The time for commenting the "upcoming" American election has come to an abrupt end. Since the majority of the American population has now given us its verdict, it is probably time to discuss what went wrong -- and what went right, depending on your opinion. What happened will be analysed to death by the so-called experts, but this should be a place for us to talk about the event and why it happened.
I will start by saying just that I think that many people became too complacent. They believed that such a thing could never happen (and I believed it, too) because the values which the country has cherished for a long time did not include the ideas of the new president.
Have the values of "America" really changed in recent times, or are a great many people being totally manipulated? My own opinion is that most of the solutions now being proposed by the winning side are not only impossible but also counter productive. Why is this invisible to them?
I may be still too much in shock and mourning to answer coherently, but would like to give it a try.
Just as in other countries that pride themselves on their democratic forms of government, the population of the US purportedly believes in government by and for the people. But as has happened in too many other places throughout history, the by the people part is shuffled aside because people refuse to take solid participation in governance by educating themselves on the real issues. A steady fake news drip has been infused into the ignorant telling them that their disgruntlement is all the fault of the president or "the liberals" or whom/whatever else stands in for the devil in their darkly confused psyches and truly lazy minds. By refusing to take responsibility and seek out facts, they cast themselves as cranky children who only want daddy to fix everything for them. It's the ideal breeding ground for demagoguery to hold sway. The middle class in the US have cast themselves as downtrodden victims exploited by give-away governance, totally ignoring the benefits they enjoy from that very system.
Sorry -- I'm probably ranting, but I am disgusted, depressed, and ashamed to the very marrow of my heretofore rather patriotic bones.
bixa - I heard pretty much the same thing all day today. All the people I spoke to believe that Americans are babies who don't understand how their own government works. But of course, the French don't understand why anyone would want to have so much personal freedom, instead of being protected by a social security system - even if it doesn't always work so well. Then everyone said that all politicians lie, and that the 4 years would be over with just like magic. Inshallah...
There is a French term that is often used to describe liberals who refuse to see the world as it really is ( = bad ) -- "angelism" (perhaps it exists in English, too, but I don't feel like looking it up). This refers to the people ("bleeding hearts") who find excuses for everything and who believe that people are inherently good and will not do the wrong thing in the end. It often blinds good people to some of the grim aspects of reality and is considered to be exactly what feeds populists who "tell it like it is" and refuse to mollycoddle.
And I do believe that people who believe that the populists are wrong need to find a new response to the problems of the day... but what?
My 2 cents : democracy shouldn't be given to everybody.
When people who cannot understanding how a simple loan works and cannot repay it (when nothing else interferes, simply they couldn't calculate in the first place) have the right to vote; When people who send love letters to Marc Dutroux have the right to vote; When people who have never spoken to a stranger can hate them have a right to vote; Then we have a problem because these people can vote for anybody.
When people see their situation getting worse, and cannot cope, they blame everybody. And vote for anybody. And are guilty of misusing democracy. When our elites fail to understand these people and to put into place a system that will teach their future electors how to evaluate proposals / Candiditates / programs in a responsible way, they are responsible of misguiding their populations.
People have to be led. If intelligent people cannot lead them, they will find another leader. Does responsibility lies only with the voters of Trump ? Or does some responsibility lies with the ones who cannot convince them not to ?
Same happened for Brexit : most voters didn't think further than their noses, because they are not interested in getting the picture. They see what is around them. And react to what they see.
Now we have a sexist, racist, islamophobic guy who takes no responsibility for global warming as the president of one of the most developed countries. Maybe not the most educated countries...
Sad day indeed when democracy generates such kind of people as leaders.
I'll spare you the full rant since I believe I am well to the left of anyone else here, but I'll just say that Hillary was probably the only conceivable Democratic nominee who could lose to Trump. The DNC and the party brass are far more to blame for this fiasco than are the American voters who would've turned out in droves for a better Democratic Party candidate and shown Trump to the door. This election was lost during the Democratic primary.
