Saturday, November 12, 2016

Stronger Together After November 8, 2016


Note: This is a compilation of many thoughts from the week of November 8, 2016. I've broken into sections so hopefully it'll be easier to read. I wasn't sure if I should write a poem or a blog. A friend told me to start writing what I feel and it'll take its intended form. You're warned. 

Pre-Election Rallies


On Saturday afternoon, we stood in line as it wrapped around the Mann Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia. We were all the way around the block and there was a long way to go. Would we even be able to enter if it reached capacity? The three girls in front of us spoke Chinese, wore fabulous boots, and took many selfies with a tiny camera on a stick. The two girls wearing scarves and sunglasses behind us gabbed nonstop in Portuguese. In front of the Chinese girls was a family of five. The mom held the place in line, while three young girls scampered around on a blanket with their tablets. The dad wore a pink t-shirt “Proud father of future Nasty Women” as he magically pulled out sandwiches from a bag and gave rides to the girls on his shoulder. At one point, the line slowed as a teacher recognized a special needs boy from her school and stopped to chat. There were same sex couples, millennials, and baby boomers. After a few hours of standing in line, we plopped down on the wet grass to watch the rally. “Love Trumps Hate” was projected on the screens. We found our people.

The evening was powerful as Cory Booker, Madeline Albright and other politicians and activists took the stage. Stronger together. Hillary came forward in white pantsuit to remind us of her message. How important this election was. On cue, Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Girls” was played and Katy Perry came out. Her song, “Roar” gave us chills. The crowd was jumping and excited when she sang “God Bless America” and “Firework” in her sequined spangled dress.

“Meet us on Monday at Independence Hall” they reminded us. Barack, Michelle, Bill and Chelsea would be there. They are bringing Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. I wasn’t ready for the lines again, but a friend and her daughter were going. Someone asked me “Why aren’t you going?” Of course, I should share this with my teen daughter. I skipped work early to head to the city.

Once again, the event brought the diversity forward. A street artist had people sign his posters of the candidates as part of the art. We ran into friends, and texted others we knew we wouldn’t find in the crowds. At least we were sharing this experience. They handed out USA signs and we waved them, hoping to catch a stray camera so we’d be on the projection screen. We could see the stage to recognize when a speaker was waving his or her hands. Not very clear from our spot, but all the speakers were amazing. Michelle was just flawless as always. Then President Obama was introduced. We jumped in excitement and cheered. I suddenly realized I needed to wipe away the tear on my cheek. Hillary wore her red pantsuit and definitely stood out for us. CNN showed coverage of the event and said crowds swelled to 30,000.

I have to take a moment to point out what a wonderful country this is. The fact that 30,000 people assembled peacefully in a free space for 4-5 hours without incident is a testament to our culture and country. It was all a peaceful gathering and we should be grateful for this. Friends were enthusiastic about our ventures to the rallies and lived the experience through our pictures and videos. We were so optimistic from the positive energy we saw around us.

Then November 8, 2016 happened. Half of the country was picked up and turned upside down on their heads. We were so disoriented and couldn’t understand. The news commentators mixed actuals with predictions, numbers, and estimates floated on screen. Boxes of red, blue, and white, and check marks and commentators expertly tried to give answers, which they cannot know is true.

We went to bed early this morning in shock. Maybe something. Maybe there’s a glitch. A recount perhaps. Do they still have hanging chads? We rose to hear NPR announce Trump as President elect. 

He Who Does Not Belong


Every gladiator must prove himself in the ring, before he can win the esteemed prize.
He must show the people he is worthy:
Defend himself against the attacks from tigers,
Pull his fellow gladiators from the mouths of beasts.
Show strength and compassion in face of danger.
And, then he may be bestowed the title of champion.

Yet sadly, the conqueror is a carnival barker, intoxicated by his own wealth
and distorted self perceptions. He grabs what he believes he deserves.
He spews hate and divides his followers. He plunges his hand into their hearts to pull their deepest fears and raises the bloody tissues above his head as their savior.

