Post Election Rant

I don’t know about you, but I’m still in shock over the results of this presidential election. I’m mortified that more than a couple of people in my own family (blood relatives) supported Trump. They didn’t think racism or sexism or misogyny, or bad business practices were major deal breakers. They looked at their own interests. I know we all look at our own interests, but when it is at the expense of people because of the way they look, their gender, their sexual orientation, or even their physiological and mental status, I can’t abide. I can’t get over that. I don’t want to get over that. There is nothing redemptive in condoning people who think it’s fine to vote for a man who openly dismissed, dissed, and ridiculed people who weren’t like him. Hitler did that same kind of thing and rose to power by instigating the imaginations and emotions of millions of people. Hello! My last name is Jewish, my great grandparents were from Hungary, and my ancestors suffered cruelly and helplessly by people who were blinded by hate and divisiveness. To make matters worse, this wasn’t long ago. Not long enough ago by a long shot.

We have a problem in this country and it has to do with perception. I am not going to find a way for Trump’s new reign to ‘be okay’ or ‘make things better’ because I don’t believe it will be. I’m going to do a peaceful protest with some friends of mine in 2017 to give voice to my disapproval and outrage. Here’s the hard part to swallow: maybe things will turn out well overall for people in this country,  a very weak ‘maybe’, but I doubt it. For instance he has hired Stephen Bannon as the White House chief strategist which is terrifying all by itself, considering he’s an avowed racist, rightwing nutjob. And is it just my imagination, or does he bear a striking resemblance Plutarch Heavensbee, “the Head Gamemaker” from the Hunger Games? Is there even a coincidence in this? (I don’t believe in coincidences.)

As a writer I try to carefully construct the antagonists to my main characters, sometimes the antagonist is the plot itself, sometimes it’s a person or group of people, and as in the Owen Hunter Series, it is incorporeal entities working with incorporeal people who have yet to move onto other realms. While these are fun to write and tie up in pretty bows at the end, what’s not fun is to see the real villains take a boatload of power right from the people they pretend they’re giving it back to. What’s not fun is that these chapters are ones we have to try and live through, and how it will further cause the breakdown of democracy as time moves onward. We all know Trump lied (he admitted to it gleefully) to get where he is. Which means that most of what he promised to do for the American people he actually won’t be doing. He won’t be getting the middle class richer. He won’t be making our country great again (remind me when that was again…) He won’t be helping anyone but himself and his suspect agendas. Like any other business man he’ll be interested in one thing and one thing only: padding his own pockets, foisting blame on anyone else but himself, throwing two hundred and forty character temper tantrums on Twitter, and abusing his newfound power for god only knows what purposes. And all that’s going to come of it is that we will get the shaft, we will be the ones who suffer, the people in my family will suffer all the more realizing their mistake in having voted for a man this corrupt.

Now, taking a deep breath, I submit that the best we can do is to help each other raise our voices, to . We need clear calm sanity, deliberate strides towards making a difference. There is an enormous need to develop stronger compassion muscles. People are terrified, hurting, and being maligned by the emboldened supporters of hate. Threat of deportation and the unconscionable use of terms like “the illegals” when discussing people who have entered our country without due process only serves to dehumanize them and make them “other”. This kind of talk is not only deplorable but needs to be called out as soon as we hear it being used.


I just need to say this as well: I’m ashamed of all the smug older white men, some of them iconic actors whom I used to look up to, saying, “get over it! Stop being such a wimp. Stop trying to be so politically correct and quit your bitching.” This isn’t bitching about political correctness. You don’t get to say that people should just ‘get over it’. If it were suddenly YOU being targeted because you were different, or YOU who were going to be thrown out of the country, or YOU being told you couldn’t do something to your body because of X or Y newly passed law, you wouldn’t be wining, you’d be just as upset and terrified as the rest of us. You know what, it’s a bad thing to make fun of someone who is physically and mentally challenged. Because if the shoe is on the other foot, you realize how defenseless you are, and yet how human you are too.

