As I have previously discussed, my house is hosting over a dozen family and friends who have come from around the country to join the protests today as part of the “Women’s March” in Washington. We know at least a dozen more local friends attending. I will not be one of them as I explained earlier. I respected those marching today for values that mean so much to them . . . and to many of us. There is obviously going to a sizable crowd — one that may dwarf the Inauguration attendance. I did note that, when I dropped off my brother Chris and his family this morning, the metro in McLean seemed much more crowded than it did yesterday for the Inauguration. Having spent a few days with protesters and celebrants at the Inauguration, I am struck by how hardened both sides are toward each other . . . and dismissive of the operative facts underlying this election. Both sides seem unwilling to recognize the flaws in their past positions while grotesquely distorting their view of the other side. It reminds me of Richard III and the advice of the Queen Mother, Margaret, on how to learn to hate as she sought to “teach thee how to curse.” It is simple, she explains, just “Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were, And he that slew them fouler than he is.”
Having spent time with both people supporting and protesting Trump, I have been saddened by the level of hate and lack of objectivity in conversations. Indeed, unless you demonize or idolize Trump, you are viewed as out of touch or naive or suspect in your views. Hillary is now sweeter than she was and Trump fouler than he is.
What is striking to me is how many have forgotten what brought about this election. Hillary Clinton is now portrayed as a selfless feminist and progressive who was defeated by angry white men despite the fact that she did worse with women than the prior two elections and barely won the female vote. While Trump is (correctly) criticized for failing to turn over his tax records, it is forgotten that Clinton refused to turn over her Wall Street speeches. While Trump is (correctly) criticized for contradictions in the media, it is ignore that Clinton continually changed her account for such issues as her reckless use of a personal server or other accounts. That is why I was highly critical of both candidates.
The reaction to the Inauguration speech was a good example of the hardening and loss of objectivity on both sides. I thought the speech was not particularly strong and did not offer a positive unifying theme. In the end, I thought it was a lost opportunity for Trump to transcend the campaign rhetoric in favor of an outline for his new approach to the nation’s problems and divisions. Yet, we have seen Trump supporters unwilling to even consider shortcomings in the speech while Clinton supporters like Chris Matthews bizarrely portray the speech as having “Hitlerian” elements. Likewise, when a friend who protested at the Inauguration criticized Trump supporters for mocking or disrespectful comments, I noted the over 200 arrested anti-Trump supporters and the property damage to the city. That ended the conversation. It is again all or nothing. Blue or Red. Again, to paraphrase Queen Margaret, one has to remember one’s friends as better than they were and one’s foes as worse than they are.
The Democrats had an opportunity to learn from this defeat. Clinton and Trump were the most unpopular politicians ever to be nominated for president and over 60 percent of voters viewed Clinton as fundamentally dishonest. Clinton has always had extremely high negatives and was carrying more baggage than Greyhound when the establishment effectively anointed her as their candidate. As shown by leaked emails, DNC figures like Debra Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazile worked against Bernie Sanders who presented precisely the populist campaign that many voters were looking for. Clinton had the Democratic establishment and many allies in the media — everyone agreed except the public. That was enough . . . until the voters had their say on November 8th. What is remarkable is how successful the Democratic establishment has been not only keeping their same leadership like Nancy Pelosi in place but convincing Democrats that (as suggested by Bill Clinton) it was just angry white men who determined the election. It is the same identity politics that led to the defeat. The effort is to direct all of that anger toward Trump rather than allow it to backfire on the party establishment.
I have many of the concerns as my family and friends about the future (particularly about the environment), but I am deeply disturbed by the effort to delegitimize this President and the effort to reconstruct history to fit a new narrative. The problem is not personalities but far more fundamental and serious. People felt that they do not matter in this system and they were right. Even with this populist election, not much has changed in Washington. So we are left with the same duopoly of power like the Yorks and Lancasters in the War of the Roses:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
This post has been undated.