What Happens Next?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The past couple years have been tough. Having to endure an election where particularly incendiary rhetoric and actions get documented on a seemingly daily basis takes its toll. Before the election, I could tell myself it would be over soon. I don’t have that luxury anymore.

To be clear, this isn’t a post where I critique one side or another. The events of the past few days have made it clear that what we’re doing as a country is engaging in some sort of race to the bottom, where each side tries to cajole its adherents into a state of abject fear. What I’m getting at is that the way we disseminate information nowadays, it’s geared to get reactions instead of thought. If one needs evidence of this, one only needs to look at the characterizations of an election as good versus evil.

Already the postmortem of the previous election is spreading narratives and spin for what “really happened.” M. Merveilleux over at his blog provided the link to this article at the Guardian by Gloria Steinem. That article promotes a narrative that white men reasserted themselves to elect Trump (not entirely true, since a majority of white women voted for Trump as well). What it also does is establish an enemy for others to fight.

I mention this because it’s all too common to continue making the same mistake that got us here in the first place: confusing policy positions with championing a virtuous cause. The reality of it is that people of all walks of life are scared. And they’re scared for many different reasons.

And right now, our system is doing nothing to productively allay those fears.

Despite this, we do have a choice at what happens next. Personally, I choose to examine things more closely, and to positively affect what is within my power to affect. Information, knowledge, wisdom, and preparation are critical to self-government and removing fear. These are what I must focus on, and not give in to being afraid of what might happen.

I invite others to do the same. It might not be much, but it will be the best anyone can do.

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16 thoughts on “What Happens Next?

  1. P.S. The second danger, after the narrative danger, is that of justification. Depending on how an argument is framed it may look perfectly benign. Take for example these talking points that are circulating regarding the “frustrations of the white working class.” Rust belt? Unemployment? Or is that too simplistic a picture? Unemployment is actually quite low compared to, say, many of the Reagan years.
    http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/charts/united-states-unemployment-rate.png?s=usurtot&v=201611051022r&d1=19160101&d2=20161231
    So we must remind ourselves that grievances aren’t always based in fact. Oklahoma isn’t at risk of Sharia law. The gays aren’t secretly taking over the supreme court. At least not yet anyway 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You should go explain to those people in the rust belt who can barely feed their families that unemployment isn’t that bad in the US as a whole, compared to years gone by. They’ll be okay.

      I’m betting the narrative would include you getting a fat lip for talking down to people smugly instead of listening to them or understanding why they voted the way they did.

      Like

      • Check the numbers, genius. Math is math. The statistics *show* how poverty has actually been decreasing, as has unemployment. Free trade has improved people’s lives dramatically in the past 30 years. Something like a television used to be a luxury- that’s no longer the case. Food alone used to represent a huge percentage of income, now that’s also not the case. An unfounded grievance is just that, an unfounded grievance. Like the alleged *war on Christmas*.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I especially loved the last paragraph. I agree we need to think more clearly and deeply on the information we receive. I still think the most aggravating thing in this election was the outright lies and distortions the new outlets aired. I totally disagree with the current pushing of false equivalencies. I feel that misinformation from the news sources people used to base their views of things on was criminal in its scope. I also feel now the fear is real where the fear of the other was not a real need to fear, now we have people really in danger from those that hate their life style or ethnic background. No one needed to worry the hated homo’s were taking over just because of same sex marriage and the few equal treatment of rights, however now LGBTQ people are being targeted in a much greater fashion. Fake fear has now become real fear as those who thought they were wronged are feeling free to turn on and attack others different than them. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Fake fear has now become real fear as those who thought they were wronged are feeling free to turn on and attack others different than them.”

      And quite warranted my friend. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/11/watch-rachel-maddow-chokes-describing-mike-pences-anti-lgbt-policies/

      He’s the effing vice president. I can’t even begin to tell you the conversations I’m hearing here in Mississippi. Our governor is asking a federal appeals court to uphold a state law letting merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples. HB 1523 also states that businesses, renters, banks, mortgage companies, pharmacies, schools, etc, can also discriminate against women and girls or anyone who has had sex outside of marriage.

      I keep thinking that I’m going to wake up and all this was just a dream, or rather a nightmare. I am not in the “wait and see” mode. Wished I could be as pragmatic as SB, which I admire him for, but I can also say that I have more experience under my belt as he’s much younger than me. That’s not to devalue anything SB has said, as I have the utmost respect for him.

      Yes, we shall see, but in the meantime, the cortisol and adrenaline flows, and nothing anyone says to try to comfort me about the direction this country has taken, will curtail my profound concern.

      Liked by 3 people

    • It’s a complicated mess, Scottie. My biggest concern right now is precisely what you mention, that people who hate are now coming back into circulation. However, I don’t think they ever truly left. Rather, they just stopped drawing attention.

      My interest here is that I think the public has a chance to reopen these questions to settle them in a more permanent manner than they were settled before in decades past. It is my hope that we do not miss this opportunity, as it is a chance to more thoroughly eviscerate hatred in this country. Right now I’m probably not making much sense, but I will try to write some more thoughts on this in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No , you are making a lot of sense, and I like, love t in fact…I just don’t know how? How do we do what you just said? Thanks for understanding, most today don’t understand my fear over all this. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

      • One idea I’ve been thinking about lately is that this election might be illustrating that we have a problem with regional residency. If more people from heavy blue states moved to heavy red states, you’d see a net shift towards Democratic victories. I still need to find some more numbers, but my opinion might be justified by the data. Plus, there’s safety in numbers. Someone who is hateful might act tough around a certain person, but will be quite subdued when confronted with a large group.

        Even better, that might even be the cause of concern for racists and bigots. They see how their numbers are dwindling, and feel their way of life threatened.

        Liked by 1 person

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