Political Argh

Late Note: In the post below I used “Republicans” to mean “the Republicans working in government now,” which is wrong; there are many politically conservative Republicans who do not embrace social conservatism and have refused to be part of the Trump mess. I apologize to any Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump.

Kiernan wrote:
“I just went through all the comments here, and it didn’t appear there were any conservatives. I could be wrong, but this seems like a homogenous group, politically. I’m generally conservative and small-townish, although I come from a very diverse family politically. So a big part of me feels afraid to speak on this particular thread.”

I think this probably is a mostly-liberal group with a few centrists mixed in, but I think that’s in part because social conservatives (different from political conservatives) probably spit on my books. This group self-selected well before the elections, and I think (not sure) that this is the first time we’ve really addressed politics here in any concrete way because we come here to talk about story in all its shapes and forms, and whatever else comes to mind. So far, I haven’t had to do much moderating in the comments because we’re a relatively small group and we don’t attract much attention. We’re pretty much sitting here with cups of tea and diet Cokes arguing about prologues. And we’re pretty good about agreeing to disagree, but still, I understand your hesitation completely. This is a liberal blog.

Kiernan again: “I think the Left and Right could find lots of common ground, but both sides feel wounded.”

The problem is, I don’t think there is common ground. The people who voted for Trump voted for somebody who actively campaigned as a racist xenophobe. Hate crimes are up all over the country because some of the people who followed him felt they’d been given permission to come out of the dark and do these things. Of course, that’s not all of the people who voted for him. But all of the people who voted for him knew he wanted to build a wall and deport legal Muslim Americans and repeal Obamacare. And because they voted for him and gave majorities to both houses of Congress, Paul Ryan is now going to privatize Medicare, cut taxes on the wealthy, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those aren’t gee-maybe-he-might, they’re right there on his website and they’ve been there for months and he’s vocal right now about doing all of those things, January 1 if possible. Ayn Rand just took over the government. I’m a white Christian baby boomer who’s already on Medicare, so I’m probably fairly safe. That doesn’t stop me from being appalled that anybody under 65 is screwed. And that’s before we get to the terrifying people Trump is thinking about putting into government posts.

So I don’t think there is common ground. I think the divide in this country is so deep that it’s between people who are all right with voting for somebody who encouraged violence at his rallies and people who think Rudy Giuliani should not be Secretary of State. And at the head of all of this is a guy who never thought he’d win and is now, judging by recent photos, absolutely terrified. Here’s an interesting bit of news: Trump and his team didn’t know they’d have to replace West Wing staffers. He knew he’d get his own Chief of Staff, but he had no idea he’d have to build his own governing staff. He must have missed all seven seasons of The West Wing. In short, he has no idea what he’s doing. His team has no idea how to govern. And the Republicans in government are about to drag us back to the 50s. I don’t see a way I can go halfway to any of that. That doesn’t mean people can’t argue for those things here, it just means I’m not going to be saying, “Why yes, I can see some good in Steve Bannon being chief strategist because Breitbartism is something I can compromise on. And I can certainly meet Mike Pence halfway on LGBT issues, maybe there are positive things about conversion therapy.” No. Hell, no.

Kiernan again: “Is it naive to hope that if we are kinder and less reactive–if we stop dissing each other on Facebook or on other social media–that maybe we could effect change and make this a better country?”

I think it might be naive to hope for that on the internet especially on Facebook. This election did not create trolls on either side, they were always there. But what this election did do is deepen the divide, and now anger and fear are bringing out the worst in us. I want to keep Argh civil, and I think because we’re small and out of the way and already have a strong community that we can do that. I’m fine with people stating their opinions here, conservative or liberal (no personal attacks, of course) and I will continue to let people counter those opinions (no personal attacks, of course), but I’m going to flat out state that I’m a radical, leftist, socialist, gay-and-Muslim-loving, Black-Lives-Matter Democrat, and I’m going to fight like hell to keep the Republicans in government from dismantling the safety net and making racism, xenophobia, sexism, and homophobia the American Way (no personal attacks, of course).

Also to anybody who didn’t vote or cast a protest vote because you thought Clinton and Trump were equally bad: You were wrong.

NOTE: I pulled quotes from Kiernan’s comment, but I think the whole thing should be on here because I don’t want my pull-quotes to cherry-pick her argument:

“Well, I think one way to start this new chapter in American history is to think about social media at the grassroots level. It can be used for good. But it seems to me that it’s often not. It becomes a place for divisions to expand. Facebook is hell on earth.

“I just went through all the comments here, and it didn’t appear there were any conservatives. I could be wrong, but this seems like a homogenous group, politically. I’m generally conservative and small-townish, although I come from a very diverse family politically. So a big part of me feels afraid to speak on this particular thread. The only reason I dare to now is because you’re a kind person, Jenny, and fair, and you won’t flame someone unless he or she is being cruel or counterproductive to a discussion.

“My point is, when you discuss hot-button issues among a homogenous group, how can you ever move toward cooperation with “the other side”? Do you need to? I think so–otherwise, we just spin our wheels, throwing rocks, hurting each other, and our children cry and witness intolerance and grow up fragile and frightened. You can’t make the world a better place when you’re literally shaking and merely trying to survive (Maslow’s Hierarchy is something I often think about).

“If I were a newbie here, I would pass this post and page by. In the old days (pre-election 2016!), I would have said, that’s fine. We build our own tribes, and Jenny’s tribe wouldn’t want me there, and I don’t mesh well politically. But I feel like now–because we all love this country and want our kids to be happy and secure–the tribe answer isn’t good enough because it doesn’t solve the big problems we have, which are very big.

“Jenny, you want to help your causes. Getting grassroots movements going is really the way to go. And you’re right–every time the top makes a decree, it takes so much longer for the country to accept that decision. When we get things going from a state level, the acceptance rate is higher, quicker, and it’s an organic spread.

“But in our efforts to push our causes–which we believe are rights or moral imperatives, depending on your perspective–how can we avoid steamrolling the people who don’t want that cause to move forward and could stymie our efforts? I know it’s tempting to want to steamroll people who are ignorant. But we get more effective returns when we try to win people over instead.

“I think the Left and Right could find lots of common ground, but both sides feel wounded. Is it naive to hope that if we are kinder and less reactive–if we stop dissing each other on Facebook or on other social media–that maybe we could effect change and make this a better country?

“Thanks for making Argh a place where civility is valued and thinking matters.”

151 thoughts on “Political Argh

  1. As I read this I hoped Kieran would not take this as a personal attack. She has always come across as a kind, thoughtful, and supportive person. My concerns about our country are focused right at the top.

    Locally my state is very homogenous. There is only one major state office that is held by a Republican. So local discussion is not going to do a lot. And I do not see how you can have a dialogue when the head of the state Republican party suggested the governor needs to call out the National Guard to stop the protests. Apparently he is not familiar with Kent State. He accused the protesters of just being sore losers. Also the Portland police are doing a stellar job. They don’t need the National Guard. And given how wet and miserable it is, all the police have to do is wait another few weeks and the the weather will calm things down.

    The few Republicans I know aren’t even gloating. Trump’s antics are so horrific they don’t want to be lumped in with him. They don’t want to talk about it. And since we have only one Republican legislator in Congress and he is not a member of the Freedom Caucus, we don’t have a lot of influence.

    Really, it would be great if we could work together. Though what I am hearing out of Trump Tower and Ryan and Mitchell is “We need to work together. So just shut up and let us get on with screwing you over”. So I do see much inclusiveness.


      1. On a completely unrelated sidenote – I just moved back to Portland a couple of months ago. You wouldn’t by any chance have any recommendations for book-groups/ writing groups in Portland? I’m trying to get better at leaving the house.


        1. Hi Cate – Portland, OR or Portland ME? If you landed in Oregon, please let me know. There are several great writers groups, depending on what you write.


  2. Thank you for this post. I am right behind you all the way. Since I live in Germany and there are no plans to return to the States in the near future (my husband’s view is “nice place to visit but don’t want to live there”), I will be insulated against the dismantling of the safety net for the less fortunate (i.e., Medicare) since I will be protected here in Germany via the social net that is in place here, thank FSM.

    I think Kieran is right that there is a core of common values between most conservatives and most liberals. I suspect, however, that that core is more sliver than chunk at the moment. Basically the vast majority of people, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, whatever are only interested in getting through life in one piece, raising their families as best they can, keeping a roof over their heads and keeping food on the table.

    However, one thing that has always been difficult for me to reconcile is this: in the US we have many, many people who loudly proclaim to be Christian who are quite happy to let their fellow travellers starve and live in poverty and ill-health — what happened to “love thy neighbor as thyself” and the story of the good Samaritan? — because they had the misfortune to be born in poverty, to have been born a different color, to have been born to parents of a different religion, or to have been born wired for a different gender than their physical anatomy THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. I maintain that the more liberal orientation of the strong social network, where we all try to help one another is far, far, far more Christian than what we are seeing coming from the “Christian” right. We liberals are willing to “tithe” more of our income via taxes and FICA, etc., to help ourselves but, even more importantly, to help others survive with dignity and, perhaps, have the energy to get ahead because they are killing themselves having to work three jobs to make ends meet because they can’t get a decent minimum wage to live on.

    So, Jenny, your political orientation and your Christian background mesh perfectly: you are looking out not just for yourself, but also for your fellow travellers on this small rock in the universe. I have yet to hear from someone on the right explain how the actions to rip away health insurance, or food stamps, or HeadStart is showing “Christian” compassion or values. On a certain visceral level it reminds me of the Middle Ages: let’s burn the witch to save her soul — but, “saved soul” or not, the witch is dead, so how have we helped?

    I think until we can define values about respect for each other and accept and celebrate our differences, and until we accept that we are, as Hillary’s campaign slogan said, “stronger together” and really mean it, we are going to continue to have this splintering.

    However, I do remain optimistic that there will be an awakening and we will make progress. It’s the only thing getting me through the day right now.


    1. “Basically the vast majority of people, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, whatever are only interested in getting through life in one piece, raising their families as best they can, keeping a roof over their heads and keeping food on the table.”

      I agree! I want those people in economically depressed areas to be able to find jobs! I want EVERYBODY who wants a job to be able to get one! Preferably one that they don’t hate and can live on, even. I think that’s a commonality with everyone. If there’s anything we agree on, it’s that.

      However, I didn’t think that voting for a straight up inexperienced and racist bigot was going to be the hope of the country for fixing that particular problem.


        1. My daughter just did a debate on Basic Income! She was on the pro side.

          On the one hand, I think it’d be great for creative types (in a way) because they’d be fed and housed while they experiment to their hearts’ content. For some people, money just isn’t that great of a motivator — the knowledge is.

          I qualify that though because I’ve heard stories about at least two writers who got serious about writing because it was do that, or let their kids starve. So it could be a mixed blessing.

          I’m afraid if I had basic income, after my kids graduated from college I’d probably stop getting out of the house and become a large puddle in front of my computer, mainlining internet. Even though I realize that that is a completely unhealthy option physically, mentally and spiritually, I love the buzz. I think our era has the wealth to make basic income possible in many countries, but we also have the temptations that would cause people to spin their wheels.

