I’ve laid low these past few days and decided not to write or post anything beyond venting in bursts of texts to family and close friends.
On several occasions I composed snarky replies or comments to things that some of you have posted. But I wisely erased them.
But now I’m ready to unload or share a few preliminary thoughts. You can treat mine with the same derision.
1. I ‘m not ready to become part of the media cheerleading squad for how great it is to witness this show of civility between Trump and Obama. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer & John King and others made me nearly gag in their endless bloviating about how what was said in the campaign was ugly but now that was behind us in the interests of national unity. No I’m sorry it’s not. Trump’s campaign rhetoric- his hateful and inflammatory attacks provoking ” Lock Her Up” chants, his racist attacks on Mexicans and Muslims- went well beyond whatever passes for the norm in American election campaigns.
I understand why President Obama and Trump are projecting this civility in the interests of calming international investors and the markets. But I nearly gagged as well hearing Obama use his track metaphor as in ” I am passing the baton ” to Trump to continue this presidential marathon. No Mr President: Trump wants to incinerate the track and destroy all of the things that you’ve accomplished on your “leg” of the race.
2. I now realise that what I heard and observed during my three weeks in my hometown of Huntington, Indiana ( population 17,000) in the heart of the Midwestern rust belt weren’t isolated unrepresentative voices but reflected the national exit poll views uncovered after the vote. What struck me then was not great enthusiasm for Trump the man but an outpouring of hostility, even hatred for Hillary Clinton, especially among women. Also what genuinely conservative, as opposed to reactionary bigots, intended to do was to vote for Trump to stop Clinton from appointing liberal-minded judges to the Supreme Court. Trump now has the power to decimate laws of the land that upheld decisions giving more rights to minorities, stopping corporations from destroying the environment, and protecting women’s right to choose. And so much more.
3. I keep reading about and hearing discussed the issue of ” how the media missed the story ” about all the great disaffected Americans who voted in record numbers for Donald Trump.
I challenge that conventional wisdom as I read and heard/watched/accessed many original stories about those left behind by the 1% revolution. Indeed it was a Washington Post story about a plant closing in Huntington and the loss of hundreds of jobs to Mexico that sparked my interest in going back there to see for myself how my hometown was reacting to the presidential election campaign. And even here in Britain The Guardian and Gary Younge did a brilliant series on the rust belt Midwest. Younge based himself for an extended period in Middletown. USA,
Muncie, Indiana. The most widely discussed book during the campaign was “Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” and its author J. D.Vance appeared on countless talk shows and cable channel programmes.
What the media critics and observers don’t discuss – in part because they themselves are employed by the cable channels – is broadcast news’s primary role in debasing the national discourse during the long election campaign. Even the able and insightful Brian Stelter on his CNN’s Reliable Sources programme failed to see that his own channel by including rabid partisan paid contributors on the same panels as professional CNN journalist analysts blurred the lines between fact-based analysis and biased propaganda. He or she who shouted the loudest on those panels usually prevailed and reduced the detached analysts to bystanders.
Or to really grasp what outrageous and sinister things were being said hour after hour, day after day about Hillary Clinton, you need to be embedded somewhere in the U.S. and get into your car and switch on Talk Radio hosts whose mission it was to destroy her. Then after you’ve heard that venom, go back to your B & B and turn on Fox News to get a nightly prime time dose of propaganda led by its arch conservatives Bill O’Reilly and the hate mongering Sean Hannity.
It’s little wonder that alienated Americans, many poorly educated, believed what they were told by Talk Radio and Fox News who’ve prepped them for a demagogue like Trump.
( The British daily press had the same affect on Brits in their biased, distorting coverage of BREXIT )
4. My heart goes out to the daughters of so many good friends ( including my own daughter ) who are shattered about Clinton’s defeat by the misogynous Trump. They’re taking this personally and can’t reconcile themselves to the outcome of this election, determined in part by the votes from their “sisters.”