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devil duck

the morning after

On the train to work yesterday, I saw a lot of stunned, stony faces, and nobody spoke. When I got to the office around 10 AM, not many people were there, and those few were sitting in stunned silence. It seemed that a lot of people were wearing black from head to toe -- OK, it's New York City, so one expects a certain amount of that, but this seemed darker than usual. The company president sent out an all-users e-mail saying "I know that a lot of you were surprised by the results of yesterday's election. We don't know what will happen next at the national level, but we reiterate the guiding principles of our company, which include an unwavering commitment to diversity and tolerance in the workplace. Be kind and supportive to your fellow employees, whatever your personal or political views. Counselors will be on hand to help people through this trying time."

Around 4:30 PM, some members of the team next door announced "If anybody needs whiskey, we have it," to which my boss replied "Not enough."

It's not just that I'm disappointed that my preferred Presidential candidate didn't win -- that's happened five times before in my adult life, and one expects that to happen roughly 50% of the time. But I and a lot of people like me in the coastal-urban-educated-elite were stunned that so many of our fellow Americans have such a different view of what America can and should be. The candidate's total lack of experience or interest in public service didn't matter. His lack of knowledge of the facts didn't matter. His unprecedented stream of bald-faced, easily-disprovable lies about the facts he did know didn't matter. His lack of self-control didn't matter. His universally-condemned personal behavior, reminiscent of a 14-year-old boy, didn't matter. His petty vindictiveness and monumental egotism didn't matter. His financial irresponsibility, selfishness, conflicts of interest, and secrecy didn't matter. His vapid, naive plans for making everything better through sheer individual force of will didn't matter. His total disregard for the principles of democracy didn't matter. All of those things were outweighed, in almost half the voters' minds, by the desire to stick it to the establishment. "Those in power" -- whether political, economic, or cultural -- were viewed as not caring about "people like me", and they had to be punished for that at any cost, even though the candidate himself is an icon of economic power. The system was rigged, and it had to be torn down, even if it meant electing somebody who's spent the last fifty years benefitting from (and bragging about) rigging that system.


That's a really nice summary of the WTF-edness of the situation. The sense of "I'm unhappy so I'm going to burn the whole thing down."