          The vulnerable would still be vulnerable, just to different evils. A lot of countries already cover the mentally and physically handicapped with a sort of basic income (should they choose to fall back on it), and there are also programs for people who are handicapped with small children and need the financial aid (I know that’s a weird way of putting it, but let’s face it: parents of small children are severely restricted, and have to spend a lot of money).

          I wouldn’t mind seeing an experiment done. It might work out in a completely different direction. Many people say we are heading to a post-money society, anyway.


        2. I think basic income is a good start. If you take a look at the way a number of cities have begun to deal with the homelessness situation by providing free housing to the homeless (not just interim solutions but actually a room or tiny house to call their own), you can see the benefits of providing people with simple basics like a roof over their heads, however humble, food and basic medical/dentalcan kickstart them into a better way of life. Here’s a link to an excellent article from the New Yorker.


          Remember: if you are homeless, you cannot get a job because you do not have a home address; if you cannot get a job, you cannot feed yourself or bathe or have a place to call home; the insecurity and that comes with living life on the edge of humanity causes mental health issues, which make all of the above even more precarious.

          For those who want to quote the platitude “give a man a fish…” as a reason NOT to give him security of existence, remember, that TEACHING a person something requires them to have the necessary basis for learning, like a full stomach and a mind not stressed out worrying about just getting through the day.

          I would vote for it.


        3. Not crazy about it in practice. Think something like it may come about because of computers and automation.

          If you read books from the turn of the century to about the 1950s, there used to be a concern about the rich kids who inherited “the fatal $10,000” Enough money you could live off the interest and accomplish nothing but not enough for them to provide for the next generation in the same way. (And then 1960s & 1970s inflation & stagflation ate it up.) The universal income I’ve heard about is just enough to keep you fed & complacent but a killer any ambition.

          A lot of computer people are pushing it because they see computers as taking over everything and people will not be able to compete. Well, my problem is – who does that benefit? People need work – not just money but actual purpose. Retirees without occupation – either hobbies or volunteer work don’t live as long as the engaged. Think of the drug & alcohol problems of child stars after they stop working. What point is there to giving everyone a little money and not building the Star Trek society?

          The real problem may be that our understanding of economics is basically flawed. We assign more economic value to cleaning up a Superfund site and less to preventing one. The economic value of this website is zero in terms of community (although I certainly hope Jenny gets something out of it). If I am healthy because I make good choices, zero added value to the economy. If I break my ankle, I’m my own little job creator. (Believe me – the number of cabs and dog walkers and delivery services I generated for three months is amazing.)

          I don’t know the answer – but I’m not sure its not because I’m asking the wrong question.


          1. I think one of the things behind the guaranteed income is that it actually asks you, “What you you do if you didn’t have to work to get food and keep a roof over your head?” It’s not so lavish that you’d be able to live high, but it’s enough to give you the freedom to do what you want to do. And most people, I think, want work, they just want work that satisfies them. So they’ll volunteer or paint or write music or make beautiful handmade furniture or go into teaching or do any number of things that fill their hearts instead of punching a time clock. And they’ll be happier and because of that healthier. Of course there’ll be people who lie around watching TV and eating potato chips all day–actually I’d imagine everybody would do that for a few weeks–but the majority will start thinking of what they really want to do with their time.
            I have no idea if it works but the potential benefits are huge.


          2. What Jenny said. I think the (naive?) hope/assumption is that by not having to worry about roof and food, they can pursue what they love. Also, I would think that people would have to go out and get at least some kind of part time job for money that would pay for the frills (like their Netflix account).


          3. Remember, basic income would generally be low, say, about where the poverty line lies; you are protected from true poverty, but that is all.

            RE: lack of motivation to do more, I think if you look at basic income in the framework of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it covers the most elementary needs, taking away existential angst. For most of us, it would make no difference now (would you give up your current job to “luxuriate” at the poverty line?).

            Because, I think most of us will still have the drive to have more. Rather than the small, spartan room somewhere that basic income would support, we want a house. To get the house, or a car, or fancier clothes, or take a trip we have to work. And most people really do want more — who of us doesn’t want a raise or a nicer car or … you name it. Even a lot of people who earn good salaries take on second jobs because they want more. I worked as a college administrator and a significant percentage of our adjunct faculty were working good jobs outside, but the extra money paid for a nicer vacation or the cottage on the lake or whatever (many did it because they liked teaching, and some were looking for a job change).

            But, perhaps, you could be a tad more selective about your job, because you have the freedom to go back to school, or to wait a bit longer, or you can stay home with your kids more….

            For the people at the bottom of the scale, it could be a real game changer. Our obesity problem is in part because it is expensive to buy “good” food: fresh fruit, vegetables, etc. so that kids grow strong and adults avoid diabetes, and other health issues. In order to try and fill empty stomachs on a shoestring, they have to turn to mac and cheese or supersized McDonalds. It’s not necessarily that they don’t know better, it’s that they can’t afford better.

            There will always be abusers of any system, doesn’t matter what that system is. But the focus should be on the greater good. Otherwise we fall into the old “welfare queen” trap, which is constantly held up as the argument against the social support of food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc. — the sins of a few are being visited on the many, and we should be above that.


      1. The problem is, a lot (NOT ALL) of the people who voted for him really believe in that way of thinking. They weren’t holding their noses to vote for him, they applauded and cheered him when he said vile things.
        It is cheering to think that only 18% of the country voted for him, and not all of them were deplorable.
        Then you realize that only 18% of the country voted for him and you want to throw up.


  3. I’m also not an American. I’ve been shocked on behave of the Americans I know, like you all, and what Trumpism means for the world as a whole. The global increase in extremism seems both inevitable and terrifying. A couple of years ago, I studied how environmental resource stress and population overloading could lead to global social breakdown, and it looks awfully like what’s happening now.

    That said, I keep coming back to the person who said their conservative friend’s news feed looked like they were living in a different country – Clinton was a criminal who was about to be arrested, Trump was a wonderful Christian and family man etc. If that was the news you were seeing, maybe it’s understandable that you’d vote for him. Realising that some of the people who voted for Trump were living in that other world is stopping me from dismissing them all as misogynistic racists. That helps.


    1. Just a quick note in case there is any misunderstanding — I am American, I just live and work in Germany (German husband). Although, as I mentioned, there are no plans at this point in time for a permanent return to the US, thus I may be sheltered from negative effects, I am still appalled at the effects that the next few years will have on my younger siblings, their children and their grandchildren. Sigh.


  4. Also not an American, and your comment on ‘socially’ conservative v ‘politically’ conservative was a lightbulb moment for me.

    For me, right wing (conservative) means a belief in a trickle-down economy, lower taxes, user pays, less regulation, pro-business, and economic freedom over equality. Left wing (liberal) means a belief in taxation to distribute wealth, generating equality of opportunities, welfare systems, regulation for protection of the people and, often, the environment. Social issues like LGBT rights, abortion, legalising weed, and religion aren’t really part of this (although it is damn hard to have a conversation about immigration that avoids racism). When we have legislation in parliament on social issues, most parties allow their members to cross the floor to vote with their conscience rather than their party, without sanctions.

    So I can have a conversation and find common ground with those who are more right wing politically – I can appreciate that those on that side of the spectrum are also wanting the same things as me – a strong economy, community, and high standard of living for all – we just disagree on how to get there. Common ground. Discussion of these topics might allow fresh ideas for change.

    And I can have a conversation and find common ground with those who are more right wing socially – family is important…nope, actually, I can’t think of anything else. But that is something! And maybe we disagree on what is right for people – but we can agree that people are important to us both. Society is about working out together what we think is OK, and that can happen with discussion. It’s why women are allowed in church without their heads covered, and we can vote, and divorce, and our daughters can go to school, and if she grows up lesbian, she can marry, and I can work outside the home – discussion lead to change.

    But the problem is having a conversation with people who voted for Trump – because that wasn’t just a vote for a trickle down economy and (gack) conservative values. What were Trump voters voting for? The socially conservative policies, or the politically conservative policies, or the misogynistic, racist, homophobic etc hate policies?

    I’m sure lots of Republicans voted for social and political conservative policies…and the hate just came along for the ride. And that is the problem. It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who accepts the hate because the political values (and maybe some of the other social values) align – especially when it’s those socially conservative values taken to extreme that is at the root of the hate.

    Oh yes, and the environment. Jesus wept.

    So I’m with you Kiernan, I think that conversation can cause change. But I’m with you too Jenny – that conversation has to start with: if you didn’t vote Clinton to keep Trump and his hate out…’you were wrong.’

    Sorry for the long comment – I’ve been trying to work out how I felt about it, and writing it out helped.


    1. I think one of the big things which divides is the conservative belief in the mythological “trickle-down” effect. In particular in the US, they like to quote Reagan’s “success” which was actually a mirage. By expanding government(!!) spending, thus tripling the deficit over 8 years (fiscal responsibility, anyone??), he created an illusion of it working:

      “Reagan not only cut taxes, but he also increased government spending by 2.5% a year. He almost tripled the Federal debt. It grew from $997 billion in 1981 to $2.85 trillion in 1989. Most of the new spending went to defense. It supported Reagan’s successful efforts to end the Cold War and bring down the Soviet Union. Trickle-down economics, in its pure form, was never tested. It’s more likely that massive government spending ended the recession. (Source: Library of Economics and Liberty, Reaganomics, William A. Niskanen)”


      “Trickle-down economics says that Reagan’s lower tax rates should have helped all income levels. In fact, the exact opposite occurred. Income inequality worsened. Between 1979 and 2005, after-tax household income rose 6% for the bottom fifth. That sounds great until you see what happened for the top fifth — an 80% increase in income. The top 1% saw their income triple. Instead of trickling down, it appears that prosperity trickled up. (Source: Steven Greenhouse, The Big Squeeze, pp.6-9)

      Look at Kansas in the US: Brownback, a staunch proponent of trickle-down, he was going to be the poster child for showing how trickle-down is the panacea to all ills. Instead, trickle-down has turned the state into almost a third-world state. Roads are falling apart, public schools were closed before planned year’s end because there was no money left… The businesses that were going to pour in and spur the economy didn’t show up, despite minimal to no taxes and regulation. Instead of the 2,000 new jobs a month that were going to be generated, jobs losses are increasing (in 2015 over 4,500 jobs went away…). Interestingly enough, whereas Brownback was held up as a hero when he started his “grand experiment”, he is now an embarassment and his hopes for a presidential campaign dried up with the state’s coffers.

      This is why I am worried about Trump following that trickle-down dream. Until someone can show me where this theory has actually worked (and, again, the story under Reagan is an illusion, created by government spending policies), I am afraid we will see 49 more Kansas stories…

      It is one of those theories which may sound nice in theory, but in practice, the hard cold facts generally show an entirely different picture. Which is why many/most of us are sceptical of it, especially now, as we live in a global environment, where many of the owners of the businesses who should be sharing the wealth via trickle-down live elsewhere in the world, and off-shore the money that which is supposed to be shared. Which is why we in the US still have hungry kids going to school in the morning and trying to concentrate and learn on an empty stomach. I want those kids to have a fighting chance at having a good life, starting with a decent education and good health, with shoes on their feet and clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads, and parents who have time for them because they are earning an income that the family can live on. In this, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is and pay my share.

