Each day my view of what happened on November 8th changes, and I consider my Election notes off the cuff, disorganized, and a bit reactive. However, they continue to get reactions and people have had moving, meaningful, and thought-provoking responses. I don’t want to keep posting, but I have tried to clean them up a bit and append some of the more interesting responses. I may clean them up one more time or add to them if something else strikes me. For now here is how I have posted them on my website for those interested.
November 9, 2016
A few quick, sleep-deprived thoughts as a placeholder for anything more substantial. I’ll give it another shot later:
- As hard as we tried to convince ourselves, she never felt right. She was always the woman who said she landed in, was it Bosnia?, under fire when it was her romanticized imagination of her own drama. It made you worry that, like Reagan, she couldn’t tell the difference between movie script and reality, or between the horror of war and her heroic participation in her own epic adventure. Not as megalomaniac as Trump but still a mythologized self-image, reinforced by being in a privileged bubble. She was oddly invisible too; you couldn’t find her, from Bill Clinton’s first campaign to her cruel, bloodless reaction to Monica Lewinsky, to debate after debate in two campaigns oddly both overwrought and underwrought in which she never said what we wanted her, or someone, to say. So yes, Trump wasn’t the only narcissist or Reality delusionist; it’s just that her Reality Show was staged on a misleadingly global stage of ostensible public service. As much as I tried, I never felt as though she was the best-prepared candidate in history for President. That smacked of denial and empty, running-scared sloganeering. She was prepared in a surficial way, but when it got any deeper, like Bernie, I thought she had bad judgment. So how prepared was she?
- The Affordable Care Act killed her. It killed Obama too. Healthcare murdered her all the way back to her misguided attempts at comprehensive something in her husband’s first term, not that something else might not have done her in instead. Many people have just been overwhelmed by the sky-rocketing costs of health insurance after the Affordable Healthcare Act. It did some social good, but it wasn’t worth the political or human cost, especially now, and it was a red herring anyway. From my perspective, neither Hillary nor Obama nor any of the Democrats seem to understand that the medical system itself—the pharmaceutical companies, the manufacturers of equipment, the insurance companies, the hospitals, the scientists who back it with their soul-less scientism, the commoditizers of life, health, and death and the fear of the death—are the real distorters and ballooners of the cost of healthcare. They are systematically corrupt and will divert every simulacrum of monetized healthcare into their own pockets. If you build healthcare on the foundation of a bogus medical system, the beneficiaries of that system will gladly turn your gullibility into their continued plunder. There was no way Obamacare could work because there is no way this healthcare system can go on indefinitely under its fundamental assumptions and biases. Any band-aid over it is going to come with big-time blowback.
- Bernie aside—not that Bernie can ever be aside because I believe he was the right candidate psychically and would have won the Rust Belt, Florida, and this election—it was the Democratic Establishment’s refusal even to allow an honest primary, to run a fair horse race and figure out what the public wanted, its insistence on coronating a specter from the past with a slipshod marketing makeover and willfully ignorant dismissal of where modernity now was (modernity outside its stylishly modernized bubble). Subservience to the Clinton machine meant that they ended up with an autocratically imposed candidate running against a renegade populist. He was tied to something; she never was. No, one-note Bernie wasn’t perfect, but he was at least real. When the opponent has a 60% disapproval rating, how about running someone who doesn’t rival that? Bernie didn’t have a significant disapproval rating, and he spoke to at least a percentage of the riled white, blue-collar middle class that ended up voting for Trump.
- At its worst, it feels like being on a plane you suddenly realize is going to crash or a terminal diagnosis out of the blue. You have to struggle to absorb it, to breathe with it, to sleep with it, to live. At its best you realize it’s just a shadow play, a puppet show, masking the real events, the international corporate warlord governance of our time, the bigger stage of samsara—and you remember the American Election was never the real battle, the real battle is the one you begin to fight with each next breath. The truth falls somewhere between the two sensations. Gradually the truth mystery will settle into the reality it is.
Standing Rock isn’t a shadow play or hyped reality show; it is the future slowly coming into focus beyond this hyped-up Reality Show and Twitter circus.
- I return to the two great prophetic poems of our time from long before our time:
Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” which ends:
“Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”
William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming,” which ends:
“…but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
November 9, 2016
I appreciate the thoughts and feedback of so many on Facebook. The responses to my post heartened me and made me feel part of a larger community and constituency that didn’t lose last night. They restored texture to a world that seemed to have paled in a startling and unexpected way.
Lindy and I were en route back to Portland, Maine (where we are living now) from New York City where we had been for two-plus weeks, mostly visiting my family and also claiming some Manhattan time we had earned through trading homes on a nonsimultaneous event. On November 7 I led an event called “Healing the Election” with Daniel Pinchbeck at the Alchemist’s Kitchen on the Lower East Side (1st Street off Second Avenue). At its beginning, I conducted some psychic exercises taught by John Friedlander for finding and transforming negative energy and taking responsibility for our own complicity. John’s system presumes any evil or darkness we identify outside ourselves is being sustained inside us at our own vibration. This world is in every sense a consensus reality.
