Half of the US is in mourning, grief-stricken, and in complete shock. This country’s leadership is changing, and not in a “great” way. We’re replacing the kind, decent, intelligent, thoughtful President Obama with a thin-skinned, bellicose, combustible, narcissistic, scandal-ridden, failed businessman and abuser of women and minorities.
I hadn’t planned to watch the Inauguration. Why rub my nose in it? Why make this national nightmare even more real? But my college-age older daughter who worked for Elizabeth Warren this summer turned on the TV, and it’s like a bad traffic accident: impossible to turn away from.
The cameras are scanning the crowds, and I say, “Let’s see how long it takes to see a black or brown face in the crowd.” Time passes; we’re still looking.
This is an election that Hillary Clinton should have won. And indeed, she did win the popular vote, with almost 3,000,000 more votes than Trump. But thanks to the Electoral College, where the vote of a person in Nebraska has three times the value as a vote of a New Englander or Californian, the Democrats have lost this election, as they lost the election when Democrat Al Gore ran against Republican George Bush in 2000. That election was decided by one Supreme Court Justice. Just think how far ahead we would be now in combating climate change if Gore had won.
There are many theories about why Hillary didn’t win.
Putin and his Russian hackers are certainly the most culpable. They hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta, the Chairman of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign, and provided them to Wikileaks, which did as it name suggested: leaked them.
If the Russians, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks, had done this also to the Republicans, then all would be fair in war and politics. But they didn’t: they targeted only Hillary.
But then Trump had never pissed off Putin, as Hillary had done when she was Secretary of State and warned us never to trust this former KGB agent. Trump, on the other hand, said on July 31, 2015, “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.”
The Director of the FBI, James Comey, is also culpable. He not only opened an investigation into Hillary’s emails, which he closed down with a determination of no criminality, and then, in a completely incomprehensible and unprecedented action eleven days before the Election, opened it up again. Although he closed down this second investigation before the Election, the harm had been done.
Lies spewed by Trump, his organization, and the Alt-Right, which includes members of the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan, harmed Hillary Clinton. Even the totally demented rumor that Hillary ran a child sex abuse ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor was believed–as seen when a man, a father and former firefighter, drove from North Carolina to show up at the restaurant, fully armed, to free the (nonexistent) abused children.
There was also the anger of some white working class males that has been bubbling under the surface, and which exploded in a torrent of votes for Trump. They didn’t seem to realize that the shutting down of coal mines wasn’t primarily due to the Democrats, but rather to better alternative technologies and a massive drop in gas and oil prices. Nor did they understand that the closing of factories throughout America was not solely because of free trade agreements done by the Democrats, but rather due to the actions of Trump and his wealthy corporate cohorts who moved jobs overseas, throwing American factory workers out of work.
I believe that Hillary Clinton would have been an extraordinary president, in many ways as excellent as Obama, but with a greater ability to achieve bipartisan compromise and move us forward in this most perilous time in human history.
It began to rain as soon as Trump started speaking. My mother walked out of the room, my daughter and I stayed to the end. I haven’t sworn this much since the Election results came through on the evening of November 8th.
The only cheering thing is this comparison photo from by Vox, showing that the crowds at the Trump Inaugural were nothing like those at Obama’s:
Farewell, Barack and Michelle Obama! You have done America proud.
Just wait until tomorrow’s marches in Washington, New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Boston, and cities and towns across America. The other side of America will be heard.