So here I am raging away about this. I’m not done raging. I’m not done taking this seriously. Telling me to calm down, to face the music, to just accept it is like telling a brick wall to stop being a brick wall. Not going to happen. I’m going to continue voicing my sense of injustice about this and I’m going to keep looking for ways to help make things better for everyone I know. One last parting gift, that I think will help put some things in perspective, is this BBC documentary called Century of the Self. I think everyone should watch it.

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Bob Forst
Bob Forst
3 years ago

Hey Scott, I understand your angst and dissatisfaction with the election results. I too, have been a lifelong Democrat, and was very disappointed with the outcome.It’s funny but I was actually pulling for Trump during the primaries because I thought he would be the easiest to defeat.But now I feel hopeful that President Trump will be effective and beneficial for all Americans. It is possible I suppose.And if not, we do have the right to protest. I’ve been protesting since the early 80s against US intervention in Central America and then against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Being peaceful in turbulent times is not easy but like-minded people always come together.

Scott Marmorstein
Reply to  Bob Forst
3 years ago

Hi Bob,
I’m really unclear how you think this: "But now I feel hopeful that President Trump will be effective and beneficial for all Americans." Because Trump has already made it very clear he intends to overturn the LGBT rights, although he did say he can’t do anything about the new marriage laws (thank goddess!). He wants to make all Muslims in our country wear special identification tags, he wants to deport most of them back, and not let any new people in. Our country is all immigrants, so perhaps the first immigrant he should send home is his wife who can barely speak English. But I’ve digressed; I ask you…*HOW* is this guy going to be good and effective and beneficial for all Americans? All the Americans you know? I don’t get it. Let’s not forget our women, whom Trump seems to think groping is fair game. That sends an unlawful and dangerous message to men throughout our country saying, effectively, "go ahead and harass women." To say that’s not how it’s perceived is having ones head in the sand. This is very problematic, all of it.
As for protesting, yes, I agree. I intend to protest a lot. Starting but not ending with this blog. I will be going to actual protest rallies. No, I’m a maladjusted person when it comes to the atrocities Trump intends to foist on the citizens of our country to make his dubious and egregious gains.

Bob Forst
Bob Forst
3 years ago

Maybe your image of America is rosier than mine. I think we have to keep our expectations low. Having extreme wealth does not automatically crown you the greatest nation on earth. And lots of money has allowed a certain amount of freedom here. But the masses remain close-minded and ignorant of world affairs.And with Trump, the only reason I recommend a wait-and-see attitude is because everything your saying is pure conjecture. My concern is that you will be upset and angry unnecessarily. There may be plenty of time for that if everything you say comes true. But he won the election fair and square, and I think he may modify his stance on some of these issues. Let’s hope so!

Scott Marmorstein
Reply to  Bob Forst
3 years ago

My image of America was one of working to make things better. It was never rosy. At all. We were working to undo so much backwards thinking and actions that took place in this country. Obama worked hard to get certain things in place that make sense for everyone, not just the privileged few. And for his pleasure? He was fought every step of the way. Now, Trump wants to overturn everything Obama worked so hard for. That’s not the progressive America I was living in for these past 8 years. Sure, it’s always been rough, but things were bit by bit making improvement. Baby steps. Now Trump wants to take giant steps backwards, there’s no hope in that. I will not cultivate a ‘wait and see’ attitude because I take Trump at his word: he intends to do a lot of nasty crap. His first appointment for Chief Strategist of the White House Michael Bannon just wrote this piece about women: is deplorable!
I’m not uneccessarily angry about all this, I’m with good-reason pissed about this, because of the types of things I’ve already heard the man say, by the types of men he’s employing. I am absolutely maladjusted to him saying that Climate Change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. I’m not going to just ‘get over it’ or ‘feel better’ about this because I should. I’m going to take clear solid actions that match the mandate of my heart. I will rage on because to sit back and be a spectator now is absolutely uncalled for, useless, and enabling things to go in a very bad direction, for everyone, which INCLUDES you and me. And I’m NOT going to be okay with that. Now or ever.