Likewise, high-voltage public figures—in this instance, the major candidates—create their reality out of a collective projection to which we each contribute our imaginal and creationary energy. Every one of us has a role, however minute, in forming Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, not only by creating the drama and the stage but by feeding their auras. Likewise, they have a role, however small, in creating our reality and hijacking our auras.
One of John’s exercises involved returning their energy to a public figure on each outbreath and reclaiming our own energy from him or her on the following inbreath. Just as we need our own energy and can make better use of it than someone else can, the human beings parading as “candidate” need their own energy more than we do. Returning it to them is a favor and gift. Try it, even now. It is one hope, one way to participate, one way to continue to vote, to cast a psychic ballot.
Likewise if we attempt to excise a hated figure from the universe, the universe will restore his or her exact energy in some other form. Everything is necessary and has arisen in balance with everything else. Shared karmic participation is ineluctable.
In a third exercise, we send healing energy to a detested person, but that person, despite posturing, is also suffering in samsara. Though one’s healing energy may only be a tiny particle by measure with all the noise, if sincerely intended and discretely dispatched, it attains a quantum-entangled state, reaches them eventually, and helps balance them and purify them of their pain and distortions. The healing may happen instantaneously, or take months or years, or lifetimes, but the particle gets there. That is the inalterable nature of psychospiritual interdependence and quantum entanglement. It is why we are here at all.
I synopsizing and oversimplifying powerful exercises, but I want to share this figment of them for what use they might be right now.
At the Alchemist’s Kitchen the night before the Election, Daniel’s mysterious hooded friend Johnny, a man about my age, closed the evening with a prayer based on the premise that you cannot fight darkness with darkness, only with light. He had us pray silently and spread light and healing in increasing circles of inclusion till we had gone from ourselves and the room to All That Is.
I want to continue this post and encourage others to share and post their own thoughts. Unfortunately, as I understand its operation, Facebook selectively posts to timelines, so there is no guarantee you will see any one post. I will copy all posts sequentially to my website where you can read them by date, these ones at the end. http://www.richardgrossinger.com/2015/06/facebook-posts-june-2015/.
- I couldn’t sleep after the outcome was assured because I felt unsafe. That is also the dominant sentiment I see online: people feel afraid and unsafe. Trump owns this and it’s his responsibility, with our help, to fix it.
We were staying with friends in Connecticut and they were out at an election party. After such a monumental Earth change, it was difficult falling asleep in a strange house, but we have stayed overnight there dozens of times since 2001 on travels between Maine and NYC. It was more that the world itself had altered irrevocably, and some of the basic salves and guardians of night sanctuary had been eradicated. Even food stopped tasting the same. The rain outside had a new meaning and subtext and not just because it was drear and rainy.
The sense unsafeness, of course, is generic and global (war, climate change, epidemic corruption, systemic cruelty) and was there before the Election, but the image of a tidal wave of suddenly enraged uneducated rural white folks, was oppressive. I pictured them across the street, down the road. Suddenly I couldn’t tell who was who and how many were in this cabal, arming themselves with more guns than they could find uses for. I have been aware of the mostly unexamined anti-intellectual, white-privilege bias around me (and the privately nursed throwback racism and misogyny within the Rust Belt itself), all the way back to my graduate-school days in Ann Arbor in the sixties during the Vietnam War). It has a pornographic, Boko Haram flavor, along with real pornography and sexual violation, reinforced by the anointed candidate, but it always felt relatively contained and abeyant. Not now. It had been activated and given license.
- But our friends are pretty much the same as their neighbors outside Hartford—blue collar, not fond of Obama, anti-bureaucracy, anti-big-government—and they are also countercultural. I have admired the strong mutual support and camaraderie of their community. These people take care of each other better than most of my more left-wing friends do, and with real sacrifice sincerity. Their vote for Trump, which I only learned about later, was a shocker. It showed me how much I was in delusion and denial. I later learned that one of my most radical left-wing friends voted for him too (she said she held her nose). Her feeling about the danger posed by electing Hillary matched, if not exceeded, my sense of the danger posed by Trump.
I got up from my sleeplessness around 2 a.m. when our friends arrived back from their party. That’s when I learned that they had voted for Trump and were quite pleased with the result. “We’re ready for a change,” S said and pumped her fist. E spoke about how his insurance rates had more than doubled since Obamacare; his deductible had gone from $500 to $8,000. “I’m not getting treated for stuff I should be. I’m not spending eight thousand dollars. It’s too hard to come by.” Then he asked if I read the Wiki Leaks. I said I hadn’t. “She doesn’t even deny the stuff. She makes no attempt to deny her own corruption. The whole lot of them feel entitled to do whatever they want. It’s totally corrupt They needed to be sent a message.”
“But he’s dangerously delusional, not prepared to be President.”
“He’ll be fine!” S said.
Wow. My friends. Yet it was almost reassuring to discover that not all who voted for Trump were the enemy. I fell asleep, albeit for only three hours before waking to the new reality and writing my earlier post.
