Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Silver Linings on 2016 November 8


Silver linings:
  • The half of the country that feels despondent is largely based in factual reality, thoughtful, and lightly armed compared to the half that voted our next president in. Of the likeliest outcomes of this election, this may have been the outcome with the least immediate physical violence; over the next presidency, the methods of dissent and protest will hopefully be constructive while in the other likely scenario, the methods of dissent and protest would almost certainly have been destructive.
  • The structure of the economy is inadequate for the information age and has been trying to bottom out for at least most of my life. We may have just ripped off the Band-Aids we had on the economy and sped the process along. The bottoming out will be painful but possibly also necessary.
  • Relatedly, Obamacare was never a cure to the healthcare industry; Obamacare was a catalyst to alter the structure of the system in such a way as to prevent a return to the dreadful state American healthcare was in immediately prior to Obamacare. Like the bottoming out of the economy, the bottoming out of our healthcare system my be a necessary and painful experience. We may have sped this process along with this election as well.
  • Also relatedly, the news media and political machines proved themselves to be more responsive to the market economy than to the information economy. This election could be a belated wake-up call to two of the most important and influential institutions in American democracy: we, all of us, need reliable and trustworthy information even more than you need money.*
    *This one gets an asterisk because we've missed a lot of wake-up calls generally in my adult life; plenty occurred about this election before yesterday. Over the past several hours, I have seen a lot of coverage saying no one saw this coming, but I know at least Matt Taibbi, Amy Goodman, Bill Maher, Michael Moore, and Ann Coulter predicted last night's outcome.
  • The next presidency could be a series of learning moments for supporters and dissidents alike.
  • The internet giants have hopefully also learned from this election season. A fractious information environment with no weight attached to verifiable truth is good for the finances of advertising platforms and sales of marketable products but bad for everything else in the world. The lesson is roughly the same as the lesson that news media and political parties need to learn. I hope Google and Facebook et al. can figure out a more civically responsible business plan relatively quicker than our traditional institutions have been (un)able to.
  • While our next president's campaign promises are horrifying, he has, over the course of the campaign, verifiably lied at least 3 times as often as he has told the truth; perhaps his promises are as untrue as the rest of his statements.
  • The window of applicability has not passed on a fiction horror project with demagogic villains that I have had on the back-burner for a decade. I would rather the alternative be true, but if I ever finish the project, the messages might be usefully resonant.
Dark clouds on which I can't find a silver lining:
  • The surmountability of the fight against climate change seems to have reversed course.
  • People have been routinely categorized and dehumanized over the past year-and-a-half more publicly and extremely than I have previously seen in my lifetime.
  • The threats of violence, large-scale and small-, are ever-present in America and have likely increased throughout the campaign season with few (if any) signs of reducing.
  • The various hate groups in the United States have coalesced and elected a president through synergy with die-hard straight-ticket Republican voters.
  • A lot of Republican voters were duped by a non-Republican candidate running on the Republican ticket in a year in which a pair of two-term Republican governors ran on the libertarian ticket.
Good luck to us all.