I'll agree with Fumobici that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate for the Democratic Party. However, given what we have seen of the US electorate in these primaries and election campaign, I don't think someone like Bernie Sanders would have had a hope in hell of beating Trump. Not only the usual people who vote against their own interests (Obamacare is socialism! we don't want it), but the big money of US politics would have been totally against him.
I think this election has raised a lot of questions for both main parties in the States.
From over here it looks very much like the referendum we had here on leaving the EU. The overbearing EU was associated with immigration and the extremely rich getter obscenely richer at everyone else's expense, and the mass just pushed back, without really considering the issues.
Yes, I fell into that category, but our country has been lost to unfettered immigration, where the bad apples have spoiled the view natives have of the decent ones, and to where the Amazons, Googles. etc., have cheated on their taxes, and to the rise of a super rich elite having money shovelled down their throats from so called quantative easing, with an apparent collusion with the tax authorities. Cur Philip Greed anyone?
Man is not lost, only temporarily uncertain of his position
i keep wondering where my host family from oklahoma stands politically, these days, and how the views of my host siblings are ... back when i was there, the parents were very much for republicans (my host father explained to me "we vote republican because they are conservative, and we like conservative"), but a few years back they told me their son was working for the democrats (some computer job, not a political job), so i was wondering if that meant their son, at least, is democrat - or do political views not matter when working for a party? i never really asked them because back when i was a teenager living in their house, i decided that it is best not to discuss politics, so i won't get frustrated or make them angry, and i kind of stuck with that (also, these days we only speak maybe once a year at most).
Mossie, a quote from an article in today's Guardian: "One of Trump’s last predictions was that his election would be “Brexit, plus, plus, plus”. It was code for the shock given to politics in Europe four months earlier, when voters rejected the failure of a perceived ruling class to deliver on its duties and promises. For decades an elite of the urban, educated and self-righteous had merely made itself richer and the poor poorer. A peasants’ revolt of the sort that periodically jolts democracy out of its comfort zone was the result."
I would suggest that this description of the US and UK (in the article) is more linked to actual policies in the US starting with Reagan and the UK of Thatcher than a problem with "overbearing EU". It has been going on for years, not just since people from some countries in eastern/central Europe began coming to the UK looking for work.
I like this thread. However, if I can understand UK people voting Brexit because they are fed up with the system, I cannot understand voting for Trump. The guy is just ... well not 'evil' but not really far from : the guy smells. He is just a rotten, and I cannot understand how you can reject the opposition however much you dislike Hilary. It is like choosing between Hollande or Sarko or LePen : people not voting against Le Pen have, imho, a real problem. So not voting against Trump is something I will never understand.
moi aussi, though I try to avoid political discussions on travel forums. And on kitten forums... I have got into trouble on a foodie forum, and that was just for speaking out against a particularly misogynist venue...
As for Marc Dutroux, his exact Canadian equivalents, Paul and Karla Bernardo got a lot of fan mail, and he always has nutty women falling in love with him. A similar gay killer has nutty men falling in love with him.
The police screwed up that case in several ways, including not searching under the "pot lights" (sunken lights) in their ceiling for graphic video evidence. As a resault, Karla got a plea deal and only served for manslaughter, has remade her life and has not only a husband but children of her own. Machos have insinuated that feminists supported her, but that was absolutely NOT the case.
Angelism exists in English, evidently, but I've never heard it in a political context, only in the sense of "otherworldliness" (more a religious concept). It could be wilful naïvety, wishful thinking, perhaps in the US context "bleeding-heart liberalism" (liberalism in the US sense, not the centrist Liberal and Liveral Democrat parties in Canada and the UK or the conservative Australian one) or the "free-market" sense prevailing elsewhere. Or "political correctness"...
Personally, I think just about nobody is playing down the dangers of violent Islamic fundamentalism, for example. But nobody has found a successful solution.