      Oliver Wendell Holmes is credited with saying “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” He was not the first person to say this.

      I think, on top of everything else, examination of real facts by both sides, and an open mind to reality and not just blind adherence to an ideology (again, by both sides) is necessary. Would be great if we could start with a blank sheet…

      Maybe after all this calms down a bit, we can start on the dialog. At least I hope so.


        1. Don’t apologize for length! I think part of the problem with “discussion” today is that everything has to be a sound byte. You can’t be nuanced in a sound byte. You can’t quote sources in a sound byte. You can’t even make an argument in a sound byte. All you can do is “feel” or “believe” a sound byte. Facts and logic have been replaced by feeling.

          I’m disheartened by the lack of real discussion. I’ve already seen two instances in my facebook feed (where I’ve muted most people engaged in political discussions, regardless of which end of the spectrum they’re from, so only a very few manage to show up) of the two sides simply shouting sound-bytes at each other, with no analysis or discussion.

          In one case, someone posted that, “contrary to what the losers were saying,” the Pres-elect ALSO won the popular vote. There was a bunch of agreement, then someone posted an actual source to show that the post was false. That person, the one with actual data, was shouted down with a bunch of name-calling. No attempt to present contrary evidence, just “you’re a [fill in the blank with a demeaning name],” so I won’t believe you.

          In the other, a report of protestors causing traffic snafus and some bits of vandalism was met with “arrest them all.” Not “arrest the ones who committed an actual crime,” but, in essence, “let’s round up every dissenting voice and throw them in jail.” And that was endorsed with lots of little additional sound bytes.

          So, yeah, I’m having a hard time seeing how we can have real discussions or can have common ground.

          OTOH, I can’t help thinking about an acquaintance, who firmly believes that everyone on disability is a lazy, whining, cheat. And yet, she spent years telling me to apply for disability (before I was ready to acknowledge that I needed the help) and she was genuinely happy when I was approved. So, apparently everyone on disability is a lazy, whining, cheat, EXCEPT for the people she knows personally. Because she truly is a caring person toward the people she knows. So there’s a massive disconnect between her stated political theories and her behavior. And that, perhaps, is where discussion can wedge itself in. Except, as noted above, the discussion gets shut down, because all she’ll hear is the sound byte, without the nuance of the disconnect between her theory and her application of it to individuals.

          Argh. I’m just so overwhelmed by all of this and not seeing a way forward. It’s hard for someone who believes that logic and reason and EVIDENCE should triumph to face a world where none of that matters.


    2. I miss the days when conservative actually meant something beyond “If you hate the gays, the colored, the non-Christian, or just anyone slightly weird, HERE IS THE PARTY FOR YOU! WE HATE THEM TOO! WE SHALL DESTROY THEM ALL!”

      Which is unfortunately where the party has evolved to. I really wish the non-bigoted conservatives, if any still exist, would separate and form their own party. But since bigots have won and that behavior is being rewarded, I give up. If being a bigot gets you elected, there is no incentive for them to do otherwise.


      1. Yeah, Jennifer. We really need the two major parties to split into four, to more accurately reflect where people are. But for various reasons (the system, the branding, to name just two), it probably won’t happen. We limp by, trying to be coalition parties, in order to get business done. And it just isn’t getting done . . . .


  5. PS I forgot to say – I think you’ll all like this.

    Today our Prime Minister ‘missed a call’ from President-Elect Trump. Honest to god. Missed a call. Sorry, mate, I’m a bit busy dealing with more important things right now, like the fact that a major state highway has been ripped to shreds by mother nature. She trumps you man, I’d be more careful of her if I was you. Anyway, you’ll have to leave a message.

    OK, so that’s probably not how it went down, but I like to imagine it was.


    1. Allanah, the feel-good story at the end of our national news last night was about those stranded cows being saved. I hope you and all your loved ones are doing okay after the quake.


    2. I love New Zealanders! I hope all the Kiwi Arghers are safe and sound, and looking on the bright side of life (like sticking it to the future Leader of the Free World!). I’ll be donating this week. You guys barely got over the last round of earthquakes . . . .


      1. You’re very kind, really, we’re fine 🙂 Yes, there is some damage, however most of it is infrastructure – roading etc. Some areas will struggle with the loss of the tourist season (Kaikoura in particular), and there are some of who lost homes or office spaces, and two families who have lost a loved one. But it’s not as bad as it could have been. Yes, there are people in need, but we’re a generous lot, we’ll help them out – and there are lots of other causes around the world where the need is greater. We have been lucky, and we know it.


      2. I’m ok… my workplace is not so great but they’re frantically organising accomodation so it should work out.


    3. If there’s one thing this election has done, it’s made me appreciate John Key so much more, he may be a slightly creepy pony tail puller with whom I disagree on many things but my god does he look competent compared to Trump…

      P.s. I hope you’re doing ok


  6. Kieran, I think you could feel safe posting here on Jenny’s blog, based on what I’ve read of her posts and all the comments from readers. It’s pretty clear Jenny upholds a standard of civility, and it’s pretty clear those who comment (to say nothing of those who lurk and don’t comment) adhere to that standard of civility. That’s a good thing to agree on, but it is not necessarily a tenet of any of the millions of conversations occurring outside this space right now. If we can’t have civility, I don’t think we can reasonably expect any discovery of additional common ground.

    Those who realize that words do matter, that words can: shape, inform, inflame, disinform, lead, subjugate, inspire, discredit, and convert, AND for whom self-interest and/or disruption are twin imperatives, cannot agree to begin with civility. But if we can agree on civility, it’s a start. Agreeing to deal in actual, verified facts might be next on an agenda to discover common ground.

    Where to go next? I don’t know. My dad always began his conversations with the phrase ‘Define your terms.’ Another fellow I knew said ‘Every conversation is a sale.’ It may well be that there is no common ground to be found, except that everyone on the earth is trying to survive. Some folks may not make it very far up Maslow’s hierarchy, and others are driven to scale it and climb other ladders (Machiavelli anyone?). Others choose a more altruistic path.

    Keeping a society together is, and will always be, a challenge. I’ve felt for a long time any society is only about 15 minutes away from total anarchy. Societies are challenging to rule, but are easier when one can point to a shared threat to that society. Past leaders were blessed to have communism and UFO’s to assist in this area. I do say that tongue-in-cheek.

    I so appreciated Jenny’s earlier post about grassroots change having a more lasting impact. It really resonated with me, and gave me a focus and direction for my dashed hopes that we could continue on the trajectory of becoming a respectful and inclusive society. I appreciate all the other comments on ArghInk, and learn from them.

    Maybe it’s the lot of humankind to take part in the wheel, the ‘spinning gyre,’ bearing witness to our individual truths, hoping to inspire others with our ideals, and encourage and assist wherever we can, helping to bring the light to bear against what we see as darkness.

    All I know for sure is that words matter. Thank you, Jenny, for this space.


    1. “Every conversation is a sale.” That’s interesting.

      I have a houseguest right now (Krissie) and we’re political twins, so we haven’t been selling anything, but it’s interesting to look at that idea in other areas of discourse. In fiction, every conversation is a conflict, and I think that the conversation-as-sale might be a good way to look at getting around the idea that people aren’t fighting in every conflict.


      1. I suppose it’s good that “Every conversation is a sale” isn’t about fighting, but on the other hand, whether it’s really good does depend on what’s being sold and how it’s sold (e.g. is it being sold by playing on people’s fears/prejudices?).

        I’m reminded of the Dempsey rules:

        One: Make the mark smile.
        Two: Get the mark to agree with you.
        Three: Make the mark feel superior.
        Four: Give the mark something.
        Five: Get what you want and get out.

        They’re selling something, it works, and as Sophie realises at the end of Welcome to Temptation, it’s been perfect training for politics. But would that method create a healthy democracy based on informed, engaged citizens?

        And that’s yet another dose of negativity from me. I’m not feeling very upbeat at the moment.


        1. Well, it’s a con, so no.
          But one thing about a con, something I’ve never thought about before, is that the conman or woman has to find common ground with the mark. The crook is doing the heavy lifting there to establish the basis for communication.
          But it’s still a con. See also: Politics.


      2. Oh, please expand!! I have a lot of trouble with “conflict in story doesn’t have to be a fight”. I tend to go right towards the pie-throwing, spurred by deep-seated resentment by the parties involved. Not exactly the right attitude for a romantic conflict.


  7. I only skimmed this because I’m still in too much pain over the election, still prone to unpredictable bouts of crying in public. (Especially when interacting with people of color or immigrants–it’s loads of fun for everyone involved.) I just wanted to express solidarity and thank you for speaking out.


  8. Hear, hear! I’m so angry about this I actively have to keep myself from (verbally) attacking the few people I know who voted for Trump, one of whom is my beloved but evidently racist, sexist, xenophobic sister. There is no common ground to be found here. Trump voters and those who abstained or threw away their votes on a third party candidate are responsible for this catastophe. They have screwed up this country and probably the world. And liberals are supposed to be accepting and conciliatory? Not going to happen.


  9. I just want to say that Paul Ryan, while having Way Too Much Power, still can not accomplish anything alone. And the people he currently works with, congress, do not work well together. And there are sensible people in positions of power to work against them (for example Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren).
    Things look dim but all is not lost.
    And as far as the racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic bullies are concerned, they are still the minority. She won the popular vote and if you add all the people who didn’t vote because they didn’t like either of them, we become a fairly big majority.
    We will unfortunately have to spend 4 years being vigilant and we need to put some focus on getting rid of the Electoral College but all is not lost.


  10. Kiernan, I’m not trying to be disrespectful but for the last 8 years conservatives have found themselves perfectly happy to call Democrats (and that includes centrists) Communists, traitors and claim our President was born in Kenya. Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan blocked the very infrastructure bills they’re claiming we now need. They blocked every possible stimulus they could in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    Do you see why some of us find it hypocritical that now they’ve regained the WH, they’re complaining we’re not being civil enough? Especially since those same conservatives have lied about Obama’s policies and won elections based on those lies. Not to mention that I’ve had to hear crap about blacks, gays, Hispanics. When conservatives insult black people, you insulted my friends and coworkers. When you insult and try to legislate away the rights of gay people, you’re going after my aunt and cousins.

    Unfortunately, although they may not be the conservative values you espouse, conservatives have been deceitful, dishonest and disloyal to this country. You will now have to govern what you broke.

    We’re living under Republican rules.


  11. I had a discussion on Facebook with a Trump supporter a while back, trying to understand why he would be voting for, well, that. And what it basically came down to was just a completely different view of the world. As far as he was concerned, Washington was hopelessly corrupt, Hillary was the prime example of that corruption, and Trump was an outsider beholden to no one, and therefore the only one who stood a chance of draining the swamp/cleaning up the town.

    I explained (at fairly considerable length) why I was pretty sure that there was no chance that Trump would do any such thing, and why I thought that Hillary wasn’t anywhere near as demonic as he seemed to think. He explained why he thought Trump was pretty much the only chance to improve things (also at fairly considerable length), and in the end I don’t think either of us convinced the other of much of anything. Despite remaining civil, and listening to each other’s views and perspectives, we didn’t find much in the way of middle ground – our concerns were too different, our hoped-for outcomes were too different, and our understandings of what was going on in the world around us was too different. And that wasn’t a conversation I could have with a great many people. (This one happened to be the husband of a friend.)

