Today the weather suits the mood here in NY; grey and rainy; cold. I can barely think; can hardly process last night’s results. A friend of mine wrote this morning—
“The reign of media is over. It has to be. There are more important things to do. I will find ways to monitor the plans and actions of the new government that don’t involve glitz and ratings, that aren’t about hairdos and cheap wonder. The 24-hour news cycle can only be a downward spiral when people in the aggregate want mostly drama and reassurance by turns. We were seeking idols. There are no idols but false ones. That’s how this happened. In part.”
The phrase ‘cheap wonder’ has the ring of truth. This has been an election cycle whose every moment was shaped by what we may call contemporary American Culture, perhaps our shabbiest export, but a glittering one. It has been treated like a game, a reality show of us v. them, and The Establishment, including the Media, persisted in and perpetrated the belief that what we think of as Reason would win the day— treated it as a foregone conclusion, and condescendingly so. Perhaps we all (on the left) did to some extent. Foolish when one considers how widespread anti-intellectual and anti-diversity sentiment really is.
Our country in distress, and in lieu of dialing 911, in lieu of triage, We the People texted and tweeted our divided votes for the contestants that remained on the bloodied stage.
The true nature of the outcome (vague at best right now, policy-wise, campaign-promise-wise) has perhaps been little thought of by many voters— winning was the goal. The upset by a Washington ‘outsider’ of American Politics as we’ve come to know them was the goal. And for now, this has been achieved, however marginally.
As a proponent of progressive politics who lives in in New York City, in Brooklyn— I am harshly reminded again of what a gentle and reasoned, diverse and thoughtful bubble I live in within these United States. But a bubble nonetheless. There was hubris in the assumption that Trump simply could not be a credible threat, and that’s a bitter pill.
It’s been a seething thing, this whole contentious race; between Trump and the GOP; between Bernie and Hillary; between Hillary and Trump. A seething, anguished game of grenade-tossing between two very different Americas. Both of which, broadly speaking, perhaps ultimately want quite similar things in the day to day sense— in what they want for their families and loved ones; in what they want for the future of their children. A longing for some time that did not feel like the ground was ever threatening to fall away from beneath our feet, fictional as it may be.
But the differences— idealogical; large and wavering like heat off summer pavement, yet unmistakable— the differences are the field on which every battle is fought. Fear took the form of hatred and grabbed the wheel somewhere during the cycle, and wouldn’t give it back. We are all victims of it, now, winners and losers.
This is America’s Brexit. This is real. Now we must hope the sentiment proves true, that his supporters have ‘taken him seriously, but not literally.’
There is so much work to be done now, as ever. Perhaps more than ever.