Conscience and Consequences

Any topic that qualifies as a complicated conversation generally contains a lot of heated passion from every side, regardless of the topic being explored. I will of course be talking from my own point of view, so go with the assumption that it’s my opinion. When I give facts, I will also provide the appropriate links so that you know it’s NOT my opinion.
So before I wade into the fray, I remind my gentle readers that regardless of how much of a twist your knickers get into, this is still a POLITE conversation. Anything less than polite (flaming, obscenity directed at the author or the other comments, hate speech, derogatory remarks without real substance for an alternate view, or sheer stupidity) will be deleted and the user will be blocked.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…” (Shakespeare, “Henry V”)

(Ed. note: when I speak of any group, such as white males or young women and so on, I do not mean ALL of the members of that group, but as a generalization that may or may not be true for any particular individual. Cut me some slack, Literal Lizards.)

The Presidential elections are over. (Along with any down-ticket candidates, as well as state referendums.) I suppose we have to congratulate those who voted for the winner; their voices were many and they were heard. I live in California and we voted for a variety of referendums, but the one that will be most often mentioned is the one for legalizing marijuana. Gods know we’re going to need something to calm us down.

This blog is meant for those who voted for any party besides the Democrats or the Republicans. Let me be the first to congratulate you for “voting your conscience”. I assume that you feel pretty darned pleased with yourselves. I just want to be sure that you understand that I also voted my conscience — and lost.

I am a huge (“YUUGE”) fan of consequences and truly hope that you get to reap yours. They are probably not at all related to that for which you voted. I tried, for the past 2-3 months, to explain why the 3rd party option was not a viable choice. I gave you historical references and scientific explanations. I pointed out that the last candidate to actually win as a 3rd party offering was Abraham Lincoln–and he was bringing the Republicans in as a new political party. (Out went the Whigs, never to be heard from again–so to speak.) I shared with you that I HAD voted 3rd party in 2 elections which both went to the “other” party instead of the most likely. (Ross Perot handed the win to Bill Clinton. Ralph Nader handed the win to GW Bush.)

I also tried to explain how HRC was not the “evil, criminal, corrupt” person that the GOP has been slandering for the past 25 years. The so-called “scandals” were all found to be nothing more than unsubstantiated rumor. If you believed everything bad that was ever written about her, then you also have to agree that she wouldn’t have had the time to do the real work that she did accomplish. I’ve heard that she’s left a trail of bodies, up to 46 of them. Trust me, serial killers do not get away with that sort of funny business these days, with all the new forensic tests–especially DNA. But you believed what you wanted to believe and insisted on saying that “there’s no difference between them” or “she’s just as bad as he is”.

If you want to know what the differences are, check out my earlier blogs. I’m not going to waste my time repeating all the arguments I’ve made before. No, I’m going to share the analysis I have worked on most of this day, to see if the 3rd party votes affected the outcome. Answer: Of course it did. I told you it would. I wasn’t kidding. I did the math; I compared HRC to DJT on a state-by-state basis. I looked at the actual results and then I figured what the results would have been if all of the 3rd party votes went to one or the other. I even figured the results if the 3rd party votes had been evenly split between the candidates. I also figured the changes in the electoral votes for those conditions.

So let me tell you the results. Obviously, if DJT got 1/2 or all of the 3rd party votes, he would have won. If HRC had gotten all of the 3rd party votes, she would have won instead. If she only got 1/2 of those same votes, she would have won enough electoral votes to win the election for all but 2 of the states she had won with all of the 3rd party votes. And if she had only had Gary Johnson’s votes, she would have won. If the winner was chosen by popular vote, HRC would have won. (1)

Don’t ever tell me that 3rd party voting doesn’t affect the elections. I TOLD you it did and you wouldn’t believe me. I don’t care if you believe it or not. You will NEVER tell me that it doesn’t–and didn’t–happen exactly as I said.

Now here we are, with the GOP in complete control of our government. They have the President and Congress. And they WILL fulfill various agendas they have been pushing for years. Let’s talk about some of the things that will change.

