The past several years have not been good one for teachers like me. On a side note, I just received the highest formal observation score in close to ten years. That was largely because I decided to stop fighting, and actually designed a lesson that taught nothing, but ticked a lot of the check boxes on the formal evaluation rubric. For selling out my kids, I scored big!
Then there has been under-performing Sox teams … and I won’t even tell you how worse things have been with the rise of the Dark Empire on the Nor’ Side.
Oh … and then the most contentious, bitter shitshow of an election in my life. I mean, this should have been a slam dunk of a win for the Democrats, but it isn’t. The level of public acceptance for hate of all kinds has ratcheted up to levels I have not seen in my lifetime.
I retain an optimistic position though. I hope that there will be some good that will come of this.
- The actions of the GOP are the actions of desperation. What no one is denying is that, demographically, the conservatives cannot like what they are seeing. Older people are dying off, and whiter people are becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the population (not to mention, our society is becoming more and more college educated). From a strictly historic number standpoint, that is not good for the GOP unless it undergoes major changes, and a lot of that change will have to mean dumping and burying the part of the party that rubs shoulders with the most hate filled and most anti-progressive parts of the party (mainly the FRWEASPs). After the last election, the GOP had a paper commissioned that was clear that the GOP must … MUST do more to be more inclusive if they want to win. As is clear as day, that report ended up as toilet paper somewhere, and here we are. If the GOP does not change its tactics, and very soon, they will just get continually more difficult to win. Perhaps this will mean the emergence of a legitimate third party, which wouldn’t be bad at all.
- The far right my finally understand how much of a minority it has become. We see the hate on the internet and on TV, but this is, I hope, a result of media bias .. .which is to say that people yelling “Lock her up!” makes for good theater, and gets a lot of coverage. No doubt, as voting results will show, the Trump campaign is going to carry states, including a few big ones. While some of those folks are undoubtedly good people who either really do see Trump as a savior, or who see the nation as broken beyond repair unless an outsider gets in, a lot of those folks are in fact the people whom Clinton called “the deplorables” … the people who are xenophobes, homophobes, gynophobes, etc. These people have been living a nightmare for 8 years as a Black Man ran things, turning the US into some kind of socio-communist Islamic utopia (no he didn’t .. not even close). I hope that these people will finally realize that they are really smaller than small. Perhaps 50 years ago, these people were large enough a group that they had to be respected, and they even had political clout, but I am hoping that after this mess, even the GOP will cut ties with them, realizing that their future will only look bright if they cut ties with the hate, and go off to recruit the moderates who have problems with the far left. This electoral isolation can have drawbacks, as it could lead to violence if a non-zero segment (especially one that is all about guns and guns) feels that they have been completely cut out of the power structure.
- This whole SCOTUS thing will, hopefully be addressed. Back in the 1930s, when FDR couldn’t get his way, he came across the idea that the Constitution never set the membership of the Supreme Court, and decided that a good way around Congress would be to pack the Court with his hand selected judges. There’s a word for that when one or more people try and get control of a government like that … that’s a coup d’etat. Right along with the internment of the Japanese on the West Coast, it was one of FDR’s darker moments. Fast forward 80 years, and we now have a political party which much realize that its ability to wield power on a national level has been hinging on a 5-4 majority on SCOTUS, as well as some gerrymandered Congressional dsitricts in the South and Midwest that has largely led to extremists getting a bigger foot in the door of our government than it should (just as voter ID efforts have been thinly disguised as fighting voter fraud while evidence of all kinds points to this being about voter intimidation and restriction). Hopefully, the SCOTUS will soon be getting a new member, and they can start to look into the unhealthy use of money in elections and gerrymandering. If Clinton is elected, and doesn’t have a friendly Senate, then hopefully SCOTUS as it is will realize that we are witnessing the opposite of what FDR tried … one branch of government attempting to use politics plain and simple to wield power over the other two branches at a fundamental level. Hopefully this will end this madness and establish some precedent to prevent Congress or the President wielding that much power over the courts.
- The hate is out in the open. As trying and stressful as it has been to see this hate out in the open and far too acceptable. It has been terrible for all of the reasons that this has been terrible, but just as bad, in my opinions, has been some of the response of the far left (watching some developments on college campuses has been depressing). That all said, I’ve always been of the opinion that it is good to see this out in the open where it can be addressed and it is harder to deny that it is happening. It is harder to say that anti-Semitism is in the past, when a crowd of Trump supporters is chanting “JEW-S-A” to members of the media. As far as treatment for women … take your pick of comments from citizen Trump. Among other things I hope our new SCOTUS will address is that it is clear that the Voting Rights Act needs to be enforced again. It was far too premature to let certain states off the hook.
- Julian Assange will go away. Julian Assange has done some good things, but he has been a dangerous man, and I think that his activity in the US election has been a final straw of sorts. Assange has advertised himself as a man trying to throw a light on injustice and corruption that damages the world’s peoples. That’s noble, and a lot of what he has done has helped in that regard. However, when unelected officials start wielding power like this, it had better not be used for personal vendettas. I think it has become clear that Assange has been using his power to further a grudge against Clinton. It may be worse. Assange may simply be interested in seeing a Trump presidency with the hopes that it will destabilize the West, and further reduce American hegemony in the world. In short, he is showing some anarchist tendencies that make a world in transition even less stable. Interfering with privileged communication (unless something terribly illegal and dangerous is being highlighted), is what leads to war. With Russian-European-US relations highly strained, his actions are extremely reckless. I am hoping that more and more of his supporters realize that he has crossed the line from someone trying to help end the world’s problems to one who is a provocateur who is causing problems.
- With a bright spotlight on Washington, hopefully there will be a little less corruption. This might be the most naive thing to hope for, but as Hillary has found out, there is never a shortage of people willing to turn you in for a misstep or out and out attempt to cheat (and it has never been easier to turn people in). This said, politicians should learn that they need to get a lot better at hiding the dirt, and until then, I would hope things will be a little more clean … if nothing else, I hope that this means that Hillary will need to keep Wall Street at arm’s length and actually govern with the people in mind. Unlike some, I acknowledge that in addition to just some of Hillary’s general unlikability, she has had to compete against a toilet, and has had to do as many women have done, remind people that she can be tough and gruff and can get dirty (because far too many people still think the epitome of 21st century leadership is George Patton and not someone closer to a King of Gandhi). The Hillary we are viewing is scarred, and worn down a bit … but hopefully she has learned from this, and like all people who strive for power, she will think a bit of her legacy. While Obama has not been a terrible leader, and was hamstrung by a lot of garbage left behind by previous administrations and a difficult Congress, Obama had his own missteps. Hopefully, Clinton’s White House will run smoother than her time as Secretary of State.
What I most continue to worry about is that, despite this election being the first to really show itself as a tug of war between extremists from both sides of the political spectrum, I don’t see moderates as making headway yet. People like Bernie Sanders are honorable people, and deserve a lot of respect. Heck, I agree with a lot of the things the man is saying, and I probably would prefer him to Clinton … but in the end, there is still too much of the nation that is not ready for that … at least not yet. Hopefully the days when his more progressive ideas won’t be far away.