Saturday, November 12, 2016

Why I Am "Glad" that Hillary Clinton Did Not Win the Election

Don't get me wrong. 

I desperately, stridently, enthusiastically wanted her to win. I cried when I saw that she hadn't, and again while I wrote a possibly overreaching Blog Post about how white, evangelical Christians should be ashamed of themselves for putting Trump in the Oval Office. As I said to one of the Trump-loving dudes I play soccer with, everything negative I've heard about Hillary Clinton is second-hand internet conjecture. With Trump, the condemnation comes right from the horse's mouth.

["Horse's ass, you mean," said the Trump-opposing soccer player who happened to overhear.]

But although I would have been thrilled to see a blow struck against the "misogynistic horror show" this country continues to be, my vote for Hillary was more a vote against Trump than an expression of my enthusiasm about her.

Apologies to my fellow left-wing-pinko-commie-bleeding-heart-liberals, but it feels to me like y'all have been just a wee bit too eager to give Hillary Clinton a pass. A wee bit too un-critical. Yes, she seemed extremely well-pant-suited/qualified for the job as it has come to be... but that's not good enough. The job and the country as they have come to be Are Not Good Enough.

People are suffering. 
The planet is suffering. 

As far as I can tell, Hillary Clinton is a firmly-entrenched member of the ruling political class. A class that has enriched itself while becoming beholden to moneyed interests that are decidedly not good for the world, or for Americans. 

I'm more than willing to grant that the right-wing-nutjob propagandist machine grossly exaggerated Clinton's faults. I believe without a doubt that they engaged in an unrelenting campaign of lies against her, and that there may very well be an undercurrent of sexism here.* But I also think it's possible that they didn't have to work quite as hard to come up with those lies as they did in their past-and-ongoing besmirchment of Obamawith whom I disagree politically in a number of ways, but who is I think perhaps one of the best-charactered presidents this country will ever know.

Donald Trump's stated positions on a great many things are an abomination. 

People who excuse them—even in tiny, fringe ways—become responsible and complicit. 

People who voted for him based on their belief that the slim chance of him keeping a promise they liked was worth overlooking the racist, misogynistic, un-Christian, EVIL demagoguery that comes out of his mouth made a massive error in judgment. An error that will likely cost ME my health insurance, and will expand to an enormous degree the hold that hateful, ugly forces have on this country.

But here's the thing...

Maybe Trump's presidency will prove to be the best thing that could've happened to America. 

Maybe the American system is strong enough to contain this leaking box of nitroglycerin.

Maybe this will prove to be a catalyst for change, as people realize the truly foolish thing they did here and begin to work together to dismantle the parts of this system that were making it impossible for the well-meaning, kind, loving people of this country to make positive changes on a systematic level.

Maybe (and perhaps more importantly) having elected a sexually predatory person incompetent to do the work of  the highest office in the land will force us all to honestly examine how our selfishness, our greed, and our laziness have brought us to this position. 

It doesn't seem likely.

In the mad rush to reassert our identities as members of "The Good Guys and Gals' Club," we seem hell-bent on pointing our fingers and categorizing other people as evil, or racist, or misogynistic, or small-minded, or bigots, or liberal, or communist, or whatever. 

Let's not do that. 

People are complicated, wonderful creatures. We contain multitudes

Even Trump is an interesting, lovable person, with unique qualities and abilities that are worthy of our approval and admiration. It seems likely that he's also mentally unstable, and that he has chosen to ally himself in much that he says and does to the twin dragons (demons? goblins? ghouls?) of Fear and Destruction. But identifying him as Only One Thing [Bigot! Racist! Et Cetera!], and identifying his supporters as Only One Thing [Ditto!] is decidedly unhelpful and unloving. 

It is never good to treat a person as a thing. People are not things, and they know that. By treating them as things, you're giving them a reason to discount your judgment and to dismiss you. 

Don't do that. 

Listen. Grow. Stand firm and loud against fear and loathing wherever you may find them. Even (and perhaps especially) in yourself.

I wish it had been Bernie Sanders against Trump. Then, at least, it would've been a clear moral choice. As flip sides of the "The Establishment Is Broken!" coin, a vote between them would have made it clear whether America is (as I fear) a nation of selfishness, violence, and fear, or (as I hope) a nation merely sick and tired of business as usual and desperate for a change. As it is, I feel we've found ourselves in a bit of a moral clustercuss, where we had to choose between a system that routinely bulldozes over the poor and powerless, and a man who routinely bulldozes over the poor and powerless but at least promises to blow up the system.

So against all sanity, that's where I stand. Wishing America hadn't made the decision to put overt violence, hatred, and evil in the White House... but glad, at least, that the violence, hatred, and evil are now more boldly in the open, where they can be attacked directly.


Let's focus on those things... not on desperately, fanatically re-constructing a conception of ourselves as part of an in-group that, by its very nature, forces us to out-group others. 

We didn't want this.

Fine. 

But this is how it is. So let's dig deep and do better. 

Let's forget making America the sort of great it maybe never really was and focus instead on making ourselves more humble, kind, and loving.

Empires crumble, and maybe this one's so far gone it'll crumble, too. 

But we don't have to be part of the problem. By losing the election and thereby shaking our conception of Who We Are, Hillary Clinton has given us an opportunity to push our own, personal re-set button.

Let's do this.  


- - -

*Yes, privileged white male evangelical Christian-person I talked to recently, sexism is real, omnipresent, and horrifying. And no, it isn't "just this woman" you have an objection to in the Oval Office. I know you better than that.

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