Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reflections

Well...it's been quite a week, hasn't it?  If you've been reading at all you'll know that I have had quite a bit to say about the election of last Tuesday over the last several months.  I'm not going to recount all the facts and figures of the election here.  That has been done ad nauseum by so many others.  Unless you've been living under a rock, you've seen all reactions from various factions to Trump's win.  Social media has blown up.  There has been everything from wailing, gnashing of teeth, and predictions of Armageddon to shouts of joy and tears of relief.  This is the ultimate "where you stand, depends on where you sit" election.  That the country is radically divided almost 50-50 is undeniable.  That many, many people have way overstated the results, either good or bad, is also undeniable.  That we haven't been very well served by the media, who we rely on for information, would probably be agreed to by most.  As the week unfolded I was tempted to write a few posts. I thought about offering my take on the protesters. Or maybe an examination of the issues from my perspective.  Or a look at our system to discuss just how we could arrive at such an outcome.  I also thought about offering my thoughts on the new administration, what needs to be done, and who needs to do it.  But I was overcome by the deluge of others writing about those and other subjects so eloquently.  You've heard who my favorite authors are over the last several months so I'd encourage you to go find their responses and check them out.  

But I do feel a need to offer some thoughts (I know...no surprise) on various pertinent issues.  Not long thoughts.  Not up for debate.  You either agree or not.  I really don't care.  But I've found that getting things out feels sorta good.  So here goes...
  • Trump--His election to the Presidency is the biggest political surprise of my life.  He is brash, unrefined, an outsider, bombastic, insufferable, overconfident, aggressive, arrogant, unrelenting, energetic,  and maddeningly sure of himself.  As a politician, he is a disaster.  He says what he thinks and sometimes (many times) either doesn't consider the ramifications of his pronouncements or says things in the vernacular that he is used to rather than the polite, politically nuanced way that most of the populace is used to.  He grew up in rough and tumble New York, scrapping to make a success of himself and stepped on a lot of toes.  He has used language that is definitely considered "politically incorrect" and I'm sure is hurtful to some.  He has said things that outrage people.  But...having said all that, he's not the monster that some are making him out to be.  I suspect that any of us could look back over our lives and would not want some of the things we've said in private either in jest or trying to fit into the spur of the moment to made public.  I know that is true of me.  There can be no doubt that he has raised a terrific family.  There can be no doubt that he has been successful.  There can be no doubt that he has surrounded himself with successful, smart people.  And there can be no doubt that he wants to cut through the bullshit to "make America great again".  I also think that he is the most misunderstood public figure that I've ever seen.  The best quote about Trump I've heard is that "the media and the elites take Trump literally but not seriously and his supporters take him seriously, but not literally".  Think about that.  That's him in a nutshell.  Don't listen to every little thing he says.  Listen to what he wants to accomplish.  Can he do it?  Don't know.  We're already starting to see him take control and act Presidential.  I'm optimistic but will have to wait, watch and see.  But he won the election.  He gets to try.  And we all owe him the support to see if he can.  And here's my prediction...a couple of years from now many will be wondering what they were concerned about.
  • Hillary--she proved to be an even worse candidate than most thought.  If you've been reading, you know that I think there is no doubt that she is reprehensible.  She has definitely threatened National Security.  And lied about it.  She definitely is responsible for deserting 4 Americans on the other side of the world and causing their deaths.  And lied about it.  She had no vision, no message, and was as charismatic as a wooden spoon.  I just hope that this defeat finally closes the Clinton chapter in American politics.  I personally would be in favor of further investigations into her illegality and the shenanigans of the Clinton Foundation.  But I get the need to get past it.  So for me, whatever happens, happens.  The only thing I care about is that she is gone.
  • The scared ones--you know...people of color, LBGTs, illegal immigrants, some women, etc who are nervous and scared that something bad will happen to them.  That they will be targeted.  Put simply, that won't happen.  Trump has proven over and over to have no issues with minorities or the LBGT community.  See my first comments above.  That he has said some hurtful things in the heat of the campaign and as a neophyte politician is undeniable.  But it seems to me two things are relevant.  First, a lot of the comments attributed to him are in fact made up by either his enemies or their compliant media.  That is undeniable.  Second, he has shown in a very short time that he can moderate and he will show that more and more in the coming days, weeks and months.  Will he do something about illegal immigrants who are criminals?  You bet.  But the idea that he will lead or even permit the rounding up of innocents is beyond the pale.  He has laid out a very reasonable 10-point plan to deal with immigration and in fact, he's treated them more favorably than many other politicians.  Some women have voiced concern about access to contraceptives.  I think that really translates to a concern about Planned Parenthood.  That PP has a black eye is beyond debate.  They have been exposed to engage in some really disgusting behavior.  And their claim to be the only game in town for women's health issues is just stupid.  But Trump will not make this a front and center, do or die issue.  At least I don't think he will.  And if he does, I'll be there fighting alongside those who feel victimized.  I will fight even though I'm terribly torn on the issue of abortion.  I believe (like Bubba) that it should be  safe, legal, and rare.  That doesn't mean that I don't have real concerns about things like partial birth abortion.  But at the end of the day, I will come down on the side of women.  And if I need to take up the fight, I will.
  • Update:  just saw an interesting article about Trump's supposed anti-semitism and racism.  You can read it here.  Think it would be a good read for anyone who has been feeling anxious.  
  • Healthcare-- I'm not an expert, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Obamacare hasn't worked out as advertised.  That's a polite way of saying lies were told.  And now the expense is making an adjustment an imperative.  I have no doubt that it will be repealed and replaced.  And I equally have no doubt that the new plan will be better.  We've already seen Trump accepting some of the better parts of Obamacare.  But once competition is allowed to take place, I think it will be better.  So for the small number of people (relative to the whole population) who need government healthcare, it will be better.
  • Immigrants--Trump laid out a very reasonable 10-point immigration policy in a speech in Arizona earlier this Summer.  Unfortunately, it was drowned out by the hysterical media interpretation.  Put simply, he's going to control the borders and go after criminals here illegally.  There are other things, but that's the gist.  When he says he's going to build the wall, he means he's going to control the border.  And he's going to do it.  
  • Media--they are in denial.  Most of them acknowledge that they got it wrong, but that's it.  They don't acknowledge the gross unfairness of the coverage.  This is a real problem.  I don't know what the solution is, but I hope that people will realize that they have to review different sources if they are going to get the full picture.  Way too many people were naval gazing this time around.  I live in the reliably blue bubble of SoCal and even I could see that.  The other thing about the media that is really dangerous, is that so many people get their information from a few sources.  And when those sources are fake news like The Daily Show, or Comedy Central, or SNL, or whats trending on Facebook, someplace similar, then they are getting only one slanted view.  And they take it as real.  Really.  They do.  How stupid can they be?
  • Democrats--they've got to be demoralized.  It was a clean sweep.  But it's also an opportunity.  It's an opportunity to take the high road.  Too see where there can be compromise.  Too really try and get something done.   They are the loyal opposition, and they should embrace that role and stand up for what they believe.  But showing some accomplishments wouldn't be such a bad thing.  But it's not the end for them.  Everything goes in cycles.  When Goldwater got trounced in 1964, everyone said the Republicans were finished.   Well, they've done okay since then.  The interesting thing will be to see how Bernie's crazies do in the future.  If the wacko, socialist progressives take over the party then there will be some mighty battles coming in the future.  
  • Republicans--they better be careful.  It's the "be careful what you wish for" syndrome.  They now have no excuses.  They have said they've got plans.  They have whined about Obama for 8 years.  Well...now is their chance.  They better not blow it.  
  • Protesters--This is my biggest worry.  The young people expressing such infantile reactions are surprising.  That they are sad, devastated, scared, worried, etc is ridiculous.  That they need safe spaces and reassurance is embarrassing.  That our greatest universities are contributing to this nonsense is outrageous.  That they are resorting to violence, stating that Trump isn't their President, etc is stupid and dangerous.  This reaction is really a terrible indictment on our education system.  I'm hoping that this will blow over soon, but it's really one of the most surprising reactions to any event, let alone an election, that I've ever seen.
  • Celebrities--we all know that those engaged in the arts have a different way of looking at things.  Most of them do not have a very good education.  And they are not smart enough to educate themselves.  Most of them are supremely self-centered.  Most of them would do anything for a part.  Most of them would sacrifice any ethical standard for the next role.  Most of them would sell their soul for a buck.  They are modern-day snake oil salesmen.  So it's not surprising that they are stupid.  The bad thing is that so many people listen to them.  Don't be stupid.  Don't listen to them.
  • The Electoral College--I've heard calls for the Electoral College to be done away with and for the popular vote to be the way we elect Presidents.  Won't ever happen.  A picture is worth a thousand words.














