I read your response - measured, reasoned, intelligent - and was about to give mea culpa of sorts, and then you finished by reinforcing my exact point. I'm a licensed attorney who has worked as such for decades. I've done my community service, in terms of things like pro bono work and jury duty, and I hold the constitution and the ideals of our form of republican representative democracy as dear as any ideal I can name... and I absolutely display ambivalence towards this candidate. For two reasons: one, the ideals are embodied in the PROCESS, and despite Trump's clear carelessness with words (a particular bugaboo of mine; WORDS MATTER), the fact remains that it's just not POSSIBLE (in the literal sense of the word) to do half the things that people are "TERRIFIED" about. Two, I have faith and respect for the integrity of people like John Lewis and (to an extent) Bernie Sanders, to keep things honest in a way that isn't adding to the problem. Three, I recognize that what you call "ambivalence" isn't really that, it's more a re-framing of priorities, which happens cyclically throughout our time as a country. I think you put too much faith in the system to mitigate and self-correct. The system is evolving, for better or for worse, particularly on a sociopolitical level, and in many ways it's doing so in a way to expedite change. I believe you share my opinion that Trump is incapable of understanding the importance of the process based way of thinking that you and I have such reverence for. Lacking my overly cynical nature towards democratic governance, you think that congress, the courts, and accepted procedure will negate, or at least mitigate that major flaw. I sincerely hope you're right, but I honestly think we're in a different paradigm now. We've got an increasing amount of the voting electorate who disregard the path in favor of the arrival. We've got representatives who care more about the letter following their name than the best way of doing something. We have courts that are increasingly partisan by nature, hand crafted to render supportive rulings. We have an executive that thinks the best way of moving forward is to blow up the institutions that impede. Twenty-five years ago it would have been pretty easy to weather out a Trump, or a Nixon, or a Carter if that's your bag. Now, not so much, I'm afraid.
We go in waves. The pendulum swings, and it eventually goes too far, as Bush Sr. did in his term, pushing the "Reaganomics" approach past it's shelf-life and into a context where it needed more. As Clinton did in his last two years, exemplifying the lawlessness and - as you put it - lack of respect for the ideals of democracy. As Bush did in his last couple years, not closing the deal on his promises, primarily in Iraq, and in not defusing some of the feelings of alienation that his approach to social issues bred. As Obama CLEARLY did in his last four years (especially) by playing games with the economy rather than actually working on it, and focusing more on tangential (to many) social issues that didn't impact the country while letting more serious concerns that DID touch the country - terrorism, cyber security, his own brand of lawlessness and contempt for democracy and freedom - run rampant. Now we have Trump.
I don't know if it will be four years or eight (I hope eight) or even twelve (if a Republican wins in 2024), but we will fill the coffers; we will recharge our economic batteries, and while we won't come anywhere near the FEARS (the "TERROR!") of the naysayers, and we won't SLIDE on social rights, we probably won't see any major historic social leaps either. And then the pendulum will swing. We'll take a hit economically, and we'll achieve our goals socially and the cycle will repeat.
Consider this: I view the sole role of the congressional confirmation process to weed out the woefully unqualified. Party or beliefs have no bearing, in my opinion. Trump was elected and he gets to pick the people he thinks will do what he wants them to do; his prerogative. Congress only ensures that he's qualified, or not unqualified for the job. Based on what we've seen thus far there do appear to be one or two of his nominations that are woefully unqualified. Do you have any confidence that this 115th congress will block their confirmation? Seems to be that's a pretty telling test for your faith in the system.
I agree with all of what you wrote. Not just to be nice, but in sincerity. But I think that bolsters my point (and it makes my side bar conversation with Implode relevant).
The same swiftness of change that makes us think we can tell others what to think about race and sexual orientation is the SAME swiftness that will get us Muslims in an internment camp. And vice versa. I DON'T think Trump shows the proper reverence to the process, and perhaps I take it too far (if the American people were to vote tomorrow - through the electoral college, since that's the process, NOT a majority - to be a sovereignty, and that Taylor Swift should be our Queen, I would, in theory support that unequivocally. We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not the "non-racist" people. Not the "Democrat" people. Not the "Republican" people. Not the "white people". ALL the people.
I think it's very telling - and I'm going to step on toes here, I think - that some of the people that are screaming the loudest about Trump and the end of the republic, are the very ones that are more than willing to subvert the process - through social bullying, through activist judges, through any means necessary - to get what THEY think is right in place. That's where the crux of my argument lies. Not in "democrat" or "republican". Those are old paradigms, and will likely be gone in 50 years (as the parties of Washington's, and even Lincoln's time, are now gone). But the ideas will remain, as will the skeleton of the structure of our democracy.
We are MEANT to move slow. We are MEANT to have a degree of gridlock, to avoid ANY idea from gaining too much traction too soon. We're talking about "bathrooms" today, and I think it's a bit fucked up that we're making that our Waterloo, when 240 years ago, we were debating whether it should be okay to have fellow human beings in chains. Yeah, that's an anathema in this age of Twitter, and when we think OUR pet idea is the best one ever, but we've forgotten that the structure is bigger than any one person, and by extension, their specific idea. These things are content neutral. There is no "freedom of speech of non-racist ideas" or "freedom of speech for ideas the majority thinks are pleasant". It should be noted here that there are perhaps more RESTRICTIONS on speech than there is allowed speech, but almost every one of them is CONTENT NEUTRAL. Meaning, they are independent of WHAT the message is, and are centered on the time, place and manner of that speech. The famed "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater is a restriction of TIME, PLACE, and MANNER. Even "obscenity" is tied to community standards, so is less about WHAT is depicted, and rather WHERE and HOW it is depicted.
I feel that same way about the notion of "hate". Of course it is not something to be encouraged, or promoted. But when it occurs, it should be dealt with like any other idea, combated with ideas, not suppressed arbitrarily, based on some moving standard of what "offends". it's not some magical thing that trumps our laws, our beliefs, our systems. (And by the way, I say the same thing to Trump, Pence, et al. This is not a declaration that any one of YOUR ideas are automatically right. You have the same requirement of measure and caution and deliberateness.)