ELDER MUSIC: A Little Glass of Wine
U.S. Election Day 2016

Nothing Else is Important This Week

With close to zero exceptions, every post on this blog for 15 years has been about ageing. I've broken that rule a few times toward the end of this presidential campaign because I don't think, in the nearly 15 year life of this blog, anything more important has happened in the United States and, possibly, the world.

So again today, and probably for the rest of this week, TGB will be about the 2016 election. It is that important. Whatever the outcome tomorrow, political life in the United States is now irrevocably changed - we just don't now how things will be different yet.

For going on two years, we have lived on a daily political diet of misogyny, racism and xenophobia from one of the candidates along with all the worry and terrible feelings that diet engenders.

I had a paragraph here recounting a couple dozen of the most loathsome things Donald Trump has exposed us to and I even dropped that word we're not supposed to say that begins with an "f" (the political one) but then I ran across Andrew Sullivan's story about his fear for the country. Here is a bit of his introduction beginning with the thought that "an accurate account of the past year...

"...is that an openly proto-fascist cult leader has emerged to forge a popular movement that has taken over one of the major political parties, eroded central norms of democratic life, undermined American democratic institutions, and now stands on the brink of seizing power in Washington...

"I find myself wondering if I have lost my marbles. It seems far too melodramatic...there are times in discussions with friends when the catastrophic scenarios we’ve been airing seem like something out of a dystopian mini-series designed for paranoids.

"Please, therefore, discount the following as the product of an excitable outlier if you see fit. I sure hope you’re right. But as it seems more evident by the day that Donald Trump could very well become the next president of the United States, it is worth simply reiterating the evidence in front of our nose that this republic is in serious danger."
You might agree with Sullivan or not - maybe he is right that he is an "excitable outlier" making melodrama of our predicament but I'm not so sure. I urge you to read his piece at New York magazine. Whichever person wins tomorrow, his words will be relevant in the days and years to come.

Somewhere on television over the weekend, I heard it said that for the rest of our lives (more important to young people than you and me, I suppose, but you get the point) we will be asked how we voted in 2016. And if Donald Trump becomes president, the next question will be about what we did – each of us - when the very principles of American democracy were challenged.

Elsewhere, Keith Olbermann has resurfaced during this election campaign after a years-long exile on some obscure TV channel. He is profane and sometimes irritating but I had not realized how much I have missed his bombastic version of righteous anger and indignation.

In his new-ish video show called The Closer on the GQ magazine YouTube channel, here is Olbermann on the crucial importance of Tuesday's election:

As he said, vote in defense of your birthright and our democracy.

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: The New York Times executive editor announced yesterday that the paper is making their digital platform available for free to everyone for today, Tuesday and Wednesday. So if you are usually constrained at the Times website by the 10-article-per-month limit, that won't be this short election period.

Comments

Right on. Crazy Keith stays the course. I still believe there is goodness in the American public and Hillary wins. Our fourth estate has dropped the ball. Yes, close and investigate the NY office of the FBI and investigate. Yes, the Hatch Act has been violated over and over. Why isn't the Trump "Foundation" under investigation? Love your brave blog.

I'm now 70, and have been politically aware and most of the time politically active, since I was 16. Now with events here in the UK around the EU and in the US with the unedifying spectacle that is Trump I have never been so depressed about the future as now, even only in the short term. I find thinking about the longer term almost too painful.

As you say, whatever happens tomorrow, the world has changed. Even so, and despite the chaos that a Clinton win is likely to trigger from disgruntled Trump supporters, for me the choice is clear. Trump is too dangerous, too unstable and too vile a man to be allowed anywhere near public office.

I hope, for all our sakes, that America wakes up tomorrow and denies him the Presidency.

Horror and sympathy at what is going down here. We, in Canada, are appalled and yes, terrified.

Keith Olbermann is a misogynistic bully. He was the one who said, on air, years ago that HRC should be hauled off to a room by a man and only the man should emerge.

I've never forgotten that. He is part of this whole beat up HRC radical, violent segment that is now terrorizing US democracy.

XO
WWW

This election season has been a real eye-opener for me. I thought we had come so much further than we evidently have. I had no idea the hatred was so close to the surface and so wide spread. Tragic only if we move backwards. If we can use this as a spur to press forward, maybe it will have been worth it.

Will be watching elections returns with a bottle of champagne waiting on my left, cyanide capsules on my right. As Michael Bloomberg so eloquently declared at the DNC, "G-d help us."

The unhinged response to the election of Obama made it impossible for honest people to deny that racism is still virulent throughout every part of America.

What is stunning to me is how clueless I was about the even greater virulence and omnipresence of misogyny throughout America. The fact that Cheeto Benito is even allowed on the same stage with Hillary shows how stark the double standard is -- anyone with a hangy-down thing is presumptively a serious candidate, while the penis-lacking candidate is accused, in all seriousness, of witchcraft and murders.

