Our mistake was to look away
We had plenty of warning Trump was coming. But we looked away instead of finding out what our countrymen wanted.
by Dave's not here Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A simple thought.

We had plenty of warning Trump was coming.

I made sure to document it, when I realized it.

I remember exactly where I was when it dawned on me that we had a bigger problem than I had previously imagined.

I was driving from Seattle to Palo Alto on the day after Election Day in 2004. I was going to run the third BloggerCon at Stanford. I had taken up residence in Seattle, so I would have a meaningful vote. Washington was a swing state that year.

I was driving through the mountains when the results were coming in, bad radio reception, so I didn't know what had happened until I checked into a dim motel in Medford and watched in disgust, awe, fear, etc that my fellow Americans had voted for another four years of war. I couldn't believe, given a choice we had signed up for more of that. But we did.

I recorded a podcast the next morning, in my car, as I did in those days. The actual MP3 is lost to me (maybe someone has a copy? -- it was found!) but I remember what I said. We have to figure out what the Bush voters are saying. They have something to say and it's not making sense to me. It can't be they want this war to go on. [The war was immoral, imho -- we paid for it with debt, not taxes, and there was no draft, so the pain of war was not felt by those who could afford to keep their kids out of the military. And by now we know the foundation of the war, that there were WMDs in Iraq, was a lie.]

And sure enough we paid the price in the financial collapse of 2008. And the moral collapse we're experiencing now full-force in 2016. Thing is, the collapse was well under way in 2004, and of course earlier. But we kept on going as if nothing happened. When we elected Obama in 2008, I remember thinking I can afford to look away now, it's going to get under control. And it did, for a couple of years. But the problem didn't go away, it got deeper and more organized. Opportunists arose to feed it and off it. 

So the question is, fellow elite coastal intellectual types, if we dodge the bullet this time, are we going to tune out again, only to wait for the next stronger version of the wave, or are we going to find out what the people in the country want, and try to negotiate? Climate change may not be the biggest threat as we all thought it was. The war that our fellow Americans want may kill us first.

And of course if we don't dodge the bullet who the hell knows what comes next. It won't be good. 

PS: John Harnett found the podcast on archive.org! Amazing. So I was able to link up the word podcast to restored MP3. It's a little confusing but I'm glad to get it back. Thanks!