    So, yeah: the description of people living in two completely different worlds is pretty apt. This guy wasn’t the devil; he wasn’t voting for Trump out of racial animus or because he approved of the Nativist/xenophobic/patriarchal/revanchist elements of the campaign. I suspect that in his daily life, he would actively disapprove of a lot of those things; I also suspect that, like a lot of people, he has an enormous blind spot for things that don’t affect him, of precisely the sort that makes explaining the concept of privilege so difficult.

    To be clear, the racism and prejudice and etc. were all pretty much front-and-center in Trump’s campaign. I don’t think it’s any better to have voted in favor of these things because you didn’t see them than because you actively approved of them. But in terms of trying to have a conversation, of trying to explain why Trump himself (let alone the full Republican majority) is a massive problem, well… it does make a difference. And I think it’s a big part of why so many people are baffled and offended at being told that voting for Trump was an amazingly racist thing to do.

    There are some people who like the idea of joining the Imperial Stormtroopers, but there are an awful lot of people who really wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia, and just… missed.


    1. Piggybacking on this… What I have already started saying to my relatives in a state that flipped red this time, and what I will say to conservatives / Trump voters here, is just what Michael said: racism and prejudice were pretty much front and center in the campaign. I’m not sure how anyone who was paying attention could have missed it. For those who somehow did miss it or thought it was tolerable to get the result they wanted, I have an additional message: now you need to own it.

      If you truly decry racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and other forms of prejudice and do not want to be tarred with those labels, it is time for you to stand up to the officials you elected and refuse to accept their intolerance. Call them out on it. Contact their offices regularly. Show up at local town halls, sign inevitable petitions against discriminatory policies proposed. The onus is on YOU for the next four years.

      I live in a very blue state. I did not vote for Trump, McConnell, or Ryan. I am not an RNC supporter or contributor. I am not their constituent. They will not listen to me. Our only hope is that they might listen to the sensible, non-hateful voices among those of you who are their past and potential future voters.


      1. I really like this message. “hose who somehow did miss it or thought it was tolerable to get the result they wanted”

        You’re so right. In our minds, it’s not tolerable, and not just because we didn’t get the political result we wanted. This is a good conversation to have – it’s on them to fix it.


  12. Michael, I keep saying to people that this is actually not a bad thing. The ACA works even with the Republican governors blocking it from many people. Republican policies hurt the middle class. Climate change is real whether you want to believe it or not.

    But more importantly than economics, Trump is going to be a disaster. He’s not a politician and he seems to have no clue about the Constitution, the role of the WH & the Congress or even the limits of presidential power. To me, it’s like asking the plumber to do major surgery on you or asking the surgeon to fix a computer hack. There are some things it’s good to be expert in.


  13. Kiernan, there was something I did want to add.

    I was proud when the Houston Chronicle and a hundred other conservative newspapers disavowed Trump. I was proud when Romney and Flake and Kasich and PJ O’Rourke encouraged other Republicans not to let Trump take over their party.

    Those are the conservatives I can speak with and deal with because those are the conservatives who put America first. I don’t always agree with their policies but their principles are sound.

    I’m grateful Trump won as a Republican instead of a Democrat. He’s not a disaster because he’s a Republican. He’s a disaster because he’s a petty, vindictive man who can’t tell the truth, who changes his story from minute to minute, who had secret deals with Putin and is going to destroy our NATO alliance. He could just as easily played a Bernie role in the Democratic primaries as he did in the Republican.

    You made a distinction between political & social conservative- either one (including Mike Pence who I despise for the same reasons Jenny named) would be survivable. But both those political & social conservatives were willing to throw those principles under a bus to support Donald Trump.

    Again, you talk of civility. Why do you expect it when conservatives were willing to sacrifice it to have Trump win as a Republican?


  14. Deleted most of my comment down to this:

    So, what does it matter to me, I don’t live there. I am afraid for what could happen. I worried for the greater global picture. I am afraid for my friends who need healthcare and were finally able to get it. I am afraid for friends and family of colour and religion and orientation, who may be harmed. For the most part, it has been words, but words are cruel, harmful and wound deeply. I haven’t watched the news yet today. Things may have happened overnight.

    Sunday’s interview; backpedaling appeared. Yesterday, I was horrified again, Horrified may be my new word for a while. Many up here are watching, hoping, and yes, praying for some kind of miracle. Yep, my country has many issues and deep problems too. Huge poverty and racism issues if we are honest about it.

    America is filled with really good people, kind people, thoughtful people, lovely people, compassionate people. May they prevail some how, some way. Fingers crossed.

    Thank you, Kiernan, well said, your comments are valued and more open dialogue ensued.

    Thank you, Jenny for another thoughtful conversation.


    1. Finally watched the news. Last night in Toronto on a streetcar, a 20’s-ish white man yelled racist remarks to a man of colour and there was some shoving. Thankfully a woman videoed the scene and another woman stepped in, told the white man to stop his rant and to get off the bus. (Yeah, women!) The driver stopped, police came, white guy told to get off the bus, man of colour apologized for holding everyone up and they carried on. That’s the way we roll. We apologize and carry on.

      But, a white twenty something man is out there with anger festering in his bones. God help us all. Racism is global.


  15. Everyone has made so many excellent points, that it’s going to take awhile for it all to sink in.

    I believe that throughout our history as the U.S., racism has been with us – from early settlements, through the Civil War era, the world wars and recent history. We fear what we do not know or understand and as we are geographically large, separation and disconnect abounds. Other countries have done much better with integrating different populations and fostering respect. I fear that there is something within our national psyche that has grown to an ugly extent and is now manifest in the hateful intents expressed by those coming to power. And we’ve been going around telling the world how great we are and trying to export our political beliefs. Jesus wept.

    Something that is part of my mantra for saving my sanity is that despite some terrible things in our past (genocide of Native Americans, slavery,WWII internment camps for Japanese Americans, legalized segregation, and too many other horrific acts to list) I believe a majority of Americans actually voted for the idea of standing together, not degrading each other. Perhaps we really can learn to be more respectful and tolerant of differences. I hope so.

    While I stand by the belief that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I do not believe that opinions that are in opposition to the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and equality under the law as expressed in the 14th Amendment, should ever become the law of the land. Some vocal supporters of the President elect seem to want their racist beliefs to become de facto law and I strongly believe we must be vigilant to prevent this.

    I guess there are no easy answers in life. I do so have a hard time with this.


  16. SO MUCH to respond to here that I don’t think I can unless we’re all ok with this post being ridiculously long. So, instead, I’ll just post my two cents as well, which I’ve already seen hints of above:

    I’ve realized that one of the major impediments to a discussion, and finding common ground, is agreeing on what is FACT. Whether we realize it or not, every discussion includes assumptions, truths that we all accept. That no longer seems to be the case. If we can’t even agree on what is a true fact, then how are we to discuss how to interpret that fact, or what to do with that fact? For example, trickle down economics does not work. People who understand economics, have degrees in it, have said this. Life has proven it. And yet, there are people who insist that it does work and will solve all of our economy’s ills. How in the world can you have a discussion past this point?

    Even worse, we can’t agree on who can be trusted to tell us truthfully whether the fact is true or not. For my trickle down example, no one seems willing to accept the economist’s statement. These are learned men, and yet no one believes them. It’s like a surgeon telling you something about surgery and you saying they don’t know what they’re talking about. Just, what??! Another example, people believing that Hillary is a criminal. There is no evidence, in the legal sense (and remember, that’s what we need if we are going to convict someone and call them a criminal) that she is. But they point to their “proofs.” However, that source is a fake. If you point out it’s a fake, then you’re wrong, and in fact, it’s your source that’s a fake. So we can’t agree on what is true, nor on who to petition for the truth. That’s a major impediment to productive discourse. And I have no idea how you fix that.

    One response to Kiernan–I think homogeneous groups can be very helpful. At the very least, they are safe spaces where you can flesh out your ideas. They only become a problem when we forget to leave them and go talk to members of the other tribe.

    We have to remember that the beauty of America is that we have many tribes. We are all allowed to be here and the “freedom” of it all is that all of our ways of living are valid and not be suppressed (easy example is freedom of religion and how all religions are allowed to practice under our Constitution). The problems crop up when one tribe argues that their choices should take priority, and ignores the fact that their choices are going to be extremely uncomfortable for the other tribes’ members (ok, I guess I’m commenting on two of your ideas). Unfortunately, that is going to happen. You cannot achieve 100% consensus on how to govern. But, I think part of the solution is making sure that whatever eventual course is chosen does not suppress a particular tribe. No one tribe gets to be special, every tribe is treated similarly. So, for example, in public schools, where there are children from many tribes, there is no prayer. Yes, the Christians are unhappy about it, but if there were to be prayer, the Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc., would be unhappy. So, no prayer at all for any group, they’re all treated similarly in the public sphere. If you don’t like it, send your children to religious school (this is a frequent argument between myself and my mother, which is why it’s a go to example for me). Or, let’s look at gay rights. If hetero people can get married, so can gay people. Any argument to deny the gay tribe marriage rights is rooted in the Christian tribe’s beliefs. There is no argument that their beliefs should call the shots. (Am I making any sense here? I rarely get anywhere with my mother.) And please don’t tell me that gay people getting married violates Christian beliefs, in the legal governmental sense, unless you’re prepared to give me specific examples as to how (I have no idea if you believe this, so sorry if I’m making assumptions, but also, if you have an answer for this, please give it cause I haven’t found one yet and I want one).

    So I suppose in summary:
    – Homogeneous groups are nice, safe spaces for discussion (hopefully rooted in fact).
    – People of homogeneous groups must remember to talk to people of other homogeneous groups, hopefully using true facts, or else we face the current situation.
    – When attempting to decide upon a course of action, do not choose one that violates a particular group’s rights and has no basis in fact.


    1. quote I’ve realized that one of the major impediments to a discussion, and finding common ground, is agreeing on what is FACT. Whether we realize it or not, every discussion includes assumptions, truths that we all accept. That no longer seems to be the case. If we can’t even agree on what is a true fact, then how are we to discuss how to interpret that fact, or what to do with that fact? For example, trickle down economics does not work. People who understand economics, have degrees in it, have said this. Life has proven it. And yet, there are people who insist that it does work and will solve all of our economy’s ills. How in the world can you have a discussion past this point?

      Even worse, we can’t agree on who can be trusted to tell us truthfully whether the fact is true or not. For my trickle down example, no one seems willing to accept the economist’s statement. These are learned men, and yet no one believes them. It’s like a surgeon telling you something about surgery and you saying they don’t know what they’re talking about. Just, what??! Another example, people believing that Hillary is a criminal. There is no evidence, in the legal sense (and remember, that’s what we need if we are going to convict someone and call them a criminal) that she is. But they point to their “proofs.” However, that source is a fake. If you point out it’s a fake, then you’re wrong, and in fact, it’s your source that’s a fake. So we can’t agree on what is true, nor on who to petition for the truth. That’s a major impediment to productive discourse. And I have no idea how you fix that. end quote

      I have no idea how to fix it either. And this is happening with my husband. Last night we fought over his statement as FACT that roundabouts are liberal and implied is the rest of world’s ills are too. That’s it’s a proven FACT in his world and sources. I just lost it. We both have apologized for parts of the fight (mine was on over-reacting because I really did over-react and I am sorry for that) but how can our marriage survive when we can’t talk about our differences in political viewpoints?