It is often said that the Founders feared democracy and mob-rule, and worried that the people would figure out that they could just vote for pie in the sky. Turns out, the common rabble are the best among us in this regard -- they don't expect much and vote for people who talk seriously about real problems. The people who vote for free lunches and bizarro math are the elites in the GOP who insist that government be run like a mob racket with them as the capos, and who go to war against the fundamental idea of democracy with utter brazenness. I don't know if we survive this experience.

The "Great Compromise" in Philadelphia is rarely recognized for what it was --- the Great Compromise that let the Slavers determine the course of America for centuries, as they are still determining it. The Senate is encased in carbonite and cannot be amended out, so Wyoming and Kentucky's two senators each have the same weight as California and New York's, so there are precious few tools that a President Hilz can use to put democracy back into operation.

We definitely need a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the unhindered right to vote, along with universal registration and suffrage, abolition of all lifetime bans on voting for felons, and universal all-mail balloting so that one's ability to vote is not determined by whether one can wait in lines for hours and hours. None of these may be sufficient to save a TV-saturated country who has learned from birth that all problems can be solved by attractive people within 22 minutes, but it seems like all are necessary.

Thanks for the heads up with the NYT. I'm just trying to remember to breathe. I'm not usually an excitable person but this election I find myself wishing for a paint ball gun when I see T***P stickers on peoples' car. May we cure ourselves of this madness soon but I think we have a battle on our hands. There are a lot of state offices in hot races here too. I am hoping we replace the obstructionists in great enough numbers to matter.

Thank you for this post. I've been so depressed about this election process and the Republican candidate, it was nice to hear crazy Keith say 'get mad' rather than 'be sad'.

I borrowed Keith's rant from you and posted it on FaceBook. I don't care if Keith is profane as this election has elicited a few choice words from me, too.

It is still unbelievable to me that nearly half the population (if the polls are correct) are going to vote for a dangerous fool. It is so obvious that this lying braggart has NO virtues or the ability to lead a marching band, much less a country. Yet people, in their ignorance, will follow this Pied Piper over the cliff.

He has managed to show the stupidity of so many citizens that don't even know there are three branches of government and what their responsibilities are. And he has managed to make a mockery of Democracy. He has caused rifts among friends and families and of the country.

I am sickened by what the Republican party in their desire to win at all costs has done to this country. I am so afraid for the U. S.

Since the NYTimes digital edition is available to all, I hope everyone will read Paul Krugman's column on the Opinion page, "How to Rig an Election."

Our very democracy is at stake. In closing he says,

"...if she wins it will be thanks to Americans who stood up for our nation’s principles — who waited for hours on voting lines contrived to discourage them, who paid attention to the true stakes in this election rather than letting themselves be distracted by fake scandals and media noise.

Those citizens deserve to be honored, not disparaged, for doing their best to save the nation from the effects of badly broken institutions. Many people have behaved shamefully this year — but tens of millions of voters kept their faith in the values that truly make America great."

I heartily agree and hope she does win.

I'm sorry to see Keith Olbermann is still around; I was glad to see him disappear. We don't need angry, loud, in-your-face personalities setting examples for the rest of us. Unfortunately, Trump has for months legitimized and encouraged the very worst in our society, and I fear we will be months or years getting it back under the rock from whence it came.

Hate to dispute your headline, but honestly, Veterans's Day is pretty important too. I get the gist of your message, though. Tomorrow is a major event - though the choices at the presidential level and at other state offices (in Pennsylvania) are represented with real "no-choice" or "look-alike choices." It's a sad state of affairs.

What shocks and dismays me perhaps most is the discouraging number of voters who are
totally uncomprehending. HOW anyone can consider casting a ballot for this demagogic, self-centereduninformed man who has little or no knowledge of government and how it works (or alas, fails to work) and who is beyond all else a pathological liar who doesn't know WHAT he really thinks, changes his positions daily ad infinitum?

I understand that many people are hurting, and hopeful for change. Yes, change, but NOT with this guy ~

Someone in the Bible exhorts us to "pray without ceasing." Believe me, I am, and have been.

It must be remembered that, even in some bizarre world where Trump wins, he still will not have dictatorial powers.
We still will have a congress that is answerable to the American people and a Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution.
Oh, wait. The majority of the congress is Republican and the Supreme Court is a man short and will likely be filled by one of Mr. Trumps cronies if he wins.
Oh well, America was nice while it lasted.

I agree with other commenters here who cringed at the Keith Olberman inclusion, but the Sullivan article was not bad. However, I have grown very weary of what Dr. Laura Schlesinger used to call "horribilizing." Jumping to worst case scenarios and announcing the fall of the sky is not helpful in restoring confidence or trust or hope, or pretty much anything positive and constructive, whether the words used are based in fact or fiction.

Perhaps I am naive, but I still believe that sanity and Hilary Clinton are going to prevail, and that, as happened with the changing of the millennium nearly 17 years ago, when so many people thought that chaos and breakdown of civilization were inevitable and neither happened, life will go on basically as it has been (thought that's not necessarily good news, either).

I wish I felt more warm and fuzzy about HRC, but I don't, and honestly, never have. Still, I have supported her financially, on social media, and at the polls, and am placing in her my hope for the country's future. A Trump presidency, along with the cabinet he has announced, feels too dreadful to contemplate. The thought of it has been evoking, for me, images of the reign of Henry VIII and other dark periods of history.