There was a recent article in the Toronto Globe and Mail about undocumented Mexican workers and their children returning to Mexico (of their own avail) from the US. The net migration nowadays is southwards. I believe most "migrants" arriving in the US from Mexico nowadays are actually from the poorer countries farther south.
It has certainly cast a pall over everything here, especially in terms of environmental concerns.
Last Edit: Oct 29, 2018 21:16:55 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
I don't think Trump realized what he was getting into...
Immediately upon taking the oath of office, here's what he has to do:
Trump will be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the USA, will have the nuclear codes and must attend daily intelligence and security briefings.
It is expected that there will be a simulated crisis exercise in the very near future, so that Trump will see what he has to do to manage a serious crisis in real time.
Trump must propose candidates for and fill nearly 4,000 political appointments - at least 1,000 of these must be approved by the Senate.
Trump will appoint at least one candidate for the Supreme Court. There is a great possibility that he will be given the opportunity to appoint 2 or 3 more justices.
This leaves Trump just enough time to propose - in great detail, no "blowing smoke" - the 2 or 3 things he thinks are the most important in his platform. Then he will very likely face filibustering from Democrats, and it's likely that he will not accomplish much of anything. Obama needed over one year to settle the 2008 financial crisis.
Then, Melania, Donald and little Barron will have 5 hours to move into the White House, where they will have the freedom to decorate as they wish. Despite the fact that Trump has stated that he would be more comfortable living in his hotel room, he and his family will be in virtual lockdown.
Got it in one Mark. Our man Green bought a thriving chain of high street stores, sold off some of their prime stes to a company nominally belonging to his wife. He then proceeded to thoroughly asset strip the rest, paying out in dividends to the tune of £100's of millions to his wife. Conveniently she lives in Monaco, where there is no income tax. He then sold the store chain to a no hoper ex-bankrupt for £1, who proceeded to pay off a large mortgage and pay himself whatever was left in the till. As it is the wifes company at the top of the pile it is nothing to do with him, green is whiter than white. And it is all perfectly legal. No wonder people are thoroughly pissed off.
I confess that upon getting off my 10-hour flight from Mexico City yesterday, which completely shielded me from all election returns, I did have a bit of a WTF moment when I finally glimpsed a Wednesday morning headline. I had actually seen some exchange rates being modified at all of the myriad of exchange offices at Benito Juárez before I boarded at 19:30 local time Tuesday, but any number of things could have caused the euro to be rising.
Now that the dust is just beginning to settle, I naturally see parallels with what already has happened in the UK, but also in Poland, Hungary, France, Austria and the Netherlands. It has probably also happened in various other countries around the world of which I am not aware, since European news tends to be Eurocentric. Populism is on the rise, and it appears to be time to "throw the bums out." I can certainly understand the desire to get rid of the "bums" in power although I often see these people as having had good intentions but never being able to deliver through no fault of their own. Some of course are genuinely bad people, but that is rare because the checks and balances in even the most hoary political parties tend to eliminate the majority of evil people. We are more likely to find ourselves with incompetent or wishy-washy leaders who try too hard to please public opinion, always too late and always for the wrong reasons. Such people are called girouettes (weathervanes) in French because they try to conform to the way the wind is blowing rather than sticking to their honest opinions and views of what should be done.
So, yes, they should be thrown out. Maybe. What is the alternative? There are always people to offer "simple" solutions to everything -- get rid of the immigrants, leave the EU, restore the death penalty, help big business so that the wealth can trickle down to everyone else sooner or later, reduce taxes, discipline children -- we've heard it all, haven't we? There's the rub, and the gigantic flaw of populism. Generally, the "solutions" that are proposed are either impossible or totally wrong, but the frustrated voters do not seem to care. This is really scary, because it implies that either people are just stupid or else they are in such a state of despair that they will vote for anything opposed to the power in place even if it is bad for them.
