BY VERN TURNER
There’s that old saw from day-after-the-election blues: “The people have spoken!” Yes. Well, this is 2016, and the United States of America has just coughed up an orange, slimy hairball and spat it in the face of civilizations around the world. It was more that the people regurgitated than spoke this time around. There are several reasons for my vituperative outpouring on this day after the electoral apocalypse. By placing myself outside of our borders, I would look back and say something like, “What in the name of God were you people thinking?!”
It wasn’t even close. Not really. Considering the electoral barriers that were breached that allowed a Trump win in so many areas of so many states, one must try to understand why these citizens did what they did. Why, for example, do almost 70% of the people say they don’t trust the government, don’t approve of its performance and say we are headed in the wrong direction, then turn around and re-elect almost the entire Congress that causes their dismay? Throw in Donald Trump, and you have an intellectual Rubic’s Cube of a puzzle.
Now, about Trump: These same voters who are unhappy with our government, decided it was OK for Donald Trump to be in charge of the FBI, foreign policy, the CIA, the IRS, the nuclear weapons codes and have the power to go to war without asking anyone. It was OK with those voters that this powerful office would be populated with someone who is a hate-monger, a war-monger, a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe and a climate change denier. Yes, all these things, and more, were out in the open for the last 15 months in just about every speech or discovery of his past. The American voter didn’t mind that Trump often stiffed his contractors, cheated on his wives and bragged incessantly about his prowess in business while trying to explain away six bankruptcies from which he pocketed a fortune. Here was someone who failed with gambling casinos. How was that possible? The list of these faults and failures goes on and on.
In the next couple weeks, the new president-elect will be in court defending himself against fraud charges for his scam of the year, Trump University. Following that, there is a pending rape trial of a teen-aged girl. None of this mattered to the majority of American voters last night. All they could think of was “change.” Really?” I guess it’ll be a case of “be careful what you ask for.”
Elections have consequences, and this election showed the world how under-informed our electorate is, how self-absorbed they are and how easily conned they can be. All those people in the rust belt complaining about how their jobs went away because corporations sent them to Asia and Mexico, forgot that it was the Republican initiative, NAFTA, that allowed them to do that. They forgot that it was Republicans in Congress that allowed the deregulation of banks and eliminated the Glass-Steagall firewall between commercial and investment banking. This allowed the big money folks to stash their cash in foreign banks to avoid taxes. They forgot that it was the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans that passed Medicare Part D allowing drug companies to skyrocket medicine costs and eliminate Medicare from negotiating best prices. The people forgot that it was Republicans who voted to go to illegal wars while cutting taxes for the richest and fighting those wars on a Chinese credit card. Yes, many Democrats were complicit in these schemes as they are with TPP and other trade deals that will further erode the American labor sector. But, in this election, almost all the congressional incumbents will be returning for business as usual. How’s that for change?
Ever since the somnolent American voter stopped paying attention in 1981, the Republicans have seduced the country into embracing the dreadful and corrosive economic policies of Friedrich Hayak and Milton Friedman. This anti-New Deal theory of supply-side economics also happens to be anti-labor and anti-education. We the people didn’t protest these moves by the Reagan Administration because we thought the old cowboy would lead us into the light. Instead, we are now seeing the consequences writ large with the election of perhaps the most unqualified, most poorly tempered and most ego-driven candidate we’ve ever presented to the world.
The question, “What have we done?” will be answered within the first year of the new administration. Those who voted against their own best interests because of their lack of understanding, their willingness to give in to their hatred, prejudices, bigotry, and fears will see the consequences of their shortcomings and their votes from this election in due course … very quickly. The bad news is that the whole world will tremble while we are trying to figure things out while not starting yet another war. This time, the war will be started by an intellectual dwarf with a massive ego and the thinnest skin on the planet. This time, the war will have dire consequences for the very existence of the human species.
Indeed. What the hell have we done?
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.