SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Polls and pundits stunned and shocked. Predictions and expectations upended! Major national newspaper editorial endorsements, all ultimately unheeded. The results of last Tuesday’s Presidential elections caused unexpected political tremors of seismic proportions across the USA. A monumental event by, for and of Americans the aftershocks of which likewise reverberated around the globe.
The now famous unpredictability, untruthfulness, hatefulness, recklessness, vanity, arrogance, volatility and vulgarity of the winning candidate, Donald J. Trump, naturally evoked near universal uncertainties in governments and markets around the globe. Unease and protest in many university campuses nationwide. The excited concern, happily, has somewhat dissipated and simmered down and is approaching guarded containment while felicitations come streaming in.
Sure, the votes are in, but the jury is still out!
I am also hurting!
Let me share my personal take-aways from this experience. As a concerned and very interested bystander, I am actually hurting. I was rooting mightily for America to elect her very first woman President. Hillary Rodham Clinton. After all, she would have been the most prepared, most experienced, ablest and best qualified President-elect. But the sentiment of the American electorate deemed it not to be so.
As she conceded the presidential race and victory to Donald J.Trump, Hillary congratulated him, saying: “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.” She also expressed her hope that “he will be a successful President for all Americans.” With a very slightly controlled voice and a meaningful smile, the world that watched her can feel that she is hurting. Hillary offered to work with him ”in behalf of our country.”
In a markedly toned-down and tamed decorum, the once boisterous Donald was evidently summoning his capacity for grace, which apparently he possesses, when he expressed an abundance of praise for Hillary during his victory speech before his partisans. Donald said that “we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her services to the our great country.”
By Friday (Manila time), The Donald, on the invitation of President Obama, will be at the White House for a briefing on the transition. With a curious note, we recall that ‘the Donald’ was the principal promoter of the long-lasting canard that Obama was not born American! And, while on the hustings campaigning for Hillary, Obama declared Donald “unfit” for the Presidency. And the two will sit down together. At its core, always--“the peaceful transfer of power” as the US Constitution mandates.
The entire scenario, a world exemplar and template, is American democracy in responsible maturity at full display.
It was painful watching a video clip of a rural American voter, with a grain silo and a tractor for backdrop, obviously a non-college educated, White, male from the farmlands in upper Midwest gloating and bragging that “at least, she did not get to the White House,” referring to Secretary Clinton.
It was obvious to this observer that the Republicans’ deviously crafted perceptions and persuasions of Hillary as “dishonest,” “untrustworthy” plus poster signs of “Jail Hillary” and “Crooked Hillary” prevailed in the consciousness of the Trumpers, Republicans and Independents. Rural America was “corralled” to vote Trump.
(My observation: Republican propaganda apparat is very consistent in crafting ‘attack’ messaging--the branding of adversaries with derogatory epithets and mean-spirited name-calling that are interminably repetitious and therefore linger in the mass mind. Wild accusations without a sliver of proof that are found to be very effective in tarnishing the adversary.)
Most especially in the minds of unquestioning White, male, non-college educated from Rural America who voted in droves for the Donald. This voting sector, incidentally, is a bailiwick of the National Rifle Association (NRA) which championed Trump in their national thrusts.
It would be interesting how a President Trump will behave and react when the next gunfire mass killing occurs somewhere, anywhere in the US. There will be several in the Trump Presidency.
AFTER THE 'PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER'
While post-mortems, political autopsies, paralyzing analyses are in progress, de rigueur after every election, we can expect partisan skirmishes to commence anew, with reversed roles. It would be of great interest to witness how Trump and his Republican satraps can repeal, delegislate, or replace The Affordable Care Act (ACA -Obamacare), as they have vowed to do. In fact, they did attempt to bring Obamacare down in no less than 50 attempts. Trump rhetoric has consistently labeled it a “disaster” and he promised action on day one!
In the history of American welfare legislation, specifically Social Security and Medicare, the Republicans have always opposed these benefits with threats, even attempts, to remove them from the American way of life, these very popular and beneficial laws having been crafted by Democratic presidencies.
Now comes Obamacare. It must be remembered that Obamacare was based on a Republican template developed by a Republican think-tank and Republican Mitt Romney as Massachusetts Governor.
The benefits made available by the Affordable Care Act are now accepted realities. I have personally held to the belief that the vehemence with which the Republicans have regarded Obamacare is rooted in the fact that it is the signature accomplishment of a black man!
The Trump and that of his new cohort’s approach towards obliterating Obamacare will stand on the precipice of umasking their hypocrisy and racist prejudice!
Locally, here in the City of San Antonio, Texas, the registered electors voted for a $450-million Bond Initiative included in the ballot. The initiative passed overwhelmingly, as it was supported almost unanimously by the School Board prior to being put to a District-wide votation.
The Bond is intended to benefit the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). The allocation is to pay down the debt used to finance construction and renovation of school buildings within the SAISD jurisdiction. This fiscal initiative is backed by a separate initiative calling for an increase in what is referred to as Tax Ratification.
I am taking the opportunity to cite this as an example in Civics education in the barangay level of Philippine politics. It is a fiscal practice that, adapted in the Philippines, could lend itself towards an enhanced local government devolution, without resorting to federalization which entails constitutional change, a current flavor the Duterte administration is salivating for.
Nationally, marijuana--mentioned in last week’s reportage--was a winner. There are now 7 states that have legalized recreational use of “weed” while there are 28 states that approve of medical use. California, Massachusetts and Nevada have joined legalized recreational use. Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical use.
To giddy Trumpers, savoring victory, here is a piece of fraternal advise. Please do not gloat. Humility is virtue while arrogance and misplaced pride can be sinful.
For us who are still licking our bruises, let us be philosophical. Relax! The Trump presidency is not the end of the world! Soon, there will be fun and enjoyment. Political and editorial cartoonists are looking forward to bumper caricatures.
In vibrant democracies, there is always the element of voters’ remorse. Trumpers are not exempt! Who knows, in some pockets of these United States, remorse will find fertility and even begin to sprout before ‘the Donald’ takes his oath as 45!
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.