Politics  •  November 9, 2016

It’s Not an Apocalypse

Now that Hillary Clinton conceded, let’s seriously look at the apocalypse she predicted.

Firstly, a sexual predator as president. We already had one, Bill Clinton. I think we had about an equal number of women come forward to accuse them of sexual misconduct. If it was not apocalypse then, it’s not now.

Pro-life vs. Choice. Trump is a simple man. The only thing he is interested in is winning. He would say whatever he needs to say to win. After all, why would a womanizer like him fight against abortion? It makes no sense. This particular issue would have been worse if any other Republican candidate won. In other words, this is not a problem specific to Trump. It’s not an apocalypse; it’s just Republican. The same goes for LGBT rights. Trump at least had an openly gay entrepreneur speak at his convention.

A Christian fundamentalist as president. Well, does he look at all like a devout Christian of any sort? He is not. He has no interest in fighting a religious war.

A racist as president. As I’ve written many times before, racism or any type of xenophobia is a symptom, not a cause. It’s an expression of fear. The main problem the blue-collar workers of this country face is economic uncertainty. They may not be poor right now by the objective standards, but they have a bleak future. They don’t know what will happen to them in five years, or even in a year. Technology is evolving so fast and eliminating so many jobs that they don’t even know what they could do next. Even if they can afford to go back to school and learn something new, there is no guarantee that there would be any jobs waiting for them. Learning something new is particularly hard for blue-collar workers because their skills require muscle memories. They are not as versatile as white-collar skills. They are literally drinking themselves to death worrying about their future.

When we humans are under threat, we need to come up with some kind of narrative so that we feel we have some control over the situation. The threat the blue-collar workers face is quite complex and abstract. It’s not something they can easily comprehend or see in front of them. So, they end up looking for a scapegoat like Mexicans or Muslims. They are misdiagnosing their own problems, but the cause of their fear is still real and legitimate. To understand their cry for help, we need to ignore what they are saying even though it’s certainly offensive. We have to let their offensive remarks slide because as a democratic country, we have to share the same roof. We the urban liberals are still economically better off than they are. Our future is brighter than theirs. We can afford to be forgiving.

In a democracy, the majority wins but it does not mean that the majority is right. Sometimes the majority is wrong, and the minority has to pay for the consequences too. But we also have to remember that we could be wrong too. When that happens, the others who voted correctly must suffer the consequences of our wrong actions. So, we need to be humble and respectful of one another. We do not have a choice in the matter unless we are willing to wage a civil war.

The US is like a sinking Titanic. The blue-collar workers who are in the third-class cabins see the water leaking into our ship. We the urban liberals are on the upper deck, so we don’t share their anxiety. What this election has proven is that the water is already leaking into the second-class cabins also. A lot more people are fearful of our ship sinking than we realized. We have been oblivious to their cries for help. It’s true, historically, we liberals have always been ahead of the conservatives on almost all social issues, but just moving ahead fast without waiting for our fellow citizens to catch up is selfish.

Remember, we, especially New Yorkers, have been very lucky because the rest of the country bailed us out in 2008. If it weren’t for that bailout, New York would look like Detroit today. Many of us would have defaulted on our mortgage and been evicted from our homes, but nobody I know did. Given that the economic pillar of New York is financial services, the collapse of it would have cascaded to everything else. We would be lucky if we had jobs. The only reason why the Americans had to come together to bail us out was because we held their local economies hostage with our banking system. We should not forget this.

It is too easy for us to blame Clinton’s loss on the Americans being fascist, racist, and sexist. A half of the country voted for Trump. If you truly believe that half of this country is fascist, racist, and sexist, then you really would have to leave this country on principle. If you are going to stick around, then you need to start thinking about what it is that you did not understand or could not see about these people. That would be the only way we can come back together as a nation.

I’m going to get some sleep now.