People are saying everything is going to be OK. But here’s what I learned:
I learned most people in our country are really, dangerously stupid.
I don’t just mean they can’t tell you Copernicus discovered the Earth revolves around the sun stupid, or can’t tell you who the Axis powers were stupid. I mean they don’t believe in climate change stupid. I mean they don’t believe in what what most people and just about every scientist on Earth know to be the greatest, most urgent threat to our existence. I mean they chose a man who suggested we might use bleach to counteract a virus. They chose a man who flagrantly lies about himself, other people and the way things work. They chose a man who ignored and escalated a pandemic that kills hundreds of thousands of people.
I learned there are the even scarier not-so-dumb ones.
Then there are those who are not stupid. They just need to feel good about themselves. They may even be successful, though not successful enough. Never successful enough. They feel smart, they feel wronged. They “get” what others just don’t get. They are so emotionally invested in an ideology they will turn a blind eye to a man’s egregious acts, obvious incoherence, illogical immorality. They are the ‘clever’ ones who hold court in bars, pool rooms, and church committee meetings. To hold court they need an “us”, and every us requires a “them”. It starts out with a few snide remarks about the “them” — could be gays, Jews, immigrants. Then, with the assistance of Fox, the Internet or a book or two, they go down the rabbit hole. Now they will tolerate anything. We saw it in the early 30s in Germany. History always repeats itself, and it’s never, ever pretty.
I learned most people in our country are racist.
They chose a man endorsed by the KKK and numerous racist and anti-semitic domestic terrorist groups. They chose a man who could not and would not denounce white supremacy on national television. They chose a man whose Presidency has seen racist and anti-semitic incidents go up sometimes as high as 300%. They voted for a man escalating divisions in the country, divisions that are literally terrifying to a whole host of American citizens, like Jews and Mexican Americans. They disparage people who are upset that decade after decade innocent men and women are killed by police.
I learned most people in our country will tolerate appalling immorality.
Children in cages? It’s OK. Pulling out of Syria so hundreds of thousands of Kurds are slaughtered? OK. Peaceful protesters attacked, gun violence, aiming to put one’s political opponents in jail? It’s all applaudable.
I learned people in our country don’t understand even the most simple aspects of our government. They don’t understand or value journalism and other pillars of our democracy.
They don’t understand how quality journalism works. They don’t understand how our government works, or is supposed to. They aren’t appalled when whistle-blowers are attacked, when the Attorney General acts as a despot’s henchman. They embrace breaking, undermining and mocking traditional and ethical rules and tenets of goodness and fairness.
I learned most people are too dumb to worry about the President’s on-the-record, public behavior as a traitor, liar, cheater and false prophet.
I learned most people in our country will easily support the most garish, vulgar, flagrantly despotic fascist authoritarian who blatantly expresses his dictatorial urges and intentions. Most of our countrymen fall hook, line and sinker for a famously immoral con man who cozies up to our country’s enemies, who shreds our environmental protections and destroys alliances around the world. They ignore or applaud how the rest of the world sees this “city on the hill” as a ridiculous land of hicks blindly following a cartoonish buffoon.
No matter what happens, I learned that most people in America are incredibly stupid, science-disdaining, easily-duped racists. TV pundits monitoring the election say things like, “As expected, Trump wins North Dakota.” (Or Oklahoma, Indiana, Alabama, etc.) In other words, everyone expects the majority of countless states to be the kind of people who embrace a flagrant fascist. Everyone knew and expected this. People not only didn’t vote against buffoonery, science denial, lies and racism, they voted FOR it.
Now our democracy’s survival, and to a large extent the planet’s, hangs on a few people in a few counties who recognize a pathetic but dangerous sociopath when they see one. In a few states thousands of people waited in line to vote against a self-important tin pot dictator who’s incredibly risen to importance.
TV pundits are saying there are problems with “how we talk to people”, how we poll, how we spend campaign dollars, how do we <fill in the blank>. But no one seems to be saying that most of the people in our country are totally lacking in critical thinking skills, knowledge, and common sense. A country cannot survive with people like this. Our planet cannot survive with people like this.
No matter who wins, we live in a stupid, racist country where half its people hate me. Because I’m Jewish, a woman, a liberal, a New Yorker, college-educated, a democrat.
I’m irreversibly sad, scared, and disgusted.