Ralph Gervasio
Ralph Gervasio
3 years ago

Caution, all:
We become what we hate.

Scott Marmorstein
Reply to  Ralph Gervasio
3 years ago

Ralph, I agree. Which is why my post is not hateful. It is filled with dissent and disagreement with Trumpism. What this means is that I will not abide by the values that Trumpism purports. I am maladjusted to hate and to bigotry and to sexism, all the things that Trumpism seems ok with, or that is implied as being ‘ok’. I will never see these things as normal or valuable. I am expressing also my fear and rage, which is not the same as hate. Rage is a burning candle of clarity in which I can take steady action and be a support to others with clear compassion. If you are casting aspersions about my intent here let it be known that I harbor no hate for Trumpism, I realize it’s deplorability and it’s treachery to all who enter. And I will call out the iniquities and the horrors as I see them manifesting.

Bob Forst
Bob Forst
3 years ago

Hey Scott, Hope you don’t mind, but I found an article which I think is similar in it’s message to what you’ve been saying in your blog.
This Changes Nothing: A Dharmic Response to the Election of Donald Trump
One practitioner talks about how to take refuge in Trump’s America.
By Craig HaseNov 17, 2016This Changes Nothing: A Dharmic Response to the Election of Donald Trump
“Even if the sun rises in the west, the way of the bodhisattva is the same.”–Suzuki Roshi
Before my wife and I went to bed last Tuesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton was set to win an historic election by a landslide. The next morning, when we woke up, the United States had—against all rational expectation—elected a racist, nativist, fear-mongering, misogynistic real-estate-mogul-turned-reality-TV-star to what is still probably the most powerful political office on earth. A man who doesn’t even have the discipline to read a teleprompter will now hold the codes to our nuclear arsenal.
Leaving aside for the moment what could possibly have led to so improbable an event, it is worth asking: how should we, as practitioners of the dharma, think about this new reality?
My answer: nothing has changed.
Of course, everything has changed. Trump’s presidency marks a dramatic shift in American democracy. It is arguably the first time that our nation has elected a man who shows nothing but disdain for truth. His campaign has been a departure from every conceivable form of civility.
But from a dharmic perspective nothing has changed. Because when we practice dharma, we practice the long view. We practice in a tradition that has seen our foremothers and forefathers through war, famine, drought, invasion after invasion, colonization, decolonization, military coups and military dictatorships, sickness and old age and death, and the inevitable ups and downs and horrors and beauties of uncountable lives over years and decades and centuries.
So when we practice dharma we know what we’re about. We don’t take refuge in the political machinations of giant democracies. We don’t take refuge in relationships. We don’t even take refuge in our own bodies. Why? Because these, as the Buddha said again and again, are unreliable refuges. They change. They shift. They tumble. They are, in the end and always, beyond our control.
So what do we take refuge in?
Well, the simple answer is that we take refuge in the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha. We take refuge in the Buddha both as an inspirational figure and as our own awakened potential. We take refuge in the dharma as path to awakening and as reality itself. We take refuge in the sangha as our friends on the path and as all those who have come before us.
More to the point, though, we take refuge in our dharmic intentions. Our intention to wake up. And our unshakeable intention to benefit.
For me, that means I’ll continue. I’ll keep showing up at the inpatient psychiatric unit where I work. I’ll keep leading mindfulness workshops for helping professionals. I’ll keep signing petitions and writing letters and donating money to stop the Trump agenda and everything it stands for. I’ll keep sharing the dharma with those looking for true solace. And I’ll keep hitting the cushion, day after day after day, working with my own mind so I can work with the minds of others.
In short, I’ll do my best to ease suffering—my suffering and everyone’s suffering—one moment at a time, for as long as there is suffering to ease.TempleDharma to your inbox
Sign up for Tricycle’s newslettersCraig Hase is a meditation teacher and a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studies race in mindfulness communities.

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