67 Days Until President Trump
A couple of days in and I’m still having trouble with the outcome of this election.
I mean, obviously I’m having a problem with Trump, because… obviously. That part is terrible.
And it’s terrible that sixty million of my fellow citizens either were down with that, or were willing to overlook it in order to shake things up.
I mean, good grief, how the hell do you overlook that?
But I overlooked something, too. I’m also having that “ah-ha” moment when I realize that the Hillary Clinton who I know is not the same Hillary Clinton that most Americans know. That’s because most Americans didn’t do a shit ton of research into her politics and her history - as I did - which would have led them to conclude - as I did - that about 95% of the public perception of Hillary Clinton was the kind of garbage that even a raccoon won’t touch.
I did my homework. I felt pretty comfortable in thinking that, if facts could be known about Hillary Clinton, I knew the important ones. I know that she’s not a liar - though she spins the truth in her favor. I know that she’s not a close political ally of corporate America - though she did accept speaking fees there, because, hey, even liberals like money! I know that she’s basically a progressive dreamboat - I literally had a blog post drafted, entitled, “Hillary Clinton: Progressive Dreamboat” about half-finished when the primary ended - but she ironically ran through a tough primary with one of literally maybe two other Senators who could be accused of being more progressive than she is. (I am here thinking also of Russ Feingold, because even though he’s no longer in office, they served together, and man is he progressive!)
But I got lazy. I never published my findings. I told a few people around me, but mostly they were people who were going to be Hillary supporters, anyway. The constant slew of people who were all, “I’m going to vote for Hillary, but I mean, I don’t like Hillary” - it should have set off alarm bells, right? But I was happy with their votes and I’m conflict-avoidant enough to not make waves.
Hillary Clinton has had Republican attack dogs writing some really amazing lies about her for thirty years. When the 2016 campaign got started, I had to do my homework because I couldn’t separate fact from fiction in my head. But not everyone did that, and I as a Hillary supporter did a terrible job of messaging to the world the truth that I'd found in a vast sea of spin and falsehood.
Sure, she’s a Beltway insider. But you want to talk about shaking things up? How about affordable childcare for all families? Because that’s kind of a big deal. If you’re struggling and trying to make ends meet, would an extra $10,000 a year make a difference for you, personally? Eight hundred bucks a month sounds pretty good to me. I don’t know about you, but I’d be okay if she were giving the reacharound to Wall Street if it also meant my wife and I didn’t have to keep having the discussion about whether or not we can afford for her to go back to work full time.
It’s stuff like this that makes me crazy when people start going off on “crooked Hillary” rants. I’m not asking her to babysit! I want her to go to the mattresses for me and my family! I want someone who has a decades-long history of demonstrably having my back! That’s who I want for President.
I was excited about Hillary. But I assumed that, because I knew my facts, that others did as well. I knew true things, and assumed that others knew them too, just because they were true.
As it turns out, Truth is more slippery than that.
Truth doesn’t set itself free. You’ve got to do that work. You have to shout it from the mountaintop. When you know true things that other people don’t know, you can’t leave them ignorant. Truth is more important than that.
This doesn’t mean just shouting them down. I think that the Trump Presidency is pretty fucking good evidence that people are tired of being talked down to. They voted for literally the one guy in politics who doesn't talk down to anybody, because he's already there. (Here may be a racist, xenophobic misogynist, but he isn't condescending about it!)
It's up to us as progressives to figure out how to speak the truth without sounding like assholes. Mansplaining is a real thing, but prog-splaining is, too, and we've got to cut that shit out. Nobody who's teetering on the edge of whether or not they can feed their kids gives a crap about high-minded ideals like "equality".
But they do care. I have to believe that. They care about nice Mr. Jones, the church organist and confirmed bachelor. If you asked them, most of them would say, "Sure, he deserves a shot at love. I don't know how I feel about gay marriage, but I'm with him, yeah."
We progressives are really good at seeing the big picture, and really lousy at seeing the individual people in it. We have to find a way to reveal that picture, that Truth, without ignoring the million little truths out there that are heartfelt and sincere. We can't keep talking down.
We have to get off the mountaintop and sing our Truth from the streets.