      We used to respect each other’s right to a differing political view. That feels gone now. And it’s probably been gone for a while, as I look back over the last 2-3 years. But we have kids and I just don’t know how we move on from this.


      1. I have had some fun arguments with my mother, who won’t believe a damn thing I say but will parrot her conservative bosses at me. Like “seriously, I cannot believe you are against health care because Obamacare is so expensive and you’re all, why can’t it be cheap?”


      2. Beth, I’m really sorry about the conflict between you and your husband. I’m struggling to understand it, though. In British English, a roundabout is a kind of road junction, or else a children’s merry-go-round. No political connotations. Could you translate for me?


        1. Roundabouts are a fairly new thing in our state. And because they’re new, no one knows how to merge into them and exit safely from them. So they’re viewed as stupid and more likely to cause an accident than stop them.

          I was told a couple of years ago that someone in our state’s Dept. of Transportation fell in love with roundabouts and started adding them to the roadway designs that were being created. And that the state was overriding local requests for stop signs, stop lights and intersections when state approval was needed.

          So basically, everyone we know hates roundabouts and thinks they’re stupid. Somehow, and I’m missing this point, the news sources my husband listens to have pronounced roundabouts to be a liberal thing and therefore bad.

          I’m guessing the logic is something along the lines of “they can’t just say something is bad; everything bad is a liberal thing. Therefore, roundabouts are liberal. “


          1. Thank you! (I find roundabouts scary when I come across them unexpectedly in the US. You have to go round them the wrong way, which is really unnerving. The rule when they were first introduced in Britain was that you had to give way to traffic approaching from the right on the roundabout. But as traffic got heavier and faster, that’s evolved to ‘Give way to anyone approaching from the right, even if they’re not yet on the roundabout’. My father, who started driving in the thirties, insisted on sticking to the old rule, at great risk of being driven into.)


          2. Oh, I assumed it was more like “Europe has roundabouts. Europe is socialist. Socialist is the bad kind of liberal. So roundabouts are liberal.”


          3. Not that this helps, I realize, but roundabouts are increasing in MOST states. It’s just one of those technocratic ideas that catches on in urban planning — once people learn how to drive through them, roundabouts combine advantages in safety & traffic flow with lower maintenance costs (no equipment to install or repair, significant savings in terms of electricity & maintenance costs). Plus, they allow for things like flower beds, which make city planners hearts thump faster.

            But yeah, there’s that learning curve at the beginning. Nobody likes change! I’m in Colorado, where new ideas also tend to get associated with liberalism, or as it’s called here, “California values.” As a one-time Californian, I take that as a compliment 😉

            Are you familiar with the Deprogram America site? (link: http://hearyourselfthink.org/deprogram/) Lots of tips for promoting civil conversations with people who are relying on counterfactual ‘news’ sources, and I think also a support hotline. My sympathies, Beth, and best wishes for figuring out a good way forward.


          4. Roundabouts are increasing dramatically in Germany as well. Supposedly, traffic studies show that they improve traffic flow over regular intersections over even traffic lights.

            At least here they are nearly always only a single lane deep, so you don’t have the problem of jockeying through multiple lanes. When I lived in Brussels there were a couple of huge ones that had accidents all the time. One (Montgomery) they finally reduced by one lane (by growing the island in the middle), and that reduced the number of accidents.


          5. Here in my city they’re putting them in right and left and the businesses hate them because where before they had traffic driving business (everyone went right past the shopping centers/stores/whathaveyou) now the roundabouts require traffic to pass those busy areas and only come by the doors if you know where you’re headed and that you intend to shop. So, there’s no more “see my sign!” impulse shopping traffic.

            The businesses have been fighting tooth and nail, calling them everything from anti-business, to liberal, to stupid, dangerous, etc. EVERY study says that after installation traffic and accidents decrease dramatically within the first year, but money makers WANT congestion, and they would put profit over safety many, many times.


          6. Hi Lynn; also a Coloradan. I think that our roundabouts are actually safer than the ones in France for instance that have priorite a droit; someone coming into the roundabout with priority will clog up the whole shebang. In Colorado the roundabouts give priority to whoever is already in the roundabout, and they usually enter and exit quickly. We still have to be extra careful watching out for the new users.


          7. (Slight snark) Roundabouts depend on personal judgement and a little bit of following the rules, and that makes it liberal. You must think of others, and predict their behavior. Plain stop signs depend on A Hard And Fast Rule, and you know when you are right or wrong, and God may or may not strike you with lightning (or a Camaro) if you get it wrong. That makes them conservative.

            But if that’s true, I must be a closet conservative, because I hate roundabouts. I overthink them and I tend to be more chicken-y than the average driver, which causes problems (and accidents). I’m sure I’d get used to it if one were in my town, but there are always out-of-towners who approach roundabouts with fear — and that causes problems.


          8. I grew up with traffic circles ( what you call roundabouts). Once you’re used to them, you begin to love them. Especially if you have more guts than brains. : )


    2. Salpy, here in NZ the Anglican church is having an ongoing internal argument about gay marriage. As part of that, I heard that the vows priests make include something about upholding marriage as a sacred sacrament between a man and a woman. So gay people marrying does seem to violate that belief.

      Personally, as a Christian I find it incomprehensible. Why on Earth is the church so adamant that God cares about the structure of human relationships? Of course, it’s all tied into male property rights, but you’d think by now the church would have figured that out and moderated its stance, but it seems not.


      1. Honestly, Reb, I’m willing to let religion believe what it wants. It’s not up to me to tell you what your holy book says. I should also note that I do think about marriage in two senses: the governmental, and all the benefits that come along with that, and the church version. Everyone should be able to have a marriage under the government and enjoy the benefits. But, if the religion says no, then you can’t force them to bless a gay union. But if a gay couple is not asking the church to bless it, they’re just looking for the license from the county clerk, and to file their taxes as married, to be able to inherit each other’s estates, etc., then a church can’t turn around and tell the government no because their holy book says no.

        Of course, I’m with you as to it being incomprehensible, but I supposed I can’t expect too much as this is also the same religion that tells me I’m not allowed up on the altar because I’m a woman (I’m Armenian Orthodox, by the way). To be fair, they have relaxed this stance and now allow girls up on the altar until they have their periods. I wish I had the eye roll emoji. I have mixed emotions toward my church.


        1. This is a very similar conversation to the one I have frequently with my mother, who is Christian. I’m not a member of the church or the faith, so I don’t get to tell the church what to do or allow its members to do, but as far as legal marriage goes, there shouldn’t be any impediment. After all, if an atheist couple can be legally married by a civil celebrant, why can’t a gay couple? And yet, still illegal down under, because our Liberal-National Coalition (conservate party) won’t allow a conscience vote. Shame on us.


          1. I know, and we’re SO jealous. My little sister has to get married in Scotland (well, okay, they could have just crossed to NZ but they’re in Scotland now anyway) instead of in my mother’s garden. Damn politicians.


        2. Here in Germany only the “state” wedding (carried out by a government employee) is a legal wedding. Churches have no say in legal weddings, only the law.

          Church weddings are optional, for those who wish them. Quite often, the church wedding follows the legal wedding by a considerable length of time.

          A young woman in our family is getting married on Dec. 6, but the church wedding is being planned for 2018, because the baby is due in May 2017 and they want to wait until they have gotten their new place and adjusted to the baby.

          This is not at all unusual here.


    3. But where Kiernan is right is this is a homogenuous group about Jenny Cruise and watching her pull a book out of her bone and blood inch by painful inch. And laughing a lot with each other. And I’m sure Kiernan feels a little betrayed that a lot of us belong to another group whose beliefs she is not comfortable with.

      So I can see that this could feel like like someone switched groups on her when she wasn’t looking.

      Unfortunately, I have felt betrayed for 8 years by the Republican response to Obama. I was actually so heartened as conservative after conservative and conservative newspapers and the National Review came out over and over again to say not Trump. This is not politics as usual. Because those felt like the Republicans of my youth. That I thought was going to be our healing moment as a country – not even that we elected Hillary but that as a country we said NO to an incompetent racist.

      The other thing is my aunt said to me in the late 90s that the best thing about Americans is that we have no long term memory. In Ireland they were still fighting over Cromwell and William of Orange. In the Balkans they were still fighting over Ottoman conquest. In the middle east they sometimes seem to be re-enacting Easu & Jacob. But we are all immigrants and a generation after we get here we’re marrying each other. So we didn’t use to be tribes – we used to be Americans. I would like to get back to that but I’m not rewarding bad behavior with civility.


  17. Jenny please do not make assumptions about social or other types of conservatives and what they like to read. You wrote “I think this probably is a mostly-liberal group with a few centrists mixed in, but I think that’s in part because social conservatives (different from political conservatives) probably spit on my books.” You would be wrong. I’m a social conservative, quite a few of my friends are as well, and we’ve all read your books for years. I’ve followed your blog for many many years and I just skip the political ones during that time of year as I too feel like comments outside of liberal ones would not be welcome here. You have an opinion, and that’s fine. I have one too and that’s fine. We don’t have to fight about it. Instead we have things that we both like (your books, writing, tales about dogs, etc.) and we can both enjoy that.


    1. Very good point. I should never make assumptions about my readers, since I don’t know them personally.

      I based that on the complaints I get every time I have an LGBT character because I shouldn’t be pushing my liberal views on everybody. (?)
      And on the complaints I get when my female characters tell their lovers they want sex, because that makes them look desperate.(?)
      And . . .

      Let’s just say I get a lot of grief for my socially liberal views, mail that says, “Do you have to make romance novels political?” Yes. Yes, I do. Although I don’t see how making my heroine’s roommate gay and a great guy makes me political. I get a lot of WTF? mail like this.

      BUT it’s wrong to make assumptions about an entire group based on a select few. And I apologize.


      1. I’m a big girl, reading about an LGBT character or sex or whatever is not going to disrupt my equilibrium or cause whiny tantrums. For me, it’s YOUR book, I enjoy them and buy them, I have no right to tell you what you can and can’t put in them, my single choice in this is read it or don’t read it. I rarely read preachy books of any political view, you are not preachy and I certainly don’t see your books as political. If we all required every single thing we read to conform to our exact personal belief system and no other, we’d all have very small libraries indeed…….


    2. Actually, denisetwin2, speaking for myself, I suspect for everyone else her, I would be glad to hear from you. It would be helpful to help me understand and identify where the overlaps are and where differences are. This is hard to do in the trolling environment in which we move. Discussions with family and friends are often burdened by old hurts, rivalries and disputes, which often result in a rapid escalation of tension under which no reasonable exchange can take place.

      Part of my job has to do with understanding how people deal with information and how they make decisions. You have to be cognizant of each other’s frame of reference and the context in which both operate to understand why they go from A to B to C, when you got from A to B to D without having C anywhere in sight.

