Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Elections Have Consequences

Like much of the world I was caught flat-footed by Donald Trump's victory.  I followed the polls which were pretty much in lockstep agreement that Clinton would win.  The actual results varied quite a bit, to say the least.  Reading the summary of the Washington Post's electoral post-mortem, it is clear the the Clinton campaign made some strategic errors.  Combine that with the depressive effect of a negative campaign and deliberate voter surpression in Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin and Clinton was completely ambushed.  What bothers me most is that the Democrats did not get out their vote.  All throughout the campaign I kept hearing about the impressive GOTV effort that the Democrats had ready to go.  In the end, not so much.

The day after Election Day was a rough one as the reality of President Trump forced itself into my head constantly.  I was smart enough to go for a walk in the forest and watch the sunlight filter through the trees after a morning shower on what turned out to be a pretty fall day, even if Donald Trump was going to become the 45th President of the United States and much of what I have worked for during much of my life is at risk of dissolution under a Republican-dominated federal government.

On Satuday I attended the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation fall workshop on movement building.  The day was a good antidote to my post-election fear and depression.  Sixty to 75 people attended and we spent the day figuring out how to network on issues that are important to us.  FOR has been around for 100 years and has a long history of organizing in support of peace and social justice.  We will certainly need a LOT of that in the next four years.  I am pleased to live in an area that has such a strong commitment to those issues.

Probably my biggest disappointment about Trump's election is that the United States will become even more of a rogue nation regarding climate change.  Unlike most of the world, the US will become even more steadfast in its commitment to fossil fuels and will blithely continue to pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere even as the rest of the world looks for alternatives.  We lost eight years under George W. Bush, made some tenuous and limited progress under Obama and can expect those hoped-for (because they are far from certain) gains to disappear.  In the meantime, a threat that even the Pentagon recognizes as an "immediate risk" to the nation will continue to grow.  America's legacy in the 21st century may well be the loss of the world as we have always known it.

In the 1930's the rogue nation was Germany which threatened its neighbors with its expansionist ideology.  It took World War II to end that threat.  I wonder if a world threatened with rising sea levels and  consequent massive population will find that it needs to act against this century's rogue nation.