In a manner of speaking we have survived what may go down in history as the most volatile, divisive, craziest, poop fest of any election cycle this country has ever had to date. I, like most Americans, am exhausted. Unless the electoral college makes it an even zanier election year by not voting for and/or confirming Donald Trump as the next POTUS on December 19th, then we are looking at at least four years of a big question mark for our country. I can’t even imagine what would happen in a case like that. I think the country might just explode. Note to self: Stock up on popcorn in the next few weeks.
I consider myself a moderate democrat. I am not strictly conservative or liberal but depending on the issue I definitely lean one way or the other. I have crossed the aisle and voted Republican a number of times, especially for judges who are tough on crime or politicians who are fiscally conservative or more responsible when it comes to tax dollars as well as funding for a strong military, police, and national security. Some then consider me conservative. Socially I tend to lean more with many democrats regarding marriage equality, transgender rights, a path to citizenship to address the immigration issue, social security “security” and other things. Some will then call me a left wing liberal. I don’t care what people call me as long as they don’t me late to dinner!
My initial hope for this election cycle was that Vice President Joe Biden was going to run with a strong VP running mate and that would have been fine for me unless the Republicans put up someone who knocked my socks off. Joe Biden chose not to run and even before all the DNC / Debbie Wasserman Shultz / Donna Brazile / hacked email craziness happened I figured the nod was going to go to Hillary Clinton and that was going to be the only real offering from the democrats. Not completely satisfied with that choice I looked over to see who the Republicans were offering up. Not surprisingly, with nearly a dozen and a half candidates, there was less than a handful just at first glance I would even give a second look at. I will admit Trump to me did present a certain morbid curiosity because aside from inflating his ego even more I did wonder how a complete Washington outsider would be able to navigate our country since we have clearly gotten a mixed bag of results from the “status quo” to date. That curiosity quickly faded when he immediately and continuously conducted himself in the most unprofessional way I have ever seen a candidate act running for ANY office. Aside from that, his vague, general discussions on how he was going to “make America great again” were just not convincing to me that he could really do a fraction of the things he was spoon feeding a growing flock of disenfranchised Americans. As someone with no realtime experience in any form of government, it just did not sit well with me personally and made me re-examine the field for other possibilities. The only person in the GOP field in my opinion that presented a reasonable, legitimate hard look was Ohio Governor John Kasich. Here was a man, while clearly an establishment figure, had a boatload of experience on a state and federal level, very little if any drama, and was a consummate professional. Not the most dynamic speaker or bold presence like a Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, or Donald Trump but in debates was able to hold his own and then some. In the end Kasich didn’t win and it left all of us staring down the barrel at a choice of Trump or Clinton which for many was the equivalent of either being shot or stabbed and hoping for the best.
The buzz before the election seemed to be that both Trump and Clinton both had issues with integrity and the lack of trust by the voting public with their “negatives” and “unfavorables” running at an all time high for any candidate. The big difference of course was that Hillary had a boatload of experience where Trump had zero. That in itself you think would sway voters if their thought pattern was : who could legitimately walk into the office tomorrow and hit the ground running? The obvious answer is Hillary, but the problem is that many people on both sides felt that her experience was questionable and the thought of her not having to face some sort of penalty for sending classified information on an unsecured server was too much for people to swallow and that mainly did her in. Lambasting wall street while taking buckets of money from them and a fairly weak VP pick didn’t help matters any along with a well timed torpedo from the FBI director at the tail end of the campaign. So those who had the curiosity of an “outsider” who can’t be bought by special interests, although some would say everyone has their price, was enough to thwart the aspirations of a life long politician who just couldn’t convince enough people that she had a coordinated series of attacks upend her chances due to either personal or some sort of sexist grudges by others.
Many police officers will tell you that the last 7-8 years under President Obama have not been a fun set of years. They feel as if the president has created a cultural divide between communities of color and police, where many people now see the police as an occupying force and / or the enemy in some places. Unfortunately, there have been a number of police officers killed in the line of duty during President Obamas tenure in office and 2016 is proving to be a particularly violent year for police as well. There have been a number of times where the president could have addressed this issue and been more outwardly supportive of the police which I believe has been a huge misstep in his presidency. He has made it a point to interject a social thought or two or three in a number of incidents while he has been in office. For example, in the early stages in office, he had the infamous “beer summit” between a black professor and a white police officer after an incident between the two caught national headlines. In 2014 he commissioned a “presidential task force on policing” to gather information on the state of the profession and seek out a series of new trainings to improve the overall quality of policing nationwide. I have said in prior blog posts and publicly, there is always room for improvement when it comes to police training, but have always maintained that if we had a severe systemic issue with (800,000) officers nationwide we would need a 24 hour news channel just to keep up with the misgivings of all of them. A sore spot is when discussions of the death of Trayvon Martin by wannabe lawman George Zimmerman in Florida gets twisted in with a police related incident like Ferguson or Eric Garner. One is completely non police related and the others are two different scenarios in two different places with the common thread of the deceased being black, the officer white and there being different levels of resisting arrest exacerbating the incident. President Obama’s public “if I had a son” reference to the racial bias connected to his death now gets applied to nearly every police related incident where a man or young man of color is involved. The reality is that few police related incidents have anything to do with the color of the person they have had interactions with as far as bias is concerned. On the campaign trail Donald Trump made it a point to make outwardly supportive statements of the police as well as stopping to shake their hands and speak to them, which in return, police across the nation were much more supportive of him than they were of Hillary Clinton. That is quite a voting block when you multiply 800,000 law enforcement officers and their families and friends who all vote. What Trump will actually do for law enforcement other than being more attentive when it comes to funerals is unclear since there has been no direct plan outlined when it comes to law enforcement issues by him.