Did we forget our basic morals and values?

Those that preached and criticized improprieties are eerily silent now.
Allegiances to false idols run deep, as the man flaunts his indiscretions, lauds his own ignorance, and celebrates his indecencies.
Did we move from red states and blue states to just white states?
Did we move from women being seen as equals, but as body parts to be manhandled?

They say he’ll be a change agent, and I believe he will be

However, will it be good change?
Let us be wrong and our fears be futile.

We’re stronger together.

Bad Behavior

He had almost 2 years to prove himself worthy, yet he went down the spiral. What is infuriating is that people are making excuses for bad behavior. “Locker room talk” is not like that; he was not in a locker room but at work, which is even worse. Women who finally found the courage to speak against a millionaire molester were shut down once more by threats to their safety. 

If any CEO of a corporation acted like this, he would've been fired immediately. He would've resigned within seconds of a possible leak. If he showed up for a job interview unprepared, he would not have made it through the door. What kind of arrogance is this that you show up for debates totally clueless and preparing to wing it? Any high school student knows this. Bill Clinton had actually rehearsed his movements before his debates, and borrowed the same podium for rehearsals.  This tells me Trump is not serious about this role. He needs bragging rights.

Concession

Hillary’s speech was spoken with such grace and maturity. We were still drunk and ugly crying, while she came out composed like a champion. She has been through this for herself, for her husband. Her skin has been hardened into an armor of steel. We don’t deserve her.

Did a little piece of your heart break when you heard her message for young girls, reminding them dreams can come true. Why does she still have to say this? Why do we still have to remind our girls they can do anything? That ceiling is still intake.

We need to fire flares into the glass ceiling. Set them on fire and let the shattered glass fly.  

Katy Perry is still in my head. We moved from singing "I got the eye of the tiger.." to Katy Perry's "Awake":
 I'm wide awake
And now it's clear to me
That everything you see
Ain't always what it seems
I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long
I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow dow
 Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
Till I woke up on
On the concrete
Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
I'm letting go tonight
I'm falling from cloud nine

Protests

These are not riots. These are peaceful marches and people are making their voices heard. Let everyone come out in numbers so the government will acknowledge the diversity of opinions and viewpoints. I'm grateful to family members who are out there and friends who send their daughters. Do you blame someone for being concerned for women’s rights and issues when the man has a history of disrespecting women?

In a way, I’m grateful for these protests. If Trump had lost, he would’ve been on TV turning red, shouting the election is rigged, get the “second amendment people” together and he would be asking Russia for assistance. Those would be riots in the street with guns and firebombs. That has been my fear for so long. If the leader is angry, the supporters will follow.

 

Trump Supporters

My heart truly goes to his supporters who have pinned their hopes and dreams on him, especially in those desolate Pennsylvania steel mill towns and struggling coal country of West Virginia. This makes me angry because Trump is taking advantage of their pain. He has no logical plan and will say whatever pops into his head at the moment. He promises return to coal with one hand and clean energy with the other hand.

His supporters felt insulted by Hillary when she called them “Deplorables”. Here is the full quote and I hope this is read. It seems only the first paragraph was circulated.

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America."
"But the other basket -- and I know this because I see friends from all over America here -- I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas -- as well as, you know, New York and California -- but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change. It doesn't really even matter where it comes from. They don't buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."

People, she did not say all Trump supporters were deplorables, only half. Therefore, if you felt the shoe fit, wear it. Apparently many did. However, there is the other half desperately looking for a change. A thirsty person will drink from a poisoned well. 

Again, I hope he does deliver and is able to assist those people who need to feel the government is supporting them and helping thrive in an independent economy.
 


The Winner Takes It All

Trump has a notion that there is room for only one winner. He divided his party because he wanted to win regardless of how many bodies he had to stomp over. He collected poll numbers like dollars in the bank.

