That sinking feeling in your gut. Acid swirls. That sick feeling of unease. Your mouth is dry. You can’t eat. Your heart pounds through your chest with anxiety as you try to sleep. I wasn’t alone feeling like this in the days surrounding Donald Trump’s Presidential election. Others cried, fumed, took to the streets.
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
I can only relate the feeling to an intense heartbreak or a period of mourning, and in truth what amplified this feeling for many of us is how caught off guard we were. During the election, people like me perused 538.com analytics after debates and significant events to test the pulse of the country, and quell our fears. The experts were wrong. The intelligentsia was wrong. I WAS WRONG.
After the fact, I am grateful for this feeling, because it has made me wonder, is this how half the country felt when Barack Obama was elected? I can have a greater empathy for how someone’s victory is another’s suffering. In this case, I do feel the country lost, and not me personally, even if I’m sure many won’t believe that. I didn’t love Hilary Clinton, but I thought it was a duty to have anyone else but this man in office. Clearly, many disagreed with that sentiment.
What has erupted is a circular firing squad of blame and negativity that I haven’t experienced in my lifetime. The tears of liberals bring joy to those who support Trump or those who just despise liberals. Bernie supporters blame the corruption of the DNC. Pretty much everyone blames Hilary Clinton for being corrupt, establishment, or just a bad candidate. Those who didn’t vote for Trump, but happen to hate Hilary blame liberals for being smug elitists that ignored the white working class. Liberals blame Trump voters for being racists and misogynists.
We’re probably all to blame somewhat, including myself. On a recent election themed Ex Man podcast with Phil Labonte from All That Remains, I talked about how I had to put politics in a box of entertainment, so that it wouldn’t affect me so much. I was wrong. This shit isn’t entertainment. It’s real. And I was lying to myself about not taking it that seriously. I did take it seriously, but I just didn’t admit it to myself.
That’s what that sick feeling in my gut was. It’s that feeling that in an instant, you do not know what’s going to happen next. Uncertainty. All you know is that world has changed. The course of history has altered. I experienced real fear, and I dismissed others who held fear about their issues be it terrorism, crime, immigration. Even if I didn’t agree with them, I got to taste what fear actually was. I can’t lie, I’ve had it pretty good lately, and I got comfortable. Maybe all of us in progressive enclaves like Seattle, and Austin, and Brooklyn who have “cool people” jobs got really comfortable. We thought the tide had turned.
I too am stuck in that bubble of the professional and artist class in urban utopias with our dope coffee shops, food trucks, and weed dispensaries. I like the bubble. It’s the one I chose, but the other bubble has different news, different facts, and different fears.
You can call Trump voters racists and idiots, and some of them are, but it doesn’t help anything. It just pushes them further into their own bubble, because they’re feelings about how awful the left is are validated.
Liberal America has to reform it’s views on political correctness. I think this is the real reason Trump won, not the economy, or even Clinton. The balance between sensitivity and free speech is apparently a tricky one, but this again is where our bubbles shield us from understanding that we are living in different worlds.
I tell myself to be as objective as possible, but I have my biases, and I have to do better to get out of my bubble.
My main job right now is to listen and try to understand people, regardless of whether I agree with them. The other thing about that sick feeling of uncertainty is it is a signal that you have to do some soul-searching. I have to soul search, and engage in a personal reckoning, because things are going to get tough.
Fight or flight kicks in and I have to decide 1 of 3 options – 1.Get off the sidelines, and become a true activist. 2. Forget politics altogether, and just live in blissful ignorance. 3. Develop a serious drinking habit.
Truth be told, I haven’t made a choice on how to be, hence the soul searching that has to be done. And to those who think it’s funny that people are crying, and are “butt-hurt”, you have to do your own soul searching. Women, people of color, Muslims feel like the entire country rejected them, and thinks they are 2nd class citizens. This is a massive deal for people. If others misery brings you joy, then I understand the content of your character, and perhaps Trump’s rhetoric has affected the country more than I would have hoped. Empathy is a 2-way street.
