Sunday, October 09, 2016

Preparing for elections

AVI has posted a series on the election and our role and influence. As of this writing he's presumably got a few more in the pipe.

Somebody pointed out that while contempt of congress is a crime, contempt for congress comes naturally. That's fine--if you insist on being in the public eye, you'll be judged. Not always wisely, perhaps, but that's life.

It is interesting to hear what people say about this election. Not pleasant, but interesting. This is Dane county--Trump comes in for matter-of-fact abuse. (Not many Hillary signs out, BTW--more for senator or representative.) The vicious invective is reserved not for the candidate, but for his supporters. I had a brief email exchange with one of the local reporters asking him who they were (I didn't know any personally), and his final letter casually dismissed them as stupid and unworthy of attention because they were Trump supporters.

"Everybody knows" that Trump supporters are racists, terrified of change and hating people different from them. Hmm. I could with equal (perhaps better) justice claim that Sanders supporters are envious ignoramuses, who just want free stuff at everybody else's expense; and profess myself duly horrified at how many fellow Americans have descended to this level. However, I think the Sanders phenomenon wasn't really an endorsement of socialist economics, but a kick in the pants for the Democratic party and an assertion that the status quo is broken--the big financial institutions are making the rest of us assume all their risks while they rake it in.

Likewise I think the Trump phenomenon is a kick in the pants for the Republicans, and an assertion that that the status quo is broken--the governing groups are disconnected from the public interest and the public will.

The critiques are similar, and the differences have more to do with the values the groups hold. BTW, I doubt that Sanders voters will sit out the election--they'll hold their noses and vote for Hillary even though they despise her, because she, even if distantly, claims to support their tribe's values.

So why the viciousness? Is this the default setting? A radio show suggested that WW-II produced a generation of politicians used to fighting on the same side to preserve the US, and suggested that though the politics might be wildly divergent, they had a sense of being in the same boat. Maybe so.

OK, assume this is the true normal. I don't think this kind of bitterness is something Jesus would approve of. So how do we combat the bitterness and do better than normal? I can hear some folks already: "Compromise--do it my way." Or words to that effect. Maybe instead "Dine with a Democrat" or "Share a Repast with a Republican" or "Lift a Libation with a Libertarian?" Find something in common--but that may be harder than it looks, given the way preferences seem to cluster. Better might be "Haul sandbags together while the river rises." Which I suppose is the WW-II unification hypothesis with a different enemy.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I will likely link this in my upcoming post. It should be out in the next day or two.