The lamps are going out all over America, we may not see them lit again in our life-time.

Like many people, my vote in the 2016 US Presidential Election was not one in support of a candidate who I thought would be a good leader and bring about much needed change for the better. My vote was to mitigate damage. In the end, it did not.

For much of the year, we made jokes and thumped our chests, but this was a cover for our fears. As the final candidates became clear, we laughed through gritted teeth, telling ourselves that whatever happened wouldn’t be that bad.

I did not handle things well. Starting the day before, I grew increasingly agitated. My early vote was in, there was little I could do. But my personal politics gnawed at me. I had voted for someone I…detested is a strong word, but I’m having difficulty coming up with a better one. For many years I told myself I’d never vote for her, but look what options I was presented with. It was so bad, I called in sick to work. In the evening, I went to krav maga class to take my mind off things. That helped for a bit, although I now have a strained ring finger on my primary hand.

Afterwards, I sat down with roommates, with a lot of alcohol, and tried to not despair. Even Comedy Central’s live streaming broadcast struggled to blunt what was happening. When the site crashed, and we couldn’t reestablish a connection, when switched to NBC. The scope of the results were clearer, but more disheartening. Those who watched the results roll in saw how extremely close each state was. This is what happens when both major candidates are so equally divisive, suspicious in public record, supposed accounts, and moral and ethical standards. We can blame voter turnout, although it was reportedly higher than average this time. We can blame third party voters, but they have a right to cling to hope in a storm. We can blame those who chose not to vote, but, in a way, that is a vote in itself.

The massive stock market dive was surprisingly horrible. A bottom value was decided on, because that’s somehow realistic and not more discouraging.

The usual social media claims of moving to a different country made the rounds. Although some were less in jest. There are many people I know who are going to have a very hard time living in this country now. It was reported that Canada’s immigration website crashed.

It’s been said more than once that 2016 is a shit show. So many beloved famous people dying, Brexit, this. Here’s the world we live in now.

Excuse me, I have to go separate the cats. They are fighting again.

Will someone with the technical expertise to do so please insert Donald Trump's face where it belongs in this clip This is not, as it might appear, a bit of invidious ridicule, but rather a serious literary comparison. Those who have read Hugo's 'Notre Dame de Paris' will remember the election of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell ringer, as the 'Fools Pope' by the Paris Mob. In Hugo's Novel this was done in a spirit of ridicule and defiance against the twin icons of Church and State. I was reminded of the passage when I woke to the news of Trump's election this morning, and it is my belief that Donald Trump, like Quasimodo, is not really aware of the nature and cause of his overwhelming support.





It's weird; I didn't want either candidate to win and yet I felt really nervous about the election. I was all but shaking by ten o'clock despite having no clear preference. Actually, I think I did have a preference. I expected Hilary to win and in that expectation started lining up reasons why it would be good for Donald to lose. On one hand I'm all for managing anxiety, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong with shifting your political perceptions to align with who's projected to win. This same process has occurred to reduce my concerns regarding our new president by telling me that there is an entire political machine in D.C. to restrain him.

But what do I really think? I pride myself on a certain level of objectivity and I like to think that I have the ability to parse at least my own thoughts given the time to calm down and really introspect. So, regarding the question of what kind of president Trump will be and how the next four years will go I have to say: I don't know. I don't think anyone does, we've never seen him in a political office. The pattern I saw during the campaign trail was that Trump was dishonest. So was Hilary. I am positive that he will ignore many of his campaign promise because they were just absurd. I suspect that the next four years will be a major disappointment to most of his supporter but that is as much cynicism about politics as actual knowledge.

What bothers me the most about this is that I see myself doing something wrong. I'm self signaling that I care about this election but not actually going through the effort to learn the issues to a sufficient degree that I could make a real informed decision. Why not? It's not a matter of time, I have free time. It's a matter of caring. Not apathy, caring. I know myself well enough that I know that if I actually research the issues I'm pretty likely to start caring about them. And if I care about them and the wrong person wins it's going to hurt. Really, really hurt. I know. I've had things that I care about fall apart. So, I choose a measured amount of ignorance and tell myself that I care. I'm a good citizen who tried to make the best choice. Even though, I really only looked long enough to satisfy myself that I tried. I don't have a good solution to this behavior but I believe that one is out there.

And knowing is half the battle.


All politicians are bad, because they need to be. All politicians have economic policies based on real economic theory, but no politician will ever try to explain comparative advantage to voters; any who did would not make it past the primaries. All politicians understand that change is a part of the economy, but a politician that tried to explain that some American jobs have to become obsolete -- just as telephone operators and icemen became obsolete -- would never make it to the primaries.

The same is true of ethics, legal process, international finance, governmental budgeting, and military policy. Telling people the real reasons things happen usually results in a loss of all ratings, immediately. I assume. Of course, I've never heard a politician or newscaster actually try.

This election saw a lot of people wanting a lot of change, and a lot of it being change for the worse. Bernie Sanders and Trump both ran on protectionist platforms, and Hillary jumped in on it when she saw what the voters wanted. Trump took American protectionism to new extremes, hoping to isolate ourselves not only from foreign economies but also from foreign people. He took policies that were originally worked out over four or more years and put in place were put on the rhetorical chopping block, with promises to replace them with... something. Eventually. Ignoring the fact that it took an entire presidential term or longer to develop them the first time around, and even then were sometimes only barely, or partially, passed. The Dodd–Frank act, Obamacare, NAFTA... and on the list goes.

I can't remember ever having a presidential candidate that said we needed anything less than a major overhaul of some major aspect of the current system, and it's starting to look like we aren't going to have one for the foreseeable future. On the one hand, this is almost inevitable; governance is a wicked problem set up to deal with a series of wicked problems. On the other hand, the bigger the changes a set of alternating competing parties makes, the further we move from a sustainable, predictable, and stable system.

And worst of all, in no case are we seeing politicians say "look what worked in country X. Let's do that." It is repeatedly, always, forever, "I want a new system that is the best." There is no best healthcare system; and if there is, Obamacare is not it. Nor will the next sui generis healthcare system be particularly good. If we could make really good healthcare systems from a priori reasoning, every country would already have really good healthcare. But what we can do is fix up an existing system to be a bit better, and a bit better, and a bit better, showing actual long term improvement in our situation.

American politics is too often directly opposed to this.

We have never seen a candidate more completely opposed to this than Donald Trump.

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