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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cafe

You might have thought she was made of stone
Unshakable

If not for her fair skin, and her blushing cheeks
                                                                        Sublime

The wave in her tresses, the ocean in her eyes
Arrogant

She stood behind the counter, as still as a statue
Affect

Statuesque, silent, poised, determined to disallow
                                                                        Wrathful

She moves, and her gestures scrape me like a rake
Being

She takes my money, and pours my coffee

                                                                                                New York City

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Matthew 24:37 - 44 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.27


The Son of Man

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

  ‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

The Unexpected Hour

The future history of the world has not been written.

Any suppositions about our future on earth is a guess. Some guesses are more informed than others, we can speak in terms of possibility and probability, but we cannot know anything about the days and nights to come.

There are thousands of ways in which the plans we have laid, or the hopes which we cherish can come undone; lightening will strike, a tornado will blow, a meteor will fall, a volcano explode. A person in the fullness of their life may trip, and fall, hit their head and die, leaving everything behind them without warning.

The promises we have received from God, they are not of this world. God has promised to bring an end to suffering, injustice, hunger, illness. We can believe in this promise, but those promises are not of this world. They are the promises of the next world, a world in which human beings are not subjected to the vicissitudes of the material condition, or the hungers of the flesh.

I cannot speak of that world. I have never seen it. No one living has. Our belief in a loving God, our hope in the words of the prophets, our trust in the Gospel, these allow us to believe that the better world is real. Anyone who pretends to know for certain, they are over stating their case, or lying outright.

What we have been taught is this, we can live out our present lives as if the reality of those promises were real. That is the secret of the Christian way. If we are just, and loving, and caring for one another, well then, we do not have to wait for the end of time. In those moments, God is with us. God is always with us, but in those moments we are working with God to bring about that other world. If we trust in the reality of the things we hope for, we make it easy to live our lives as if it were true. To the extent that fulfill the promise in our own lives, the presence of God is engendered among us. It is like inviting Jesus to have a seat at the table, he will have come. That is not the end, but a beginning.


1st Sunday of Advent

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Third Week of Trump

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.26.2016

I guess we will get numb to things.
A human being can get use to anything, even the idea of a President Trump. Accepting it was easy, because it is what it is. Understanding how it happened is another matter altogether.
 Understanding the reactions of the media, the newsmakers and the commentators, that is also baffling, but most of the things they are saying (or not saying) can be understood in relation to their profit motives. Those people are not public servants, no matter how much we would like them to be, or how much they pretend to be, they are self-interested, self serving reporters, producers, and CEOs of mega-corporations.
I am more baffled by the great number of people in my personal network who continue to lash out at the democratic party, and at Hillary Clinton for losing, suggesting that they lost the election because they were not ideologically pure enough as liberals, or too much in bed with bankers and big agriculture big oil, and the rest of the military industrialized complex.
It was not a lack of ideological purity that lost the election for the left, it was ideological rigor that did the democratic agenda in.
Lefties, acting like children, pretending that they are justified in vilifying Hillary Clinton, vilifying her for being a war monger, a hawk, a neo-con, these are my friends, and it saddens me to say that they live in such an insulated world that they have no idea, that half of the voting population in the United States, actually believe the things that Republicans talk about.
They believe that human beings have no influence on climate change.
They believe that the world is only 6,000 years old.
They believe that human beings walked with dinosaurs.
They believe that President Obama was out to get their guns, they do not believe that he reduced the deficit, helped grow the stock market, helped ease the unemployment rate, kept the economy rolling, saved the housing markets, saved the automotive sector. They believe he is a Muslim, born in Kenya, illegitimate. They believe it, and they were never going to vote against their standard bearer. They voted for Donald Trump. They are half of the electorate. They believe that Christianity is in danger of losing its prominence in the American way of life, and that white people are an endangered minority. They believe it, and they voted, and they were never going to be convinced of anything by Bernie Sanders, or Jill Stein or anyone.
I have many friends who know these things in the abstract, but despite that knowledge they cannot fathom how to present a coordinated political response to the problems those world views present. These friends of mine believe that the election could have been won if the candidate from the left was ideologically pure, and not a centrist like Hillary Clinton, who, in their own speech, they make out to be a right wing extremist.
These friends of mine are already busy sewing the seeds of dissent and disunity among their progressive peers, instead of examining how we can work together to dig our way out of this mess.
Cognitive dissonance is not only for the right wing. Cognitive dissonance is a problem of the extremes.
If you want to see progress in this country you cannot tear the system down, the electorate would never afford you the time to rebuild it. Fear fills a vacuum, and the result we get from that is the politics of paranoia which we have.
I ask my friends, those who care about politics, and more important about public policy, I ask you to get with it. Join the democratic party, work from within, accept the outcome of policies debates when you are on the losing end, stick together and form a critical mass. That is the only way we will move the country forward, and be content if the progress we make appears slight. Do not quit.
To further this end, please stop posting vulgarities. Stop expressing rage. Start planning, stick to it, and motivate those around. Present the steadfast face, be a diplomat. Stat vetting your news sources, set aside the splashy headlines because you like how the read, or ring in your ears. Don’t give the critics on the right a reason to dismiss your point of view. They will do it anyway, but let’s not lob any softballs.
Stand up against injustice, coordinate your actions with others and present a united face, without that the country will continue to veer to the right.