- Who did vote for Trump? Was the popular vote a reflection of the actual national mood or of just those motivated to vote? I for one know numerous young people and artists who don’t vote because they think voting is retro, useless, and has nothing to do with them.
There’s no way not to vote; they are creating the future too.
- Even a superficial analysis of the news tells you that, unless there is a parallel universe or a shitload of first-timers and awakened recluses, a huge number of people who voted for Trump also approve of Obama and give him the highest rating of his Presidency? Explain that. Voting for a guy who attempts to disenfranchise a President they respect and admire. Schizophrenic. Sort of like evangelicals flocking to vote for Hugh Heffner. More easily explained but just as disturbing (in fact more so) is another huge block of people, some of coterminous to the first, who voted for Obama twice and then for Trump. This tells me that Obama’s election didn’t mean what I thought it did at the time, but then neither does Trump’s. Also that what’s riling people isn’t entirely racist in origin.
Why did so many former and present Obama supporters vote for Trump (or against Hillary)? Her emails may have been innocent, a red herring, but she radiated a sense of entitlement and being “above the law.” She was everything that working-class white folks rejected in Romney. No wonder those same districts in Florida, North Carolina, and the Midwest flipped. She spoke not to the traditional Democratic working class or organized labor but liberal and suburban Republicans and minorities. I have no trouble with this in principle, especially the latter, but it wasn’t a winning constituency, and those people were never going to vote for Trump. You needed at least some of the working class. These folks aren’t all racist and sexist; after all, many of them voted for Obama, and I believe they would have voted for Elizabeth Warren. Their concerns needed to be addressed, their sense of unfairness and lack of concern in them within a liberal bureaucracy. By heart and spirit more than by rhetoric. It had to feel real.
- I agree with those who say that this is a moment to pitch in and heal the divide in the country, at least back to the degree at which it was polarized twenty years ago. What we have now is far worse than Goldwater/Johnson or the Nixon, Reagan, Bush eras. Some positive thoughts in that regard about Trump:
He is not Ted Cruz. He is not an ideologue. We could be in more trouble.
He talks and reads like a homeboy, New York, like Queens. He’s not unfamiliar. It’s not the New York I like, but it is New York. He’s not a South Carolina good old boy or a Texan. Hell, my cousin was his right-hand man until the rotor came off the helicopter in which he was flying to New York for his boss (1991) when someone, maybe the Russian mafia, was trying to send Donald a message and my cousin was collateral damage. That’s maybe one and a half degrees of separation between this guy and my natal circle of big-talking New Yorkers, boastful Manhattanites. I see that there’s an entire street named for Lewis Rudin, a friend of my family’s who used to mock Hispanic waiters by ordering from them in a fake Mexican accent.
Trump stood up to the entire Republican Establishment in a debate, in front of Jeb Bush too, and said that the Iraq War was a policy blunder of unprecedented proportion.
He was once pro-Hillary, pro-choice, pro-single-payer. No one knows what he really thinks, what is performance, what is Reality Show, what is red meat to activate his supporters.
He was justified when he said that pollsters were biased and vastly underestimated his constituency.
He was right when he said that the Democrats talk about helping the disenfranchised, but do nothing; it’s rhetoric to get elected.
He is not as much in the service of corporate lobbies as most candidates, though who he is in the service of may be more frightening.
He does not want confrontation with Russia, but that could every which way, including bringing Russian oligarchy to America and taking a foolhardy bluff.
When he defends his behavior with women by saying Bill Clinton did far worse, he’s probably right. In any case, the fact that he hung out with wealthy, pedophiliac pimp Jeffrey Epstein and his entourage is partly mitigated by the fact that Bill Clinton hung out with the same dude and likely the same prostitutes, some of them well under-aged. Hillary never said the line she had to, “I’m not Bill Clinton, but you are Donald Trump.” In fact, she never said, “I am not Bill Clinton,” and that was, to my mind, the worst of her many mistakes. She never banished the ghost of Monica Lewinsky, or even felt the need to try. It is totally weird when two candidates who oppose each other fiercely, and whose constituencies oppose each other so fiercely, are near accomplices of the same pedophiliac sex addict at a meager degree of separation. Bill’s selfish, self-righteous sexual appetite has arguably resulted in two electoral disasters and hundreds of thousands dead in the US and Middle East.
What scare me the most is Trump’s desire to tear up the Iran agreement, his denial of climate change, his latter-day right-to-life stance, and the purported number of people claiming to be time-travellers who came here to try to prevent his election because of the cataclysmic damage it did. Make of that what you will. Probably an urban legend.
- My favorite line on Facebook was the guy who said his twelve-year-old daughter responded to the news with, “He’s not the boss of me.”
November 11, 2016
Some further observations on the Election.
