Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why I still believe in America (even if Trump wins)

Sometimes people are silly. For any silly idea, you can find someone who sincerely believes it, and it is dangerous to under-estimate the ability of humans to believe silly things. "Big lies" and all that.

Sometimes people believe silly things.

But sometimes, they don't.

This morning, I read the surprising news that Adele had infuriated feminists by saying that she finds fulfillment in motherhood. Of course, I wasn't surprised that the singer-songwriter loves being a mom--motherhood is awesome!--but I did find it a bit odd that anyone would take umbrage at her joy. I've read a good bit of feminist literature, and I've never encountered any such thing.

So I burrowed through a trail of links, and sure enough, I didn't find a single trace of feminist resentment at Adele's maternal bliss. There was just a bit of discussion of how even though it feels a little weird to hear an outspoken feminist so enthusiastic about motherhood, it's actually really awesome. We've come a long way, baby! We are now free to embrace motherhood without being afraid that it will negate the other facets of our personhood.

We disagree about a lot of things, but apparently Adele isn't one of them after all. Some people say that motherhood is the most important job in the world, and some people find that statement horrifying. Some people believe that abortion is a basic human right, while others consider it murder. The rift is real and important, but it is not infinite. At least we can all be happy for Adele.

It was a lot like last December's coffee cup non-troversy. Nobody was actually offended at having to drink their peppermint lattes from simple red cups without any snowflakes or ice skating penguins, but for a while there, we thought that they were. And why shouldn't we think that? Year after year, people had been getting upset over the lack of public Christmas observances. How were we supposed to know how far they would take it?

But even those people weren't upset about the plain red coffee cups. Conservative Christians quickly began explaining to their confused (and apparently fictional) brethren that this hissy fit wasn't very Christian at all.

It was a beautiful thing. We may disagree about the importance of civil religion, but at least we all agree that Jesus cares more about love and justice than about coffee cups, and this year's cups were really pretty, anyway.

I'm reminded of all this as I watch Donald Trump make a mockery of the electoral process. He may yet become the face of the Republican party, but he will do so against the will of most Republicans.

 My sons and I were trying to get our minds around it last night. It's as though the kids are voting about how to clean the house, and one wants music, one wants silence, one wants to start with the kitchen, one wants to start with the bedrooms. But there are two votes for upending all the trash cans, so that's the strategy with the most votes, even though it's the last thing in the world that most of the voters wanted. 

It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

Point is, something has gone terribly wrong, but that thing is not the American people. The Republican party has gone mad, but (most) Republican voters have not.

 Over and over, I am hearing die-hard conservatives say that they will abandon the party before voting for this madman. 

It's inspiring.

Trump is revealing just how much there is to agree upon.

It turns out that our political system is hackable. An extreme fringe minority is attempting to take over, and through a mathematical fluke, they just might succeed. That's a terrifying thought.

But the American people is still great, and still wants good things, even though we're having a hard time agreeing about the best strategy. 

And that is really good to know.

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