Stop wading through the miasma of misinformation. Demand clarity, and offer reason in return.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Emergence: Section Seven, War; Part Forty-five, Possession, Collected Chapters



Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter One: Self
Pt. 45, Ch. 01
Everyone was taught; all good things flowed from the Empire; from Continuum. The first gift was existence, selfhood.
#Emergence

Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter Two: Home
Pt. 45, Ch. 02
The Empire controlled family life, keeping families bound to a single dwelling for generations; as a way of control.
#Emergence

Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter Three: Trade
Pt. 45, Ch. 03
The citizens lived their lives within a narrow band of possibilities. Work, and trades were hereditary, and guarded.
#Emergence

Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter Four: Control  
Pt. 45, Ch. 04
Those in positions of power required balance and poise. Control requires greater control; to force it is to lose it.
#Emergence

Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter Five: World
Pt. 45, Ch. 05
The citizen had no say in the destiny of their home-world, they saw it as theirs, and themselves as belonging to it.
#Emergence

Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter Six: Rites   
Pt. 45, Pt. 06
Conformation to the Imperium was organized through religious rite; taking precedence over every other communal bond.
#Emergence

Possession; Part Forty-five,
Chapter Seven: Access

Pt. 45, Ch. 07
People coveted access more than anything; access to authority, to those able to grant a boon or advance their cause.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Seven, War
Possession; Part Forty-five
Collected Chapters
Section 07, War
Part 45, Possession
Chapters
01 Self
02 Home
03 Trade
04 Control
05 World
06 Rites
07 Access
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving, the Via Negativa

Today is Thanksgiving. It is a secular holiday, but nevertheless, sacred for most Americans.
Many of us are writing, posting memes, outwardly expressing the things that we are thankful for. That is nice. It is conscientious, appropriate.

A heartfelt expression of gratitude is always welcome, even gratitude expressed in general for the many things we receive from those we love, by whom we are loved, that make our lives more comfortable, more challenging, and more meaningful. It is never inappropriate to thankful.

To express gratitude is to, is to make one’s self humble; it is to acknowledge our reliance on others for making us who we are.

In theology there is something known as the apophatic tradition. In this tradition it is understood that God (the creator of all that is, and all who are) that God dwells in a place beyond human understanding. God is shrouded in mystery, in the great cloud of un-knowing.

According to the apophatic tradition, no one can speak affirmatively as to what, or who God is, because God, the eternal and infinite God; God will not be circumscribed by language. There can be no positive assertions about the nature of the Divine, there is only the via negativa; the way of saying what God is not.

Following this tradition, I will forgo the giving of thanks, even though I am truly grateful for friends and compatriots, everyone in my life, for all of those who inspire me, and or endlessly patient with me. I will be selfish and tell you all what I am not thankful for.

I am not thankful that there is no peace in the world,

In Syria, from where millions of people are fleeing their homes, starving, being shelled day and night.

In Palestine, where there is apartheid, where millions of people are jailed behind walls in their homes.

In America, where we are divided by class, culture, color.