What is astonishing (since the results of the election), are the massive protests that have erupted against Donald Trump in cities all around the country. At last count Hillary Clinton was ahead by a million plus votes over Donald Trump but regardless of the popular vote the electoral college determines the outcome of the election and as far as we know Donald Trump did have a decisive margin over Hillary Clinton in that respect. Whether or not they will hold to that when they officially vote on December 19th is anyones guess but odds are they probably will unless something even crazier happens in this already crazy election cycle as I mentioned earlier. The 50.5% who voted for Hillary are feeling a bit disenfranchised but if they are familiar with the electoral college system they know that what is done is pretty much done at this point. What is interesting to me are the folks who did not come out to vote who bitch and complain about who won and who lost, but if you are not part of the process then you sort of lose your right to complain. People have a right to protest of course and there is a good possibility of regular series of protests to occur in DC as well as here in NY where Trump is trying to make arrangements to spend his weekends off from DC, if not Florida. He obviously does not mind inconveniencing the entire tenant roster of Trump Tower as well as a good chunk of midtown Manhattan which will have to deal with the never ending fortification of that building and his to and from which is starting to turn 5th Avenue into a war zone already. I can imagine going from a multi-million dollar penthouse in Manhattan to public housing in DC must be way beneath Trump & family but it kind of goes along with the territory of being the leader of the free world. It was clear from Trump’s first post election meeting with President Obama that as he sat there like a deer in the headlights the enormity of his accomplishment was first starting to settle in and becoming more real by the minute. The pushback he has and is getting from the secret service and other law enforcement entities, now having to scramble to attempt to accommodate his insistence for a regular weekend getaway to Manhattan or Florida, is further proof that he has little concept for what the scope of the job he got himself into entails. For many, it points back to his not having any experience in government and not knowing how things work in the “other” real world.
The other thing that is interesting is that if you happen to question anything about Trump (legitimately) be prepared to have your face chopped off by his ardent supporters. I am not sure what happened to free speech or productive dialogue in this country but it is amazing how many people I know that are “unfriending” friends and family at a blistering rate because of this election of the “great unifier” as Trump has self coined his role as the incoming POTUS. The polarization of this country not just based on the near 50/50 split in voting, but based on the vitriol and negative rhetoric is at an all time high it seems. I have been guilty of busting balls of my friends on the right with some things I post, but ideally I am looking for people to dialogue in a respectful and meaningful way. There have been a number of times in the past where I post something on Facebook or Twitter, and opposing factions will first come at it in a very adversarial way but then with some light intervention I have seen different points of view actually be understood by one side from the other, raising the level of understanding of the issue from other peoples points of view instead of a one sided or narrow understanding. Many of my friends tend to fall into more of a left or right leaning set of groups to where I get asked, especially recently, how could you be friends with this person or that person when they have said some things that are just ridiculous? I would like to think the friends I have are good people of good character who just happen to have a belief system that is very different than some of the others. There have been a few I have had to unfortunately dismiss because they have said some inappropriate things and their ego would not allow them to apologize to whomever was offended, and there are a few more that I am keeping an eye on for review. Some people I know are very secure with who the next president will be and some are out there protesting right now as cold as it is getting here in New York.
A number of the protesters also point to his picks or potential picks for his cabinet as a cause for concern as well. Many people who voted for him who claim to be supporters of their lgbt friends or family members, had no clue that his VP pick Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has an established anti-lgbt track record in his home state even pushing ridiculous ideas such as conversion therapy. If his agenda includes a clear homophobic push then what would make anyone who is lgbt or a supporter think that he may not try to push it on a national level? If one or two or three conservative justices are placed onto the supreme court during their tenure which is very possible, a regression of progressive laws could be in order. Trump’s other initial picks are raising eyebrows by many as well, including those who have their own questionable track records which suggest a disturbing trend of anti-something behaviors collectively. Trump just very recently settled a $25 million dollar lawsuit regarding the alleged scam of Trump University to “focus on the bigger task at hand which is the country”, but yet settling is admitting guilt of some level of fraud which is one of many things that kept many voters away from pulling the lever for him. Because of some the issues raised in the campaign like Trump U, allegations of sexual abuse towards women, or even during a phone call to Argentinian leaders this past week allegedly jockeying for a favorable business position with them is now popping up on a pretty full radar once again calling his integrity into question. If things gets to a point (that some have speculated) where Trump gets impeached, steps down, or God forbid dies in office, then you have his socially questionable VP who steps in which may be even worse. Some Trump supporters have bristled at Trump for already walking back one of his foundational campaign promises to repeal, and scrap “Obamacare” and replace it with something totally different. Now it seems he wants to keep alot of what is in there, so if he basically lied to his supporters about a major campaign issue such as that, some are questioning what is next that he will not stay true to after he takes office?
So at this point you have the angry marchers who do not accept Donald Trump as their president and I think that will likely not change and probably galvanize some of them to get ready for 2020. Then you have those (aside from his 49.5% who voted for him) who have accepted that he will be the next president where some are hoping he fails miserably to shove it in the face of those who voted for him. Some have said; “Wishing Donald Trump to fail is like wishing the pilot of your plane to fail, and crash”. I am not one of those. I have accepted that he is the next president of the United States and I hope he does succeed because if he succeeds and the country is in better shape in four years than it is now then we should all benefit from that. So I am wishing pilot Trump and co-pilot Pence the best and that they bring us on a safe flight. I am just hoping I (or anyone else) don’t get thrown out of the plane without a parachute by any policies they enact in the next four years. While I thought America was already great, let’s see if Trump actually “Make America Great Again” and actually see if we won or not.
Now where is my popcorn?