Tuesday, November 15, 2016


A week has passed, hasn't it?

I've been a junkie for news ever since I can remember. It's nice that my career compliments this interest: especially since joining the high school it's crucial that I stay ahead of pace with the news. So I get to marry fun and work. Though the election had a way of souring the news for me. It sapped my enjoyment of reading it and by the final week I was reading it out of routine and hope than pleasure.

It might take a while until I have that enjoyment for the news again.

Two particular insights from the news have struck me the most powerfully as I make sense of the most recent election.

First, from a news site I almost never consult: Glenn Beck's website. Okay, it's commentary, not news. But one writer there offered a particularly helpful angle on understanding the election:

Did the opponents of Mrs. Clinton overstate her potential triumph as something threatening their survival? It's possible. But I don't know if I'm in a position to judge on that point. However, the election was, very much, for me a moral one. And I think that helps explain why the hurt and disappointment are so profound. My vote for her was a stand against something that I didn't want to see our country to be.

Next, an analysis by the Economist offered this chilling perspective while analyzing Democrats' options for leadership as they move forward.

"Witch-burning atmosphere" is damning but accurate. And as the campaign reached its crescendo, it's the tone that I couldn't mistake regarding Mr. Trump's rallies. There are many of Mr. Trump's supporters who bristle at the allegations of sexism or racism (directed at President Obama) in his campaign. Those who point to it are often labeled as elitists. To many of us, though, the tone was unmistakable. And it was a tone that wasn't entirely new. To wit: one passionate opponent of the president has a sign like this along the highway near my parents:

And then I remember seeing this tasteless poster last summer near Ricketts Glen:

Tone matters. Dog whistles matter. The tone, words, and atmosphere of Mr. Trump's campaign made me look at this election as a moral stand.

I could be witty and call to mind the famous witch scene from Monty Python's film. I'd rather, though, draw a parallel between this election and a somewhat obscure western, the Ox Bow Incident. Will our country at some point reflect on the shame of what just took place the way characters in that film do when the hanging is done.

. . .

There's some good that will come from this election. The Democrats paid an awfully steep price for overlooking an aggrieved class. I can separate the tone of the campaign (which I cannot respect) as well as the implicit sexism and racism of some opponents to the Democrats from the legitimate grievances that motivated many more to pull the lever for Mr. Trump. Those grievances I respect, and out of respect for those economic grievances I'm sad that Mr. Trump's policy solutions are thin, hollow, and ultimately not the remedies for what ails them. As Americans, we can learn to better listen to the grievances of groups we overlook.

. . .

I think that's it for my commentary on this election. I'm fatigued. Ready to look to something more interesting. Ready to look for ways I can not overlook aggrieved classes in our country. Ready to be kind. And ready to read the commentaries that mean so much to me as we evaluate a new presidency that starts on January 20.

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