An apology to my daughter

Posted on November 9, 2016

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Today I have to explain to my daughter why an openly racist, sexist, serial-adulterer who peddles fear and hate won an election over an eminently qualified woman who while not perfect, has never actually committed a crime. Today I have to explain to my daughter why a man who routinely swindles his employees and steals from his own charity defeated a woman who fought for the rights of children to get an education and whose charity rates higher than the Red Cross. Today I have to explain to my daughter that the country she has heard is great and wonderful is actually tiny and fearful.

One of the reasons given for not pursuing the Iran-Contra scandal to the end, for allowing the perpetrators to escape mostly without penalty, is the powers that be thought the country could not handle another crisis so soon after Watergate. I used to think that reason was flawed. I used to think this country could handle a crisis. I thought this country was striving for greatness, and if you would be great, you must weather the fall of giants.

Last night, the barest minority of our voters proved me wrong.

Fear won last night. Fear of so many things. Fear of the loss of control. Fear that assumed power will no longer be granted. Fear of the future, fear of the other. Raw, naked, fear.

A vile, repugnant demagogue stood in front of the country and told them they should be afraid. He told them they should be afraid and they should choose him because only he would stand up to the other. Only he could stand up to the other. He told us to stop doing the hard work of self-government and let him take the wheel.

47.5% of voters in the United States decided to do just that.

As I write this, Hilary Clinton is winning the popular vote by just north of 200,000 votes. She has lost the Electoral College by what will probably be 309 to 228 points. Of the five elections in the 21st century, the loser of the popular vote will twice become president. 40% of our presidential elections this century directly contravene the will of the people. This needs to be addressed. Not now, but it needs to be addressed. A system that was built to maintain the power of the slave states must be rebuilt. But not today.

I am one of the 47.7%. I didn’t vote for fear. I voted to do the hard work of self-government. Donald Trump is not my president. He will be the president but he will not be mine. I was there as Republicans told me I had to respect the office of a man who lost the popular election because he was the president. Then I watched as those same people refused to offer the same respect to the man who twice won the popular and electoral vote. They refused that respect for two reasons, because he was a Democrat and because he was black.

I watched an entire political party abrogate their responsibility to the will of the people and watched them fail to do the hard work of self-government because they lost.

It worked. Eight years of nihilism worked. Eight years of fear mongering worked. So be it. I accept the results of the election. Now my responsibility, the hard work of self-government, is to stand against and mitigate the damage as much as possible.

If you voted for Trump, please remember, in the next four years, what you voted for.

You voted for the party that poisoned Flint’s water supply. You voted for the party that wants to gut social security. You voted for the party that wants to sell National Parks. You voted for the party that wants to kick sick people off insurance programs. You voted for the party that doesn’t want to pay for birth control. You voted for the party that wants to prevent women access to birth control. You voted for the party that wants to gut Medicare. You voted for the party that wants to gut Medicaid. You voted for the party that ignores science. You voted for the party of the men who automated your jobs and moved their factories across borders.

You voted for the man who accused all immigrants crossing the southern border of being rapists and thieves. You voted for a man who bragged, on camera, about sexually assaulting women. You voted for a man afraid to show you his tax returns. You voted for a man opposed in all ways to an open and free media. You voted for a man who said he will shake down our allies for protection money and abandon them if they don’t pay up. You voted to isolate our nation from the rest of the world and sacrifice any chance we have of influencing and guiding it. You voted for a man who can’t keep track of his own lies. You voted to push the Middle East to deeper war. You voted for a man whose only driving principal is getting his and to hell with anyone else.

That’s what you voted for. You let fear make you small and voted for a would be tyrant because he said he would take the hard work of self-government out of your hands and make everything better. You voted to try to return to a past that wasn’t great and never actually existed.  Would that I could stand aside and let you choke on the “greatness” you voted for.

Today I will explain to my daughter you can work hard and be the most qualified and still lose. Today I will explain to my daughter the difficulty of change and progress. Today I will explain to my daughter progress moves in fits and starts, and the fearful can drive it back. Today I will explain to my daughter when the fearful push you down, you get up and keep working. Today I will explain to my daughter you do the right thing even when all the fearful hordes would have you give up.

I don’t thank you for making me explain these things to my daughter, today. Just like you won’t thank me for the hard work I and others like me will do to try to save you from the worst of your folly.

That is all.

 

 

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Posted in: Politics