Post-election, November 11th, 2016

I’m not sure how useful this post is going to be. Consider it capturing a time, a place and a sentiment.

We’re five days past the US federal election of November 8th, 2016. Being a bit pedantic about including dates as you may be reading this well after the date. Donald J. Trump is the president-elect. He won the majority of electoral college votes. His opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is in the lead for the popular vote. Absentee and mail-in ballots are still being counted; she will likely finish with a clear, but narrow popular vote majority.

The president-elect won votes in a few key swing states, enough to tip the electoral college vote allocation his way. These were states that have been most heavily affected by employment loss and change as the price of coal has plummeted, manufacturing facilities have moved overseas or have automated (requiring fewer works).

I live in a pretty blue region of a very red state. 34% of the presidential vote to went to Hillary Clinton. A lot of people I know said that they were going to write in other candidates.  Locally, in the local judge races, nine African-American women were elected, out of the fourteen available positions.

This had been an anxiety-ridden election. It’s been an election in which one candidate hurl insults at people who spoke against him, threatened lawsuits, drew the support of white supremacists, and brought out the worst  I didn’t get a lot of work done in the week leading up to it, nor in the days immediately after it. I was stunned. I had _so_ been looking forward to having a female president, and some continuity in the work done under the Obama administration. And maybe, just maybe, less obstruction from the legislative houses. I didn’t vote – I’m a permanent resident, a legal alien. I could have, if I had started the application for citizenship eight months earlier

That is gone now. A lot of people are grieving. A lot of people – about half the women, LGBTQ, minority are afraid and worried. They are worried about the loss of health insurance and the potential rolling back of recently granted legal rights. In many small communities in rural Alabama, it’s about their neighbors and colleagues. These are communities where change is threatening, ugly things have been said and there are significant gaps in communication and understanding. Members of families have stopped talking to one another.

Protests have started. It’s early days.

This man has said a lot of hurtful things. He has an authoritarian bent. He’s promised a lot to his supporters in terms of overturning the existing Washington applecart. He is inexperienced with governance and he’s rapidly being surrounded by people with strong lobbying, manufacturing, and financial industry connections. This is going to be a World Wrestling Experience presidency, of show, and bluster, threats and counter threats, drama, hurling and slamming of bodies.

He, his supporters and the Republican party own this. They have control of the Senate, the House and the Presidency. Success or failure is in their hands.

With the reopening of NAFTA, Canada and it’s citizens are going to be in for time of uncertainty. The only good I see is that the country has gotten pretty good at balancing the buffeting of international trade winds. The strong international connections are going to be essential to surviving the buffeting coming forth from the United States.


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