Also, singling out the worst offenders of the opposition and stereotyping all liberals or conservatives as that is dishonest and immoral. This tactic has only been emboldened by social media. It’s viral propaganda. There are racist Trump supporters but not all or most I believe. There are radical, destructive protesters, but most anti-Trump people don’t take to the streets. We have become bigoted towards those we disagree with. If you find yourself denigrating the “other” side consistently on social media, check yourself. Ask if this is productive or self-satisfactory mud slinging. All sides of the political spectrum are capable of hypocrisy and betraying core values.
And how do I feel about a Trump Presidency? I am worried, but I and all the other “smart” people were wrong about this. So let’s hope my fears are overblown, and all in my head. I have to be fair and judge the reality on the ground, not my paranoia. Those who are staying optimistic are counting on that either Trump was not serious about what he said he will do, or that he is incompetent to achieve his aims. I don’t have as much faith. With control of the Presidency, House, Senate, and soon Supreme Court, there won’t be much to stop his goals. I really hope he does help the working class (I am one of the them), but I remain skeptical.
If his agenda go down as planned, expect a very turbulent, divided 4 years – Affordable Care Act – Gone (20 million without health insurance including my father), Muslim Ban, Roe V. Wade – Gone, Climate Change work – Gone, Reinstatement of Torture, Nationwide Stop & Frisk, Southern Border Wall, 12 Million Undocumented rounded up by force.
I’m sure if he got your vote, you support all of these measures, but it will be devastating for those who disagree. It will be ugly. If you voted for Trump, I don’t judge you. I want to communicate with you. I hope you want to communicate with me.
I have to disagree with the last portion of your blog post. Roe v. Wade cannot be overturned by the president. The only total control the president has in this country is over the military, and the United States Supreme Court will not go back THAT far and overturn a monumental decision that they made collectively. Roe v. Wade was about women having SAFE options to abort children, so that certainly will not happen. I am speaking as a disable woman of color, and I am not the least bit frightened by his potential presidency, mainly because the government has to vote as to whether or not he will be put in office. Furthermore, being 31 years of age, and having voted in three presidential elections, what they say during their campaign they usually do not follow through with when they are in office. As for the wall, may the odds be ever in his favor and the Mexican president does not tell him to suck a fuck, because that is a 1,900 foot wall, and Mexico does not even have the money to afford that, plus, why would they if it is to keep them out of this country? He is a MAD MAN, and apparently this entire country is mad right along with him. -end rant-
disabled* whoa, just caught a grammatical error. SHAME ON ME!
First voting for him doesn’t mean you agree with all these policies. That is a stereotype. Like Most people its parts of the policy.
Roe vs Wade will not be over turn . Its the Idea that the democrats put out about late term abortions that was the turning point away from Hilary.
The Wall it;s more about immigration reform then an actual wall.
He doesn’t want to band Muslims that is another scare tactic by the left. He said He wanted better vetting before allowing them in. It was a safety issue. Once they were cleared the would be allowed here,
Gay rights will not be changed either . He is a supporter and friend with Katlyn Jenner.
Even Hilary said Obama care needed to be changed,
Please remember the Republicans didn’t like him because he was not the establishment , he was a democrat until like 10 years ago, a supporter of the Clinton’s.. But I think he felt like he was let down from the party and people he supported.
I think he was made to be scary boogie man. But the Republicans did the same about the Bad Nasty Woman Hilary. They had his supporters thinking that all her people supported killing babies, hated God, were lairs, crooks, only cared about themselves, and were faking about helping the poor. Which I am sure is as untrue as what you thought of his supporters. Both sides were trying to start mass hysteria!!!
Wish people would stop being morons on both sides with hate crimes. As a whole I think most people on both sides are those in the middle that want no trouble our country to progress for the better. To get along with each other. Excepting everyone’s different even when you don’t agree with them . Only excepting who you agree with makes you no better the the person you are hating. You learn by talking , communication and observing people that are different then you. It is how we grow as a nation.
