149 Cradle to Trump

December 8, 2016 § 4 Comments

         I am closer to my young brother’s birthdate than

anyone else alive, but recently I found it hard to feel close

to him at all.

   On Election Day morning, I called him(Kirkpatrick, Kirk), and asked him to give me his picks for the swing states. By sunset EST it was clear he had gotten them all  and I had gotten only the forlorn blue ones.

       On Memorial Day, 2009 Kirk and his mate Shirley announced they were planning to move to Charleston, SC, where two of Shirley’s sons lived. Two additional reasons:  In the North, all winter, for over a mile, the unpaved road leading to their house above the Hudson was mostly unplowed and impassable. In the dry months the house is also occupied by Kirk’s daughters and granddaughters. So they  moved.

       Through the years and many books, secession and the breaking down of largescale power had been Kirk’s major subject.  It took only a brief time in the south before President Lincoln had become the subject of a book.  I’d had a roommate in college who was fond of “The Union, next to our Liberty most dear.”  Who, then, started the Secession? And who but Lincoln needed it most? Was it not clear  that the Emancipation Proclamation was needed to find freed slaves to fight on the Union side? Kirk had become a southerner.

         Move forward to the past winter.   Giving me my major information was the man who had been cleaning house for us for over fifteen years and  he was full of Bernie Sanders. I could see that Sanders was entirely admirable, and he could not win the nomination. The Republicans were being led by a lying clown ahead  of fools like Bush, Rubio, and Cruz, who could not beat Hilary Clinton.

         In the 64 years since I first voted in a presidential election I knew why I voted for the Democrat, and  I paid little attention to why Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and Dwa Bush had won, and the Supreme Court had won the latter’s first time around. So last November I paid little attention except to those whose polls showed Clinton had had only to carry, say, Florida, and one other swing state.  I simply could not take in Kirk’s swing state picks, and of course I was far from alone in being stunned.

     Tell me, Kirk, could you really have voted for Donald Trump?  He wouldn’t say he had done so, but he made it clear he couldn’t vote for Hilary Clinton.  Since I first realized I couldn’t vote for anyone else, including the admirable Sanders, I now had to admit there was something wrong in my political education, and perhaps had been from the beginning.



















§ 4 Responses to 149 Cradle to Trump


    Don’t be distressed, Roger. You are not alone.

    In spite of all that stuff, I hope you’re keeping well. I’m in OZ (again), dragging a little but pretty well withal.

    My best,

    keith H.


  • John Webster says:

    Interesting post! I’ll see you in two weeks.


  • sdenney2000 says:

    I worried when Trump got the nomination. Mainly I was worried that without a blowout win for Clinton the U.S. might never recover from choosing someone like him .In the months prior to the election my horror increased along with my disbelief every time he opened his mouth or thoughtlessly tweeted in the middle of the night.
    I gave my support to H,Clinton.I had never gotten over my disappointment in Bill Clinton for squandering the good things he could have achieved in the waning years of his presidency. But that was his doing, not Hillary’s. I was uneasy, as were many Americans, with her lack of forthrightness re. matters for which she was frequently criticized, – but I read Carl Berstein’s bio of her and felt that I understood – and that her errors were not motivated by hunger for money or for power which I believed to be the main source of Trump’s motivation. I couldn’t think of another person better prepared than she to lead our country. I liked Bernie Sanders, but knew he couldn’t win the office.
    The results of the election were stunning to me and deeply, deeply depressing. They still are. I find myself avoiding reading the papers and news magazines. I avoid the t.v. news also.
    I’ve tried to understand what happened. I’ve gone through three theories that explain how Trump won.The latest is this: We’ve gone through an extreme p.c. period, at times resulting in ridiculous behaviors. I described this new awareness to myself as a moral evolution and was proud to live in an era that accepted and respected minorities – people of color, women, the lgbt community, economic variation, immigrants, climate change, etc. – the only thing missing, I thought,was the elimination of speciism, but I was confident that that would come too and take its place on the spectrum.
    Now I think I misread things entirely. The haters must have always been there, perhaps having been bullied into silence by those of us who see things differently. The election of D. Trump has given them the courage to hate openly and to openly scapegoat the minorities for whatever is missing in their lives. I’ll probably go through dozens more theories before I’m satisfied I understand what happened this election. No matter what the explanation, I dread what lies ahead.

  • Yes, yes. And yes. I find helpful a couple of articles in the New Yorker: a pre-election one by George Packer in the Oct. 31 issue, and a post-election one by David Remmick in the Nov. 28 issue. Remmick quotes Obama talking to his staff on Wednesday morning, saying, among other things, “I think nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world.” I often say something I consider even more hopeful: Even the end of the world is not the end of the world. But this is bad. Remmick also quotes Richard Rorty calling it on the money before he died–in 2007.

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