The morning after

No, I didn’t think it was possible either.

I’ve been reading The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell. It’s an account of how the United States treated people of German and Japanese extraction during World War II, focused on the Crystal City, Texas internment camp. It could be a guide to our future.

I’d already known and written about the mass internment of Japanese immigrants and their children. I hadn’t known that German immigrants were also sometimes treated that way, though not on the same scale. People were arrested and imprisoned simply because of their nationality or the nationality of their parents. Some German Jews were treated as “Germans.” Guards treated people brutally. Will we start seeing that again?

There’s no use in my just being negative, though. Giving up accomplishes nothing. Government gets its power from the consent of the governed — and that doesn’t just mean casting a vote. Withholding consent means standing up against the abuses of power that are going to follow. Speaking out. Refusing to help. Even in Crystal City there were Americans who tried to make the place as humane as they could.

Let’s all think about some way we can keep Trump from running amuck as much as he wants to. I still have hope for building a truly liberal movement that will provide an alternative to progressivism, religious conservatism, and Trumpism.

The battle doesn’t end in the voting booth. It’s a battle of ideas. There were good signs even in this election; Gary Johnson got over three million votes. Some anti-prohibitionist measures passed. A southern state elected a black senator to a six-year term, the first time that’s happened since Reconstruction. The outcome was a vote against Clinton much more than a vote for Trump.

Bad times are ahead, but let’s focus on making them less bad.


Posted in General. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “The morning after”

  1. Eyal Mozes Says:

    You should update the sentence regarding Gary Johnson; at the last count he’s now very close to four million votes, it seems very likely he’ll go over four million in the final count.

    As I noted in my comment to your previous post, how well Johnson does was the one really important thing at stake in this election for the long-term future of the US. On the one hand I’m deeply disappointed that Johnson didn’t do better, especially that he didn’t reach 5%; but on the other hand the number of votes he did get is impressive. During the campaign many libertarians were highly critical of Johnson and Weld, and I agreed with some of the criticisms; but overall, they should both be applauded for a good campaign and a great accomplishment.

    I remember some years ago you making the comment, in one of your blog posts, that “libertarians are the cubs fans of politics”. That turned out to be a highly prophetic statement.

    The two possibilities I noted in my last comment still seem very much possible. Trump’s presidency could lead to the collapse of the Republican party, in the same way as Zachary Taylor’s presidency led to the collapse of the Whig party; if so, the Libertarian party has a reasonable chance of emerging as the next major party to replace it. Barring that, it is possible that the Democratic party will make it a major goal to win back the votes they lost to Johnson, by moving their platform in a liberal direction and nominating more liberal-leaning candidates.

    The next four years are going to be very bad; we already knew that was going to be the case, on any realistically possible outcome of the election. But the US will survive; and there’s no reason to give up hope for the long-term future.

  2. thnidu Says:

    «Gary Johnson got over three million votes. … The outcome was a vote against Clinton much more than a vote for Trump.»

    I haven’t done the math, and I’m in no shape or condition to do so. But given the improbability — no, the complete impossibility in the real world — of a third-party victory here, all those votes, and the abstentions “on principle” or from disgust, *were* in effect votes for Trump.

    • Gary McGath Says:

      I’ve been trying as much as possible to avoid this kind of blame-throwing today; if we have anything in common, and I think we still have quite a bit in common, calling one another Trump supporters is purely destructive. I could equally well argue that a vote to nominate Clinton (or Sanders, for that matter) was a vote for the Republican candidate, since both had serious handicaps that couldn’t stand up against the worst candidate possible. But that would be futile too. People did what they thought was best at the time.

      With Trump in office, there’s room for a broad range of people to cooperate on the many points where we agree he’s disastrously wrong. Let’s aim at that.

      • Eyal Mozes Says:

        I mostly agree with your sentiment about avoiding blame-throwing. There’s just one exception I’ll make: those progressives who registered Republican and voted for Trump in the primaries, telling themselves that they’re helping to ensure a Democratic victory in the general elections. I’d say that’s the single group of people who’re most to blame for what happened; they clearly deserve to be called “Trump supporters”, since they did in fact vote for him; and they deserve to be despised by all decent people. I don’t want to see them do anything other than hang their heads in shame.

        With this one exception, I very much agree with you. People of different views had different ideas about the best thing to do in the elections, and acted on their ideas; arguing now about blame accomplishes nothing. All of us who are afraid of the damage Trump will do to the country should try as much as possible to put aside our differences and work together to limit this damage.

  3. Doomspark Deathfire Says:

    As one of the Trump/Pence targets, I’m not just angry. I’m a bit scared. Ok. More than a bit. Not just for myself, but for my wife. My daughter. My son. All my friends who now have targets painted on their backs.

    Create safe spaces for your targeted friends. Stand by them. For the love of whatever you hold sacred, ACT if you see them being threatened. “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”

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