My own analysis certainly has its own flaws, but then again I am not running for office and would never be elected anyway. It seems to me that when public opinion starts demanding wrongheaded things, the government in place should resist and explain rather than pretending to cave in, which causes it to appear both weak and to validate the complaint. Example: immigration. This is a sore point in just about every country in the world. There are too many immigrants, they are taking jobs, depleting social services, weakening the national fiber, defiling our values and eating the bread of our own poor, just to cite a small number of the complaints about them (let's not get into stinky, loud, sneaky, rapists, thieves, etc. etc. etc.). There is generally total outrage among the general population, and the government decides to go with the flow. Why does nobody ever say that immigration is good? That we need more immigrants, that they contribute far more to the economy than they take, that they are willing to do all of the jobs that we don't want to do for a small wage, that many of the greatest people in all of our countries were once immigrants, that our favourite foods were brought by immigrants, that our children have no problem with their little immigrant friends, that it is a huge compliment to our countries that people find living here desirable? I could go on, but either you get the point or you are closed to discussion.
Our leaders -- the ones who are being thrown out -- do not have the courage to defend or explain our values. About immigration, about the importance of taxes, about why things that need to be done are not magically accomplished by snapping their fingers, about why corruption is a long battle and cannot be eliminated overnight, about how ecological concerns can sometimes seem a bit inconvenient but that they are the only way to save the world...
Now the Americans have Donald Trump. He has a magic wand and new clothes fit for an emperor.
What is particularly unsettling and disconcerting to me is that I have a number of younger people in my life, young couples who have moved into our neighborhood, hoping for a better life, others whom I have known for ten years or more. Many of them look to me for advice and in some cases direction. I do not cast myself as any type of role model but, I have do feel I have some responsibility as an older person to help in whatever way I can. In this case, words fail as I really don't have a whole lot to offer . What does one say that offers any comfort?
This morning a younger woman friend wanted to come over with her son and hang out in the garden. It was unfortunate timing and I had to put her off as I had tree people coming over to deal with some overhanging branches and rescheduling was out of the question. I was also, selfishly I might add, welcoming a diversion and not feeling as though I could provide whatever solace or comfort she may have been seeking. I say this because she virtually implored me in an almost desperate fashion. I imagine that I will encounter more of this in the days, weeks, months to come... She understood but I do feel guilty in some regard.
kerouac - I think the cover photo showed the wrong finger.
I never watch CNN, unless there is something unavoidable like the elections. After the golden Trump hammer fell, it was interesting to see the older, seasoned journalists reflect upon how the media in general presented the news during this time. Their emphasis was on stringent fact-checking before releasing gossip and hearsay - and I agree with this.
However, the younger journalists (under 35) all said that immediacy was more important, and the facts could easily be checked later - it was very possible that they would be buried under the next avalanche of gossip, but could always be retracted at some later point in time. A lot of good that would do.
The oldest journalist commented that the internet seems to have robbed the Millenials of a moral compass. I agree with this, too. Social media and the internet are the Tool of the Devil.
Trump and Obama met this afternoon. Trump expected just a 10 to 15 minute meeting! Obama kept him in school for 90 minutes, just the two of them. Trump's body language reflected that he is absolutely no match for the job.
One of the things about media coverage of this presidential election, as well as the primaries, was the huge amount of press coverage that Trump got -- whether from traditional media, social media or whatever. At first, Trump was emphasized as a sort of clown, but as things went on, every meeting he held seemed to receive some coverage, positive or negative.
And as is often said, there is no bad publicity if it keeps your name out there.
"The oldest journalist commented that the internet seems to have robbed the Millenials of a moral compass. I agree with this, too. Social media and the internet are the Tool of the Devil."
