As you know, I work in a University, which means that most of my friends has the mother of all sads from the election results.
Here I just want to say that things are not as bad as they look and the path forward is not as daunting as it might seem.
I am not a fan of president elect pumpkin spice. Didn’t vote for him, think he’s wrong on virtually every social and economic issue. But I don’t see either the accuracy or utility of labeling his supporters as racists, bigots, misogynists, …… Some surely are, but the great majority of them are people with strong grievances (real or perceived) against the current system and treating them with contempt only makes the problem worse.
OK, so here’s my pitch for why we can be optimistic about the future.
The election was really close. We really only need to persuade a million or so folks to change their views. Plus, maybe the dems can learn a bit and run a candidate that doesn’t have so much baggage and doesn’t dismiss a big chunk of the electorate as “irredeemable”.
Second, the future is brighter. Young voters overwhelmingly rejected pumpkin spice, even when the alternative was tepid dishwater. Time is on our side for social progress.
Third, time is also on our side as folks have an additional 4 years now to see that gay marriage does not hurt them, that Islam is not their enemy, etc. Slowly but you know what, some folks may come around. Remember, it doesn’t have to be everyone.
So rather than labeling and demeaning, I suggest we reach out in a spirit of love to try and understand the grievances of the spice brigade and see if we can cut a deal.
If we build a wall (or renegotiate NAFTA and scupper the TPP) and go after China in the WTO can we drop the deportation stuff and maybe even increase legal, vetted immigration and refugee acceptance?
If we include rural whites in affirmative action type programs, can we agree to continue to use government to help disadvantaged minority groups?
We have no problems buying off teachers unions and other types of interest groups, let’s figure out what we can do the raise the status / self esteem of a couple of million pumpkin spicers going forward. Because believe me, the republicans will run other populist demagogues until it is decisively shown not to work.
Nearly half of the electorate that bothered to vote voted for Trump. Yelling at them, no matter how good that may feel, isn’t going to make their numbers go down. If we want to consolidate and build on the social progress we have attained, we have to find a way to incorporate some of them into the movement.
In the immortal words of Will Toledo, “I want a deal, let’s cut a deal..”