Wednesday, November 9, 2016



Put On A Happy Face.  Or, Not.

Clinton would win. Of course; aber natürlich she would. Because the idea of a victory by Trump was so far outside the bounds of possibility. It was laughable; worse, it was stupid, and I said exactly that here and elsewhere, over and over.

Trump was a joke. He was clownish, 'Brassy', utterly without gravitas. He was like the owner of the hardware store in a small town, outwardly successful (though there were stories about how he ran that business), a member of the country club, invited to all the right public parties -- but no one would ever suggest he had a serious chance if he ran for mayor. This asshole?  Ha ha; no.

And, the people who supported Trump had to be troglodyte, tin-foil-hat wearing, racist, misogynist Brownshirts. They lapped up propaganda paid for by the Koch Brothers, as eagerly as anything being passed in the right-wing public vomatorium. They were bitter-enders, the "twenty-four per centers'; of course they were. There couldn't be enough of them in America to elect that, that -- person.  My America was (at a minimum) progressive, fact-based, secular. There was no room for the kind of Tea Partei intolerance and lunacy which Trump's running mate (and now Vice-President) Pence tried enacting into law in Indiana.

Trump's supporters were angry that America has been moving down the wrong path, its political priorities not addressing what they saw as our critical needs -- oddly enough, I feel the same. But our ideas of 'critical needs' are diametrically opposed. And most conservatives I've met seem to have basic assumptions about How The World Works that just make me foam whenever I hear them -- and if they're evangelical conservatives, I start veering into Stroke territory. Thank god, I thought: they're only the 24%. Not enough to move the dial.

Hillary, as distasteful as her assumption of power might be to me, would obviously win and I felt some license to be snarky and sarcastic. After all, she would win anyway, right? Of course.

And the numbers that appeared in Nate Silver's analysis of the electorate at supported that assumption. Silver, the Quant / pollster who defied 'conventional wisdom' in 2012 (predicting a second term for Obama when most polls and the GOP declared Romney the probable winner), consistently predicted Clinton a shoe-in:  as of Tuesday, November 8, her estimated chances of winning were 71.4%; Trump's were 24.6%.  The last message posted at the 538 site yesterday was:
Throughout the election, our forecast models have consistently come to two conclusions. First, that Hillary Clinton was more likely than not to become the next president. And second, that the range of possible Electoral College outcomes — including the chance of a Donald Trump victory, but also a Clinton landslide that could see her winning states such as Arizona — was comparatively wide.

That remains our outlook today in our final forecast of the year. Clinton is a 71 percent favorite to win the election according to our polls-only model and a 72 percent favorite according to our polls-plus model. ... This reflects a meaningful improvement for Clinton in the past 48 hours as the news cycle has taken a final half-twist in her favor. Her chances have increased from about 65 percent.

Our forecast has Clinton favored in states and congressional districts totaling 323 electoral votes ... but ... because Clinton’s leads in North Carolina and Florida especially are tenuous, the average number of electoral votes we forecast for Clinton is 302, which would be equivalent to her winning either Florida or North Carolina but not both.

I spent yesterday in a jury assembly room, answering a summons to serve along with 200 other people. We were shown two videos which extolled jury service as a part of our system of law and justice, 'trial by ones peers', part of the rights guaranteed by our Constitution (where trial by jury is mentioned, we were told, three times).  It was interesting, even fun (possibly not for the petitioners or defendants).  We saw "Former Jurors" telling the camera that they would want someone like themselves on a jury if they were ever "in a fix".

Having to serve on a jury when I am galactically busy at my Place O' Labor™ is a drag -- but I agree with the idea that membership in a body politic means one may have to step up when asked. It was also ironic to be watching the videos while the country was casting votes about the potential future makeup of the Supreme Court.  But, Clinton would win; that would be fodder for eight years of jokes and photoshopped images. Not a problem.

Last night, I didn't even watch the returns. I sat down and wrote out a post -- a good one -- about the election, but my free blogger service ate it. Gone. I'd saved it, ready to Publish; when suddenly the screen refreshed and a much earlier draft of the same post was left. An hour of decent writing up the spout. So, I watched the last episode of Ken Burns'; documentary on America's experience of WW2, The War. I was bored; get it over with, already, and went to bed convinced I would see Hillary's face trumpeted from the skies tomorrow.