- Everything is different now. Everything looks different, feels different. There is a cloud over the world itself, a sense that things will never be right again. I find myself vigilant at multiple levels. I am fending off media input for its combined normalization and theft of reality. I am fending off politics as a useful or even neutral dialectic in which to talk to myself about the future or create imaginal worlds. I am fending off ally and enemy voters alike—because I can’t tell who is who anymore and because of cognitive and ontological dissonance between every political intention and its translation from ideology into acts with consequences. To vote for Trump because of Obamacare or as a protest against trade agreements or to make a point, without realizing that you are, at least provisionally, voting for the future of the Earth, is myopic. Discounting climate change or nuclear winter as a Democratic ruse may make sense at one level, but it is also cutting off your nose to spite your face or like that pilot who committed suicide by crashing a plane-load of passengers. I am not saying that every outcome is guaranteed or that we know which of antithetical, tangled crisscrossing paths leads to catastrophe, but every option is a voodoo doll in which a pin can legitimately be stuck.
- The newspaper headlines seem to be part of a dystopian science-fiction set, not quite real. Everything is proceeding with as if real but substituting for the real.
- Someone told me that the election of Donald Trump reminded him and his friends of 9/11. The shock had some of the same sense of apocalyptic rupture. If planes flown into the twin towers prophetically drew the sixteenth trump of the major arcana with its lightning strike of the turret, breaking it open as doomed people fall in the surrounding air, Trump’s ascension restores the Trump Tower of Babel, making a pun within the tarot itself, a fitting entendre for what will now become World as Reality TV. It’s been done before: Bunga Bunga and the Weather Girls, but Berlusconi didn’t have nuclear weapons. In that sense the Election reminds me of On the Beach, which I saw in high school at its premier because my mother scored tickets: everyone sitting around in Australia, waiting for the radiation to blow or wash in and human lie on Earth to end, singing “Waltzing Matilda” to raise their spirits. I hear the melancholy chords of “Waltzing Matilda” again, or perhaps Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda.”
- Before the Election, Lindy and I were staying with Tony Torn and Lee Ann Brown in their NYC Chelsea brownstone. Tony was about to relaunch his rock opera Ubu Sings Ubu, so I put him in touch with my old grade-school friend Phillip Wohlstetter, a 1960s Hamlet at Columbia. Phillip emailed Tony back the day after the Election, “Well, Ubu is king now so your Ubu Sings Ubu couldn’t be more timely. Is the first word he sings “merde”? (Actually it was “merdre” in the play, right?) You may have to run the show for the next four years.” As in Ubu builds a wall. Ubu grabs pussy. Ubu threatens China.
- Phillip also thinks Trump will quickly tire of the job as his thirst for attention is sated and, in the vacuum he created, the American Heritage Institute will write the script as they did during Reagan’s terms. Obamacare would be small potatoes for them; they will go after Medicare.
- It was a mistake to consider Hillary the stand-in for women against misogynist, rapist culture in the form of the man who towered menacingly over her at the third debate—too facile and misleadingly suitable an image. Her opposition to Trump had a bit of World Wrestling Federation playacting and crocodile. He was never the textbook Hun. Married to his partner in crime, a guest at his wedding, she could not establish plausible distance, let alone moral outrage. Yet she tied too much of who she was to not being who he was. She didn’t come clear. She didn’t campaign for herself. She demonized; she provided the so-called basket of deplorables with exactly the sort of foil they needed to reflect her back: a mere name-caller who refuses to risk her own identity. She did the same in her campaign Obama. Vote for me because he’s unqualified. She has never come clear or stood in a unhedged way for anything without leaving an avernue of retreat. That left her exposed against someone willing to burn all his bridges. At the debates she felt like the ballplayer on your team you root for, thinking this next time she’ll come through in the clutch. And she never does
- Half the country didn’t vote at all. You want to guess who they didn’t vote for, who they would have voted for if they had bothered or been allowed? I’m not talking about protest tickets that left a Presidential choice off their ballots because they didn’t like either candidate. I’m talking about people who didn’t cast a ballot. A quarter of the country elected Trump President, many of whom thought he was unqualified. I don’t buy the notion the your vote counts for a measly one against thousands, which is essentially nothing, so it doesn’t matter either way. There’s the hundredth-monkey principle. If you project a different thoughtform, others will recognize it and activate a similar thoughtform.
- Tell me it wasn’t a mistake for the Democrats to watch the Republicans have a wide-open primary in which an aggrieved public, a public feeling its voice had been stolen, got to tell the party whom they wanted—and choose someone the establishment wouldn’t have considered in a million years—and then let their own Establishment over-market or ram a candidate down the voters’ throats. The Republicans got a road-tested populist candidate with a head start; the Democrats got a pre-packaged counter-populist without momentum behind her and a sense that she was given rather than won the nomination. As one person put it, the only person who challenged her, a populist, had four major strikes going in—old, Jewish, a socialist, and an atheist (not qualities that usually score in American politics)—and he still almost beat her without Superdelegates or a fair referee. People with his drawbacks don’t usually succeed in American politics. That should have been a tipoff to the mood of the Electorate. If the Christian right was willing to throw rabid support behind an arrogant, godless sinner, Hillary was never going to pass as anything other than a Ghost of Elections past. Why handicap yourself? The DNC completely missed that this was a change election and the old rules were out the window. Insisting on Hillary gave us Trump.
