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Empathy for the Devil

Last night on the Colbert Report, Neil DeGrass Tyson said that bashing Trump doesn't make much sense. He is an envoy of his voting base. They are the ones who handed him their power and blessed him as their champion.

So if you dislike Trump, your real beef is with his voters. For me the first step is trying to understand their perspective.

I've read a bunch of things, but they are either a bit too vague "they are unhappy with the way things are going" or too specific "they are all racists".

Let's get specific and try to ground this.

Civics class taught us that all political struggles are over differing priorities of the three basic values: Equality, Order and Freedom.


Waging Democracy

I'm writing this on election day, pre-results.

Regardless of the outcome (or absence of a clear one), one thing everyone can agree on is how tough this campaign has been on everyone.

Everyone's primary motivation seems to be a fearful concern for themselves or others. White, uneducated men are very concerned about the direction of the country, and are trying to grab the steering wheel to go anywhere other than the increasing globalized world that is moving their work everywhere else.

White educated people are terrified by the ruinous consequences of a Trump presidency. Latinos are terrified of Trump doing what he says he will. People who distrust politicians do not trust Hillary

The majorities of the ideas being exchanged are highly weaponized. People worried for their way of life.

War, seems like an apt metaphor to describe it.

Words like bullets wizzing past their heads "They'll take your guns away", "They'll take your jobs away", "They'll take your voting power away", "He will become literal Hitler", "He is an agent of the Russians", "She is a corrupt criminal"

Each a fearful dose of existential terror, concerningly close to becoming real

Shot by "enemies" from "the other side". Winner take all, everybody concerned about what they other side will do with the spoils.

It sucks and is stressful.

But what if this sort of metaphorical war we go through every four years is the key to democracy's peaceful transition of power?

Maybe I'm wrong, and all the ratcheted up rhetoric will spill over into physical violence based on the result.

Or maybe our terrible two party system is a really efficient method of venting impotent frustration and rage slowly over the course of the year, to the point where people are worn out and sick of it.

That a proxy ideological war is *necessary* to avoid real inner conflict.

That said, the Civil War was essentially precipitated by Lincoln (the northern candidate) winning the election, but maybe that is because their presidential elections didn't last 18 months. Who is going to have the energy to shot your brother after that?