I will be a first-time election judge tomorrow, and am looking forward to it with both dread and curiosity. May the Force be with us!

I had heard of Keith before but this is the first time I heard him. Due to his profanity I won't share it to my FB.

I'm already so nervous that I don't know if I can watch election results tomorrow.

Keith's rant? Language aside, I prefer it over what has been coming out of Trump's mouth for months , this credo of hate, that a few years ago would have had him arrested. Perhaps we wouldn't be in this mess if the responsible parties had given out with righteous indignation instead of discounting the man as clown. In this thick hate-ridden time, I am glad for Keith's rant (cringing though I may at a few too many profanities) that gave release from the despair I've been feeling for what's happened... for what has been allowed to happen and not the least those who did nothing to stop it!

I'm an old lady and I'm scared witless... Truly frightened that half of our population think and feel like this less than inhuman person and have such ignorance or disregard of history.

I'm with Carolyn K. in marveling that ANYONE could vote for Herr Drumpf regardless of how disaffected and angry they may be. HOW can they believe that a billionaire (or maybe a mere millionaire, who knows?), narcissist, racist, sexist, vulgar locker room bully--who aspires to be the Carnival Barker in Chief--represents them? If he wins, I echo Bruce C.: America was nice while it lasted (especially if one happened to be born white and male).

I am totally ready for this election to be over. I hope that whoever wins (please, let it be Clinton, flaws and all!) will act to shorten the campaign season to 6 weeks or less. The entire past year has been a contest of endurance not only for the candidates but for the voters, as well. I voted early by mail--and I'm SO done!

I have never been so frightened since my "duck and cover" days in grade school!
Yet I must hold onto my belief that there will be a tomorrow and that the grand idea of American democracy will prevail despite its many flaws. We urgently need to reform campaign finance so that money is not the main driver of the electoral process and the power structure of our country. And (wishful thinking), how about a constitutional amendment to ban hate speech from campaigns?

I side with Ronni and others when it comes to Keith Olbermann. He is indeed a misogynist, but his righteous indignation and anger, as Ronni labels them, are very welcome to me in my present state of panic. As a strong feminist who has spent a lot of her life working for feminist causes, one would think I would feel constant pain at the sound of Olbermann. But I too have missed him.

Having said that, I wonder how many of you think about how very very LONG this terrible campaign period has been. Occasionally I talk to friends and colleagues about it - and we all have stories. It has hit us over and over again in the gut. And as to the rigged aspect of the election - Paul Krugman's piece in today's Times is absolutely right on.

But another thing is that it is not only Trump et al. who have terrified me from Day One. It is the increasingly awful Democratic fundraisers who, for a while at least, had me at a point of such panic at their dire predictions [--if I did not immediately give them all my money to save the day--], that I felt ill. None of us can know what will happen - many people will say they "believe" it will all turn out all right -- in a sort of related way to all the climate change deniers who say they don't "believe" in it. None of us knows! We sit here and shiver, and I, for one, having now voted, having - yes - contributed - have not a clue what to do. I feel helpless. We are, indeed, all helpless until the results are in.

I am, it's true, a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist. But I have never hoped so hard that I am wrong. Unlike what feels like a huge segment of the population, I actually like Hillary Clinton, I admire her mind, her spirit, her bravery -- I know that she was right when she spoke of the "vast Republican conspiracy" that was trying to do her [and Bill] in. She has for so many years and with such intensity been given such a hard time, with the attacks on her so longlasting and intense, that most of the rest of the world assumes she is evil - perhaps they believe that she should have graciously stepped aside and given Bernie the floor. [The Man vs. the woman??]

She is a lot better person, I contend, than we have been made to believe. So, more power to her. If she wins, my fervent hope, I know full well that she will make decisions and say things I disagree with, but frankly, I think she is just fine. And I hope I survive this horrible period of time long enough to see opinions of her moving in a more positive direction. Think of how contemptuously Michelle Obama was treated for awhile - and how positively she is seen now. Two smart women. I wish both of them success - and I wish them well.

IF, that is, we somehow are soon rid of Trump and his ilk.

I come to you for sanity in an insane world. I am just as hysterical and I am just as distraught - this is not my America anymore.

There is no policy. There is only slime. I want to be reveling in anticipation of a woman in the Oval Office; instead, I am wallowing in 1930's Germany.

No, I don't think I'm hysterical. I think, as Santayana, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Regardless of who wins tomorrow, it is a very sobering thought that so many citizens of our nation--the UNITED States of America--are ready to follow an ersatz and hateful Pied Piper off a very steep cliff. Mr. Drumpf has presented NO plans, NO strategy, NO governing philosophy other than he will "make America great again". How will he do that, other than by cutting taxes on the uber-rich? We don't know and, scarier yet, I don't think he does either. He does NOT represent those he purports to represent. Unfortunately, they do not understand that and we will all suffer for it if he wins.

He. cannot. become. President.

result expected with anxiety in France, horrified by the number of Trum's supporters !

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