Thursday, November 10, 2016
I believe it was Frank Zappa who once described Americans as being “socially retarded” and even if it wasn’t him who said that, the shocking results of the presidential election have proved someone right. Once again, my country has found a way to let me down. From our seemingly endless involvements in pointless military conflicts and the slaughter of unarmed people of color at the hands of the police on our city streets, to our anti-intellectualism when it comes to matters like climate change and evolution and our refusal to provide adequate education and health care to all of our citizens, it seems that every time we as a people take the proverbial two steps forward, we take at least a step-and-a-half backward. I feel like Charlton Heston at the end of “Planet of the Apes”, shocked that we had finally done it, though if Heston were alive, he would probably be happy with the election results.
Obviously, I’m not. I’m not one to throw Hitler comparisons at anyone whose views I disagree with, but Donald Trump is a demagogue, and potentially the closest public figure we've ever had to the Nazi dictator. I’ll leave the analysis to the paid pundits as to why Hillary Clinton lost an election that she should’ve won easily, when facing an opponent who is shockingly misogynistic, racist, xenophobic and just plain ignorant, not to mention notoriously thin-skinned (not a good trait for an aspiring and now future head of government/state). But it’s stupefying to realize that millions of Americans found Trump to be an acceptable leader. I’ve been away from the country for much of the past quarter century now, plus I’m from the west coast, so it’s hard to understand what is going through the minds of my compatriots living in the Midwest and the South. But if I had to guess, I would say they are largely white people living in overwhelmingly white suburbs and towns, who haven’t traveled much outside of the U.S. (maybe even not out of their states), and who are told by the TV news every evening that the rest of the country (not to mention the world at large) is a scary place populated by scary people who look and speak differently than they do. I can’t think of any other reason why people who are otherwise decent human beings would want someone like Donald Trump as their leader. Do they really believe a multi-millionaire property developer is going to magically restore all those lost manufacturing jobs and drive the darker-skinned people away?
So what’s going to happen to the United States of America? I don’t know. I don't think that the U.S. in January 2017 is going to go down the same path that Germany embarked on in January 1933. But at the same time, I’m certainly not proud of the American democratic process at this moment, and can only pray that our vaunted system of checks and balances will actually work so that we will have the opportunity to undo in four years’ time the damage that was inflicted starting today.
This election result hurts for many reasons, but especially because it validates the racist creeps like my cousin’s husband ("R.H.") who once referred to my Taiwanese-born spouse as a “mail-order bride” whom I purchased with my father’s money in order for her to provide me with a child. And speaking of that child, my daughter is disappointed because she was looking forward to a woman finally becoming president, especially because her other country of nationality had no problem with choosing a female leader earlier this year. But for Amber’s sake I hope there is a silver lining in all this, that namely a woman will eventually become president; that people like R.H. will die out like the dinosaurs that they are; and that people like my daughter will continue to lead the demographic assault on American society to the point that someday the country will be theirs and they will be calling the shots.
Though my paternal grandmother was Canadian, I’m not going to join the chorus of whiners clamoring about their supposed emigration. I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave the United States to the likes of R.H. The future belongs to Amber and those like her, and unlike my young distant relatives in the U.K., we will get a chance to take our country back and make America finally live up to its promise and potential.
Van Jones summed it up best on CNN: "A whitelash against a changing America"
But time only moves forward, and tonight we were able to forget about the election and see a basketball game at the Siemens Arena, courtesy of free tickets provided through Amber's school. The contest pitted local heroes BC Lietuvos rytas in a EuroCup matchup against Spain's Montakit Fuenlabrada. For at least forty minutes this evening I was able to back a winner as Rytas dominated the contest, winning 101-84:
We arrived just in time for the announcements of the starting lineups
Rytas' enthusiastic cheering section
Plenty of entertainment during timeouts
A shooting contest. The contestant on the left concentrated on making layups, while the man on the right attempted three-point shots; the latter guy ended up outscoring his opponet and winning a watch for his efforts
The action on the floor (Rytas in red)
"Are you sure you want me to take your photo like this?" "Yes"
Rytas' mascot works the stands
It was a challenge walking on the slippery ice between our car and the arena. Speaking of slippery slopes...never mind