Reports of the Death of the Republic Are Greatly Exaggerated

7 12 2016

The crack Editorial Team at RttRL has emerged from our post-election bender just long enough to compose the following message.  Please try to enjoy it both in the spirit in which it was written, as well as in the spirits it was written with.

As our legions of dedicated, longtime readers know, there are two things that this esteemed institution focuses on:  Cold War stories/technology/aircraft, and (generally)  non sequiturs found on the Internet.

(And yes, drink beer.  We do a lot of that here too.)

We feel compelled to offer up our few-weeks-hence postmortem on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the campaigns waged by the major parties, and the results overall.

We’ve read a lot of national newspapers in the past 15 years – regular readers know of our affinity for the usual dregs (L.A. Times, New York Times), as well as our love for long-form journalism (The Atlantic, Salon, Foreign Policy), newer business-focused sites like BusinessInsider, and public media outlets (NPR and PBS).  We even go international at times, reading (these days) sites for The Times of IsraelThe Guardian, and BBC. We’re confident in the discerning, professional, fact-checked journalism that emanates from these publications, on the whole.  On top of everything, we apply a liberal dosage of our own Internet research, critical reasoning, and drugs to ensure we cover all the bases, from as many perspectives as possible with such a small staff.

All of that is apropos of nothing except to say, that we feel we have a decent grasp on reality all things considered, and are a thoughtful and discerning institution.  At least when it comes to foreign policy, domestic politics, and pork rinds. We do our own research and apply rational, critical scrutiny to situations.

Over the past eight years we watched the previously unprecedented obstructionism undertaken by most Republican congressmen and senators, with respect to any and all policies, speeches and yes, executive actions undertaken (or attempted) by the now-outgoing President Obama.

We watched and listened to the crazy right-wing hate factory assholes like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly spew their crazy shit, as assholes do.  They called him un-American, accused him of being a closet Muslim, accused him of being born outside of the U.S., that he collaborated with ISIS, all of this. This all really happened!

We think that it boils down not only to partisanship, which is petty and unnecessary (the old saying “to disagree without being  disagreeable”, meaning that passionate but respectful debate is possible, comes to mind), but also to simple racism.  Some people can’t / couldn’t believe nor accept that a black guy was president. They call him a socialist and cast all kinds of falsehoods to stir dissent against him to a certain segment of our population.    When people like Sarah Palin say, in reference to Obama or anyone, that they are “shuckin’ and jivin'”, they are using racist code to refer to African Americans in a derogatory way.  There is no other explanation.

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It is sad that this sort of racism still exists, and is acceptable enough to people like Sarah Palin to blatantly state it as such. It’s an even sadder commentary that she wasn’t taken to task for it. Indeed, in light of all the hatred spewed forth over the part year or so, this incident has been largely forgotten.

We feel that President Obama’s legacy will probably be judged, eventually, as a fairly respectable one on the whole.  His tenure was not without controversy and there are many things we disagree with in terms of foreign policy and military strategy.

That said, God only knows what is in store for us with President Trump; all indications are bad at this point.  Very dark times may lie ahead unfortunately.  Hopefully the damage will be minimized to the extent that it is possible.

The really tragic part of all of this is that people knew who Donald Trump was, how rich, self-entitled and spoiled he’s been his whole life, and what a general trainwreck he seems to be, from his three wives to his failed and bankrupted companies, to his many buildings with his name on them, to his outlandish looks and to his reality television show, people know this guy well.

They knew this and despite all of this they “couldn’t stand voting for HILARY” and they voted against their own self-interest, economic and otherwise, because they fell for the race-baiting, and fed into the cult of fear that seems to dominate and permeate modern American society.  The anti-Clinton rhetoric and overall mean-spirited tone emanating from the popular right in this country has been unbecoming of polite society for at least a couple of decades now.  It all fits together so perfectly: the racism; religious totalitarianism; obsession with firearms; hatred of the other including gays.  It permeates everyday life in subtle ways that influence people’s lives.  People become jaded.

And so the sad truth is that this is what America chose for itself.  People who voted for Trump feel that this is what our great and proud nation deserves, a loudmouthed, filthy rich, spoiled, asshole of a man who speaks without thinking and has a mean temper.  That he should be President, and we should all have this man as our shared President.

This is the true injustice, and the guilt for electing him falls not only to those who voted for him, but also to all of those people who are eligible voters in their state and failed to vote, because their inaction caused us to all inherit this awful destiny.  Whatever people thought about Hilary Clinton personally, she was at least qualified for the job.

In the final assessment, it is the opinion of Racing to the Red Light that the election was ultimately the result of an inconceivable confluence of events including:

  • the circus that was the Republican primary season, and all the embarrassing infighting that ensued
  • Russian government hacking and interference in the election
  • Clinton’s awful decision to use her own email server, and her even worse handling of the controversy generated from the same
  • the Republican leadership’s inability to get their house in order
  • Clinton’s inability (as a campaign) to control the message or news cycle, or to drive the discussion on her own terms
  • the Democratic leadership’s unfair and unethical treatment of Bernie Sanders
  • Democrats’ hubris, and careless and presumptuous attitude toward the Republican opposition generally and Trump particularly
  • the relentless vilification of Hilary Clinton by the neoconservatives, and their proxies and prodigies since her husband was President
  • a total lack of get-out-the-vote efforts on the left, by the Democratic party specifically
  • a lack of voter participation especially on the left (although it is now clear that the popular vote went to Clinton by the largest margin ever)
  • the “celebrity factor” which is equal measures of mass recognition and infatuation with those perceived to be “rich and famous” – similar to the phenomenon that swept Arnold Schwarzenegger into the California governorship after “Give-away” Grey Davis was recalled

We would add an additional factor or note, which is the increased media focus on the situation facing black America these days vis-a-vis police treatment and the highly publicized shootings over the past two years or so.  This has created a racially charged backdrop, without which this election cycle and outcome could not be properly or wholly understood.

In terms of the president-elect, a woman named “Danielle Muscato just said what half of America has been thinking for months now.”  We must concur with Danielle.

Thank God they finally legalized marijuana in California and several other states.  It couldn’t have happened at a better time – God knows we’ll need it.

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