Friday, November 11, 2016


Why were the pollsters wrong? Did, as a conference attendee predicted in Montana three weeks ago, a "Brexit effect" come true? If so, she was the only one I'd talked to who predicted this. I was caught off-guard by the results, as the rest of at least the chattering classes on the coasts (or near enough to them, alas--I wish I had a sea breeze given the sultry, unseasonably muggy weather in L.A. lately...)

People posted black boxes as status updates. Memes about a "Calexit" of the Golden State (and maybe its two northerly cousins) float about. The Canadian website for immigration crashed. Marchers thronged, among them my older son and his girlfriend, college grads scrabbling for part-time work in their new home of Chicago. They'd moved there last summer, part for adventure, part out of realization they'd never afford my hometown where foreign capital drives up housing and politicians collude with developers for high-rises and lofts, ever-denser apartments catering to the scions of the post-recession (sic). Last night, a friend of my wife came over and they both commiserated. I mused how at least the pot legalization would get many through the next few years.

I told my friends on FB, amid self-indulgent hand-wringing and self-revealing contempt for the heartland that filled my feed, that my students often favored Him over Her, if veterans, no matter the box they checked on a census form. The Second Amendment looms large over flyover country, too.

I've been debating with Her supporters. They insist nobody in that feared red- quarantine zone would vote for a "socialist Jew." But he won 15 states in the primary that She lost in this week's election.

A scholar of the classics and a fifth-generation farmer near Fresno, Victor Davis Hanson is likely to be read by very few of those supporters or my neighbors who are caught in the same traffic as I was in the heavily Latino section of northeast L.A. where a protest march is to commence near me, down Broadway. But Hanson's essay in the 11/10/16 L.A. Times is worth contemplation by us all. Not many reasoned voices beyond the predictable enter my hometown paper, even before taken over by a Chicago conglomerate, TRONC, wretched website and thinning pages reminding me of, say, the Santa Cruz Sentinel rather than a once-formidable Fourth Estate compendium of pulp, pride, power.

Here's Hanson on the surprises, which some of my students might second. He'd predicted two months ago there were a lot of discontents in his center of California who might resist our submerged blue state. Where I live, Dems run unopposed unless by one of their own. I reckon it's 90%+ party loyalty.

After I wrote this, I got caught in traffic. The area around me is 90% Latino. A protest was planned for Broadway. I wondered if those alongside me were happy about the diversion that filled the intersections with cars so their neighbors (I guess) could vent their constitutional right of assembly.
Hanson asks: "was it so hard to imagine that a third-generation Mexican American might fear — more so than the gated residents of Malibu and Santa Monica — the impact of illegal immigration on his neighborhood school or community? Or that an out of work lathe operator was not a big fan of globalization? Or that a sizable minority of African Americans thought the blunt and straight-talking Trump was more genuine than a female Romney? 
Every hyphenated group now triumphs in their tribal affiliations while deriding “white privilege.” Is it surprising that the white working classes without privilege should follow suit and embrace ethnic solidarity? 
Clinton in the last weeks talked of the electorate as if it was a faceless hyphenated Borg — Latinos this, African Americans that, the gay vote, women voters — without any realization that she was referring to millions of Americans by their appearance rather than their essence as unique individuals. In normal times, all that pandering would have been seen as illiberal."
It'll be interesting times, as the cliché goes, when I return to the classroom. By then, the shock will have worn down to resignation and resentment as the inauguration looms. While I doubt that awe will replace the PTSD that those all around me claim now as another protected status, those whom I work with who suffer the real symptoms, after our foolish wars, may pause and wonder, if as outliers muse, we dodged a bullet that Her wish to prove herself in Syria might have generated, and deaths again.

But I fear the resurgence of the military-industrial complex and the security state's Leviathan. Under either administration, we'd have faced this concerted eagerness to assert national superiority unwisely. Those who raised, as Hanson says elsewhere in his article today, over a billion for Her (three times His amount) did not expect their "donations" to go unrewarded. Similarly, the lobbyists He promised to eradicate, I doubt, will flee as if driven by another Him from their temple stalls on Wall Street or along the Beltway. And Hanson as funded by a right-wing Stanford think tank will have no gripe about capitalism. It's left to the populists, courted now and then, before being derided.

And they are split. The Bernie contingent of "we told you so" to the minions of the DNC will find it challenging at best to find common ground with the remnants of Tea Partiers (do they still exist?) or those fearing off-shore this and out-source that will do in millions of us not driving for Uber all day.

I leave this with a cautious outlook. I mistrust leaders. Even though I favored B, it was with a full realization of the unlikelihood of many of his dreams becoming policy, and I more and more lean towards direct action, even if I suspect many of my fellow 'Muricans as too misled by mobs and demagogues, social media fear-mongering and calculated clickbait replacing reasoned discourse.

As the labor needed to find what I read in print on the Orwellian Mini-Truth website where I cannot match the page to the site, frustratingly, documents the media blitz engineered by the storm troopers of some Evil Empire of conformity and surveillance and data "management" of us all, so I conclude. The sheer effort needed to find dissent, the chances of it surviving amidst the pressure to conform, speak poorly the catchphrase "to power," if the pundits and handlers and lobbyists dismiss our plaints. And I doubt the coming years will benefit those of us on the fringes, trying to keep sane and sober.

Chicanos popularized when I was in college the notion of "internal exile." They surely feel that today, but some Mexican-Americans, as Hanson and a few of my students may counter, question the open border as status-quo, the fait accompli the GOP likes for its exploitation and its rivals for its "demographics" and voting blocs. Without competition, where I reside, I question if a polity can work. My friends and family welcome the blue-state perpetuation, but maybe other colors will bloom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A comprehensive survey of the presidential election.Nobody knows how the upcoming administration will turn out. To misquote Yeats: And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/ Strides towards the White House to be president?
Patrick Devaney