The printing press changed our world in profound ways. It also brought with it revolutions, new types of government, and ultimately a better quality of life for everyone. Should we expect any less from the internet?
This election was a dumpster fire fueled by media trash. And you know whose fault it was? Everyone. Breitbart is trash. PJ Media is trash. Huffington Post is trash. The New York Times is definitely trash. This election broke every norm, every standard of journalistic quality, because both media sides simply said what their “base” wanted to hear to make a quick buck. I’m sorry Paul Krugman you may be an economist, but you are sometimes wrong and apparently unable to acknowledge it. This is what yellow journalism was like back when newspapers first became cheap and easy to distribute in the late 1800s. It is now back with a fucking vengeance.
When did every newspaper become an echo chamber ironically writing about echo chambers? When did Facebook mutate into a tool for people to enable outrageously judgmental virtue signaling which they would never do in real life? Always. Humans haven’t evolved in any meaningful way for thousands of years. We are all still primates with basic emotional drivers and response mechanisms and yet so many people this year (including me) expected better simply because we are able to communicate at the speed of light.
The internet is popular because it incentivizes our most basic desires for recognition, entertainment, and connection with family and friends. I kept expressing frustration to my mother about all of this vitriol on social media. She asked me “Why do you expect people to be better than they actually are?” Accept it. Stop virtue signaling, and maybe take action more tangible than a Facebook post if you are truly upset. The internet is a new tool to the human primate and it can be dangerous.Yes yes I hear you! I am blogging and virtue signaling right now! It’s a hard habit to break and I’m just trying to keep the pointy end of this new tool pointed away from myself and anyone else. But I promise you, this year I intend to try to get some referendums on the ballot for Kansas. Ah crap did I just virtue signal again? Dammit this is hard!
Democraaaaats, you don’t get off easy on this one. The Republicans did not abandon an entire voting block, ignoring the people who built their base, and what they actually wanted. This? This is on you DNC. Jim Webb was the literal canary in your coal mine. Your party lurched so far left that your media ridiculed and quickly rushed a popular West Virginia Senator to the sidelines. And after Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders put up a good fight for the white low-middle class and was also marginalized in favor of a candidate whose “turn it was”. A candidate so confident in data and out of touch with the ground-level that she did not bother to visit the state of Wisconsin.
The total HRC disconnect made sense to me in hindsight, because her Middle Eastern policy always felt like the soft fluff of someone who would never actually have to be present herself to witness the aftermath. She’s a perfect bureaucrat. I would happily have her running the EPA or working as Secretary of State again, but how much more elitist and out-of-touch can you get as a candidate? I have to give credit to Michael Moore. He had his finger on the pulse months ago.
I knew Hillary was disliked, and there was something really odd about these devout Trump supporters I kept encountering, but wow. Just wow. She had a massive pile of money in her favor, celebrity endorsements, a wealth of experience, but she simply did not resonate and could never resonate with a majority of the population outside of New York, LA, or San Francisco.
Look there are very real issues here and I understand that people are fearful, but let’s all pause and reflect on the root causes. Populism and irrational fear is a problem on both sides. Right after the election an HRC fan told me she was worried about Trump supporters partly because they all have lots of children, so future elections will also go their way. The irony of this statement is that it is the exact sort of beliefs that a xenophobic Trump supporter might espouse about immigrants. So let’s all take a breath and get some perspective. Fear is something else that got us here, because it can lead to irrational feelings like hatred. The best counter I have found to fear of others is to attempt to understand them.
The bar which the media has set for Trump is so very ridiculously low now that he might actually pleasantly surprise, which could get him elected again. I am skeptical that he will be either the revolutionary his base expected or the white supremacist which liberals fear. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Give him some respect if not your trust, he is full of contradictions, perhaps a great natural politician because he somehow convinced 59 million people to vote for him.
Most of his nominees so far are long-term insiders. Essentially he’s running things like he ran the family business. He has a few mostly horrifying trusted confidantes and everyone else on the outside. His stated policy platform will inordinately reward the rich, and further hollow out a desperate middle class. This could be bad.
Republicans you have no excuse not to govern this time. I honestly thought you were finished, and your new president just rode a tiger into the White House. Hope that he tames the tiger before it eats him, and you. So far all I’m seeing is the same old conservative faces in Washington with the same old crappy plans.
Democrats you dun messed up. Stop promoting multicultural globalism so loudly. It works great in the cities, but it doesn’t play well in the impoverished hinterlands. Acknowledge that there are differing narratives here, and alternate, less-simplistic frameworks through which this election can be framed. Not everyone sees things through the lens of race. Please please please stop playing identity politics entirely, and stop labeling and stereotyping the other side as bigots. That’s what bigots do. Attack poverty instead of bias, because as this election has proven, bias is impossible to remove.
Libertarians, keep doing you. Write crappy blog posts that nobody reads.
People have asked me what happens next. I have no clue and this election has also proven that. So go home America you’re drunk. Sober up, reflect on the many failings from both sides during this election cycle, wake up tomorrow, drink some coffee, read some opinion pieces that you will probably hate from media sources which you despise, but have never actually read before.
Lots of crap came out of printing presses, and lots of good things too. This is a dangerous time, because our new primate tool confirms whatever preexisting biases we have. We’re all walking around with portable yes men. The only thing I can recommend is to keep talking with people both outside of the internet and via one-on-one chats. Public personas are often different than our private selves.
Have awkward conversations. Lots of them. And I’m biased but I liked the following reads as well: