I hadn’t planned to stay up watching election returns. However, Mrs. M was watching them in our bedroom, and so my already fitful sleep was first delayed, then interrupted, and around 1:30, I gave up trying to sleep and instead picked up my phone and checked the Book of Faces. Mrs. M asked me how my feed looked.
As it happens (in large part due to occupational hazard), many of my FB friends (and most of the vocal ones) are academics or creatives or both. They were … well, you likely know how they were. I told Mrs. M that. She paused a moment, then asked, “What do your working class friends say?”
Mrs. M and I both come from that background — indeed, calling Mrs. M’s childhood “working class” is probably euphemism; she grew up in Appalachian poverty. In my case, I realize in retrospect that we were kind of bohemian, but at the time, I just thought we were poor. And where this leads is that many of the folks with whom I grew in Tennessee and Kentucky are working-to-middle class people. Some have degrees; others don’t. Some work in offices, although usually not the corner ones; others hustle cosmetics or nutritional supplements on the side. They’re much more likely to post pictures of their grandkids or their new truck than they are an article from Vox (or one of my blog posts, for that matter.) They’re also some of the people who reached out to me after the murders, who helped empty my parents’ house, who told me I was in their prayers. And as I scrolled, I saw their posts as well.
“They seem happy,” I said.
Long time readers will recall that I’ve argued that we should never give government power that we wouldn’t want our worst enemy to have, because sooner or later, our worst enemy will control that government. I see no reason to change that position. But while it would be nice to think that the coming days will spark an interest in limited government, checks and balances, and the like, I’m not particularly optimistic.
Still, I welcome anyone who wishes to accompany me in my continuing desert retreat. There’s plenty of good parking available.
In his Morning Jolt, Jim Geraghty raises a couple of points I see as connected:
Pollsters have had off years before, but there has never been a colossal ten-car pile-up like this in the polling industry. The entire industry needs to scrap everything they know about the electorate and start over. One of the giant questions they must address is whether we now live in an atmosphere of such far-reaching and stifling social disapproval of politically incorrect positions that a significant portion of respondents no longer feel comfortable expressing their actual beliefs to a pollster.
A few lines later, he adds,
My friend Cam is a lot more Trump-friendly than I am. We talked before yesterday’s show and we concurred that a Trump victory would be a genuine shock to the system that might just spur changes in the right direction. All of the groups and forces allied with the Left and largely thriving in Obama’s America – Silicon Valley, the media, academia, would have to stop and look hard at the rest of the country and its problems. And they wouldn’t be able to ignore it or sneer at the rest of the country as being uneducated, unwashed, racist, sexist, backward, and destined to wither away. Identity politics turns America’s e pluribus unum into the Balkans. If you want to build a better America, you have to see everybody as part of it, not just the parts that agree with you politically.
I think the last sentence there is interesting, because it contains the core of many of the charges I see folks in my FB feed laying on Trump voters. But at the same time, these same people have been too willing to write off those voters while using the terms Geraghty uses, or by using the euphemistic “wrong side of History” nonsense. Calls for pluralism and tolerance have to work in both directions, or they won’t work at all.
One of my freshpeeps answered the roll call this morning with “Maga.” In the next class, one of my seniors spoke with a trembling voice of the uncertainty he and his friends face in the coming years, as do a number of my gay friends. After that class, I held a former student’s 10-week-old daughter. I pray for all of them, and if you’re so inclined, I hope you will as well. Whatever our politics are, we’re more than that, or we need to be.
See you soon.