Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Elephants in the room

Trump Laconia rally By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Trump Laconia rally (Michael Vadon)
It should not surprise anyone that I disagree, strongly, with the decision of the minority of American voters who put Donald Trump in the president's office. Since then, a great many people have had a great many things to say, many of them good, some a matter of wishful thinking, and too many downright appalling.

Enough people have written enough on the subject of the elevation of Donald Trump to the presidency that little or nothing has actually gone unsaid, but certain aspects of this election have got relatively little attention. With that in mind, I present two things I have kept in mind:

  1. Donald Trump's personal limits have not changed. I have read a great deal about the crew he brought into the White House, his possible policies, and the "message" his election sends. Whatever the importance of such matters, it makes sense to keep paying attention to one central point: Donald Trump himself, the limits of his education and experience, his impulse control issues, his use of crude language, his instinct to dominate, his tolerance of violence,his refusal to disclose his finances: that Donald Trump has not changed from last Monday evening until today. 
  2. Hillary Clinton's loss represents, to some degree, the triumph of slander. Just before the US election, the Globe and Mail published a story on Hillary, and a comment dropped on the story included nothing but a long long list of allegations against Hillary. Prosecutors, many passionately opposed to the Clintons, had investigated many of these claims in meticulous detail and found no actionable evidence whatever. And yet the same claims came out, brazenly asserted, again and again. And far too few people found a way to come out clearly and say these claims have no truth to them, and that at certain levels of dishonesty in a statement indicate something, something not good, about the characters of both those who assert them and those who uncritically accept them. This campaign has the consequences of not insisting on truth. If the public fails to insist on truth, a mass of lies large enough can produce an impression independent of the truth of any statement. No matter how untrue any given statement, the mass of lies can leave a stain on the victim. 

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