Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Hope I'm Wrong

I have to say something because otherwise I feel like I am condoning things. I know that this will likely not make any dent in anything. There's a lot of emotion on both sides right now and people are entrenched in their positions. But I'll say it anyway because I feel that I have to. If you have no interest in my politics don't read any further and stay focused on my gaming stuff. But I am going to post this.

There is a lot of talk about how people need to accept that they lost and get over it. There's a lot of people pointing to things like the Women's March and other such protests as a temper tantrum. This attitude feels wrong on so many levels. This is the sort of conversation that people have about the results of a sporting event. You're acting like this election is the equivalent of a spoiled child being told that they can't have a toy and throwing a temper tantrum in the store until they get their way.

No. Just no. 

That's not what this is at all. These are people who are legitimately afraid for the lives of themselves and those they love. Whether you think this fear has been exaggerated by the media or not. These actions you are seeing are legitimate fear not a spoiled temper tantrum. They are afraid of going to a hospital for emergency care and being turned away because the hospital refuses to treat a homosexual. They are afraid of their healthcare being taken away and leaving them unable to afford the medicine that they need to live. They are afraid of being fired literally on the whim of their employers and being stuck unable to pay for food and basic shelter. They are afraid of being beaten to death simply because they're Muslim or black. They're afraid of our country being impoverished in order to build a massive wall which we already know will not work. They're afraid of the congress trying to pass legislation to claim land from Native Americans in an echo of the worst days of the 1800s war to claim the majority of the continent.

This is not a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum.

This is a person feeling cornered by enemies on all sides.

This election year has been insane and one thing it has shown me is something I've sort of known for a long time but which I've tried to deny.

From my layman's position, the original difference between conservative and liberal was a matter of policy. Conservatives generally would argue for policies that involved minimal government intrusion and minimal spending while liberals would argue for policies that involved a higher degree of governmental regulation and a greater use of government resources. Aside from this difference of opinion in policy the general goals of both parties were the same.

This is no longer the case. The current day crop of self-proclaimed conservatives are nothing like anything I grew up associating with the word. The republican policies are expensive, spendthrift and monstrously intrusive. They have been drawing power more to the center of the government and pushing for State and Federal governments to have far more influence on the daily lives of the individual. Their policies have been spending large amounts of money on programs which not only fail to produce benefit, they will actually curtail the potential growth of some parts of the population. 

I don't really believe there is such a thing as a real conservative anymore. Both sides are pushing high government spending projects and high amounts of legislation, but ironically the so-called liberal policies are closer to being conservative than the conservative policies. The real difference is that the stuff that people like Bernie Sanders are talking about spending money on at least have the chance to generate profit for the country or limit expense.

I am sheltered from the overall impact of this. I am a white heterosexual cisgendered male. I probably earn a salary lower than the poverty levels, I'm not sure off the top of my head, but I live in Japan and live under Japan's national health insurance. As such I am not going to be affected in an obviously direct manner by what I believe to be coming. Instead, I will be watching from across the Pacific as my country tears itself apart. And I am not in a position to do anything about it. I have no money to donate. I am not present to stand by my friends in San Antonio or elsewhere. All I can do is sit and worry about my friends. I don't worry so much about my family as they are mostly doing well and, like me, don't fit into the populations that are most at risk.

I feel powerless. And as much as I want to help and protect those I know, but I can't think of anyway to do so. I have several friends from the populations that people have been noting as throwing a temper tantrum or acting like special snowflakes. I am in daily fear of hearing about something horrible happening to anyone of them and knowing that I would not be able to do anything to help them.

I pray. I pray daily. I pray because I feel powerless and incapable of actually doing something. Prayer is not in my mind the ideal form of ministry. Part of having free will in my mind is the responsibility to solve our own problems. I do not believe in a God who performs magic on command because you got on your knees and gave a powerful puppy dog eyes stare. I pray to find my strength and think of ways I might be able to help and to date there is little I can do.

I am nobody. I have no money. I have no influence. I'm just one person who is not even capable of attending a protest in solidarity. Any protest I make feels pointless and toothless because I do it from the safety of my social and geographic position.