I am not thankful for white supremacy, and domestic terrorism, I am not thankful for terrorism anywhere. I am not thankful for the religious fundamentalism that drives it. I am thankful neither for the fear that spawns it, nor for the fear it generates

I am not thankful that there is hunger in our bountiful world. I am not thankful for the greed, for the sloth, and the bad public policies that foster it.

I am not thankful for willful ignorance, for anti-rational, anti-intellectual, demagoguery. I am not thankful for the cultural relativism that has promoted it, for anti-objectivism, for liars. I am not thankful for Donald Trump. I am not thankful for my fellow Americans who voted for him. I am not thankful for anyone seeking a job in his administration, seeking to legitimize him in any way.

I am not thankful for the media outlets, the reporters, the editorialists who failed to take him seriously. I am not thankful that they abdicated their responsibilities.

I am not thankful that ninety-million people did not vote.

I am not thankful that the things I have listed so far, the things that I am not thankful for did not change from last year at all.

I am not thankful that there is so much more to add.

I am not thankful that environmental crisis developing in North Dakota, the harm being done to protesters, the abrogation of Treaty Rights and the lands of a sovereign nation. I am not thankful for the militarized police response taken against Americans.

I am not thankful for the continuing water crises in Flint Michigan.

I am not thankful for the shortsightedness of liberals and progressives who cannot stand united in the face of social forces that threaten us all.

Did I say that I am not thankful for white supremacists? I did, but let me say it again…I am not thankful for them or their apologists, their soft supports or their ardent advocates. I am not thankful that they have a seat at the table in the administration of a future President Trump.

I am not thankful for them.


They suck. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ballerina

Hallway of mirrors
Bright floor glowing, dancers lift
Stretch, the bar of dreams

Wandering muses
Alight, the satire of age
The wise comedy

The ballerina
Dancing blindly in worn shoes
Floating, falling, free

The arresting smile
Cold mask of innocence
Shatters in repose

Ballerina, doll
Alive under pressure, rise
The passionate life

Resist, release, fly
Experience the wonder

The timeless movement

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 23.35 - 43 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.20

Christ the King


The Cross of the King

The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

  One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’


Justice, Goodness, and Salvation

A person cannot expect a reward in this life, for having lived a good life. One person may experience a long life, surrounded by family and friends, admired by their community, living out their days in peace, and abundance. While another person may be reviled by their community, abandoned by their friends, framed for criminal offences, and executed for crimes they did not commit.

There is no divine plan in what happens to us here in this life. God, the creator of the universe, God has made each of us free, and all of creation is free from coercion. The divine plan does not touch us in this world, it only promises to deliver us to another world when this one is done with us.

That is the way of things.

Believe in that promise. The things we enjoy, and the things we suffer here, they are temporary. We have no choice but to endure the things that come our way, or enjoy them, such as the case might be.

They are ephemeral.

A person may live their entire life outside of the bounds of good society and wisdom may still come to them at the end. Listen to the voice of wisdom when you hear it. Wisdom is wisdom regardless of the voice that speaks it. Truth is truth, and lies are lies. Attenuate yourself to the differences.

Do not make the mistake of believing that God saves one of the criminals who died next to Jesus, and condemned the other. Both men were are children of God, and beloved by the creator. A person is not saved because of their ability to recognize the divinity in Jesus, we are saved because God loves us and made us to be saved. The divine plan encompasses everyone.



