A House Divided?

I voted for Trump.   There, I said it.

Also, what the hell, Bill (Bill is the other fat computer guy here– he wrote our site’s first blog post a few days ago).  I wanted this to be a tech, food, & weight loss blog and somehow it turned to politics.  OK fine, I suppose a bit of political commentary is apropos.

I am registered Independent and these days I’m very cynical about the state of American politics (crony capitalism).  I reluctantly (but firmly) supported Trump even though he is an ego-maniacal loud mouth.  The traits that appealed to me (Washington outsider, more in-line with my conservative fiscal political views) simply outweighed the fact that he comes off as a tool… I don’t think I need to get into specifics, it’s all been covered.

Ever since the first debates in the 2016 Republican primaries, I had a gut feeling that Trump would win… not just the primaries, but the presidency. When I watched the primary debates I saw Donald Trump, an outsider, celebrity, and already a household name.  Then a bunch of other dudes (and Fiorina), each with their own form of presidential kryptonite:  Cruz was just… creepy.  Rubio reminded everyone of their annoying little brother;  Jeb Bush actually was W’s little brother.  Ben Carson was too far right; Christie was right fat. I liked Rand Paul… but no one else did.  No one had ever heard of Kasich.  My point here is not to be mean.  It’s just that, for better or for worse, Trump stood out.  And, most importantly he represented “something different” aka “change”.

Speaking of being mean.  I don’t expect the media to support the candidate that they don’t want in power.  I also know that there was a lot of ugly “poo-flinging” by both candidates.  It is clear to me that there is a liberal skew in the media/entertainment industry, but geesh, things really got out of hand this time around.  Trump is not Satan incarnate.  You may disagree with him, even be disgusted by him.  And he may very well fail miserably, I don’t know.  My point here is that the media (and academia, to some extent) has made a really ugly bed for themselves to lay in.  I think the apocalyptic reaction being felt by some of the thinner-skinned folks on the left is happening because the media just went overboard and got people too worked up over how bad Trump is.  I don’t think said media considered what the aftermath of a Trump victory might look like as they were doing this, because they didn’t see that as a possible outcome.

Let’s suffice it to say that my wife’s (and most of her side of the family’s) political views lean more left of center than mine do.  You know what?  I like being challenged.  It makes me think.  My side of the family’s political views lean even further right than my own.  Let me tell you, this combination has created some tricky waters to navigate during summer beach weeks and family dinner parties.

Like a lot of Trump voters, I mostly kept my choice of candidate to myself.  I wasn’t really proud of it anyway, it was just the lesser of two evils.  A couple of months ago, my in-laws came into town to help us babysit our then 9-month old daughter.  During the visit, we had a dinner conversation over Mediterranean food.  We were discussing the race, and it came out that my in-laws were Gary Johnson supporters.  I kind of showed my ass when I told them about how wise I was.  See, I figured out a couple of elections ago that voting on principle in a 2-party system was pointless.  When I said that, and followed it up with “I’m voting for Trump”, it was like I stuck my kebab in the baba ganoush.  Things got really uncomfortable.  “Oh god, our son-in-law is a deplorable!” and “Really?!?  …how did I marry this man?” were the vibes I felt.

My wife and I had some “spirited” conversations during the race.  She voiced her disapproval of my decision quite often (that’s cool), and asked me not to vote more than once (that’s not).  Deep down this insulted me, but I just shrugged it off most of the time.  One time I told her I wouldn’t vote if she wouldn’t– we could cancel each other out.   It was hard for both of us, but we got through it.

My wife and I drove together to early voting on a Saturday morning.  We brought our daughter…  it was a nice way to spend the morning.  But driving back home afterwards, my wife got some final jabs in and told me that she thinks I will find myself on the wrong side of history (she might be right). I won’t go into all the details, but it got a bit ugly.  I asked her, “have you stopped to consider that maybe I am just showing more grace than you?” (how graceful of me to say– ouch.)  “…Have you considered that I have just as strong negative feelings about your candidate, but in the interest of peace, I keep them to myself?” (again– ouch). She came back with a snappy reply or two.  I came back with “good response”.  It was tense.  But it passed.

We are still happily married.  If anything it brought us closer, because we got through a difficult situation together.  We decided the morning after the election, that if she and I can’t come together, then the nation has absolutely no shot at coming together.  Coming together doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with one another.  It means respecting one another.  And listening.  And with that, I will wrap this up– because that’s the point.  This concept can scale up.  From family to friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and strangers… that’s how we get through this.  We are all Americans.  Let’s respect one another… and listen.  As Bill said, Let’s all take a deep breath.  It’s going to be OK.

Let’s Take a Deep Breath…

We had an election this week. You probably heard about it.  Elections are polarizing things.  As far as I can tell, every election is pretty mean and nasty. It makes sense. If a candidate comes out and says “I think my opponent is intelligent, well spoken, and qualified”, they probably won’t win. So there’s a lot of conflict. And according to Google, conflict breeds more conflict. This is what it auto completed when I typed “conflict breeds” into Google so I would have a witty quote about conflict. I’ve been voting since 1992, and I don’t remember a “polite little election”. This one was particularly bad.
People are scared. I understand why. If you vote for one party, and wake up to find the other party is going to control all three branches of government , that’s scary. Donald Trump is a very polarizing figure, and he’s what psychologists refer to as a loudmouth and a hothead. Sorry to get technical on you there.  You can look it up in the DSM here. Actually you can’t. It’s just the Wikipedia article about the DSM. I assume the real one costs money. Maybe you have to be a doctor before you can buy one, I don’t know. Anyway, I have some thoughts on this matter. First, as the title implies, let’s take a deep breath. Everybody, whether your candidate won or lost, let’s take a deep breath. Take two if you need to. As President Obama noted in his video on election day, no matter who won, the sun would still come up today – and it did.  And it will tomorrow, and I feel pretty certain it will on January 20th too. If you have a puppy or kitten handy, go do puppy and kitten things with them. I’ll wait.

