<< ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 10, 2016 and PAINFUL REMINDER >>
“There is an ancient Greek legend about harpies,” she told me. “They are shadows that can come to life only if they drink human blood.
The life of a scholar is the life of a shadow. When one participates in making the future happen, even a small part of the future—and this is what politics is about—that is when one who was a shadow can come to life.
But for that, one has to drink blood, including one’s own.”
“I am not one and simple, but complex and many”
Ok. I am tired of talking about the presidential election. Shit. I was tired of the election itself before it ended. But I have been asked so many times about the result I am going to roll out one last final enlightened conflict thought on the election because yesterday I was mostly discussing the global repercussions, security/financial/nationalism, of the election choice.
I will begin with 62,984,828 popular votes. That is how many Trump received <give or take>.
That is 19.5% of the total US population <321,418,820>.
That is 25% of the total adult US population <247,813,910>.
That is about 31% of the total registered voter US population <a little over 200 million I believe>.
<just a note: about 72,000,000 votes, 29% of the adult population, actually did not vote for Trump>
Yeah. A minority just chose the most powerful position in the world. A minority just put possibly the most incompetent unqualified person to the most powerful position in the world.
But, most importantly, a majority did nothing to stop this from happening.
This is not an ‘anti-establishment movement.’
This is not a ‘reestablishment of conservative values.’
Nor is this a rejection of current policies.
This is nothing more than a large indifference to involvement with a sliver minority voice being pissed enough to push one candidate over the finish line.
Ah. That ‘sliver voice.’
Trump won Pennsylvania <+68,236>, Michigan <+11,837> and Wisconsin <+27,257> by 107,330 votes. Ironically … that is almost the same as the capacity seating for Michigan Stadium the home of the Michigan Wolverines.
Florida and North Carolina by less than 200,000 each.
With voter turnout so low <historically low in America compared to other democracies> the actual ‘difference’ is relatively easy to identify.
Trump’s campaign fully admitted that they had “major voter suppression operations” all with the overall intent to create and encourage a sense of disillusionment <whether it is truly fact or fiction> thereby encouraging an overall lack of enthusiasm to show up at all. Their campaign created one of the most negative ‘hollow of policy’ public discussions of all time.
Despite the fact that 87% of Congress was up for reelection and there were a number of state by state initiatives which will have a direct effect on the people living there and the fact the least qualified candidate of all time was in position to take the most powerful position in the free world … only one significant voting block segment really showed up <Latinos showed up, but represented too small a segment to overcome a significantly larger white voting block>.
White rural Americans.
Life, just as in this election, is filled with winners and losers. And no one likes to lose. And, to me, that is what this election revolved around. Rural America and working white people feeling like losers or they are losing … even when we all know they are not losers and many of them really are not losing <even though we most likely do not publicly verbalize that enough>.
Ah. But this all feeds into a perilous topic … white people and their identity.
Far too often when this topic comes up it is cloaked in white supremacy or simple racism … in this case it is not. In fact many people have researched some of the isolation populist thinking working its way through the Western world and consistently identify ‘a crisis of white identity’ as a common thread.
In this case it is more revolving around what does it mean to be part of this country, what is my role and what is ‘our nation anymore’ as well as “what should this nation be”.
As for identity … experts typically define it in two categories –
- “achieved” identity derived from personal effort
- “ascribed” identity based on innate characteristics.
I bring that up to make the point that this election was not an indicator, for the most part, of any real pain, but rather of perceived pain and identity.
Please do not read that as any indication I am diminishing areas that have lost jobs and lost opportunities. I am simply making the point that, in general, lives are lived in relative comfort, people have jobs <even if they may not be the ones they really want>, the economy is growing and culturally we are as open as any country in the world. I am simply pointing out that many white people feel like it should be better than it is <even though what is ain’t that bad>. Therefore, if they feel like their role in the nation’s achievements is diminishing <perception wise>, they believe that it would be better if they had a larger voice.
I have purposefully worded it this way, as I did yesterday to a consulting firm, because this is not racism — this is ‘doing and fixing’ at its core. It is achieving and ascribing.
White rural people, hard working Americans, believe they offer the solutions to achieve as well as they ascribe themselves to the solutions. And you know what? The other 25% of non whites who voted for Trump most likely also would throw their achieving & ascribing hats into the same ring.
We cannot get around the fact that older white people were the reason Trump will be our next president.
We cannot ignore the truth that a portion of that older white people segment are racist and xenophobes.
But we cannot ignore the larger truth that this segment believes their white identity, as achievers & ascribers, actually reflects a larger identity of what makes America great.
And, on that? They are correct.
Hillary did not lose the other night.
Working class America did not win the other night.
White identity did not win the other night.
America lost the other night.
I am not suggesting having Hillary Clinton as our president would have been a resounding win for America all I am suggesting is that Trump, an asshat incompetent narcissist who I am hoping with my deepest hopes will actually rise to the occasion, is a resounding loss for America. And our citizenry lack of involvement and how we have elected to voice any displeasure we may have with the status quo was a losing tactic.
Lastly. I do have a piece of advice to the politicians who are now forced to work with Trump <and, on a side note, this drew some chuckles as I stated this yesterday>.
Trump is not a Republican nor is he a Democrat, nor is he a thinker, he is a tactical doer <with an eye toward how those tactics “look”>.
That means <part 1> … you would be foolish to believe that there is now a “dictate for Republican ideology as spoken by the people” and start believing you have a president who will ‘do shit’ <and, as note earlier, only 24% of adults ‘mandated’ that>. You may get some of the stuff done you want, but only if it meets the Trump “doer” filter.
That means <part 2> … well … those of us in the business management world are quite familiar with the incompetent ego driven leader focused on doing shit. They aren’t smart enough or skilled enough to recognize the true ‘good doing’ versus the ‘not-so-good’ doing. Their natural instinct is to just do. You would be foolish to try and block the doing. It is wasted energy <and I have the scars to prove it>. You have to learn to maximize the good and minimize the bad.
All that said. With an incompetent ego-driven leader in charge America will have some wins and some losses as he forges ahead with doing shit. It would be foolish of us to assume we are destined for the shithole. We will be forced to do shit and manage the shit he starts making us do. Frankly … the success of America resides less on Trump than it does on the people surrounding him. I have worked with shithole leaders before who surrounded themselves with good people who herded the leader’s doing stupidity into meaningful pastures of profitable use of time, energy and resources.
As I told someone yesterday, there will be costs <protectionism comes with an expense> and there will be profits <doing inevitably creates something>. There will be winners and there will be losers <both of which are yet to be identified>.
I am done with writing about Trump until he does his next anti-American buffoonish maneuver.
The worst problem is the one you cannot see.
We can now see this one – identity (real or ascribed). Trump is not the leader to solve it … yea … he may make some decisions that will help business (most likely at the expense of morals), but he has no clue on how to solve the dividing thoughts of America and Americans. His role in this tragic comedy was to give voice to it.
It is now up to others to see it and solve it.
I end as I opened … when one participates in making the future happen, even a small part of the future that is when one who was a shadow can come to life. But for that, one has to drink blood, including one’s own.”
Participate in the future.
That I was yesterday, this I am today and what I will be tomorrow is up to me.