      I am often frustrated because I have many questions and feel like I am missing many pieces. But my ex

      Maybe we could encourage you to give us more from your side here in the safety of Argh to help us find some of that common ground?


    3. I’m sorry you didn’t feel your comments would be welcome. Actually, it would probably be good for all of us if you poke at the bubble when you feel like it.


  18. I’m Canadian, so maybe my opinion doesn’t really matter on this issue (although, really, the whole world is affected by this election, not just those of you who got to vote), but my thought is that Republicans should be just as horrified by a Trump presidency as a Democrat. You can support smaller government without supporting Trump, and maybe those are the people that need to start speaking up and building bridges with Democrats. Unless this racist, misogynistic platform is truly the way you want your country to look, I would think reasonable people can get together. Those people, however, need to take the controls back from the racists and homophobes that have taken over their party, and they need to stop seeing power as the be all end all.

    I’m really disappointed, because I love watching Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama together, they are my favourite world leaders 🙂


    1. Oh, I loved the Justin/Barack show, too. For one thing, they were both so gorgeous. And then the two of them together, smiling . . . the pictures always kind of melted around the edges for me.

      And your opinion matters. I think everybody’s does, but especially you guys and Mexico. I joked with Krissie that if things got bad enough, you’d close your borders.


  19. The thing that I just can’t put aside is that every person who voted for Trump knowingly voted for someone who says racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, crude and cruel things, and when they’re called on it, say, “but, but, but…” Own it, please. Say, “yeah, he says racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, crude and cruel things,” but he was my choice, because these other things [enumerated here] were more important to me.” Just own it.


    1. Yeah, this. I was on Facebook on election night (I know, but I have relatively few Facebook friends, and they’re not troll-like). I was commenting on a friend’s post, which turned into a discussion among lots of her friends, and one of them had voted for Trump. He actually had to be convinced that white voters made up Trump’s base. Like somehow the mention of that offended him until he was shown numbers. Then he was annoyed that I considered a Klan endorsement a red flag because other people’s opinions of Trump shouldn’t influence how I see him. Really? Like he did nothing to convince the KKK he agreed with them? I have met that Trump voter in person, and he has never said or done anything in my presence that was racist, sexist, or even rude. From his other comments, he seems to have chosen the way he did because of the “outsider” thing and ignored the crap that came with it. But he refused even to acknowledge that the carp was there, and that was incredibly frustrating. Being a straight white guy in a red state, he will be insulated from the consequences. I refrained from mentioning that because I clearly wasn’t getting anywhere.


      1. Terry Pratchett, Mort:
        “‘They look at you, but they don’t see you, I think. You do something to their minds.’
        Death shook his head.
        ‘They do it all to themselves,’ he said. ‘There’s no magic. People can’t see me, they simply won’t allow themselves to do it. Until it’s time, of course…Strange, but true.’ ”

        We’re very good at seeing what we want, hope, an expect to see, and not seeing that which does not support our preferences, attutides, and opinions.


    2. Krissie and I just went to dinner and she said the same thing. We can’t find common ground with somebody who voted for somebody who said those vile things now.
      The whole “grab ’em by the pussy” thing triggered bad flashbacks for me, but it wasn’t the deal breaker because it was a long time ago; I don’t want a lot of things I did twenty years ago on my plate now.
      But the things he was saying as part of his campaign? I don’t care if he was offering free lunch to everybody, he doesn’t get a pass on being racist, on demonizing Muslims (and lately, Jews), on choosing a violently homophobic vice president. No.


    3. Ahhh, Carol, see comment down below. Either “reply” button hinky or I don’t know how to operate it.
      San Diego, that’s the important thing, you come from here. We live on a small island. I haven’t been out for days because WRITING DEADLINE. My husband goes out to run up/down the beach and around, and he says he’s fed up with people smiling at him who never did before. I say he’s making assumptions about being a middle-age white guy living, you know, here – 0kay, I say he’s paranoid – but he comes home grumbling every day since last Wednesday.


      1. Thea, yes, proud San Diegan. Funny thing is that I’m the only leftie out of a very conservative (Dad was a Navy officer) family. They dispair of me.


    4. Yes, this.

      You know, I’ve been tying myself in knots trying to be fair and open-minded, but after much soul-searching, I’ve achieved a kind of inner peace with myself by coming to this same conclusion: There is no common ground and no excuse for not voting Clinton to save the damn country, not to mention the world. If you voted for Trump, you voted for a dangerously unstable bigot; own it.


  20. I don’t know if I can find common ground. But I think we can build it, at least at the local level. It helps to confine an issue to a specific, local problems, and start with one that is small enough to be fixed. Some people from my church are meeting to figure out what our parish can do to better serve groups in our community while remaining non-political.

    If we start with Trump v. Clinton, we’re screwed. If we limit it to how do we support immigrant families in our parish? That’s something we can agree on, and thus take action on. My personal hope is that through getting to know immigrants my pro-Trump acquaintances anti-immigrant voting patterns disappear. But it might not. It’s then up to me to decide, is it worth it to cooperate to solve a local problem when I violently disagree with the person I’m working with?

    For me, the answer is normally yes. I understand that’s not something everyone’s in a position to do. When you’ve been attacked one to many times, cooperation just isn’t in the cards anymore, and that’s ok. But while it’s in the cards for me, I think I have to try.

    For me, common ground is not an end in itself. It’s a tool to solve problems. And for certain, specific problems, it’s a tool that can still work.

    Thanks for bringing it up, Kiernan and Jenny.


    1. “For me, common ground is not an end in itself. It’s a tool to solve problems. And for certain, specific problems, it’s a tool that can still work.”

      That was really, really well said, Cate. I agree.

      Local (and state-level) community organizing is something I do in my offline world. I work with marginalized groups, and usually, the things we’re working for are opposed by self-identified liberals as well as conservatives. Most people tend to support the status quo, regardless of party affiliation. I could say a lot of things about that, but I’ll restrict myself to saying the “bottom-up” change does not rely on changing the minds of 99% of the population. It relies on changing exactly enough minds, and mobilizing exactly enough people, to change the status quo. Then doing it all over again, and again, and again.

      Thanks for looking out for your neighbors. I agree that that’s a good place to start, and a thing worth trying.


  21. One of the (endless) things I’m currently amazed and appalled by is that so many of the people who voted for Trump said they did so because he was going to get rid of the Washington establishment and “drain the swamp.” And yet, now that he is A) working hand in hand with Paul Ryan and the Republicans in that same Washington establishment and B) he is filling his cabinet with those same insiders plus one acknowledged White supremacist for his closest advisor, no one is saying a word.

    Plus, of course, the whole “We’re going to get rid of Medicare” thing–does no one realize that we have all been PAYING for that our entire working lives? A huge chunk gets taken out of everyone’s paycheck for Medicare, and yet somehow it is okay to say, “Thanks for all that money. We’re not giving you what you paid for.” *runs away sobbing*


    1. This is exactly what my husband continues to say about Social Security and Medicare. I guess there are a lot of Americans who really don’t examine their paycheck and understand what those abbreviations stand for, particularly FICA – Federal Insurance Contribution Act. As of 2015 there is a mandatory deduction of 12.4 percent of earned income deducted for Social Security and 2.9 percent for Medicare. It is money each of us earned. Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements, our money has paid for it.

      Thanks for bringing this up. We need to be clear on our terms and understand where our money is going.


      1. To be clear you only pay the 12.4% & 2.9% IF you’re self- employed. If you work for someone else, we withhold 6.2% for SS & 1.45% for Medicare and then your employer matches the percentages.

        But since the employer calculates that matching percentage into your compensation, it sort of comes out of your pocket.


  22. Somewhat unrelated question: what is everyone doing to stay calm about this? I’m really struggling. I calm down for about five seconds and then I remember that DJT chose an actual, real life white supremacist/Nazi as his top advisor and I lose it again.


    1. Check out holyfucktheelection.com. Much profanity, but some good ideas.

      I also think you can apply the “Getting Things Done” concept: What’s the very next step you can take to move toward what you want?


    2. Historical perspective helps, as long as you don’t look at other countries. The US has survived a lot of really, really terrible presidents, congresses and eras.

      Ukulele. Cats.

      Oh, and limit the news to one dose a day for the next three months. And try to get it from a foreign source who won’t blow stuff up too much. The Guardian and the Telegraph? O.K. The Daily Mirror? Ummmm. No.

      Then again, that’s just a salve. Maybe we need to blow up and get really, really angry.


    3. I am only staying calm because I am figuring out my own “revenge” — like the donations to PP and ACLU in the name of the slimebuckets who want to kill our rights, so that those people get a reminder of my anger every month.

      Also: how to organize. For the first time since I joined, I finally went to a meeting of Democrats abroad to figure out how to do my share to reduce the damage the next administration is going to cause.

      Trying to channel my anger in constructive ways.

      Otherwise, I’d need a rubber room somewhere.


    4. I’m laughing.

      I believe that the sun rises in the morning. I believe that if you spend more than you make you end up broke. I believe if you look at what economists say about certain policies and what scientists say about global warming – you’ve got a good clue for what happens when you ignore that advice. I believe if you eat ice cream three times a day there’s a good possibility you’re going to be overweight and have high cholesterol.

      I believe reality is a harsh teacher but some people aren’t going to learn any other way.

      I have voted to save this country and to move it forward for over 30 years. I have paid taxes, I have been fully employed for most of it, I donate to the poor and libraries and the environment. I have tried in the past to bend over backward to listen to other voices, maybe not as much as I should have but I deliberately don’t live in a bubble and I read a lot of different sites.

      I’m done. Climate change is coming. If Trump does what he wants to do? Crash is coming. Okay. Now, I’m protecting my own assets and working to protect my state.

      Climate change will hurt Florida worse than it will hurt me. Pipelines through the Midwest aquifer will hurt them worse than me (we can import food more cheaply than we do now.) I think if he nominates Palin for the Secretary of the Interior – have at it. People won’t listen to common sense. They want to pick their own facts. so be it. Now I’m just laughing my head off at what they think is coming.

      I commented on Politico and the response I got from a conservative was – “I’m in the military so you have to pay for your insurance and I don’t have to pay for mine. Haha!”
      Except I pointed out to the kid that I pay taxes happily because I want him to have taxes and a GI bill. Then I pointed out to him that if Trump pulls us out of NATO, he will either be transferred to a war zone or discharged. That Republicans want to cut his GI bill. And he just voted for one of those two options. (He’s not happy with me.)

      If you believe that what you believe is factual, if you test your assumptions in a fair manner, if you make the best decision you can with the information you have- that’s all you can do.

      Everything I believe says that Trump is incompetent. I am not going to be sad or angry about that – I chose to be amused that people did something stupid and there’s no way to save them from themselves.

      Yes, that’s arrogant. Don’t care anymore. I’m just waiting for the 2×4 to hit them upside their head.


      1. This is exactly how I feel. Also anyone who thinks they can work with Trump is deluding themselves. He has a history of changing course every day or two and going back on his word. This is a guy who lies as a matter of course.


        1. I agree, Jessie. Except it is clear that he has a massive need for approval and he does appear to respond better to flattery than to criticism, so perhaps the approach has some merit (however much it makes me want to grind my teeth).

