There are four ways to consider the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
The first is to take his words and actions to be literal, but not serious. I fell into that category and I was wrong. While making my voting decision, I read and listened to Mr. Trump’s words and decided that he was telling the absolute, literal truth, and he would do exactly what he said. I listened and disregarded the notion that anyone outside the strong Republican right-wing base would vote for him. I thought his years of words and actions that disparaged women would make it impossible for any woman to cast a vote for him. I thought dismissing nearly every class of immigrant would make it impossible for any non-white person to support him. I thought his complete lack of experience and understanding of how the United States government operates would be a deal breaker.
I was wrong. I took Mr. Trump literally, but not seriously. My bad.
The winners were those who took him seriously, but not literally. They contended that this was all a façade, hyperbole, and metaphor. He didn’t really mean he was going to build a literal wall. It’s already been downgraded to part fence. He wasn’t going to ban all Muslims, just the ones we were banning already. He was only joking about his history of abusing women. After all, he hired and promoted tons of women into lofty positions. He said repeatedly that he was going to completely cancel the “disaster” of Obamacare. Apparently those who took him seriously, but not literally were right. He now says he will “amend” the healthcare law. Of course progressives were going to amend it all along. The ACA was always a steppingstone.
He said he would bring back missing jobs. Closer inspection reveals that the jobs haven’t moved, they’ve vanished–not replicated elsewhere, rather replaced by a robot. His jobs, it turns out will be in fixing and modernizing infrastructure, which includes work on alternate energy sources. Oddly enough those jobs are exactly the jobs that Pres. Obama has been touting for eight years, but could never get Congress to loosen the purse strings enough to put into effect.
These are all deviations from his literal words, so it seems that those who took him seriously, but not literally had it right.
The tons of supporters who fall into the third category, those who take him both seriously and literally, will be most distressed as time goes by. They believed every word and are now celebrating by harassing minorities–yelling, “Go away. Mr. Trump doesn’t want you here.” Also, disparaging gay marriages by taunting LGBTQ folks with fears of losing the civil rights they have gained throughout the Obama years.
If the wall doesn’t go up starting in the first 100 days, By-Then-Pres. Trump will have to build another kind of wall, a Wailing Wall for all those who will be shocked and disappointed. Those loyal literal and serious supporters will be at sea and still wondering where their country is.
The fourth set, those who took this election neither seriously nor literally, were the people who didn’t vote. They cemented in the win.
Mr. Trump will get support for his administration’s proposals. However, I doubt that support will be party line. His foreign, immigration, and tax policies will likely get support from those who took him seriously but not literally. His jobs bills on infrastructure, government spending, and some healthcare and student loan caps will be cheered by those who took him literally, but not seriously–me. Those who took him literally and seriously may get a bone to chew on over climate change and Stephen Bannon in the West Wing. Finally, those who took him neither seriously nor literally and didn’t vote–shame on you.
The U.S. is divided. 630,000 more people voted for Mrs. Clinton than for Mr. Trump and the number is growing as final votes are counted. These numbers represent 2% of the vote. Kennedy beat Nixon by less than .2%–two tenths! This loss was a shock. I am one who is having a hard time coming to grips with this election. I shouldn’t. I hate to actually put this on paper for public scrutiny, but I’m a 70-year-old man who has 50 years of voting history; even more of being a political junkie. One would think I’d be better at this stuff. Fact is, I’ve had exactly two presidents of my choice sit in the Oval Office. I know how to be the opposition.
Mrs. Making Sentences and I have been awfully quiet around our house since Election Day. Often, one or the other of us lets out a sigh or wipes away a tear. We’ll get over it, but it’ll take time. I have not felt worse about the state of politics and government since Bobby Kennedy was killed 48 years ago.