The New York Times has always fancied itself as "the paper of record." It wants to be seen as having been correct not only on the day after an event, but 50 years down the road. Well, I know that we're a couple of weeks on and much of the dust (more like Strontium-laced fallout) has settled, but I have a few things to say. Three centuries from now, when nerds at the Star Fleet Academy are studying the election of 2016, I want them to know that Tom from Tucson had it right.
A few points:
• Donald Trump may not be a bigot, but he damn sure plays one on TV.
• I will admit that the first thought that popped in my head when I realized that Donald Trump was going to be President of the United States was, "Well, I guess America is even more racist and sexist than I thought."
That was a knee-jerk reaction and a rather silly one. The fact is that America is EXACTLY as racist and sexist as I thought. The problem was that most of them came out to vote.
• I agree wholeheartedly with Charlie Murphy, who said, "Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all racists are Trump supporters."
I really have no idea how many people voted for Trump out of bigotry. But, in an election in which Trump won Florida by one percent, where he is (at press time) ahead in Wisconsin by three-tenths of one percent, and so on, it simply cannot be dismissed as being one of several factors that led to the outcome. I'll admit that I have taken sardonic pleasure in watching some of my Republican friends twist themselves into pretzels trying to defend the ridiculous claims that bigotry had nothing to do with the election or that Donald Trump isn't a misogynist.
Remember back in A.P. English where you had to debate? Which stance would you have preferred taking: That bigotry had absolutely nothing to do with the election or that it had something to do with it ("some" being defined as anything between none and all)? Yeah, that's what I thought.
• For several girls on my basketball team, this is the second time in their short lives that the person who got the most votes didn't become President. If you're conducting an experiment and it fails 40 percent of the time, there's something seriously wrong. (Unless you're working on a renewable government grant, in which case, you say that the results are "promising.")
• Several well-meaning Catholic friends and acquaintances sent me things telling me how I—as a Catholic—should vote. Yeah well, don't ever do that again. Let me make this clear: My religion tells me how I should worship, not how I should vote. I believe it was that Jesus guy who said that people should "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."
• For decades, the Sean Hannitys of the world have sneered at people who express their feelings. And yet the shocking Brexit vote and the even-more-shocking Trump victory can both be traced to our having plunged into a post-truth world. This year's International Word of the Year as determined by the Oxford Dictionaries, post-truth, is defined as "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."
Unemployment is half what it was when Barack Obama first took office. The stock market is up 150 percent. Gas is under $2 a gallon, more Mexican citizens are leaving the U.S. than are entering it illegally, the housing market is coming back, and wages are rising. And yet a whole lot of old white people think we're heading in the wrong direction. Idiots.
• Another nice touch of irony: Trump supporters waving Confederate flags and shouting, "You lost! Get over it!"
• However, let me add that Donald Trump won, fair and square. I was an athlete for a few decades and I've been a coach for a few more. I have always prided myself on being a good sport, gracious in victory and not being one to look for excuses when I lose.
Like most math nerds, I do take some solace in the numbers. Hillary Clinton's final margin in the popular vote will probably be in the neighborhood of two million. Donald Trump received nearly two million fewer votes than did George W. Bush, despite the fact that there are 11 million more eligible voters today. Heck, Trump received a half-million fewer votes than did Mitt Romney in 2012.
That just shows me how lousy a candidate we Democrats had. Lousy usually beats horrendous. This time it didn't.
My friendly nemesis Vince has pointed out that Trump is not yet President and suggested that I wait until he has actually done something before I criticize him. That's good advice. There's always a chance that Trump will grow into the office. There's also a chance that I'll wake up tomorrow and have a full head of my curly black hair back. I'm not counting on either one happening.
But what the heck. I lived through Nixon, Carter and Reagan. I need to get myself in better shape so that someday I can say that I also lived through Trump.