Saturday, November 26, 2016

Election Reflections

Thanksgiving 2016—two weeks and a bit after the Election. Time for a few thoughts on what we have done this time

1. My candidate (to the extent that I had one) lost. That’s not unusual—I think I have voted for the loser in most elections, including for John Anderson, independent candidate in 1980. So being on the losing side does not disturb me as much as it might.

2. I feel one great grief: Trump made a point of acting the bully and braggart. We rewarded his display of petulance and anger by giving him the presidency. My grief is more for legitimization of bullying and for what that legitimization than for any of the issues at stake in the election.

People use words like misogyny and racism, hatred of women and of other ethnic groups. I don’t know if Trump acts like this in ordinary life (although his own words suggest that at least the maltreatment of women is part of his life). I do know that he acted as though these are acceptable ways for Americans to act. We agreed. For that I am sad.

3. I am less concerned about most of the policies a Trump Administration may pursue. Our political process works by giving both sides of the aisle input, and now it is the Republicans’ turn. One may observe that they played the obstructionist for the past eight years (“the party of no”), which subverts the process. But it is still their turn.

My one qualifier to this sense of acceptance is Trump’s stated extremism on immigration. He may moderate his stated views so that they are also more reasonable, but he has stoked fear of Muslims and Mexicans in ways that remain a problem for our country and for the world.

4. I appreciated the ease with which the Indiana government made it possible for Lois and me to vote. There has been much said about depressing the vote. Our experience was that a Red state made it as easy for these two Blue voters to participate as we could ask for.

5. Recounts. A good idea! The move to electronic voting seems cool, but a paper trail is more secure. In Manitoba we still mark paper ballots. It’s just harder to hack a paper ballot. I like that. So doing an intensive audit of votes in close races is good; it can promote confidence that the process is still fair.

I have many more thoughts, but this is enough. I am grateful this Thanksgiving for the many benefits I and my family have received. I am not always sure they are “blessings”, because “blessing” includes a clear awareness of God’s Reign; but we have at least received many good things living in North America. And I am grateful.

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