34th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Christ the King

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Second Week of Trump

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.19.2016

The Second Week of Trump
There are appointments being made, and policies being rolled out. Everything I am hearing or reading about in the news seems typical of what I would expect from the same Donald Trump who ran for President on the Republican ticket.
There were not any big rallies, but they have been scheduled to return. The President Elect promises a victory tour.
We are hearing from the media that he may not plan on living in the White House, preferring the opulence of his penthouse apartment in New York City, the gilded halls, painted in gold.
He gave an interview to 60 Minutes, his children accompanied him, and sat behind him in a row. His daughter’s PR firm live Tweeted to her followers during the airing, that they could buy the clothes and jewelry Ivanka was wearing “right now” from her website.
The presidency has merged with a shop at home channel. Hurry, buy it now!
The President Elect settled his class action lawsuit for twenty-five million dollars. Putting the civil complaint to rest, and avoiding an admission of any wrongdoing. He will not have to admit to being fraud, to racketeering or anything else in this case. But there are dozens of more law suits he is embroiled in at the moment, including a case in which it is alleged that he raped a twelve-year old girl.
The President Elect is seeking ways around the laws against nepotism, laws which prevent the president from hiring members of his family to work on his staff. One of his arguments suggests that he could appointment them if they were not paid, another of his arguments suggests that the presidency is not in reality the executive branch.
It is sophistry, it is all lies.
He wants his children to whom he says he will turn over the management of his business, he wants them to have security clearances, and to sit in on meetings with the heads of state of other nations, as he did this week with the Prime Minister of Japan. Ivanka joined him, and in the official photos of the event, Trump branded water was prominently on display.
These are the least disturbing developments happening in the burgeoning Trump administration.
He has named an outspoken White Supremecist to be his principle strategic advisor. Steve Bannon of Britebart News.
He named Alabama senator Jeff Sessions to be the Attorney General, a man who once said that he didn’t have a problem with the KKK until he learned that they smoked pot.
He named retired General Mike Flynn to be his National Security Advisor, a man who has said that the Islamic Faith was merely a political ideology disguised as a religion.
It is a sad day for most Americans, as the votes keep being counted and Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote continues to grow, approaching two million.
There is a dramatic spike in the incidences of hate crimes, and intimidation against Jews, against Muslims, against African-Americans and other minorities in the days after the election.
The hypocrisy of the Trump campaign appears to be limitless. They ignore it. They claim that liberals and progressive are staging the events to make Trump look bad. They claim that the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the street in protest are merely paid actors. They are living in denial, and they would like their followers to be in denial as well.
What is for me a trivial matter, will probably get no play among the right wing Christians who supported Trump, is the fact that White Supremecist Steve Bannon said just yesterday that operating from the darkness is good, he invoked the figures of Darth Vader and even Satan as examples of the kind of power he would seek to wield from the oval office.
Did you hear that Christian conservatives?
President Elect Trump’s chief Strategist has openly invoked the name of Satan, and the powers of darkness to guide him in his advice to the President of the United States.
Are you comfortable with that?
Did you get what you paid for?

Do you still think you will? 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Emergence: Section Seven, War; Part Forty-four, Loyalties, Collected Chapters



Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter One: Genetic
Pt. 44, Ch. 01
Many things united the people, but the children of the Ancients evolved in different ways. Differences were primary.
#Emergence

Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter Two: Class
Pt. 44, Ch. 02
Everyone dreamed of advancing to the next levels. They loathed their own place, but when threatened; it united them.
#Emergence

Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter Three: Planetary
Pt. 44, Ch. 03
A million worlds in the empire; strung like gems among the stars, each a locus of identity for the ordinary citizen.
#Emergence

Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter Four: Linguistic  
Pt. 44, Ch. 04
The Imperial Schools attempted to normalize linguistics, but variation persisted. Colloquial patterns bonded people.
#Emergence

Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter Five: Desire
Pt. 44, Ch. 05
People found one another through the things they desired most; bonding with one another through their joy, and pain.
#Emergence

Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter Six: Fear   
Pt. 44, Pt. 06
Fear makes the life and behavior of a citizen more predictable than anything else. Not even death could overcome it.
#Emergence

Loyalties; Part Forty-four,
Chapter Seven: Love

Pt. 44, Ch. 07
Love is stronger than fear, or any powers. The Empire worked tirelessly to frustrate its presence among the planets.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Seven, War
Loyalties; Part Forty-four
Collected Chapters
Section 07, War
Part 44, Loyalties
Chapters
01 Genetic
02 Class
03 Planetary
04 Linguistic
05 Desire
06 Fear
07 Love
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sweet Jingo

A fire blooming in the heart of a flower
A new god rising in the absence of reason
Myth makers lulling the gullible to sleep
Circling the truth in concentric rings

A fire blooming in the heart of a flower
A new god rising in the absence of reason
Myth makers calling the gullible to arms
Digging trenches in fear, fixed and silent