- The Democratic Establishment also didn’t take the Election seriously as a brutally competitive death match. Once Trump became the Republican candidate, they were practicing their victory lap and dividing the spoils. In fact, they tried to help him win the primary, figuring he was a pushover. What hubris! Greek tragedy. Fall of the gods. Hillary was the only Democrat he could have beaten. Who else? He needed someone unpopular enough to nullify his own unpopularity and provide a criterion of false equivalence.
- The outcome is a Zen slap. End of the peaceful, dignified Obama interlude. Back to the battle for the life and soul of the planet. We are activated now. We have no choice. That’s what we voted for as a collective organism. Let’s hope that we knew what we were doing, perhaps through a glass darkly.
- At terrified moments I feel as thought we have elected Satan or the anti-Christ, that of course all those pseudo-Christians, sure that Obama was the anti-Christ were being set up. Honestly, which of these two male presidential figures looks more like Christ beaming behind his human mask and which looks more like Satan leering. Satan is also known as a great mesmerizer and seducer, and who would more susceptible to his trance than so-called Christians acting in non-Christian ways. After all, these are just words; Christian, Satan, Anti-Christ. Any energy can masquerade behind any of them. The whole point of the Satanic manifestation is that it comes in a Christian context. Outside of that, it has no historical frame of reference. The whole point of Satan is turning Christians into anti-Christians and crucifiers of Christ.
- History is a nightmare from which we can’t awake.
A few reader responses on posts to date:
“I can’t disagree with you, but I think you would write different words if you were with my latino friends here in California who cried in fear with me yesterday. Their fear is is very real and a larger perspective is far away.” –David Hurwith
“Agreed on Standing Rock, it is the alembic of North America, in my opinion.”—Nigel Seale
“hadnt heard about the time travelers… fascinating, captain.” – Reva Loo Chenier
“thank you Richard. Your words help my shock and dismay.But I keep singing that Beatles song —Hey, you got to hide your love awa —as I realize it’s time to hunker down and keep working on the path.” – Kathy Park
“Even the trees and the cars and the buildings look different now. I find this to be a lot like 9/11 and the aftermath. And so surreal because the people on TV news and so many others are behaving as if this is normal. Just an election with one side winning, the other side losing. This is not normal.” – Anna Dibble
[I find myself starting every conversation with a person with whom I haven’t talked since the Election with something like, “I hope you are okay in these strange times. Or, “How have you been otherwise?” Sort of like, “Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”]
“Even with Dubya in 2000 and the whole stolen election things didn’t feel nearly this apocalyptic. You’re right, Richard, that now it is a ‘battle for the life and soul of the planet’. The correlation between 9/11 as 16th trump of the Major Arcana and Trump election as Tower of Babel restored is uncanny and frightening. I guess we have to double, triple down our efforts against the vast, reptile-brained force in our path.”—James Cook
“two weeks to go; the fat lady ain’t sung yet. i’m picturing Bernie.” – Gavin Geoffrey Dillard
Have hope. The weirdness may just be beginning.
November 18, 2016
A smattering of further disjointed thoughts.
I keep waking up in the middle of the night in a dystopian nightmare, in shock, still trying to get a handle on it. There is none. It’s also the calm before the storm too. I wake each morning that way too. It’s not morning anymore. It’s something else. It used to be morning. It used to be Earth.
I see no way for things to be normal again. Food perhaps tastes a little better than it did a few days ago but it’s not completely food yet. The pro sports teams I follow are playing in hollow arenas where the fan cheering is pure denial and bravado.
In the historical novel I am reading (The Celebrant), I find that the 1906-1912 New York Giant seasons feel like new-fallen snow because Trump hasn’t happened yet; I haven’t been born. Freddie Merkle not touching second base, happened just yesterday, before an ill wind rendered it archival. One constantly wants to get back before baseball and everything else was commoditized to the max because that only leads to Trump.
Even my life span seems different. I am a bit older than Trump. Will I outlive his administration? What about history? Does it matter in the same way? Is the same planet undergoing climate change or is it now a different, more disposable planet? Can we effectively deny Earth a future, all the creatures and oceans and our own posterity, because a Potemkin Earth has been substituted.
The angels and avatars haven’t abandoned us because they can’t; they are imbedded in deeper dimensions and have nowhere else to go; our existence is necessary to them too. But I feel, if not their absence, an unplanned intermission in which they have retreated into the wings.
Even nuclear war is not the same, for it will obliterate Trump’s Reality planet and its karma too.
There’s every desperate reason to try and every equally desperate reason to want to watch the brigands destroy themselves, along with us and our children. Before November 8, we could let those folks be a sideshow with their slogans and entitled rage and guns. Now we and they are in the cauldron together, the Civil War is yet to be fought.
What does the Election’s aftermath say about what happened? So many conflicting statements and analyses. It does seem the case, as in Hillary’s primary against Obama, that she played prevent defense from the get-go and for the whole run while making comforting assumptions to herself as well as others that required nothing of her, no real courage or initiative. It all had a vaguely maudlin, self-congratulatory quality to it, as though the game needn’t be played on the field because she was not only qualified but superqualified and the only one qualified—and she was owed. She conceded present time to Trump while occupying a historical reconstruction of herself, or of someone she might have been or thought she might have been, which can be said of the entire Bill and Hillary career back to 1992.
