What happens now?
Like an awful lot of people, I was shocked at the results from the election. I didn’t see whatever it was that made so many people embrace Trump.
And that’s on me. I guess our social media outlets, like our news sources, do tend to filter dissenting opinions. I should find a conservative outlet to get a sense of what people with that worldview are feeling. (But not Breitbart. There has to be one written by sober people.)
The wonderful Amanda Marcotte says it was straight-up sexism and misogyny. I don’t have Amanda’s sources or insight. I agree that sexism probably played a substantial role, maybe even a crucial one.
I have to believe there was more to it.
I want to think his supporters were really supporting the idea of hitting a hard reset on the government. I want to think they felt left out and forgotten, and were willing to do anything to burn it down and try again.
But I’m nervous.
Xenophobia and sexism
I’m nervous about the groups of people he has already identified as a threat to America. As a straight, white, American-born male, I won’t experience the rheumy glare of Trump’s disapproval. Indeed, he would likely be confused by my disdain.
His invective towards Hispanic and Muslim people is well documented. His disrespect and habitual abuse of women is part of his brand. In selecting Mike Pence as a running mate, he sends a rare unambiguous message: “I do not care what happens to LGBQT people.”
His supporters may say all that was just campaign talk to try to get votes. That’s a horrifying thought, especially when those supporters love him for “telling it like it is.”
Maybe there’s a chance people like Ivanka can temper that in him. I doubt those groups will find an ally in Trump, but maybe they won’t find an active enemy. Maybe?
Probably not. I’m worried for my friends and loved ones and total strangers among those re-marginalized groups. I can’t walk in their shoes, and I don’t know how to walk beside them in a meaningful way. I’m encouraged that younger people did not vote for this — in fact, most of us didn’t vote for this, but the electoral college distorted the margins.
So I’m scared.
I’m scared this message to the “political elites” comes at too high a price.
We have elected a man who has called man-made climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. (I wonder how our relationship with China is gonna be? I got $5 on “not great.”)
We have given this denier a Congress that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil industry. I haven’t looked at any numbers, but I don’t believe Trump’s supporters as a group see anthropogenic global warming as a real thing.
That could not happen at a worse time. Every month sets a new record for being the warmest of that month on record, and the new record lasts exactly 12 months. We are seeing the effects all around us, and Trump will work with Congress to destroy the EPA.
There will not be a single governmental dime spent on green energy research. There will be no tax incentives on clean-burning innovations. There will be massive subsidies to the oil industry, fracking for everyone, and a brand new Keystone XL pipeline. Even if both houses of Congress go blue in 2018 and Trump loses his reelection in 2020, the damage done will be incalcuable, and will not be reversed for centuries at best. It’s a lot to pay to send a message to the media.
Other, more sensible countries will keep at it. China and Europe will continue fighting global warming. Maybe that will slow the chaos.
But I’m frightened.
Death and the Affordable Care Act
I’m frightened about health care in this country.
If you know me, you probably know I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in early 2009. It was a highly treatable variety, so in that I was lucky.
At the time, I was doing contract work. This was at the height of the recession, and full-time jobs with benefits were hard to come by. Many contract jobs don’t include membership in a group medical plan, so I looked into getting an individual plan for awhile.
Very enlightening. Before the Affordable Care Act, if you had cancer, none of the health insurance companies would even talk to you for 10 years after you had the cancer treated. TEN YEARS. Those crucial ten years during which cancer is most likely to return, and during which you need frequent medical tests to detect any recurrence early.
I’m about 7.5 years removed my cancer treatment, and despite a couple of scares, there hasn’t been a recurrence. So in that I was also lucky. I managed to get work with contract agencies that offered medical coverage, and now I have a full time job with coverage through my employer. Lucky again.
But I’m still frightened.
No, I am fucking terrified. Trump and his Congressional lickspittles don’t have anything with which to replace the ACA. They are going to repeal it first, then see what they need to do. Does anyone think they will do anything other than pass control back to the health insurance companies, and we’ll be right back where we were before the ACA?
I will be one economic downturn or one corporate acquisition away from being unemployed. Humana and the rest will go back to “sorry, we aren’t obligated to talk to you, good luck, ha ha.”
I’m not alone. There are millions of people with some variety of soon-to-be-not-covered pre-existing medical conditions. We will have no recourse.
And the Trump supporters don’t care. The lives and the health of millions of people just like me are less important than “sending a message” about governmental regulations.
I am insulted. I am horrified. I am on the verge of panic.
Trumpers tell me some variety of “Don’t worry. It will be okay. Trump will Make America Great Again.”
I am trying to understand you. I promise, I am. But all I am understanding is that you don’t give a shit about the consequences of your actions. “I hate Obamacare” means “The people who get health insurance now do not deserve it if it costs me an extra nickle.” I am running out of reasons to understand people who would prefer their pizza delivery guy die from a treatable disease instead of paying eight cents more for a pizza.
Trump supporters may be willing to throw away all our lives because they don’t like being regulated. I will be curious how that anarchistic fervor holds up when the ones who can’t get their chemo is themselves. I don’t wish it on anyone — cancer is goddamn scary — but it’s going to eventually happen to some of that mercurial con man’s followers.
This isn’t what I intended to write when I started. I meant to work through what Trump’s voters had been feeling, hoping that would lead me to understanding the optimism they are experiencing now. Unfortunately, all this has done has highlighted what we’re throwing into the pyre — a pyre lit by an ignorant, intolerant bully willing to pander to our basest fears in the name of making himself influential and important.
It’s been less than 48 hours, and Trump’s supporters are still taking their victory lap. I hope when they’re done, they will have some insights to alleviate some of this, because I swear I can’t see an upside myself.