Blood flowing from the heart of a flower
Morality vacated by icons of violence
The mind of a child succored by war
Yearning, relentless, thirsty for peril

Blood flowing from the heart of a flower
Morality vacated by icons of violence
The mind of a child bonded in magic
Falling in the dark, in the place of lies

Gravity reaching for the pealing petals
Drawing them down to the musty earth
Scattered, crushed under the boot of hate

            The bitter lesson awaits 

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 21.5 - 19 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.13


The Destruction of the Temple Foretold…

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

  ‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
  
‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


Beware the False Prophet

Jesus did not utter these words. They were penned by the gospel writers, years after the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, years after the war with Rome that led to its destruction, and years after they were dispelled from Roman occupied Palestine.

Jesus was not a fortuneteller, he did not predict the future. God, the creator of the universe, God has not preordained anything.

Do not be deceived.

These are the best words, the best advice for living in the gospel reading for today. Do not be deceived. Many will come and claim to be Jesus. Every generation has such pretenders.

The gospel writers were pretending to be Jesus when they put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They thought they were doing good. Most of those who pretend to be Jesus think they are doing something good, or at the least they think they are doing something necessary. The gospel writers were no different in this.

The other message is simple. Do not be afraid.

The world will continue to be a violent, and an unsafe place. We live in a hard and dangerous world. Have hope.

If you dedicate your life to challenging those in power, you must expect that they will act against you. If you should find yourself in court simply because you are working on behalf of the poor, and the marginalized. Do not worry about your defense. Your actions will speak for themselves.

Speak truth to power. The rest will sort itself out.