First things first, nobody likes a bad winner. So if you voted for Trump, try to be a good winner and try to understand that people are not just upset because their team lost, they’re scared. Don’t rub it in. I’ll be citing some examples from Twitter. When you want rational discussion of a tough topic, you go to Twitter:

Hillary Clinton is finding out how feels to be aborted just before delivery.

#trumptrain

See what they did there? It’s an abortion joke. I love a good abortion joke, who doesn’t? But right now, this sort of thing isn’t helping anybody.

Just watched Hillary’s speech and in the spirit of conciliation, I’d just like to say: LOCK HER UP!

This tweet comes from the always calm, cool, and well measured Ann Coulter. The FBI looked into this stuff twice. I think if anybody had any intention of charging Secretary Clinton with a crime, they wouldn’t have said there wasn’t a crime (twice).

So if you’re doing this sort of thing, stop it. It’s not helping. Yes you have a first amendment right to free speech. You don’t have to be mean.

The outcome of this election was largely a surprise. This fuels why people are upset. Sometimes you see these things coming. Nobody likes to be caught off guard. Some of us wear our emotions on our sleeve. I’m particularly guilty of this – I don’t do this on social media though, I do it the old fashion way – at home where it only damages my family.  Here is an initial thought from a Twitter user Tuesday night:

Regardless of the outcome, we are clearly a *deeply* divided and broken country. So much work ahead to mend, heal, and restore the U in USA.

I think this is a pretty good observation, and I agree. It is going to take reaching out and making comprises.  Here is the same poster a few hours later:

We are now under total Republican rule. Textbook fascism. F*** you, white America. F*** you, you racist, misogynist pieces of s***. G’night.

I’ve long said that nothing says spirit of bipartisanship like “F*** you, you racist, misogynist pieces of s***.” Wait a minute, I don’t think they want want to reach across the aisle at all.  It’s almost as if they only want to “mend, heal, and restore the U in USA” if that means everybody comes around to their way of thinking . This is virtually the opposite of compromise:

The settlement of differences by arbitrationor by consent reached by mutual concessions.

But dictionaries aren’t always handy. So when contemplating a compromise, let the phrase “F** you, white America. F*** you, you racist, misogynist pieces of s***” serve as a warning to you that you have drifted astray.  Another thing, if you want to say to our president elect “F*** you, you racist, misogynist piece of s***”, that’s one thing.  If you’re saying “F*** you, you racist, misogynist pieces of s***” to 59,928,533 Americans, maybe you should slow down and think for a minute – “Are 59,928,533 Americans, including 42% of women, ‘racist, misogynist pieces of s***'”, or is it possible that they didn’t like the other option they were presented?  This person might want to look up the definition of fascism too (hint: this isn’t fascism).

Here’s another thought (I’m full of them): Hillary Clinton is pretty much a career politician, and as such she doesn’t typically show us who she really is.  This isn’t an insult, politicians are like this, especially now.  Because as soon as you let your guard down and say something that anybody can twist into being derogatory to a group of people, or that sounds stupid, or that contradicts your previous position, your opponents will use it against you.  I suspect that Tuesday night Hillary Clinton was yelling obscenities and throwing things.  I suspect that she said a number of words that a lot people would find at odds with her outward Christian faith.  But we didn’t see that.  We saw a well thought out, hopeful speech congratulating Donald Trump.  For the last 24 years or so that we’ve known Hillary Clinton, we’ve seen what she wanted us to see.  She’s 69 years old, and in that 69 years I’m sure she has said things that were incredibly stupid – like you, and me, and everybody else on the planet.  I would also be really surprised if she hasn’t made an off color comment about race, sexuality, or religion at some point.  She’s only human.

Donald Trump is a businessman from New York City.  He’s outspoken.  He always has been.  It’s not a common trait in politicians.  Until June 2015, he wasn’t a politician.  Some would argue he won’t be a politician until January 20th, 2017.  I suspect that we’ve seen what there is to see of him.  I think a lot of people are thinking “if he says these things out loud, the things he thinks privately must be horrific”.  But I suspect that’s not the case.  I suspect the things he thinks privately he says out loud pretty quickly.  I’ll admit if I’m wrong – I’m good that way.

I’ve seen multiple videos of people crying.  If you need to cry, go ahead and cry.  It’s fine.  But if you cry on social media, it’s out there.  Quite possibly forever.  You might not want to do that.  Also, the people who answer 911 calls are busy doing an important job.  Don’t call them because you’re upset that your candidate didn’t win (I can never find a clip when I need it – but I heard this on the radio twice today).  Also, taking to Twitter calling for an assassination is not cool.  Ask your parents or grandparents what it was like being around in 1963.  Also, if you’re scared of the government now, I suspect you’d really dislike the Secret Service knocking on your door, which would not be a completely unexpected outcome.

Take a deep breath.  Play nice.  We’re all in this together.