Still Trying to Understand 2016 (And Beyond)

I suggest you read the above opinion piece from today’s “New York Times.” I have been trying for the last three plus years to understand the 2016 election, and also the changes occurring in the American electorate. I have bounced around a lot of opinion pieces and articles, even books, but I think this piece comes very close to tying the strings together, at least for me. If you are inclined, give it a read as it is helpful. Maybe what I have written here is some good synthesis – I hope so.

The title is really misleading in that the article is more about what is happening in American communities with immigration, perceived, and real, especially perceived threats due to immigration from Hispanic populations. There is an interesting comment that many of the Trump voters and supporters in the 2016 election were former Democrats that moved to the right in response to perceived threats from immigration, especially Hispanic immigration. I keep trying to understand the American electorate, and I sense there is a great deal of truth to this. The writers also suggest that with the move to the right by traditional Democratic voters feeling threatened by immigration, also resulted in the adoption/support of a host of right wing positions that traditionally have been not supported by Democratic voters and are apt to be inconsistent with traditional working/middle class values. A lot to try to understand and think about. For me, I fear that this is underneath so much of what is going on, not only here, but in other parts of the world too. So much for Christian values I guess, and more for it is “us against them” – kind of makes many of us into hypocrites.

Sometimes, I think I am glad I will not be around for a lot more years. The direction of things is not good, especially if you have a heart. I see struggles and greater migrations over things like clean water, food, and safety. Who can blame any family for trying to get themselves to a place that has food, clean water, and safety. I will forever have the image of that father and his two year old daughter snuggled inside his t-shirt and floating face down in the Rio Grande River this last summer after their failed attempt to cross to safety.

And of course, this is all being exacerbated by climate change (shh – that’s a dirty word and bad science if you accept the right wing position). Problem is, some may not accept the idea due to political bias, but they will be forced to accept the consequences regardless.

I believe we will see greater migrations and dislocations of people due to the effects of climate change and political instability around the world. It seems like there is the potential to be of great assistance to the populations of the world so adversely affected, or there is the potential to react selfishly, build walls, and promote racial prejudices/fears, and try to keep the world out. I don’t like that position – it just does not settle well with me. I may be a lousy Christian, but I do have a heart.

Published by Ed Pirie

I am a Vermonter, been one all my life. That just about tells you all you need to know. I am not much of a follower and like to do my own thinking. I value my family and a quiet existence in a very rural part of Vermont. There is a lot in the world I do not understand. My writing is my attempt to wrap my head around much that is swirling around me. Some time ago gasoline pumps changed to the way they look now. I had stopped to fill my Jeep and I could not get the gas to pump to save my life. I went inside and complained to the attendant. She knew me and said, "Ed, the whole world is changing and if you don't figure out the changes you are going to fall off the earth as it spins around." Well, I am not always successful figuring out the changes, but my writing is my way of working through some of them. I hope you enjoy.

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