          But it still makes me sick that we have a spoiled six-year old in charge who can be bribed with the psychological equivalent of an ice-cream cone, and who picks his playground buddies based upon who can beat up the other kids best.


  23. Thanks Jenny for all that you do. I’m a long time fan of your books and blog.

    You’re right, there is no common ground and I’m really weary of the false equivalencies. Clinton isn’t half as abhorrent as Trump, even if you believe all the crap the right wing accused her of…but she is a strong woman with strong opinions.

    Trump voters knew full well what would happen if he took office. Knew, for instance, that changes to Medicare and Obamacare would lead to the death of many needy Americans, some of those children. Knew that deportations of legal Americans and undocumented children would tear families apart. These are the Christians who accused Obama of being a Muslim?

    Every single thing the RW said they stood for is now proven to be false. They don’t actually care about religion. They don’t care about political experience. They don’t care about morality. They don’t care about ethics. They don’t care about women, minorities or children. They care about money and power.

    So sad.


      1. No worries. Thanks for letting me rant while I mourn. I’ll stop crying any day now and get back to fighting for the cause. This may not be a political blog, but history proves that artists/writers are political by nature. If they were incurious and able to keep their mouths shut, they wouldn’t write, paint, sculpt…So big kudos to you and your thoughtful community.


  24. Since we sorted ourselves so successfully by ideology, political party has become a proxy for personal identity. Any criticism of policy or disagreement with positions then feels like a personal attack even to people who only tune in around election time but have a partisan lean.

    But I need – especially now, I need so badly to believe – that people are more than their politics.

    My life-long Republican father voted for Trump because he told me, in so many words, that he thought him only slightly less unfit for office than Hillary. And he had said repeatedly that he fully expected Hillary to win the election (not in our red state but overall), so he probably assumed it didn’t matter. He is not happy about the results because he wouldn’t have been happy either way. He is still my father. Still the person who retired early when I was in elementary school and stayed home with me while my mom worked full time, did his share of household chores, drove me to school. He would probably be surprised to hear that the example he set by doing things like that during my childhood is a big reason why I know that “a woman’s place is in the home” stuff is crap. My mother purposely told me sexism was wrong and told me to be independent; I’m not sure they realize both of them made me a feminist. The love of old movies, the interest in history, the electives I took in college, the fact that I chose to study criminal justice – all of that is something I share with him, even beyond being family.

    So no, common ground in politics probably can’t be found, or at least not more than a very small patch. But it can be found elsewhere with individuals. And after that, I think CateM is right. We’ll have to make that political common ground, and the other things we share might make us willing to do that.


    1. Love this. I’ve felt a lot of anger over the past few days, but there are people who I love, and who really should know that.


  25. I just want to say thank you to everyone for your reasoned and insightful comments, and to Jenny for making this a civil enough space to cope with this kind of discussion. I always learn so when I come much here. Thanks especially to Kieran for sparking the conversation – I’d be interested to hear your response to it all.


  26. Yes, kudos to you, Kieran, for posting.

    I also feel the divide is so deep that being able to work together will take a loooong time. But Trump and his team are in steamroll position right now. I am ready to calmly fight.


  27. Wow! I have had an extra hard day. So when I came here and saw my name and post addressed, I felt that stress anyone would feel, right? But I really appreciate everyone’s respectful, insightful comments. Thank you, Argh world.

    I’m not a Trump advocate–I have huge concerns about him. So during his tenure I’m simply going to keep doing what I’m already doing in my little world to help make things better. I’m also not going to stop having hope that we can come together as a country.


  28. I don’t know if the rest of you have taken note of the interviews that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have done over the past week, but something in them is an odd parallel to the discussion we are now having.

    When interviewed by Rachel Maddow, Warren said what she needed to say about being sad/hurt/worried and then she put it aside and said basically, “These are things that Donald Trump mentioned in his campaign–things he wants to do–and I can work with him on these. I *will* work with him on these.” I believe the phrase she used was “we will fill his sails.” She knows that Trump wants to make progress, that he hates to lose, that he wants to be seen as a people’s President, and she gave him a freaking road map of WHERE he could cross the aisle and get things done. It was followed by a not subtle “Do Not Do These Things” message that make it very clear that certain areas were going to be exceedingly politically expensive for him.

    Bernie did the same thing. He went on The View and on Colbert’s show (it’s funny, but I can never remember the actual name of the show… it’s just Stephen Colbert’s show to me) and he addressed two of the most liberal television audiences out there and said, “Here is our common ground.” He was a little less honey and a little more vinegar than Warren, but he said that he wanted Trump to succeed. That he would work with him on these issues that tapped into the fear and instability and social insecurity of the lower classes. He said he’d support Trump on things like raising the minimum wage, and reinstating Glass-Steagall (I still can’t believe Trump wants to do this. It took the Republican party 30 years to get that repealed.). Another road map where things could be achieved that both sides could agree upon.

    It’s the opposite of Mitch McConnell’s “we will keep Obama from achieving ANYTHING” approach, and I think it plays to Trump very well. He knows he has a very short time to get things done if he’s got any hope of a legacy, and if he can spin it so that he can say, “I’m so good the Democrats crossed the aisle to work with me.” he’ll take it.

    Warren and Sanders don’t want to stop pursuing their agendas, but they are smart enough and even handed enough to say “okay, we’re too divided, we have to work together more” and they’re laying out a road map for what their supporters can do–push back on the racist/misogynistic/xenophobic stuff and make the people that want that crap really really pay for it, and stop cutting off our noses to spite our faces on the stuff we can agree on so someone, somewhere can get SOMETHING done. The only difference is they don’t start with the fight. They start with the common ground and in that way they don’t immediately get a door shut on the discussion.

    My cynical brain analyzes it and sees it as a calculated way of “handling” someone. It’s political manipulation. However I also believe that manipulation is not an inherently negative thing. The word has developed negative connotations, but when it’s all boiled down, every interaction we have in life is a manipulation. I think we are hard-wired to make every situation to our best interest, that there is no such thing as altruism. There is always a self-benefit, even if it’s just a sense of having done something right. So let’s use that self-serving nature to find common ground with people who is a little different than us. It’s like the Dempsey con. You want to have a good conversation with someone on the other side? Tell them they’re right about something. Find a place you can give them credit for, and THEN ask them about something a little outside that sphere. Go slow. Put away the rhetoric and the inflammatory slogans and point out where you’re the same. This will make them seem less like an enemy to you, and make you less of an enemy to them, but it takes giving THEM that first piece of ground. We won’t make any headway otherwise.

    There are people on the edges who will never budge. You can point out common ground and they will swagger and sneer and point and say, “I’m right and you know it, buddy. Loser.” I’m not suggesting this approach will work with them, it won’t and you’ll end up wanting to punch something. However, there are at least 250 million folks out there that it might work with, and I’m willing to take that bet. I don’t have anything better to do for the next four years.


        1. Thanks GCB. I get carried away sometimes and I think it ends up with the people around me dozing off or getting annoyed and that’s the last thing I wanted.


      1. I think you took precisely just the space you needed. Very good, Alis! I’m sick of the bickering and stalling. I don’t care if Republicans take credit for the breakup of the log jam — I hope Democrats will unite on certain so-called Republican issues, and push to get things done.

        I do fear that Trump will be fighting a lot of members of his own Party who have no interest in seeing a functioning government, so he’ll need all the Democratic help he can get.


    1. Ughhhhh I hate it when leaders I respect act like grown ups, forcing me to put aside all my petty revenge fantasies! Cause obviously if there’s common ground, we should work on that, and we should even help Trump cause the country failing is no good for anyone, and noses being cut off, yadda yadda yadda, but man do I hate being mature sometimes.


      1. Sorry. I’m not falling for it.

        He doesn’t believe in anything. Warren & Sanders are trying to work him but when it comes down to it he will say or do anything because he has no personal beliefs.
        And then they will be caught in a trap where he blames them for any progressive policies that don’t work immediately.

        This is still the man whose lawyers only met with him in pairs. Because they said they always wanted a witness to 1. what they told him and 2. what he agreed to.

        He’s not a Republican. He’s not a conservative. He’s not a Democrat or a populist. He’s a con man.


        1. Liberals always seem to believe that if you can just relate to someone, you will find a common ground. Trump will say something then flatly deny he ever said it. Even when the evidence is still in the record. Politfacts has him lying 70 percent of the time. Warren and Sanders are deceiving themselves. They try to work with him and he is still going to do exactly what he wants them claim he has bi-partisan support.


          1. I don’t think we’re going to be able to relate, but I’m not going to be that person that bitched about Republican obstructionism and then turn around and do that very thing.

            I don’t think Warren and Sanders are deceiving themselves, either. They know the chance of these tactics working are very slim, but that’s better than no chance at all. As far as claiming bi-partisan support, there’s NEVER been a case where you actually needed support in Washington to claim you have it.

            You may have given up hope. You may not “fall for it.” But, if we are to have a Democratic party with a chance of future success we have to find some path, some attempted direction for the next four years. It’s like Bonnie says in Bet Me:

            “How many times have you told me that everybody gets lucky breaks in business but not everybody is ready for them? Well, it’s true about love, too. I’ve been planning my marriage my whole life because I’m smart enough to know that’s the most important decision I’ll ever make, and now Roger’s here, and I’m ready to go. And you two are going to miss it when it comes for you because you don’t want to believe because if it isn’t true, you’ll be disappointed.”
            Liza rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on–”
            “You’re planning on being disappointed, you’d be disappointed if you weren’t disappointed, your whole world view depends on men disappointing you….”

            There’s more, but you get my drift. I understand your feelings, and totally get your desire to pull back, defend yourselves, and say “I told you so.” But some of us need to hope, so I’m going to stick with Warren and Sanders and Booker and Obama and remember why I believe.


          2. Can’t remember where I read this (maybe NYTimes or Wash.Post) that whenever the lawyers meet with Trump, they go in pairs. For their records.


  29. I really appreciated that you spoke up, Kieran.
    Although I am pretty much a raging liberal privately, I tend to shy away from speaking up about my politics. I had a lot of sympathy for people who hold what I believe is a valid opposing view with regards to fiscal and governing policies in this election. I think their views are wrong, but I also think it’s America and they get to say it and vote for it and that we shouldn’t get upset about that.
    But I hate to talk about it because despite my love and respect for my friends and family who have a more conservative perspective, it seems impossible for us to start a conversation without it devolving into a heated discussion, and as someone else commented, we’re each coming to the conversation with different sets of facts, and there’s no consensus between us as to what the truth is, so it just feels super pointless and dividing to even go there.
    So I just believe what I believe, only talk to the people I agree with and noncommittally change the subject when those I disagree with bring it up, vote my conscious and then politely avoid creating waves with my conversation. And when I first saw Jenny’s posts I admit I had the thought – “Really? Even here on what I consider a safe polite community we have to go there with super divisive rhetoric. I mean I know it’s Jenny’s blog, so she gets to do what she wants, but maybe I just need to opt out of reading this stuff because even though I agree, I find it upsetting.”
    But then I thought – is it hiding behind my privilege for me a white, cis-gender, female Catholic to run from this kind of conversation in this particular case? Is the reason that this hate-spewing division-sowing bully was able to get elected in the first place that people like me think it’s “not polite” to talk politics and then fail to point out when people are relying on false narratives or are just plain being racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim?
    Trump really is a paradigm shift, so I have to rethink my approach to “politics isn’t polite”. No, I don’t like talking conservative vs. liberal in general, but this is not a normal Republican. I can’t “be polite” when they’re taking away my rights, and creating a culture of fear, and hurting my friends who look different or worship different or love different than Breitbart’s America. It’s not “being polite”, to not engage in the conversation – it’s being privileged, and I need to be brave enough to point out that this is not normal, and cannot be accepted. It’s not being whiney that my side didn’t win if I speak up when I encounter hate or violations of basic decency.
    And my conflicting thoughts about whether or not this was an appropriate Argh conversation/comment is what helped clarify that for me. This isn’t about disagreeing about politics, for me – it’s about calling out hate speech and intolerance, and that’s where I need to focus my energy and efforts to keep true to myself in this moment.


