Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Seventy-Five Percent

Well, well.  The last few weeks have been quite a headache indeed, or to say it in Spanish, dolor de cabeza.  I hope that snatch of foreign language managed to burst a few blood vessels in some of the redneck types who voted for Trump.  What is interesting is that many media mouthpieces (including a number in the alt-media who should know better) are painting Trump's capture of the White House as some sort of populist phenomenon.  Such spewings are typical of people who can't do basic math and who find facts to be inconvenient.  If you find yourself in that crowd, let me help you out tonight.  I'm going to give you a few straight-up numbers.

First, the number of people of voting age in the United States was 247,773,709 in July 2015, according to the Federal Register.  Of this number, 62,210,612 popular votes so far went to Trump.  That means that Trump is the choice of only 25.1 percent of all people of voting age.  Secondly, Hillary Clinton leads Trump in the popular vote by over 2 million persons. Third, there are widespread reports of voter suppression in many of the states which Trump "won."  (See this, this, this, this and this for instance.)  Note also the huge contradiction between exit polls and "official" vote tallies in the first source cited in the parentheses.  This means that if the election had actually been a fair and accurate representation of the will of the people of the United States, Hillary Clinton would likely have won by a decisive margin.  Trump is not particularly popular; therefore his capture of the White House is not a populist phenomenon, but a sign that the arch-narcissist Trump and his backers have taken a dump on the electoral process.  Goodbye, democracy.  It was a nice illusion while it lasted.

Now comes the reckoning for the mess these people have begun to make.  And I already have some idea of the kind of mess they are likely to make.  I am thinking particularly of a parable from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, namely, the parable of the unrighteous judge, who is described thus: "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man."  It is interesting to note these two characteristics of the judge: first, that he refused to acknowledge any moral restraint higher than himself to which he was answerable ("a judge...who did not fear God..."); and secondly, that he refused to acknowledge any relational restraint by which he might be bound in his dealings with others ("a judge...who did not respect man...").  The characteristic of many people who are like this judge is that although they don't acknowledge moral or relational restraints, they do at first recognize and acknowledge what I call "technical" restraints - that is, the restraints imposed on them by physical reality itself.  But as they continue in their career of evil, they cease to recognize even these restraints.  That process has already begun in Trump and company, ever eager to emphasize their feelings over actual facts.

A day may come, however, when they come to appreciate the following lines from Tolkien: "I wish I had known all this before," said Pippin. "I had no notion of what I was doing."  "Oh yes, you had," said Gandalf. "You knew you were behaving wrongly and foolishly; and you told yourself so, though you did not listen. I did not tell you all this before, because it is only by musing on all that has happened that I have at last understood, even as we ride together. But if I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart."  Or, to put it another way, the outworkings of damnation do eventually catch up with every soul or nation that insists on being damnable.

Meanwhile, I ought to explain my absence from blogging over the last few months.  It has been partly because of busy-ness, partly because after finishing grad school, the thought of sitting in front of a computer has been mildly distasteful.  But the biggest reason has been that as I have watched the unfolding of events in the United States over the last few months, it has seemed that the best use I could make of my time was to devote myself to prayer.  I still feel that way.  However, I may also blog some more in the next few months - particularly about some concrete steps I will be taking to help disadvantaged people who must live in the age of Trump.  One thing I won't be doing is buying anything for Christmas.  Feel free to join me in a year-end shopping boycott if you'd like.  You'll save yourself quite a bit of holiday stress!

I also intend to practice as much non-violent, passive resistance as possible.  Maybe I'll make a bumper sticker which reads, "I BELONG TO THE 75%."  Feel free to join me in passive resistance, if you feel so led.


Aimee said...

I am glad to see (read) you again. I would love your suggestions for purposeful action. I've been doing what I can think of - becoming a member of the SPLC and the ACLU; donating to planned parenthood, etc - and have formed a small group of local people devoted to encouraging each other and enabling each other in action. For example, we have hosted a few "letter writing brunches" where we eat and write letters to the editor and letters to various offices of law enforcement and government. Been to a few marches. Wrote a rant on my blog. Using the opportunity to teach my children how important it is to participate in the political process. But beyond that, I'm stumped. I feel terribly helpless and disheartened.

TH in SoC said...

Hello Aimee! Glad to hear from you again also. I just wrote a new post titled, "A Thinking Cap for Resisters." It contains links to resources for people interested in nonviolent resistance. In the very limited research I have done on the subject, I have discovered sources who have proven that nonviolent resistance is more than twice as likely to succeed as violent resistance. Nonviolent resistance works particularly well by removing sources of legitimacy from a powerful oppressor. I will be writing more on this subject in the next few weeks, God willing.