(This is a follow-up to Who really elected President Trump?.)
Let us say, hypothetically, that you are an American, and today is the day you vote for President.
Perhaps you are one of the millions of Americans who are unable to get broadband Internet service at any price. Meanwhile, the smug talking heads on television assure us that in a handful of years, “everything will be online“. Book stores and newspapers are going — or have gone — the way of record stores and video stores. Every bill you get in the mail urges you to “go green” and get online statements. Meanwhile, you have to drive down the road just to get a cell phone signal.
Perhaps you or someone you know has had their life ruined not by illness, but by the crippling cost of becoming ill. And despite all the hoopla from all sides about Obamacare, the only effect that you have seen is that your health insurance has fewer options and costs a lot more. Is that the state legislature’s fault? Maybe. Does that matter when it comes time to see a doctor? Not one whit. Our system of providing health care is utterly broken (and in many cases, inexplicably tied to who you happen to work for at the moment).
Perhaps you or someone you know has lost a child, or a sibling, or a parent to a conflict in a Third World hellhole on the other side of the planet. 54% of the discretionary spending in the USA’s 2015 budget was for our military, and the United States maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, for no sane reason.
Or perhaps you or someone you know has a loved one in prison, locked away for years or decades, for doing something which harmed no one. Meanwhile, they are slaves to the corporations who run the prisons.
Things are getting worse for you year by year, and no one in the ivory tower even acknowledges it, much less does anything about it. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will do anything to change any of this. One is a career bureaucrat with a history of sending other people’s children to die for no reason; the other is a vulgar narcissist with a history of saying whatever appalling thing crosses his mind.
Yet you have been told, repeatedly and in the most scathing words possible, that voting for anyone else — much less anyone better — is a foolish waste of time. “These are your choices, you inbred moron,” you have been told. “Vote for a career politician who, at best, doesn’t even acknowledge that you exist, and at worst has nothing but contempt for you, or vote for an obnoxious blowhard who will literally destroy the world.” That’s no exaggeration: over and over, the arrogant pundits and pampered celebrities have claimed that electing Trump is not just a vote for someone extraordinarily unqualified to be President, but a vote for someone who will literally end American democracy, and possibly the world itself. And you — you simpleton, you yokel, you obese, illiterate Walmart denizen — you have no choice but to do as you’re told, because to do otherwise would be madness. Madness! So pull on your stretch pants and don your ball cap and drive your shitty pickup truck to the polling place, and vote for someone who hates you, you cretin, because you have no other choice.
Is it really so surprising that, faced with that “choice”, so many Americans chose to throw a rock at the ivory tower? I do not think so. My main question is if we will learn anything from it. I doubt it. We are too busy congratulating ourselves on how superior we are to all those fat, ignorant, racist, sexist “deplorables”.