  30. Can anyone tell me how the Comey can justify giving Steve Bannon a security clearance?

    He makes this huge deal about Hillary’s email server because it is not secure enough then he’s going to give a neo-Nazi clearance. Ye Gods.


    1. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, and may not happen. There is a tremendous amount of pressure from all sides to boot Bannon, even from within the GOP. I am hoping that he may turn into the sacrificial lamb (snake? slug? slime at the bottom of the pond?) in an attempt at reconciliation.


  31. I’m arriving at this post very late and haven’t read all 133 comments.

    To Keirian – I too am conservative and have been limiting my comments on the political posts. In fact, much of what I originally wrote to post here, where I’m expecting few would see it, I have deleted because I don’t want to argue. Just know you’re not alone here.

    Also, Jenny, I love your books and share them. I don’t spit on them even though you’d expect me to.

    Finally, to everyone else, please do not be tempted to assume that everyone who didn’t vote for Clinton embraces all that you see Trump standing for. Be better than the people I see saying that the people who voted for Trump are racists, sexists, etc. A lot of people are one issue voters and may be willing to compromise on issues you wouldn’t compromise on, for the one they care about more.


    1. The problem, Kelly, is the thing they compromised on is racism.
      I can understand not voting because the polls all said Clinton had it in the bag. I can understand voting for a protest candidate because everything said Clinton had already won.
      I can’t understand voting for a racist who promised to persecute people for their religion and to jail his political opponent if he was elected. That goes against everything this country stands for.
      I know it’s better for my career to be open-minded, but some things are more important than anything else. And taking a stand against the anti-American things this man has promised, against everything he’s already starting to do, is more important.


      1. I’m just saying that I know people who voted for Trump. They aren’t racist and they didn’t vote for him because he’s racist. Actually tonight I was in the conversation with the person who asked me, “why do they keep calling him racist? All he wants to do is keep out illegal immigrants.” So while I understand why racism isn’t something you are willing to compromise on, there are people out there who feel other issues are more important to them and didn’t see Trump as the racist you see him as. The only way you will know why someone voted for Trump would be to have a conversation with them.

        And this is why Kiernan and I aren’t commenting often on the political postings.


        1. Well, he has been prosecuted by the Justice Department many times for refusing to rent to people of color. He has settled out of court but he has a history of discrimination. That is even before the things he has said about hispanics and muslims. His staff evicted a young man of Indian origin from one of his rallies because he might be a trouble maker (the kid is probably no longer a Trump supportor). Trump has spoken in favor of racial profiling. He wants to name a white supremacist (euphemism for Neo-Nazi, a group who feels any race but white should be segregated) as his chief advisor. He wants to name a guy as
          Attorney General who was rejected for a position under Reagan because he made racial charged statements. Racism is pretty much front and center under Trump. It has been pretty much his calling card this whole election.

          And I don’t think you can comment for Kiernan. If you read her comment above she says she is a conservative but not a Trump supporter. Just like I can’t comment for anyone but myself.


          1. Oh, Kelly, we need middle of the road voices who can see on both sides of the fence. I think the comments that followed your thread were responding to your Person Who Voted For Trump (and I must admit, I made a comment about your Person, too, before I decided I just didn’t want to get into it, since you can’t be expected to defend your Person, just report what you heard).

            Personally, I think some people voted for Trump on gun issues and abortion, and the abortion issue is particularly sticky. (As for guns, I don’t see why they can’t be regulated as much as, say, cars and drivers — which must be licensed, take tests, get renewed, pay for the system through fees, etc. And are registered in a federal registry, IIRC. I thought in the debate, Clinton made it clear that she wasn’t against gun ownership, per se. Trump has been very unclear about his gun regulation policy. I can’t see how he can regulate guns for potential terrorists without regulating guns for everyone, so I think Clinton and Trump are on the spot in the middle, there.)

            As for abortion . . . when Trump talked about abortion in the debates, it seemed as though he was against the C-section (which may have saved the life of my first-born) with all his talk about “ripping the baby out”. I suspect that despite being a father several times, he has no real clue about pregnancy, childbirth or the medical conditions that attend the process. I don’t want that guy appointing other clueless guys to the Supreme Court.

            I know you didn’t say anything about gun rights or abortion, Kelly, but when you write in veiled terms, you leave it up to your readers’ imagination to guess what you are getting at. At any rate, I have tried to post (and wound up erasing) some of my thoughts on these issues on other comment threads. If you weren’t talking about these issues, please just imagine that I thought it was a convenient place to go off on a tangent.

            I’m pretty sure this comment is going to be misinterpreted, skimmed over, dismissed and whatnot by a lot of readers and lurkers, too, but it’s just part of the club of people who comment. I hope you will keep commenting when you want to comment, Kelly. If not, I’ve erased enough comments that I can sympathize with that stance, too.


        2. Before I can respond, my question is: does saying Mexicans are rapists and Muslims are terrorists NOT make him a racist?


        3. Actually, I’m sorry, I’m going to respond. I know that everyone that voted for Trump isn’t a racist, or a misogynist. What I can’t get past is that they decided their one issue is “important enough” to vote in a racist, xenophobic misogynist. So even if they themselves are not, THEY ARE OK WITH IT.


        4. I know. It’s why I almost didn’t answer.
          But not answering isn’t a help either.
          I’ve been in conversations with Trump voters. I’ve heard the same answers. And when I say, “You didn’t think it was racist when he called all Mexican rapists? When he said that an American judge would be biased because his parents were Mexican?” they tell me he was just exaggerating or he didn’t mean it or any one of a number of things to excuse themselves for voting for a blatant racist who promised to persecute people because of their religion while making it clear that women were a sum of their parts, which power gave him the right to grab.
          As far as the “illegal immigrants” go, we’ve been deporting illegal immigrants all along. And the “illegals” we don’t deport are pretty necessary to our economy: one Southern state cracked down on immigrants and their crops rotted in the fields because no “legals” wanted to do that backbreaking work. There’s a reason the notoriously conservative Chamber of Commerce is against deportation (http://fortune.com/2016/11/09/trump-economy-taxes-immigration/). And among those “illegals” are the DREAM kids, who came to this country as infants and little kids, who have grown up here, never knowing another home. Yeah, if she wants to deport them, she’s a racist.
          The one good thing I will say about Trump is that he never pretended to be anything but what he was. He never sugar-coated it. If they voted for him, they voted for a racist. The fact that Trump voters define racism by their own biases doesn’t refute that.


          1. I know. I feel awful for arguing with you.
            But I feel as though not arguing is letting it slide. It’s so easy to let the awful become the normal that I feel as though I have to keep saying, “This is not normal, this is not American, this is not right.”
            Good news: Mostly craft stuff from now on with possible dog and food posts interspersed.

            One last political thing: Hillary now is ahead in the popular vote by 1.6 MILLION votes. Fuck the electoral college.


  32. I have to say something now

    This election directly affects me in many ways and I am questioning my relationship with the Trump supporters in my life because they really are not seeing how their decisions can change my life in a negative way profoundly. A life I already deal with discrimination and judgement.

    I am a woman, grew up very poor I’m white but first 3 houses I lived in had no foundations, you could see the outside through cracks in the walls due to floor settling poorly and critters in the shower with you. One sister and I defied the odds of family patterns of addiction and abuse and are the first to go to college, on scholarships, grades and student loans. I am permanently disabled due to a severe car accident where a friend just made a mistake yet I still finished school. I work when I can but have been held back many things like a full time job because if I worked full time I would lose the benefits I receive which is bolstered by the Obama Care, I still have to fight getting wheelchair that fits now…what happens when that goes away? My boyfriend is 1/2 Mexican and has been called some lovely names at times and his family has been in California for 3 generations. He works full time and isn’t even phased by my disability. Majority of my neighbors are Mexican and when they are not doing their days jobs they are working early mornings and weekends at local farms. In fact, one entire Mexican family came over on Thanksgiving and cleaned my front yard and driveway because they knew I’ve been sick on bed rest and we had a huge storm coming…..none of my trump supporting friends came close to offering any help or support during this time. And dont get me started on illegal immigration, we are all immigrants unless you are Native American. My family came over to California from Illinois and from Germany, Ireland, and up from mexico 200 years ago. So again unless you are Native you are a hypocrite on being a child of immigrants. And not to mention, one of my best friends whom is a strong male Muslim from Palestine, he is why I am still alive and has done far more for me and my loved ones than any trump supporter.

    I am ranting, but take everything that man says and shows and supports and the message is…I am not a person, I am an object, these key people in my life are not worth anything they are not people and he can grab me and any woman and get away with it……..how is that okay?

    I love this group because it diverse and creative and funny and Jenny creates an environment we can critique or be criticized in a healthy way. But again if you say oh well Trump give him a chance…..you are saying on all those levels I am a non entity. I had to speak on how another voters vote will change more than my life . So many said more of what I’ve been feeling above.

    And I never would have thought I would say this, if the Bush family all of them are against Trump the quintessential Republican politicians ……..here is your sign. Ok ramblings done.


    1. I know. Not in the deep and personal ways you know, but I know.

      I try really, really hard to see both sides of a question. It’s important to me not to dismiss any position as wrong or stupid or evil, it’s important for me to understand why people do things.

      But I cannot see how anybody can support this man who puts the most important name in White Power in the White House as his chief strategist, who won the election by intensifying the racism that was already damaging our country and endangering so many people. This is one of the few conflicts where I cannot see the other side. I understand the Trump supporters are angry and in pain, but that doesn’t justify them electing someone who is going hurt so many other people. What’s happening here is vile and dangerous, and for once, all those comparisons to Nazis are that not far out of the question.

      I know nothing is going to come of the recounts that Jill Stein is spearheading. But there’s a small part of me that still hopes there are enough faithless electors in the EC to elect Clinton. I know it’s not going to happen, but at this point, it’s our only hope.


  33. I am considering putting this on my Facebook page where it asks to describe yourself:
    “I’m a radical, leftist, socialist, gay-and-Muslim-loving, Black-Lives-Matter Democrat…
    Also to anybody who didn’t vote or cast a protest vote because you thought Clinton and Trump were equally bad: You were wrong.”

    And then on my blog I want to say “This is a liberal blog.”

    But that would be plagiarism.


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