I'm sorry, I could hardly disagree more. When I look at the actual numbers of how millenials voted, their attitudes towards race, their tolerance of others different than themselves, I think young people -- obviously generally speaking -- are, in fact, far better equipped with moral compasses than people of my own age and older. And further, I'd in no small measure credit the internet with this. I think it turns out that having had a device in your pocket nearly your entire life on which one can pretty easily fact check almost any claim put before them has often given them a real advantage in clarity of perception that us old fogies unfortunately lacked when we were in our formative years. Young people, by huge margins, saw right through Trump. The people that fell for his garbage skew massively older. They also didn't fall for Clinton, whom I considered a stealth neo-con Republican. People my age could be fooled into thinking she was left or progressive. Millenials, by and large, saw right through that.
"I don't think someone like Bernie Sanders would have had a hope in hell of beating Trump. Not only the usual people who vote against their own interests (Obamacare is socialism! we don't want it), but the big money of US politics would have been totally against him."
The many head to head polls conducted say otherwise, and in no uncertain terms. Sanders would have mopped the floor with Trump in an election, because of his astronomical negatives, Sanders' insanely low negatives and much larger turnout. Yes all the big money would have been against sanders, but almost all the big money was aginst Trump too. Money doesn't buy votes like it used to. Truthfully, almost any generic Democrat not saddled with Hillary's historic negatives would have beaten Trump. The problem wasn't the voters -- Trump didn't wind up with totals of votes that would even have threatened Obama in either 2008 or 2012 -- the problem was that the Democrats simply choked, picked the wrong candidate, and handed Trump the Oval Office gift wrapped on a silver platter. If the Democrats don't quickly and unflinchingly address the deep structural issues within their party that allowed Trump to win, Trump is likely to have eight years to do his damage. Trump had no business winning this election. Only epic miscalculation and failure of leadership across the aisle made it possible.
Of course we are dismayed once again that the United States has an electoral system whereby Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. Perhaps President Trump will have the balls to change the voting system once and for all since this is the 5th time it has happened.
Meanwhile, some of his more inflammatory tweets have disappeared, notably the one about banning Muslims from the United States and refusing the environmental conference. It looks like he is not the devil, just another (apprentice) politician. Reality TV strikes back.
This addresses why the mainstream Democrats lack the moral standing to haughtily criticize the Republicans, and I think it helps explain why people stay home rather than vote for them when they don white hats and puff themselves up as being agents of good.
"I have watched as you accommodated yourself to most of the retrograde social forces you claim to abhor. I have seen you be almost completely silent before the world’s greatest evil, unprovoked war, going so far as to embrace as your presidential candidate this year a person who cold-bloodedly carried out the complete destruction of Libya, a real country with real people who love their children like you and me, in order—as the Podesta emails make clear—to further her personal political ambitions.
I watched as you stood silent before this same person’s perverse on-camera celebration of the murder by way of a bayonet thrust to the anus of the leader of that once sovereign country, and before the tens of thousand of deaths, and hundreds of thousands of refugees, that war provoked.
I watched during the last eight years as you sought refuge in the evanescent qualities of skin color and smooth speechmaking so as to not to confront the fact that your "liberal" president was almost totally lacking in actionable convictions regarding the values you claim to be about.
I watched as you didn’t say a peep as he bailed out bankers, pursued whistleblowers and deported desperate and downtrodden immigrants in heretofore unimaginable numbers.
And I didn’t hear the slightest complaint (unlike those supposedly stupid and primitive libertarians) as he arrogated to himself the right to kill American citizens in cold blood as he and he alone deemed fit.
I monitored you as you not only completely normalized Israel’s methodical erasure of the Palestinian people and their culture, but made cheering enthusiastically for this campaign of savagery the ultimate litmus test for social and political respectability within your ranks.
I watched as you breezily dispatched the memories of the millions of innocent people destroyed by U.S. military aggression around the world and damaged police brutality here at home in order to slavishly imitate the unceasing orgy of uniform worship set in motion by the right and its media auxiliaries in the wake of September 11th, 2001."