It’s unfortunate because the US needs to work with the global community. People have said, “Oh he’ll surround himself with good people who know what to do.” Actually, that’s what I was hoping Obama would do because he did not have a lot of experience going into this role. He did tap the smartest individuals to be his advisors from different sectors. I don’t have that confidence with Trump. He believes he is above everyone and all the experts are full of it. Seriously, the man can’t even follow a teleprompter or listen to his campaign managers not to curse during a speech.


Anti-Intellectualism

Earlier this week I had a client meeting in which we made recommendations for the work. Our team has years of significant experience in this area and feels confident in making these suggestions. We have everyone’s best interests in mind for efficiency, time and costs.

However, our client has a perception of how it needs to be done. Without experience and understanding of the process, they insist on having it their way, rather than acknowledging what can and can’t be done. They believe we’re trying to short change them. Tantrums ensue. Threats to bring in legal support to call for breach of contracts.

This situation actually reminds me of the country. Why is it bad to have an experienced person in a role? Why would someone automatically assume we have ulterior motives? 

“Trump is an outsider. He’s a businessman” Fine. We can accept that an outsider from the private sector could be an interesting mix. Carly Fiorina tried. If they wanted a businessperson, pull in Jeff Bezos from Amazon or Elon Musk from Tesla or even Mark Zuckerberg. Bring in a visionary who has a record of success and lifting others.

Instead, there’s Donald Trump, who plowed through the poor neighborhoods of Atlantic City to build casinos, and then failed. The man has lawsuits against him, has filed for bankruptcy and not shown his taxes because he thrived on loopholes. Brilliant. Even the money he supposedly could have been doubled had he invested wisely. 

Anyway, every newspaper in the country endorsed Hillary. Major artists, intellectuals, and thought leaders endorsed Hillary. Again, what do they know? Freaking liberal elite.

Someone will have to explain to me why intellectualism is bad. Explain to me why experience is bad. If you need your car fixed, would you take it to a plumber? I mean, it has a tail pipe, right? Totally the same thing.
With this trend, America needs to sit its fat ass down and face reality when Europe and Asia exceed US. No crying then. Under Obama, high school rates are on an incline. 

Not My President

When George H. W. Bush won in 1988, we were sad our efforts to support Dukakis just dissolved. When George W. Bush won his "fake" election in 2000, we accepted it. Even though I didn't agree with him, he was our leader and representative to the world. When Obama became President, we were shocked to see the extreme right supporters denounce him at every turn. I remember Sarah Palin was bitching that Michelle Obama was telling everyone to eat healthy and government was too involved in everyone's lives. Ok sure.


During the debates, Trump spews out "your President" to Hillary. That was a jaw dropping moment. If Trump is an American, Obama is everyone’s president. The way that he’s disrespected Obama for the past 8 years should be liable for treason. The birther controversy makes Obama “an other” and throw in the implications he may be a Muslim and a radical Islamist terrorist supporter. Anyone remember how graciously John McCain stopped a woman from calling Obama an Arab terrorist during a townhall?Trump made this personal.

For 8 years I’ve been seeing the Fox News and comments on different online articles (I know, I know, don’t read the Comments.). Obama is blamed for everything and if he says the sky is blue, he’s just out there to be un-American. The type of stories out there were so one-sided it should’ve been illegal journalistically speaking. Obama said if he watched Fox News, he wouldn’t vote for himself either. So, the extreme right showed us this was an option to denounce the President as their own.

Mitch McConnell has already said that Hillary's administration would face obstructions as well. So, technically, the egos of these men would be much more stronger than the 240 year old history of this country and fundamental principles of checks and balances.
  
So I'm standing by "Not My President." It shocks me now that Trump is President Elect, the same people that abused Obama are calling for all of us to come together to support Trump. He needs to earn respect first. He needs to give respect first to others. In this country, we don’t give you respect automatically. He and Melania had more than a year to show themselves worthy of this role, and they didn't. They instead took the low road. I know "when they go low, we go high", but he's still not my president.

I also blogged last February about this election "Unraveling the Drama of 2016". Wasn't it a much simpler time? 

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