Please for give spelling and grammer
Doc, we voted for Trump because we were tired of the political machines that runs our country. First, he’s not going to fid rid of Obamacare, some of it yes but people will not be left without health coverage. Second, we are not racist at all, yes there may be some Trump supporters that are but don’t you think they would have shown themselves long ago when a black man was elected president? Our country is at risk from terrorist do to illegal immagrints that is a fact. We have homeless Americans why do we treat others before them? Why do we find it funny when they cry, I’ll tell you. Because they were all so sure of themselves that we didn’t matter, I knew Trump was going to win when others had doubts. All the polling history was based on every other election and this election has taught me that nothing about it was normal. Trump spoke to the American people, he didn’t parade a bunch of celebrities around, he didn’t talk differently to different groups. His message was the same for all. Relax and give him a chance.
Hey Doc, Thanks for these words. I’m a big fan of your writing and music. Judging from this article we likely disagree on a lot of things politically, but I believe that if we knew each other we would be friendly (if not friends). My point, to bolster yours, is that we humans are more than political beliefs. We are all part of the human family. We all want the same things: to be able to feed our families, put a roof over our kids’ heads, and find happiness in life. We may have different ideas on how we make that happen, but our goals are the same.
As a country, we have let the powers that be divide us by color and political beliefs. We have allowed the media and the government to make us believe that “the other side” is a bunch of hate-filled extremists that want to silence everyone who doesn’t agree with what we believe politically. Those powers that be have succeeded in the mass distraction of the American people by keeping us at each other’s throats over things that don’t matter as much as, say, holding our politicians accountable for how they spend our tax dollars or making sure they keep their promises. We have allowed the powers that be to coneroli us through anger and fear.
We should be better than to let whatever politician or news network entice us to tear each other down. Regardless of party affiliation we should spend less energy beating on each other and more energy on trying to repair the rifts that have divided the people of this nation. What happened to judging others on the content of their character, regardless of beliefs? It doesn’t matter if you are left and I am right- we are still humans, children of a God (if you so believe) or two organisms who achieved similar levels of evolution (if you don’t). We are more, greater than our differing beliefs, and we need to get past our differences and heal our country one relationship at a time.
Politically speaking, thank goodness our Constitution limits the executive branch so that Trump can’t do even half of what he promised in the campaign. Thanks to that document and its ideals, our country will not be as bad off as Clinton supporters fear, and it won’t be as “good” as Trump supporters believe it will be. Fortunately the Constitution makes the process of government quite inefficient, so to speak, by limiting the powers of the executive branch and keeping us from becoming subject to a monarchy.
If we can get over our political differences and come together with mutual respect and brotherly love for all those around us, regardless of skin color, political party, and whatever else we have let divide us, that’s how we truly change our course for the better. It starts in our hearts and in our homes. Thank you again for your wisdom. I hope many people read and internalize what you have said.
The Dan Carlin Common Sense podcast called “Revenge of the Gangrenous Finger” made just after brexit is really compelling listening on these issues. It needs to be remembered that Trump DESTROYED the best the Republican Party had to offer so this isn’t an exclusively HRC issue. The new trend of positing Political Correctness as cause of societal ills seems a little off. For example- modern TV, rap music, the consequences of social media anonymity seem to suggest prohibitions on free speech disappeared a long time ago. Data on trying to change people’s political opinions report repeated failure (there’s an entire episode of TAL podcast on this topic). Logic/education in particular doesn’t work, particularly if you’re dealing with people who are not interested in educating themselves. It also comes across as condescending, even if you get the feeling that you understand their PoV more than they do yours.
In short, I have no answers!
I grew up in a pretty dead-end small town in NH. Lots of conservatives of the very religious variety there, almost 100% white people. The type of town where there are so many white people that white people end up being flat-out racist against other kinds of whites ( Finnish, Polish, Irish, etc.).
