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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Post Election Blues

Bear with me here, I felt the need for a bit of preamble but this is actually a post about a guy named Nick. A Trump supporter with the guts to go to an anti-Trump post-election protest to try and win converts.

I was a bit astonished by the election of Donald Trump, but then so many of my friends are liberals. I know a few people who were openly supporting Trump in the lead up, mainly gun nuts. One evangelical I've known since my days in the right wing yellow press blogged about how he was voting for Trump even though he considered the man 'a jerk' because he saw it as the only way to stop the progressive tide, put a conservative in Scalia's vacant seat and so on.

I won't cop to living in an echo chamber, I was as reluctant a Hillary voter as you'll get. I'm a long time libertarian (lowercase now because I changed my registration when I caucused for Bernie—an astonishing turn of events itself, I disagree with Sanders about almost as many things as with Trump, but I'll take a socialist with integrity over a pussy-grabbing, race-baiting, disability mocking, protectionist piece of shit).

I know, don't hold back on how I really feel, right? Going into the election, the conventional wisdom had it that Trump had maybe a 28% shot at winning. But then, I know people in 'the media' who deny that media bias is a real thing, but that's because they're socialists themselves (their term, not mine). They're good people, fine human beings, but if they could vote in European style socialism in America, Bernie would be borderline right wing.

Fox News is biased the opposite way of course, but I gave up my television years ago and last time I checked in on that network it was Megyn Kelly doing some legit journalism surrounded mostly by a bunch of shouting assholes. But anyway, those of us who weren't Trump fans had been lead to believe that he was actually bringing down the whole Republican party with his failed campaign and so disappointment was compounded by surprise.

Predictably, in my Facebook feed the day after the election there was a protest at the J.C. Nichols fountain on the Plaza. I stopped by on my way home from work, mostly to say hi to whatever of my friends were there. I saw a few, but mostly I saw kids about my own offspring's age, taking turns at a megaphone to talk about how scared they were. There was a large trans element to the crowd, though the crowd wasn't huge, maybe 50 to 75 people at a guess. And these were pretty far left kids, I wouldn't be surprised if at least a third of the crowd voted for Stein. And, sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if half of them didn't vote at all.

I almost asked for a turn with the megaphone to just tell them, look, standing around in a park the day after the election can't change the result. If you wanted it to go the other way, you needed to go to the polls yesterday and actually vote the other way. Just like with Brexit, we may be proven wrong in the end, but the vote only happens once and elections have fucking consequences.

And maybe I'm being unfair and all these kids voted. And anyway, this is about Nick.

Nick had a Trump-Pence t-shirt and an FBI ball cap. Nick is 19 years old. I wish I had a picture of the guy, I had my Nikon but no speed lights and it was black dark in the park. Nick's opening line to me, without any trace of hostility, was 'Who'd you vote for?'

I told him I'm a longtime libertarian but I voted for Hillary, the first time I'd voted for a Dem at the top of the ticket since 1988. He asked me why, and I said in a nutshell because the one thing the President can do on his own say so is launch missiles and deploy troops, and to give that power to someone who's motto is when they hit you, hit back 100 times as hard, that's a recipe for war without end.

And normally, the Republican would be the one I'd agree with about more things if you held Armageddon to my head and told me I had to vote for one of the two major party candidates. Low taxes, minimal regulation, free trade, gun rights, these are things I'm generally for. But Trump is against almost everything I'd normally agree with a Republican about, then compounds that by being in favor of all the things I hate about Republicans. Bottom line, he's an authoritarian and I'm an anti-authoritarian. You say jump, I say go fuck yourself in the ass with a big rubber dick.

Nick tells us he thinks Trump will bring peace to the Middle East, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and I'm thinking, huh? I told him, Trump never promised to end those wars. The guy who did make that promise, and accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for doing so, hasn't really managed to bring that off in eight years. Come January, I think you're in for a rude awakening.

Nick said what about the illegals?

And I said, Dude, immigration is what built this country and continues to do so. We don't need a wall across the Mexican border, we need a bridge. There's only two ways an economy can grow, and that's through productivity gains and population growth. Industrialized countries can only gain in productivity at a tiny pace, practically a rounding error. So unless you can convince a lot of people to suddenly have five babies, you better keep that border porous.

Nick seemed to think that Trump didn't really mean we should keep out workers, only criminals. He also said he didn't take the Muslim ban seriously. Nick had his hands full with a lesbian couple who engaged him for a while, one of whom was a veteran who'd been sexually assaulted while serving in Iraq. She, understandably, didn't think pussy grabbing was just locker room talk. But Nick had an answer, of sorts, for everything and clearly no animosity towards anyone.

One of the protestors lit a cigarette and Nick pulled one out of his own pack and asked for a light. The answer was no, and I stuck up for Nick (though I don't smoke and both of their cigarettes were pretty annoying given proximity and still air). I was like, dude, he hasn't been disruptive, he's been nothing but respectful. If we can't have this conversation, what the hell?

So they stunk up the Plaza and irritated my nose with their tobacco as the conversation went on. Nick even made a point of stepping away when the megaphone came out and the official speakers took the stage.

The subject of gay marriage came up and Nick said something predictable about lifestyle and the way the family unit is the basis of civilization and I asked him, 'So when did you decide to be straight?'

He said he'd kissed a guy before but felt that homosexuality was wrong. He also said he was Roman Catholic, had been raised that way, went atheist for three years and Muslim for one.

And I'm like, Damn Nick. Nick was the most interesting guy in the park. He is also, to my view, ripe for recruitment into either a cult or a terrorist cell and I hope the cult gets to him first.

And I sincerely hope his candidate proves me wrong on many fronts. I resent Hillary for being such a shitty candidate. Maybe President shouldn't be a job that has charisma as a bonafide job qualification, but it does. Reagan had it. Clinton had it. W. had it in his folksy, can't pronounce 'nuclear' way. Obama has it big time. George H.W. Bush didn't really have it, and if the Dems had someone less like a Muppet in 1988, he couldn't have ridden Reagan's coat tails to office—and he was a one term wonder. So where Sanders shone bright in that department, the Democratic National Committee and Hillary insisted on a candidate less charismatic than a stinky pair of socks. Who transparently adjusts her message to whatever she thinks the audience is. Who just gave us President Trump.

Some of my liberal friends have said that it was sexism that cost Hillary the office, but I call bullshit on that. Ted Cruz was the smartest, most qualified person on the Republican debate stage and he didn't stand a chance, for the exact same reason. You can maybe amend the Constitution so the President is somehow decided on merit, but as of now it's mostly showbiz.

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