I believe Trump to be a charismatic con artist with a clear instinct for survival but little to no actual skill in business. I have thought this for as long as I can remember knowing who Trump is. He was always that embarrassment. That representation of the absolute worse aspects of my culture. Throughout my life he has left a trail of scandal and broken lives and he has always been able to find an escape hatch before things close on him. I believe him to be a narcissist that cares only about himself and considers everyone else beneath him. In that regard, I don't particularly consider him so much racist and sexist or the like as I do just believe that he is a generally horrible person that will cause great damage to this country with this grand mix of glamour, ego and incompetence

That said, he is a predator and he will attack the easiest populations first. That means minorities, women, homosexuals, non-Christian religions, the poor, the disabled and everybody else that suffers from systemic prejudice. He will say terrible things about such people because they lack the cultural protections of Male Caucasian Christian Americans. He say such things because it grants him the support of people that do believe such other groups are inferior or wrong. I don't think he sees the racists as being above the minorities, he may even feel more disdain for them given how easily he feels he can manipulate them, but he's less likely to attack them while they support him.

And sadly, this means that the racists out there will begin to feel protected and justified in lashing out at minorities. It has already been happening. There are numerous stories regarding the upswing of racially motivated or anti-LGBTQ attacks in the US. Unfortunately, the difference between a racist and a man who adopts a racist stance out of convenience is moot. The fact that adopting that stance was convenient means that the poison is rife within the community and now that they've had validation they will justify a number of activities. Unfortunately, I also know a lot of Trump supporters will assume that's exaggerated stories and more of the so-called temper tantrum and fake news conspiracies that they have come to believe.

I believe a lot of Trump supporters have blinded themselves to his bad points because they too have been living in fear for their existence. They've been living with low wages and high expenses. They've been living at the whims of their employers and feeling cheated and lied to at every opportunity. They've been convinced that the reason for their horrible lives is because of special interests demanding aid and sapping the government. The Trump supporters include people who don't believe that the GOP is racist or sexist because they have also felt threatened and lied to and beaten down to within an inch of their life and are hoping that some change, any change will rock things in a way that will see an end to their misery. And they are now reacting with these accusations of temper tantrums and the like because they feel that the marginalized populations have been getting coddled and pampered. They don't believe that their fear is real and thus they dismiss it as childishness.

I will admit to saying that I feel this situation was destined once it came down to Clinton and Trump. Both candidates campaigned on fear and desperation. Both campaigned on making enemies out of the other side. For her credit, Clinton actually did a lot less of this than Trump did but the very fact that the democrats opted for her over Bernie Sanders sent the message to millions of people that the democrats were not interested in change and that caused a lot of her arguments to ring hollow. I feel that if Clinton had won we'd be doomed to a slow four years of practically nothing being accomplished but feel likewise that Trumps election has doomed us to a nightmare four years of tragedy.

I sincerely hope that I am wrong. I hope that Trump and the GOP prove that they do have the people's interests in mind. But I fear they are more interested in ideologies and profit than in people. I have seen nothing in any of the news stories about the actions of Trump or the Congress to make me believe that Trump is either competent or a decent human being; or that Congress has any thought for the people that they are supposed to represent. Already, the Congress and Senate have been writing legislation to hobble the office of the President's ability to check them. There has been talk of trying to similarly cripple the Supreme Court by several republicans. Once again, they're showing how not conservative they are by strengthening the Federal government and consolidating so many powers into the Congress. I doubt Trump will veto these bills as they hit his desk. And already they've taken steps to remove the Affordable Care Act without having anything to replace it.

I hope I'm wrong about what's coming. But I am not going to tell people to wait and see. I am not going to tell people to stop resisting. I am going to pray and hope that we'll see a rash of local and State government representatives being replaced with less the way of these bizarre self-claimed conservatives. I am going to pray that the grassroots spread that the Tea Party made use of is turned against them and returns the country to a better course.

God, I hope I'm wrong.

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