I got off active duty army last year and was looking forward to going to college. I was looking forward to doing the things I couldn’t do in the military, including being a part of college political life. I was hoping to join the local BLM movement. I signed up for a Black Consciousness class and was eager to get my foot in the door.
Then I actually attended the class and my opinion shifted drastically.
It was very clear to me that the Professor was not teaching equality or even equity. It was straight hatred. We read material that stated that white people were an inferior species in a book published by the professor. I was lectured time and time again on my privilege (only white dude in the class) and about how I was a murderer and terrorist for being in the military. I’m sympathetic of his anger but there was simply no foothold for me as a white person to do anything but take the heat. Maybe it’s a white savior thing and I thought I’d receive a return upon investment but regardless it became clear that it wasn’t a place for me. I decided not to pursue it further.
It became clear to me over the last year that my professor’s mindset was not his own unique opinion. A lot of the current PC culture you mentioned carries a lot of great ideas mixed in with some very disturbing ones (i.e. “only white people can be racist” is some genocide talk). Isolated white people and poor white people in urban areas feel threatened by that rhetoric and by their already shitty living conditions. Trump knew that he could get to the white house by securing enough votes instead of trying to secure all votes. So he secured a specific demographic (poor white people) in the same way that Bernie was trying to secure college kids. As we have seen, it was more than enough to win.
So I guess I sympathize with Trump supporters because they are reacting to a side of the political spectrum that actively hates them in the same way a lot of Trump supporters hate POCs or Muslims. On a Macro-level that reaction seems absurd but most people live and think on a micro scale. A lot of white people (mostly because of the internet) have been exposed to prejudice and voted for the party that seemed more favorable to their situation. It’s easy for a college educated person who lives in a city like Seattle or Los Angeles to accept something like white privilege but it’s basically a threat to someone who grew up in a trailer or a shitty factory town years after the factory shut down. I thought Clinton was the better candidate and voted accordingly but it’s becoming less of a stretch for me to see why people voted elsewhere.
I really appreciate everyone’s thoughtful comments, I don’t think I need to respond to them all individually, but it means a lot that you took the time to express yourselves. I read all of them, and it definitely gives me a better perspective on things.
Hey Doc, huge fan of all your music and the new podcast. We’ve met a few times at shows in GF’s prime and you were cool as shit to your fans so thanks for that.
It’s pretty simple conclusion to draw as for why the people didn’t want Hillary. The working class of America wants and needs change. Hillary was the most status quo, establishment, unlikable person the DNC could have put up there. Don’t forget that no matter who is on the ticket, a large percentage are going to just vote red or blue, regardless if is Mickey Mouse himself on the ballot. A vote for Trump, in my opinion, is a vote for right leaning beliefs, and that’s it. Nothing else. So really, what happened in a nutshell, is a few swing states with a lot of working class voters flipped from blue to red b/c they a) understandably didn’t like Hillary and/or b) can’t afford their insurance/income tax burdens.
[The ACA is a topic in it’s own, and while it is founded in good ideas and principles, the middle class family simply cannot afford it. I used to pay $450 a month for a policy for me, my wife and 2 kids, with $0 deductible as recently as 5 years ago. Now I pay $1,200 a month with a $6,400 deductible. That is not sustainable. But because I can “afford it” (85k income in the not-so-cheap-to-live Philly area with a stay at home wife and 2 kids, student loans mortgage car payments, etc. “afford it” my ass) I have to pay it, with no tax breaks for premiums or medical bills to boot.]
Jon Stewart summed it up – “The people I know who voted for trump don’t hate women or minorities. They aren’t afraid of Muslims. They’re afraid of their health insurance premiums. They’re afraid that increases in the cost of running small businesses will cost them their jobs that feed their families.”
Now if Trump flip flops and doesn’t deliver on fixing the ACA, lowering income taxes, wastes time and resources fighting gay rights and abortion rights, I and many other Trump voters will be first in line calling for his head.