First and probably the single most important action will be the replacement of Supreme Court judges. They were content to let the court sit with 8 Justices for Mr. Obama. Don’t be surprised when they start loading that up with Republican, conservative judges who will affect decisions for 30-40 years. (Through about 10 more Presidential elections.) This could very well mean:

1. Reversing the marriage act, thereby NOT allowing LGBTQ people to marry and have the same civil rights as the “one man-one woman” (Christian) marriage

2. Reversing Roe v. Wade and making abortion illegal nationally. Again.

3. Reversing or allowing the reversal of every progressive, inclusive action, such as transgender use of bathrooms, LGBTQ rights to adopt and so on.

4. The addition of Fundamental Protestant (Christian) religion into our government, at all levels. This will affect all of us — if religion has a higher status than the laws, the laws will be ignored and the elected officials will do “what God told (them) to do”. This will cover all topics, but will have special influence on such things as birth control, family planning, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), surrogacy, miscarriage, and marital rape. It could possibly overturn the individual state’s laws on the right to assisted suicide and marijuana legalization.

(What makes that particular possibility so ridiculous is the complete irony of the “religious” lives of most of the GOP elected officials. DJT has been married 3 times, committed adultery, and has consistently broken laws. Gingrich has also been married 3 times. Christie may be going to jail for crimes (Bridgegate). Palin, who advocates abstinence only as birth control, has an unwed daughter with two children, by two different men. I’m not talking about the normative of “being human”, I’m talking about having laws that will only apply to some people (non-Christians) and don’t have to really be adhered to, if you say that you’re a Christian–never mind your actions.)

5. I do not put it past the Republicans to create laws that essentially replace the Jim Crow laws, forcing the black population once more into a LEGAL second class status.

6. I am fairly certain that we will see more onerous and demeaning legislation for all of women’s rights, particularly for healthcare choices. Women will not see equal pay or equal opportunity during this Presidency.

Which brings me to this astounding statistic: about 42% of women voted AGAINST their own best interest and voted for DJT. (2) That is close enough to being half which makes me wonder just how that many women could really believe he was the best choice. Besides the obvious legal moves (reversal of Roe v. Wade), women can now expect to be sexually assaulted on an even higher rate; it’s just become Presidential to grab pussy. (Who knew?) It’s possible that EOE might disappear, but even if it isn’t overturned, reported incidents may just be ignored because there would be no penalty to not purusing corrective action. We may see an upswing in women being catcalled–with a vocabulary of filthier and nastier words to describe us. DJT has made that all right. And promotions beyond the lowest management levels may cease to exist for women as men feel entitled to disrespect and debase them.

I don’t know if those things will happen, but they do seem possible now in a way that they haven’t since…oh, about 1975?

Among the others who stand to lose from a DJT Presidency, about 12% of the electorate were the black voters, a drop from the elections in 2012; 8% of that number voted for him. Latinos as a group did not grow as much as predicted from 2012, being only 11% of the electorate; out of that number, 29% voted for him–even though he has promised to “build a wall” (and have Mexico pay for it) and “deport all the illegal immigrants”. (3) Even the Asians produced 29% of the votes for him.(4)

I can understand the white males voting for him; he will be their savior from “giving up rights” to the others who are not white males. But why on Earth would anyone vote FOR someone who has promised to make their lives miserable? The Muslims in this country are now worrying about becoming the Jews in our version of Hitler’s facist government. And even if DJT wants to “send them all back”, where, really, would they go? Is it ethical to return civilians to a war zone? Possibly. Is it the right thing to do, is it the moral thing? Absolutely NOT. But we know that That Man doesn’t have normal morals.

Let’s talk about what could be some consequences with that lack of a moral compass or any altruistic traits he might have and how they could then affect all of the country:

1. The FBI investigation into Comey’s behavior with his announcement last week? Probably will not even happen.

2. As President, DJT is now protected from criminal charges, at least for the next 4 years. That is one hell of a stalling tactic to prevent jail time for RICO violations and raping a child, if he were found guilty of them.

3. Federal agencies designed to keep us safe and the environment clean may very well be removed. No more OSHA, no more EPA.

