I will personally continue to live true to my core values: spreading Aloha in the world, striving to find grace and graciousness, filling my time with music, writing, daily exercise, key relationships and meaningful work. You?

1 - For the ongoing and updated list of Twitter insults, go to:

7 - Cartoons