Many people (ok, maybe 12 people) have asked me how I feel about this 2016 Election Debacle since Political Scientist is listed amongst my various titles. I usually respond that I am embarrassed and that most in the field are aware the average citizen doesn’t fully understand much about the system. I seldom explain myself completely to anyone these days as communicating my beliefs aren’t 5 minute or even 15 minute conversations. After studying the American Presidency and the roots of our republic, I am at a total loss here. One of the most poignant lessons I’ve learned in life, be it economics, politics, love, happiness, is that what goes up, must come down. Everything is cyclical.
I remained in disbelief for at least part of every day since Clinton conceded. How can this work? They know this won’t work. How can they just let it ride? They can’t just let this ride. It doesn’t work this way, does it? I know I’m not the only one who received the lesson that politicians were at least perceived to be upright citizens. They pay their taxes, they don’t abuse their wives, they don’t tell off-color jokes and they definitely, definitely are calm and cool headed. Take “The Great Gatsby” when Jay Gatsby loses his temper during a quarrel with Tom and simultaneously loses Daisy. Although the scene played by Leonardo Dicaprio is totally different than in the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, the lesson still plays out the same. Dignified upright citizens have even tempers and can always remain calm in the face of conflict. In order to be a leader of the people and the leader of the free world, one must be poised, well spoken, intelligent, a superb communicator and well versed in, well, politics.
So I wrestle with the notion that the rules had to change in order for President Barack Hussein Obama to become who he is today. Those same rules then must no longer apply to the current President-Elect. This isn’t fitting into my circular theory construct as easily as I’d like. For decades we’ve taught and learned that The Bully doesn’t win. He doesn’t win when lightning zaps us back in time. He definitely doesn’t win during prime time either. America has been chastised for our happy ending stories in the past. Have we been set up for failure? The Bully is never supposed to win. I’d much rather believe now that things are looking up for a select few in this moment, that things will come crashing down on their heads after all. As I sit back and watch this all play out I remind myself of the suspected hacking by a foreign government, Clinton has over 2 million more votes according The Hill (thehill.com), Make Democracy Matter (makedemocracymatter.org) has a point, and the fact that this just doesn’t really make any sense to me. So, perhaps it is me, the one who studied the American Presidency & politics for years, who doesn’t understand the system.