4. Rumor has it that he will select Sarah Palin for Secretary of the Interior. You know, the person who is responsible for land management, national parks, and such. She could do such things as allow unlimited hunting (from helicopters); destruction and subsequent commercialization of our national parks. This is an action that if done, is completely devestating and irreparable. There would be no going back. She could also authorize pipelines and fracking. Resources extracted, leaving severe, perhaps unfixable, environmental damage, as well as spiritual (Standing Rock camp and the Dakota pipeline).
Yet another action with permanent consequences and no possible way to make it right again.

5. With both a Republican President as well as a Republican Congress, you can expect the GOP and the Koch Brothers/Robert Mercer/Heritage Foundation and etc, to push through laws that meet their ongoing agendas. Look at any GOP candidate’s platform specifically for the past 8 years, but also the past 20, even 30 years.

But there are some other (possible) consequences that will be hallmarks of DJT’s Presidency: he has made it acceptable to say “Nigger” again. He encourages violence against those who disagree (with you). Women are to be objectified, nothing more than breeders and trophies, beyond even the current levels of misogyny. He has set the stage to have several “sets” of citizens: the white men, white privilege, white “superiority”, white SUPREMACY, as the first class, all rights, no worries subset. Then will come, in varying degress of second class status, the women, the blacks, the Latinos, the immigrants, the Muslims…anyone who is NOT a white male.

The whole world has watched this election and the results with growing horror. As I have heard said, “We have embarassed ourselves in front of the world.”. While I agree with that at one level, I don’t agree completely.

There is NOTHING new in this “embarrassment”. It’s not a momentary faux pas, to be quickly passed over and a fresh round of drinks for everyone. What we are seeing now: racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and bullying, are all parts of who we are AND have always been. I would suggest that DJT appeals to so many precisely because he’s not afraid to be the ultimate example of all that is wrong between humans. You have heard me say before that he is a Narcissistic Sociopath–he also encourages the Narcissistic Socipath’s way of thinking and decision making processes. And this occurs even in people who are neither Narcissists nor Sociopaths on their own. We should thank him for showing us the real face, the real collective personality, of our nation.

There are still people alive who remember the violence and fury of the Civil Rights era. There are still people alive who remember the corruption of our government by Richard Nixon, the wars we never called “war” but fought in, the “war on drugs” which was the excuse for the minimalizing the effects of blacks and “hippies”.  Our whole damned history, from day one, has been nothing BUT divisions, unrest and outright rebellion against inequality–and the often violent response to quash those rebellions. We have always had a first class and a second class–and sometimes that second class was a legal reality, not just a social one.

This country was founded by rich, land-owning, educated white males. The Declaration of Indepence and the Constitution were written by rich, land-owning, educated white males. The first government was a selection of rich, land-owning, educated white males. The entire framework and processes for that government were put in place by rich, land-owning, educated white males. Of course they set it up to benefit themselves!

With this election, we have returned to 1776 overnight. As DJT selects his cabinet, his words to his supporters just 3 days ago have already been proven…”not so” true. Far from “drain(ing) the swamp”, he has gone straight to K Street for appointees.(5) (For those not familiar with DC, K street is where all the lobbyists have their offices.)

Welcome to the oligarchy,with a definite theocratic air–but money over God, every time. Except for Michael Pence, whose own definition of “who he is” begins with Christian. Before Conservative, before Republican, the other terms in that chain.

I offer you the fantasy of Pence, as VP and Trump’s foreign policy handler, going to Saudi Arabia and trying to convert them before talking about mutual trade agreements. (Or borrowing money from them.)

Yes, children, the money, the money, the money will ALWAYS come first. Remember, Trump is a businessman! It’s ALL about the Benjamins. And with corporate lobbyists in cabinet positions, the corporations have won open control of our government. As has been pointed out to me, the last time Republicans held control of all three parts of government, we had this little party, known as the “Great Depression”. (Great for the rich; Depression for the rest of us.) I see no reason to not anticipate a repeat. After all, the economy will almost assuredly tank.