  • Social media arguments--it's a waste of time.  No minds are going to be changed.  What you are doing if you engage someone on social media is to expose your thoughts to ridicule for no reason.  Unless you have an extra strong constitution and self-view, this can be disturbing.  If you do this, remember this mantra...it's not you, it's them.  Here's what I do.  I use humor.  Because after all, if you can't laugh you'd probably cry.  And most of these people deserve a good laugh
  • Obama--He's got to be worried about his legacy.  Got to.  No matter what he says.  Many people in the country love him.  I get that.  But as I've commented here many times I think he's been a huge disappointment and certainly, for me, ranks in the bottom three of all our Presidents.  And now Hillary, his hand-picked successor (although there is a lot of evidence that there is no love lost between the Clintons and Obamas) has lost and his two signature accomplishments, Obamacare and the ill-fated Iran deal are likely to be dismantled.  He will stay in Washington DC and stay engaged.  I hope he takes G.W. Bush's example and stays out of Trump's hair.  
  • National Security--I can't address this in a little blurb.  It's too important.  I'll be watching and thinking about how they respond.  More to come.
I'm sure there are others, but that's all I have energy for.  It's been a long week.  But through it all, I know and believe that we will come through this.  We are the "bright, shining city on the hill".  I believe that.  We give hope and opportunity to all of mankind.  A year or two from now I fervently hope that we are stronger for this craziness. 

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