She tried to win without the rural and white working class—we get that by now. But only 51% of women’s vote when running against whom we might generously call a pre-feminist candidate? Only 94% even of black women’s vote. It would seem that if only she had shown a smidgen of fortitude and risk and gone into areas where she was unpopular and was going to get heckled and booed, she might have shown her mettle to naysayers and scored 100,000 more votes across the Rust Belt and Florida, all she needed for the Election to conform to the modeling. She might have won with a little more conviction and urgency. Is that horrific in itself? Do we believe that Bill screamed at her to go into Wisconsin and she tuned him out? That’s one of many, many Monday morning quarterbacking tales that’s making the rounds.
So then we’re on Bill’s side, right? No, we’re not on Bill’s side. His indulgence with Monica Lewinsky, a sordid, graceless act for a President in office, for any warrior in his chamber, has arguably led to more suffering and death than any sexual act in history. Even Paris and Helen, who at least had a heart romance, only caused a local war. I get it that Ms. Lewinsky exonerated her lover and claimed equal responsibility, but that only makes him the more shameful and culpable because she had morality and transparency. Meanwhile Bill and Hillary tried to pretend that nothing happened or, if did, it didn’t mean anything or was a Republican plot against them. Obviously it did mean something, to Monica, to America, to the world.
That same denial and narcissism ran through Hillary’s campaigns: entitlement—entitlement to position, wealth, accolades; entitlement not because of anything she did but because of a rightful dowry, because of her superior intelligence, because of her ritual of preparation, as repayment for her martyrdom, at the hands of Bill, with Bill at the hands of the Republicans. I can’t get past the feeling that she claimed the Democratic nomination the way he claimed the right to take an intern into the Oval Office, as her due.
This melodramatic soap-opera couple thinks that America should love them as much as they love and forgive themselves. She would have wrested the primary from Obama too if she could have because it was hers. But this time she was really owed, for having it taken away from her once, for playing a good loser, foralways being the rightful heir. It never occurred to her that her unexamined narcissism was handing the country to Trump, even as it never occurred to Bill that he was giving the country Dick Cheney. She didn’t care; he didn’t care.
Think about that. Neither of them, despite rhetoric to the contrary, believed in the common good above their own spoils or appetites, for sex, fr money, stature, and fame, for the right to raise Chelsea a princess. She deprived us of Bernie versus Donald because it got in the way of her own showtime, Bill deprived us of Al Gore as president on 9/11
But would I rather have her than what we got? In a heartbeat! What I wouldn’t give to wake up in Hillary’s America, or in Romney’s or McCain’s America, for this is not just dystopian; it’s apocalyptic.
Less than a week ago I considered Trump’s America at least provisionally up for grabs. My friends who voted for him, the few I know, said, “Wait and see. It was all an act. He’s really going to change things for the better, get rid of the lobbyists and bureaucracies. He’s going to be able to rebuild the infrastructure because who’s going to get in his way?”
Fair enough, but so far what I see is White Supremacy, Big Business, Military Adventurism, Futile Anti-Globalism. There is not even a faux nod to the common man and woman or the dying middle class who got him elected. I am still waiting to see one instance of him bringing us all together, or healing divisions, and making America anything again. It’s as though none of that ever mattered. He isn’t even waiting till the Electoral College votes to start screwing all but the most alt-right of his constituency.
I have not yet seen the sober, somewhat dignified Trump of last Sunday’s Sixty Minutes or anything close to it. He is making that performance seem like disingenuous theater. Lesley better get him back.
So what is he thinking? His kids have to live in the America he creates too. Is there no incentive to try for real, to use what he is claiming as a mandate but is no more than W. Bush got a mandate? Is it that much of a game, a reality show, a morality (or, really, ideology) play? Are these people so bored or craven that they have nothing better to do than demonize and skirmish? Soccer hooliganism instead of social justice, functional community, or right relationship? Plus all those guns and their collective intention with nothing yet to shoot.
A friend told me that one-time Tea Party media star Glenn Beck, turned sober and sane, said something like, “The Democrats take Trump literally but not seriously; they don’t get it. His followers get it: they take him seriously but not literally.”
Big mistake then, big mistake now.
I have not bought Nazi and Hitler comparisons, and I don’t, but I feel a layer of veneer protecting us from a fascist authoritarian dictatorship has been removed. It may work out with check and balances, Trump may not even mean his appointments literally. But it also may be an irreversible step toward legitimizing racism and civil chaos.
The best word I have heard for Trump is not vulgarity or misogyny, either of which he can fend with plausible denial, but venality, I don’t think he can beat that rap so easily.
Okay, prove me wrong. I’d rather be wrong.
One Republican poster asked me on Facebook, “Can’t we be optimistic? Maybe he’ll be a great president.” Okay, let’s be optimistic.