When I speak of “the economy”, I am NOT talking about Wall Street with their pretend (electronic) money and profit margins. (That’s another blog, for another day.) I am speaking of the real economy, the one that affects you and me. The economy of working 2 or 3 jobs to have a bare subsistence. The economy of having to choose between buying diapers for the baby or feeding the rest of the family. The economy of the middle class finally disappearing in a mountain of debt and over-extended credit cards. As I tell people, if your business model is “Buy one, Get one”, it means two things: your original prices were set way too high, and (surprise!) no one is buying things. Why not? Because they can’t bloody afford it, you git.

In 2013, 47% of our nation lived one major catastrophe from poverty.(6) Things have improved over the past three years: “In 2015, there were 43.1 million people in poverty, 3.5 million less than in 2014.”(7) Keep in mind that those two numbers are for people who are IN poverty, not just scraping by and barely beyond poverty themselves. Recent statistics for those who are in poverty put it at 13.5%, or 43.1 million people. The ones who are living on that danger line are another 31.7% (100.9 million people). So the two groups together come to 44.8%, or 144 million people.

The country as a whole has 324,968,153 citizens as of Friday, November 11, 2016.(8) That means 44% of our fellow Americans STILL have a poor (literally) standard of living. That’s almost half. A better way to imagine millions in a more personal way is to look at a line of people. It doesn’t matter how many are in the line; our brains can really only hold onto the personal knowledge of about 150 people. More than that and it’s no longer a personal concern to you. Looking at your line, you can figure that every other person is living either at poverty level ($24,250) or “twice the poverty level” ($48,500).(8) Those dollar amounts are for a family of four, two adults with two children and the data is from 2015.

Let’s put those numbers into an even easier way to handle the concepts they represent. Poverty level means that a family of 4 is living on roughly $2000/month, or about $400/week. “Twice the poverty level” (meaning the poor who are not considered to be “in poverty”) means that the same family of four is living on $4000/month, or $1000/week. The MEDIAN income, meaning the average from the highest and the lowest households is $55,775 or about $4770/month, or $1143/week.

There is not much of a margin between the median income and “twice poverty level”. $143 is all that separates the two. I believe we will see the income go down and the number of families on the edge go up in the months ahead. Incidentally, you would need an income of over $87,000 to have exactly the same standard of living (on the edge) in Washington, DC. Or perhaps this will make it easier to imagine: in 2016, “Children were food insecure at times during the year in 7.8 percent of U.S. households with children (3.0 million households), down significantly from 9.4 percent in 2014.”(9)

That is over 13 MILLION children who go to bed hungry regularly. HERE, in America, “Land of Plenty”. My ass.

That’s just one item that will have changes (for bad, or if we’re lucky, for good); I am not going to enter into a discussion about how the USA’s new President and his Congress might have a negative influence for the rest of the world. Although I do want to mention that if we really back out of the climate change agreements, so will everyone else. There goes the planet. If the oceans continue to warm up, all life within them will die. (Except for those weird things that live on the volcanic vents, down in the Stygian depths.)

There is a lot of fear in our nation now; those who did not vote for Him are now anxious about what this Presidency will mean. We know what he’s said he will do; now we are concerned that he will, in fact, actually do those things. You know: build a wall on our southern border; deport the immigrants, walk away from NAFTA and NATO, and et cetera.

Those are the obvious fears. This election brought out ALL of the cockroaches (so to speak). It has shone a light on how deeply racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic far too many of our citizens truly are. These are entrenched world views, based on upbringing, tradition, and misinformation; they really all boil down to this: HATE. I even have to add religious beliefs to that hate because so many people believe that God told them it was just fine to have this hate for others who are different. My greatest fear, and deepest sorrow, is that we will never be able to get past the hate, that we will always be “us against them”, with various names put into that equation.

Will we ever have a truly UNITED States of America?

I seriously doubt it. That’s a consequence I’d rather not have to live with.

1. Excel worksheet by author, available upon request.
2. CNN Elections Results
3. CNN Politics
4. USA Today Demographics
5. Cabinet Selections (CNN)
6. Poverty Statistics 2013 (Salon)
7. Census Statistics on Poverty 2016 (US Census)
8. Basic Statistics (From Talk Poverty)
9. Hunger in America (From the World Hunger Organization)
10. Cost of Living (Career Trends)