Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tabs of Election Mourning

For the first time, my browser tabs have overflowed and back-washed into my email. Many of the originally tabs are links from Twitter, and I often email them to myself if I'm away from my desk. But lately there are so many tabs open already that I haven't been opening the new ones in my mail, going back to November 12.

So first I have to clear out the tabs that already exist in the browser, then we'll see if I can deal with the dozens in my mail.

First there's lots of stuff about why Clinton lost, why Trump carried parts of the country Obama won, and so on:

On rural America: understanding isn't the problem. This essay links support for Trump to Christian fundamentalism as a world view that makes people, essentially, stupid. It's harsh, but one of the best first-person perspectives I've read on this (ignoring a few grammatical and usage errors near the beginning). If you want to know who the guy is who wrote it, you can find that here. My only argument with him is that his paragraphs are way too long.

Even though this one is from a couple of weeks before the election, everyone keeps pointing to it: How Democrats lost their populist soul. In short form, they lost the "farmer" in Democratic Farmer Labor party, as it were. And killing Glass-Steagall was part of it.

An interview with Noam Chomsky from February 2016 on Huffington Post, headlined Trump is winning because white America is dying. Coupled with this post-election interview with Chomsky, which almost did me in when I read it on Monday.

How half of America lost its fucking mind, by David Wong for Cracked. Published about a month before the election.

A new theory for why Trump voters are so angry that makes sense. An interview with University of Wisconsin professor Kathy Cramer, who spent years talking to people in rural and small-city Wisconsin. From the Washington Post. (And here's an article written by Cramer herself from Vox.)

How Trump won an election helped by America's anti-tech Luddites. Yes, the geographic digital divide is doing us all in. From Mashable.

Media critic Jennifer Pozner on how reality television helped bring us a Donald Trump presidency. Including this great statement by the interviewer: "Watching the campaign, it’s almost like many people believe there’s something about straight-shooting that’s supposed to be racist and sexist. As in, if you’re an honest person — or so the perception goes — you are a person who says racist and sexist things." From MTV news, ironically.

Finally, this piece by Josh Barro at Business Insider was published the day of the election, so he looks all the more prescient, including these bon mots:

  • "...you shouldn't assume Trump's voters are experiencing false consciousness; in many cases, they just want bad things."
  • "Opposition to immigration does not necessarily have to be rooted in bigotry, but when encountered in practice among voters it almost always is."
  • "Most voters, I think, have correctly diagnosed the Trump campaign as a primal scream of white resentment. The alarming thing is that so many are in favor of the scream."
Barro's last two paragraphs (again, published on election day) are making me lay my head on the desk as I write this:
Fortunately, it looks as if just enough voters don't want a nastier, more bigoted, stupider country, and we will be spared a Trump presidency by an uncomfortably close margin. And Trump's voters are right about one important thing: The rising ethnic diversity of the country will make it even harder for a candidate like Trump to be elected in future years.

We have probably dodged a bullet. But we have learned some very ugly things about many of our fellow Americans in the process.
In the aftermath of Trump's election, there are also lots of thoughts about what we (sometimes defined as everyone opposed to Trump and sometimes as white people opposed to Trump) must do.

From Masha Gessen, a compelling Russian expatriate journalist who knows whereof she speaks, we have Autocracy: rules for survival, published in the New York Review of Books. Her rules:
  1. Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.
  2. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
  3. Institutions will not save you.
  4. Be outraged.
  5. Don't make compromises.
  6. Remember the future.
The media is completely unprepared to cover a Trump presidency. Well, since they were completely unprepared for a Trump candidacy, how can we really be surprised by that statement. By Adam Serwer for the Atlantic.

We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions. By Matt Yglesias from Vox.

Then there's Hey white people, you have to start doing the ugly work that isn't safe for us to do. From Feministing.

Donald Trump will be president: this is what we must do. Some good advice in this one. From the Intercept.

Empathy isn't a favor I owe white Trump voters. It has to go both ways. By Baratunde Thurston, writing for Vox.

Some of it's just plain old mourning and history, as in this piece from The Atlantic by Adam Serwer: Is this the second Redemption? (The Redemption is what the post-Reconstruction period was called.)

On your way to the camps, I just want you to know... This satirical essay was posted on September 18 when most of us assumed Trump wouldn't/couldn't win. Like the Daily Show's Halloween episode, it's written with the premise that Trump won the election, but this time it's from the point of view of a non-Clinton-voting apologist.

The big con: what is really at stake in this U.S. election. Big government helped make America great but it was so successful its effect has become invisible. Anti-Washington hatred helps only the super-rich and puts progress at risk for millions living with wage stagnation and rising inequality. From the Guardian.

Finally, there were a few articles on other topics that got lost among all of the election stuff:

The Second Amendment: Original Intent. From the New Yorker, February 2016. A series of imagined letters between Jefferson and Madison.

From July 2016, an interview with Jimmy Carter called The U.S. is an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery. Well, Trump is about to make sure we ain't seen nothing yet on that front.

Recalculating the climate math: the numbers are even scarier than we thought. By Bill McKibben, writing for the New Republic. "If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, the new study shows, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one. We’re done expanding the fossil fuel frontier. Our only hope is a swift, managed decline in the production of all carbon-based energy from the fields we’ve already put in production." It was hard reading that a month ago, and reading it now is just mind-numbing.

Pair that one, if you can handle it, with this from Elizabeth Kolbert writing for the New Yorker: Donald Trump and the climate change count down. Or this from David Roberts at Vox: "No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously. If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere." And this one by Roberts from late October, further making clear what we're about to lose with the change to Trump: Obama administration outlines path for climate change resiliency. Oh, and just to make you weep with hindsight even more, this final one from Roberts, writing back in July 2016: Hillary Clintons climate and energy policies, explained.

Get angry about Brock Turner’s crime. But don’t use it as a reason to pass bad laws. By public defender Rachel Marshall writing for Vox.

How decades of divorce helped to erode religion. From the Washington Post.

What's behind the myth of Native American alcoholism? From Pacific Standard, written by the co-authors of the great book "All the Real Indians Died Off" and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans.

The real origins of the religious Right. They tell you it was abortion, but the record is clear: it was segregation. From Politico.

How politics killed universal child care in the early 1970s. You can bet Richard Nixon was involved in it. Audio from WNYC (only eight minutes).

Historian Dorian Warren on BBC radio discussing the Black Panthers on the 50th anniversary of their founding.

And finally, another pre-election story that can make you tear out your hair for the opportunity we've lost: Mass incarceration after the 'New Jim Crow.' A conversation with the civil rights law scholar Michelle Alexander on how to dismantle the mass incarceration crisis in the U.S.

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