Venality also seems to be about two poles of experience of human reality in the American psyche. Trump and his cohorts align with W. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld: male prerogative. But it is not misogyny per se because many women adhere to it as fervently as men. It is more the values of war, masculinity, power, torture, rapacity, law of the jungle, territoriality, nationalism, American entitlement, White superiority, paternalism, avenging Jehovah, guns, violation of the weak by the strong because that’s nature. The wars have nothing to do with the ostensible goals declared (Iraq a good example); they have to do with the virtue of war itself, the desire to turn on the great war machine and have populaces in terror and surrender. Obama and his cohorts followed W. Bush by aligning with nature, interdependence, compassion, globalism, community, service, femininity, Christ, negotiation, Gaia, sentient life, fluid gender. With Trump, male prerogative returns like an old Soviet or North Korean parade. The reason why his sexual attitudes and pornographic behavior, his cruelty and sadistic stunts,didn’t disqualify him for many people, including many women and Christians, is that they merely exemplify the sort of authoritarian, entitled strongman they wanted. They defined him positive not negatively. If torture can be a negative turned into a positive, so can recreational violation of women. In a sense war is the ultimate pornography, and sexual expression absent the heart chakra is one of the great drivers of war.
I have posted Greg Palast’s claims of voter suppression and disenfranchisement at a scale that enough voters in swing states were turned away or had their ballots disqualified to make a difference in who won the state. After I posted, others countered, “No, that’s misleading, creative statistics, conspiracy theory. She lost fair and square.” Well, she did lose fair and square if it’s fair and square to have so many voters conned by a conman, and there was also voter suppression. What it enough to amount to a Right Wing coup? Probably not yet, but the suppression is real and is very serious for future of democracy and the planet. I have also read that Trump’s victory in Florida was mathematically impossible based on the early voting. Was the Election hacked from Russia?
I also posted Corey Pein’s application of the Jungian archetype of the trickster to represent Trump as Loki—not the actual personification of the Norse god but of the psychic forces the god represents. Why Loki? For one, Pein suggests, Trump looks like red Loki. But Loki has mainfested mainly because of the negative forces released by the Internet: disinformation, alternate false realities, public space for the spewing of private venom, self-righteous vitriol posing as religious faith, echo chambers, a world in which facts do not matter, a reality-less virtual reality, a miasma of abstractions and rhetoric the, degradation of information itself.
Can you imagine a more tantalizing invitation to Loki than the one we’ve given him? In just ten years the Internet has exploded into a body-snatching cyborg everywhere in the form of Smartphones, hypnotic subreality screens.
And guess what, Loki strode right in the way gods do, he seized existing vortices and filled them. Apparently twenty percent of those who voted for Trump said that he was unqualified to be President and still cast a ballot for him. Loki at his finest! Where an archetypal force fuses with a historical event, you can’t tell archetypal seizure from the procession of secular vistas. You couldn’t in 1930s Germany, and you can’t now, though I am not claiming a parallel prodrome or outcome. Loki is not Uranus or Zeus; he is not Wotan. He’s a trickster and, as another poster pointed out, he can be tricked. He can also trick himself, and he can trick us more than one time over. Let’s hope we see the benign, healing side of Loki Coyotl too. He is much needed in a troubled world.
There’s talk of an Electoral College Hail Mary, getting electors to renounce Hillary as well as Trump, vote for an agreed-upon moderate Republican like Kasich or Romney, at least enough of them to bring Trump down to 270, and kick it to the House where a moderate Republican gets elected. Right out of the musical Hamilton. Which became, rightly or wrongly, the first repository of public rebuke for support of White Supremacy.
Yeah, it might have worked in the eighteenth century, but I can’t see it happening now—too much fear and too many people bought or willing to be bought.
But, honorable electors, if you don’t want the dystopia that is looming, don’t want your children to grow up in what used to be America or live in some Syrian or Somalian nightmare or amid floods, famine, and superstorms, you might consider that there may be something worse than electoral-college betrayal.
If things proceed as they are, the people who would have been betrayed may feel quite differently. But don’t count on it. What’s engaging is not that the Electoral College will overturn the vote but that the possibility itself is in the air, perhaps a step toward reclaiming Democracy.
We await Obama’s first words as a private citizen, then may hell hath no fury if it must.
A couple of posters’ responses:
“Since you put it out there, I need to disagree with what I see as your Hillary bashing.Because of Obama, I may have naïvely succumbed to the fantasy that we are living in a meritocracy. But I don’t think I was alone—I think there are millions of us who felt that she deserved to be President because she was actually the best candidate. I now accept Bernie Sanders as the spiritual standard bearer of my Democratic party. He is a good person. Hillary is toast. But when they were one on one in debates- her commonsense, intelligence , focused energy and experience won me over. And I felt she had virtue, a rare commodity… something that a Trump supporter would laugh at. (Both the thing in itself, and the notion that she had some…)
Bernie has the right values, a compelling biography and some really good ideas… but they could only have been accomplished in a perfect world; which we now know we are much further from then we ever imagined. And yes he might have even done a better job competing for the gullible gut of the American electorate in a two-man race with Trump…But he was not the best candidate to me—Hilary was. I personally felt she was owed this election, (whether she believed it or not) because of her debate performances, one after another— and what this brought out in her, the intelligence I was seeing in front of my eyes—not because of some pre-determination or assumption.Yes there were strategic missteps along the way—no, she was not perfect—but I and millions of others thought she was the best.