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Election and the Aftermath

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.12.2016

The Election and the Aftermath
Election night was horrible.
By nine o’clock I could see the conversation among the broadcasters had begun to turn. On CNN, on MSNBC they were openly doubting Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning, and acknowledging Donald Trump’s very real chances of a victory.
I wanted to be skeptical, almost everything was falling they way most of the forecasters had expected it to, the only difference between what was happening in reality, and what had been prognosticated, was the timing. The fact that the votes in places like Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin had not shown up for Hillary as the clear winner, by ten o’clock through the whole race in doubt.
My feelings went from joyful optimism, to uneasy, to guarded skepticism, to bewilderment, and finally; nausea.
I was lying on the couch, and I drifted off to sleep for a half an hour here, and a half an hour there. The news only got worse.
I had to turn the channel away from MSNBC, because I could not watch or listen to their set of television personality go into panic, to begin to make excuses, to search for anecdotal reasons for why the election was not going as planned.
I found the moderators on CNN to be a more measured group. That, in itself, was comforting.   
Throughout the night I exchanged text messages with friends, most of whom were as dismayed as me, some of whom were snarky.
I am a person who was for Hillary throughout the entire political season. My support for her never waivered. I supported in 2008 during the primaries with President Obama. I have great respect for her intelligence, her diligence, and her mastery of public policy. I supported her, not because I agreed with all of her positions. In my heart, I am much more liberal than she is. I supported Hillary because I thought she would be the best manager of the Federal Government, and because I believe that progressive change must be predicated first on sound management. This remains my conviction. I still believe it is true.
Up until the moment when Donald Trump took the stage, and announced that he had received a call from Hillary conceding the election. I had a pit of angst in my stomach that was making me feel ill.
The victories Donald Trump racked up, in all of the “swing states,” appeared to be close enough to merit a recount, and I would have supported Hillary if she had called for one. There are many hundreds of thousands of ballots all across the country that would never be counted if recounts were not triggered; overseas ballots, absentee ballots, and provisional ballots especially; there were enough to change the outcomes (theoretically).
However, Hillary conceded. Such a course of events was not going to be.
The angst I was experiencing evaporated almost immediately. I went directly too acceptance. The resolution of those feelings was not dissimilar to the feeling I get when I read the Powerball numbers and realize that I had not won the jackpot.
It is done.
Over the past few days I have been listening to so many people express their dismay, their indifference, their feeling of triumph.
The very few people in my social network who actually supported Donald Trump, those people have been quiet, I have not heard any boasting from them.
There are a larger number of people in my social network who did not support either candidate, voted third party, or did not vote at all. I have heard more from them; from them I have heard expressions of hope, the hope that with the defeat of Hillary Clinton we might be able to get a truly liberal, truly progressive third party might be able to form. That particular group of people, always blind, and uncritical, believe in the simple proposition that electoral justice will occur if people have more options, as if A = B, but that is not the case at all. No such thing could be guaranteed.
The vast majority of my friends, supported Hillary, they went out and voted for her, they were hopeful that she would win. Most of those friends were latecomers to Hillary’s camp. Most of them had supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, some had fully come over to Hillary’s side, but many were merely voting against Donald Trump.
Most of the people I know, if they voted for Hillary, they are as perplexed as me as to why a person like Donald Trump could win the election for President of the United States. Donald Trump is a man without a demonstrable sense of personal dignity; a tax dodger, an abuser of women, a fraud, a phony billionaire, a liar, a cheat, a reality TV star, a bully, a man who was so comfortable ginning up racial animosity among disparate groups of Americans, that you have to assume he is a racist and a bigot himself.
They are searching for the answer as to why this happened. To them I say, give it up; you will never know.
A smaller number are only interested in moving forward, getting past their feelings and stepping out with a determination to reassert progressive agenda in the next cycle.
I am with them.
There are many, very many of my friends who are stuck in the middle, desiring to move forward but still looking back, still trying to find the person, persons, or ideology to blame.
Hillary Clinton earned more votes, but Donald Trump won the election. Blame the electoral college.
Ninety million eligible voters did not vote at all. Blame their indifference. Though if they had voted, there is no reason to believe the result would have been any different.
Enough votes were cast for third party candidates, that if there had been no third party candidates Hillary might have won. Or, those people might not have voted at all, or their votes would have been cast in the same proportion as went for Hillary and Donald anyway.
There is no way to know the answer to these question, and such idle speculation is useless.
Some people are asserting that if Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic Primary, he would have beat Donald Trump easily. There is no way to know. There is no reason to believe that a candidate who could not win a primary, could have won in the general election. He might have done better than Donald Trump with some demographic groups. I think that is a fair assumption, but you would also have to assume that he would have done worse with others. The campaign would have been different. To suggest that it would have had a different outcome…that is vanity.
Some would like to blame the media; for not taking Donald Trump seriously, for not exposing his sex crimes, for not exposing his cheating and his fraud, for not exposing his ties to Russia. That is who I would like to blame, and yet nevertheless, his supporters heard those stories and they did not seem to care. His supporters voted in a guy who is openly supported by the Klu Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. His supporters are people that deny the science of climate change, and will tell you to your face that the planet earth in only six thousand years old. There is no amount of truth telling that can sway those voters.
Some would like to blame Hillary for her own flaws as a candidate; for the fact that she was not more adept at controlling her narrative, that she was beset by spurious investigations, that she seemed to take certain states for granted, like Wisconsin and Michigan, never campaigning there after the primaries were over. The person who bears the most responsibility for Hillary’s loss is Hillary herself. As much as I have been proud to support her, this is true, and she knows this true. Nevertheless, she is not to blame.
The factors leading up to the election of Donald Trump are myriad. It is not one single thing.
If you have ever read the tawdry soap opera that made Leo Tolstoy famous, War and Peace, you might be able to see the truth in this. The principle reflection in that novel is the awareness that complex events are governed by complex factors. It is impossible to trace all of the antecedents of those events, many powerful social forces are simply cancelled out by other powerful social forces. Even though Napoleon took credit for his victories, he was not responsible for them, and the same is true of his failures.
Most of the people I know who are playing the blame game, are really just looking for a way to serve their own vanity, for the vehicle by which they can reassure themselves that they were right about something all along; that if only they had been listened to, if only more people had voted for Bernie Sanders, if the media had been more objective about Donald Trump, if the FBI had not leaked information about their investigations that were underway, if there had been no spying by Russia, no Wikileaks etc…then their candidate would have won, and they would be right after all.

It is time to give up that vanity, and move on with what we know to be true. The Republican Party has an unprecedented control of government at every level. Their agenda is dangerous, divisive and harmful to America, and the world at large. There is an election coming in two years, and two years after that. Progressive minded people need to unify, consolidate their strength, compromise with their numerous factions, and push forward to a brighter future.