Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Buyer's remorse

What I'm about to say has very little to do with conservative ideals.  I have no quarrel with people over their vision of how to make our country run well, whether or not they agree with me.  Honestly, I don't even like discussing politics.  I find that most political discussions come down either to topics that are so unbelievably complex that there probably isn't a solution (like how to keep the economy strong) or ones that are so self-evident that I truly don't understand how anyone can argue about them (such as whether LGBT people should have the same rights that the rest of us have).  So I'm not here to discuss the pros and cons of the conservative platform.

I am, however, speaking to conservative voters.  Because you have just elected to the most powerful office in the country a xenophobic, misogynistic, petulant toddler of a man whose response to being challenged is to throw a tantrum.  I don't at this point care whether he calls himself a conservative or calls himself a liberal, because he is an inveterate liar who will do anything and say anything to prop up his overinflated ego.  If you take a look at what he's said, it's honestly impossible to tell where he stands, because all he truly cares about is achieving and retaining power.  At the same time, his own view is that he's always right -- about everything.  "I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong," he said in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.  "I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.”

The man you have just handed the nuclear codes, the man who will appoint the next justices of the Supreme Court and thus shape policy for years, is the single least qualified candidate I've seen in my 56 years on this planet.  He knows nothing about running a country, and yet because he played into your fears and your anger you gave him your vote.  He appealed to the worst and most divisive tendencies in our country, convinced you that the best way to solve our differences is to bluster and sputter, to blame those who are different and ridicule those who disagree with you, and you found that so appealing that you were willing to put him in the White House.

This, to you, is making America great again.

By and large, you call yourselves "values voters," so you voted for a man who said about himself "nobody respects women more than I do," and yet also said, "You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass."  Who said, "You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them.  It’s like a magnet.  Just kiss.  I don’t even wait.  And when you’re a star, they let you do it.  You can do anything.  Grab them by the pussy."

Bafflingly, the same man who cannot conceive that he is wrong about anything is the man who won the lion's share of the evangelical vote, despite making statements that run so counter to the Christian ideal of sinfulness and redemption that he comes off sounding more like Pontius Pilate than he does like Jesus. "I'm not sure I have ever asked God's forgiveness," he told the Family Leadership Conference earlier this year.  "I don't bring God into that picture... When I go to church and when I drink my little wine and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of forgiveness.  I do that as often as I can because I feel cleansed."

He told you what you wanted to hear -- that America is going down the tubes, that our economy is tanking, that unemployment and crime are up -- and you believed him without bothering to check to see if any of that is true.  At the same time, he convinced you that one of the biggest actual problems we currently face -- climate change -- is a "hoax invented by the Chinese."  And once again, you bought the spin, the distortions, the outright lies.

The man who has his hands on the biggest arsenal the world has ever seen is the same man who asked in an interview three times, "Why can't I use nuclear weapons?"  Who said that Vladimir Putin was "not going to go into the Ukraine" after he already had.  Who claims he's going to stop ISIS, push back the Chinese, restore jobs to the U.S.,  and prevent terrorist attacks despite having no actual plans for how he's going to accomplish any of that.  When Fox News's Greta van Susteren pressed him for details on how he planned to combat ISIS, for example, he said he wasn't going to tell her, but it would be a "method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory."  And that, apparently, was enough for you.  What, doesn't it matter to you whether he actually understands foreign policy, all that matters is that he tells you "America is #1" and "We're gonna win?"  This is a government, not a fucking high school football game.

A dear friend of mine was in tears last night watching the results, not because the candidate she'd voted for lost, but because "this is going to result in innocent people dying.  This isn't right."  Having an explosive-tempered, erratic compulsive liar who shows every sign of being an egomaniacal sociopath in the most powerful position on Earth is profoundly terrifying.  And I would be saying that whether he was a Democrat or a Republican, whether he was liberal or conservative.  Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to lead.  He has gotten where he is by playing to our worst character traits, by enflaming our prejudices, fears, and bigotry.  It's no great surprise that he was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.  Most of his talking points come straight from their playbook.

I hold out hope that you will realize at some point what you have done, that when he actually starts to act, you'll have the same kind of buyer's remorse that the Brexit voters had when they saw the result of their vote and thought, "Holy shit, what have we done?"  The problem is that like with Brexit, by the time this happens, it will be too late.  Now all we can do is hold our breaths for the next four years and hope that whatever damage he does is reversible, that our comeuppance won't cost too many dollars, too many job, too many lives.  At the moment, however, I can't even begin to think about that.  I'm too busy being heartsick and afraid for my own country.


  1. Well said. I'm literally in tears. I'm a 40ish white male, now empowered to grab all the pussy I want without paying taxes. I should be thrilled.

    But I weep for the environment, People of Color, LGBTQ Americans, and our constitution.

    I was worried yesterday morning when I went to my polling place in rural pennsylvania, a place with 1000 Trump signs for every HRC sign and found the longest lines I'd ever seen.

    We are deplorable, and we embraced it. This was my generation's chance to stop a hitler-like figure, and we failed the test bigly.

  2. Having suffered the shock of the Brexit vote - I felt robbed and more upset than I ever have by any election result - I thought it couldn't happen again. Although I recognised that there was a chance Trump might win, I thought that it was an outside chance, not the landslide that the incomprehensible Electoral College system has handed him. I fear for the world, but I fear more for what will happen to the people of the USA, who have been duped by a loud-mouthed bully with no ideas other than hate towards anyone who isn't a wealthy WASP male.

  3. Amen, And bravo. I couldn't have said it half as well. What a stinking development for a country we love.

  4. Very well said Gordon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.