This morning, members of my department at the Place O' Labor put in a half-day's work at the County Food Bank, sorting oranges, removing spoiled or damaged fruit and boxing the rest, carrying the boxes to pallets. We processed 13,000 pounds. As I was boxing the oranges (purchased in bulk from suppliers; edible, but not of very high quality), I considered that this is how some of America's most vulnerable are being fed. Obtaining even Grade-C oranges, or cast-off peanut butter, is the difference between eating, and not.

When we were finished, one of the volunteer managers stood up and gave a small presentation about what the Food Bank did and who it served -- approximately 120,000 persons in the San Francisco Bay area. "Every day, we receive about 100 calls from first-time people asking how they can receive food," he said. "These aren't people looking to receive something for free -- they ask because they can't afford to pay their rent or mortgage, their utility or phone bill, and feed themselves or their children.  Our staff says that number has been fairly consistent -- around 100 first-time callers per day.

"When did that start? I asked. They agreed -- it began after the Crash in 2008; it's been consistent ever since." He paused for a moment. "The elements that created the Crash were in motion for a decade before it happened -- and many of those same causes were never addressed afterwards. The same things could happen --" He stopped, then corrected himself -- "Will happen, again."

What kind of safety nets will be available for the Underclass now?  What kind of safety will there be, for any of us?

MEHR, MIT ANDERN STUFF:  Most people in public, or the workplace, seemed to studiously avoid talking about What Happened. They talked around it; they talked past it. Their attitude was equal parts disbelief, and not wanting to create a conflict with anyone who might have voted for Trump.  

Very early in the morning, before the cubicle farm filled up, I did overhear an ancient project manager known as The Walrus (GooGoo Ka-Choob) saying to someone over the phone, "Yeah; I mean, think about it -- Presidents change, but the bureaucracy is the same. Right? The military doesn't change. That's the most important thing." That'll be a comfort to all those targeted by drones for Kill Tuesday.

I only heard the 'B' side of one conversation between two people  about the election all day -- two members of the permanent staff at the Food Bank: a woman had said something about Trump I didn't completely hear, and a man responded, "We don't know. Jus' gotta roll widdit."  That was all. 

At The Place Of Employ, even My Very Own Hillaryite Colleague was subdued and unwilling to comment. Only one person (we'll call him Harry Tuttle) said anything. Harry is a technical worker of long experience, a San Francisco native, and black; I asked for his take. "Well -- yesterday, America elected someone who's shown himself a known quantity. He's bigoted, sexist, and all kinds of fucked up. With all that, you tell me what the immediate future's gonna be like. I expect he'll take on the Fat Boy in North Korea, or someone he thinks is a soft target -- or he'll do something else that's stupid."

The Girl Who Refused To Be Mrs. Mongo sent a text: "What will we do? I think we should marry a foreigner. I'm willing to learn any language."  The Best Friend: "Whitelash! ... WTF?? Fuck You Very Much, America!"  I read through most of the comments traded by readers last night on The Great Curmudgeon's 'Eschaton' and watched the disbelief seep in as the vote-counting progressed; it was painful. 

In Burns' documentary, The War, a photo was shown of a road sign erected by Marines on the island of Saipan in the summer of 1945, with an additional marker that reflected the apparent endlessness of the Pacific conflict: "Golden Gate In [19]48 -- Bread Line In [19]49". On The Line, no one knows what it means when there's a significant change, like a new commander. You expect the deck is stacked against you, because you've seen the system and that's how it's arranged. You only hope you're not fucked too badly, that no one takes anything else away from you, and that whoever shows up to lead will not get you killed. That is not a joke.

However, the comments on Eschaton and on a number of other sites make me want to add this note as a counterweight to the disbelief most seem to be feeling:  The election is over. But if our 45th President, or those who believe they own America and its people, think they're going to have free rein to drop a saddle on all of us and try to ride, I believe it's our duty to disappoint them as frequently and strongly as possible. And, all calls for 'National Unity' aside -- I believe a lot of people already have that intention.

It's going to be one hell of a ride.

1 comment:

  1. As is so often the case, proper diagnosis, misguided remedy.