I think your metaphysical reconstruction of her misses the mark, and I want to protest that she DID go to the Rust Belt, again and again—she went, and her surrogates went, and she stood up to booing and she said what she had to say.
But she wasn’t able to lie too much, and this I admired.
I think you may paint too fancy a picture of what went wrong—she was done in by fate, helped by people’s cravenness, credulity, stupidity, racism and sexism. And these people were terribly offended when she told them what she saw….because narcissism is rampant, and Trump is just the avatar.” – James Rauchman
[I agree with some of this because the situation is deep and entangled, and paradoxes and internal contradictions abound. I did think that, on stage with Bernie, she came across as more sober and nuanced and not so much pounding one issue to death in a sloganeering way. I also think she has many of the qualities you mention. But I have never felt comfortable with her judgment, her touch with reality, her continual evasiveness, ambition, and refusal to address criticisms of her actions with even the acknowledgment that they might have some justification. In the debates she just ignored basic questions and taunts by Trump, and they were not dangers, they were opportunities, her best opportunities like in t’ai chi, and she squandered them.]
“I was so struck by your observation about cheering crowds at stadiums. It’s exactly what I feel when I flip channels and see any kind of game in progress now. My reaction is “Don’t they know everything is changed?” Same with the ads suggesting “Get through the Winter with Scandinavian Furniture” or whatever pops up on my stoopid FaceBook page. Who gives a rat’s ass about Scandinavian furniture at a time like this? It feels like a winter has descended on Narnia which no amount of cheerful red cushions is going to ever dispel.
It’s a kind of mourning.
Mourning for the future in fact.
On the other hand there is, whenever I call upon it, always a warm thread of hope that runs me. Everything has meaning and import and spirit behind it. Even dreadful things come to an end. Or rather, come full circle. Everything is cyclical. Native people whom I had the privilege to know spoke of a Great Purification. I always hoped it was somewhere way, way off in the future. Maybe it still is. It sounds terrible. But a purification would be a ….. purification, after all.
And if my friend and mentor Ghanshyam is right in his reading of the Vedic texts, there will be at some point or other great conflict. Negative souls have been flooding in by birth for many decades to live it out. But other souls are here and are arriving here too, obviously.
The eventual outcome is said to lead to a golden era. But surely even that will be cyclical?” – Mary Stark
“‘On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts’ desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.’
It was bound to happen some day.
I’m trying to see it as a necessary evil. There has always been an ugly festering social boil beneath the American skin and it has finally come to a head. Eventually it will be just another blemish on the American landscape. But for the next four or eight years, we will have to get used to the oozing puss of the Trump era.” – Charles Rasmussen
“I have lost a lot of respect for my fellow Americans. It is remarkable how daft, how cruel, how blind, and gullible Americans are.” – Dana Ullman
“I fear you’re right, and that this will join the list of B&A
Before and After JFK
Before and After 1968
Before and After 9/11
Before and After the (hopefully brief) Trump Era.” – Thomas Myers
November 28, 2016
People are still taking Donald Trump literally rather than seriously. When he said that millions of illegals voted, he meant (and his followers heard), millions of people who should be illegal voted.
“It seems as though an elephant sneaked through a mouse hole.”
January 16, 2017
Musing on the seeming hypocrisy of evangelical support and rabid loyalty to Trump. But if fundamentalist Christianity has morphed into Capitalism with a covenant of materialism, then wealth for all is the transubstantiation. Trump then becomes not mammon for his vulgarity, sexual violations, and display of idols, but a manifester of the holy grail for having manifested wealth shamelessly. When capitalism is religion, the promise of prosperity is the new salvation. Just as the priest does not have to deliver heaven, so Trump doesn’t actually have to deliver anything he promised. The campaign was a camouflaged prayer meeting, all about hosannas and symbolic speech. As long as he praised the Lord (promised to make America great again, displayed ostentatious wealth) and damned Satan and the heathen, be that godless Democrats or immigrants or Muslims, he can reneg on all his promises now. It was a prayer meeting, never a real secular campaign. In the long run the dissonance will have to be resolved, but for now his acolytes can party as if it’s real.
February 17, 2017
Interesting synchronicity. An old movie that was on our Netflix queue a long time finally showed yesterday. 1952, but it was filled with language and scenes that directly addressed Trump, his recent press conference, and his general mode of operating. Deadline-USA. In the movie his opponent is a fearless, strong-speaking editor whose courage and conviction would do well today, Humphrey Bogart. Watch the film and be amused and heartened.
April 6, 2017
A minor point amidst all else, but it seems to me as though Donald Trump and his first lady did not ascend, legitimately or otherwise, to the Presidency of the United States. The POTUS descended to their level and now no longer looks like the same thing. It’s been vitiated. Even Richard Nixon didn’t accomplish that. He at least played the piano and knew what China was when he went there. He had enough gravitas that John Adams could compose an opera about his visit. I don’t expect to be hearing the music of “Trump and Xi.”