It's been one week. No, I'm not quoting Barenaked Ladies, I'm referencing the election. I've gone through disbelief and despair. It's been a difficult week. But despite how easy it would be, I'm not going to bash. That won't help at all, and the last thing I want to do is get into a political debate on my personal blog.
The primary reason I'm writing this is because I've been reading a number of excellent articles analyzing what's happened. A huge portion of America, myself included, was left utterly shellshocked last Wednesday at the election's outcome. SNL captured the typical reaction perfectly in this skit. "Oh my God, America's racist!" But that's an oversimplification. While I'm sure there are both overt and closet racists who voted for Donald Trump, I don't think you can argue that all (or even a majority) of Trump voters were racist. So in the aftermath, I've found myself repeatedly asking why and how. And this led to me digging up these articles, which I think are insightful. The following article makes a lot of good points and includes an analysis of white working class resentment that I think played a large part in Trump's victory. It's worth a read.
So why did people vote for Trump? Well, nobody has THE answer. And there certainly isn't only one reason. Let me try for a few plausible answers of my own. First of all, because he's not Hillary. People on the right hate her. They hate her in the same way they've hated Obama, and somehow even more. This leads to the second reason. They've been given extra reason to hate her by all the fake news. Hillary and Bill have had dozens of their political enemies assassinated. Obama was born in Kenya and is a secret Muslim terrorist. The Pope has endorsed Donald Trump. Ted Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination. There are many people who completely believe this stuff. 2016 is the year that Fake News made its biggest impact.
There are a lot of people who get the bulk of their news from Facebook. And whether or not you even consider the filter bubble, the number of outright false “news” stories is disturbing. But The Problem With Facebook Runs Much Deeper Than Fake News. It's shown that social media has taken a huge role in human culture. Is it the job of companies like Facebook and Twitter to algorithmically filter what we see? To censor fake news? You can pretty easily find problems with any answer to that question. I suppose that at this point, asking the question and having the conversation is the most important thing.
And this leads me into the final really-good article: The Other Side Is Not Dumb
This article says
We should all enter every issue with the very real possibility that we might be wrong this time. It's making an appeal to people to keep an open mind. It's so easy to say that, but very difficult to do that. It's easy to dismiss your uncle's arguments as being based on mistruth when he blames Hillary for the disaster at Benghazi. But you know what? I'll bet he's read more about it than you, even if what he has came from Fox News and from that hardback "Under Fire" you see on his coffee table every time you visit. Yes - it would be easy to dismiss his sources as slanted, and maybe they are. But maybe don't dismiss them out of hand. Listening with an open mind doesn't mean you need to need to end up sharing his opinion. And blaming someone on your side of the political aisle for doing something wrong doesn't mean you need to discard all you hold dear. Then, maybe there's a chance he'll listen with an open mind when you tell him that Democrats aren't about to confiscate his guns.
Trump is offering so much he'll never deliver. I worry deeply that he'll end up being the worst American president. But what he is delivering to the white working class is hope. The hope is real, even if the substance and the payoff are lacking. I hope for all of our sakes that President Trump does a good job.