Friday, November 11, 2016

[The Life of Shaun #541] From one nasty woman to another

Thank you, Madam Secretary.



Fluent
Notes from Adulthood 

Dear Hillary
Nov 11th 2016, 02:46, by noreply@blogger.com (Natasha Watkinson)

Dear Secretary Clinton,

It has been two days since the election results came in and dreams of millions, but yours in particular, were lost.  I can't read any more think piece autopsies of why we failed. I just want to write to you in an effort to convey my respect and sincere gratitude. 

Beyond the appreciation I feel for your decades of public service, it is your perseverance and accomplishments, in the face of divisiveness, misogyny, false claims, and hyperbole that I admire most.  No mere mortal could have maintained their composure and focus the way you have.

I know that self-care, introspection and solitude are needed in moments like these. I hope you are spending time with those whom you love and cherish. I am still rapid cycling through the stages of grief; not quite ready to be the bigger person and accept this defeat.  Unlike you, who demonstrated grace throughout this campaign, especially in the speech you gave just hours after your concession.

I am not a person of faith but in times of loss and despair I turn to my Yoga practice and the bumper stickers of wisdom I have collected over the years-- a mash up of Eastern Philosophy and down home wisdom. One that came up almost immediately for me was 'Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck' attributed to the Dalai Lama.  

It is conjecture to imagine what the next four years would have been like for you. However, I think it is reasonable to suggest that the obstructive actions and hateful rhetoric you, and therefore we, would have had to endure might just have broken us irrevocably. 

As Republicans seem to have taken a particular interest in your demise, long before we sent each other emails, there is no doubt that Donald Trump's supporters, and their elected officials, would not be capable of the gracious reserve you and the majority of your supporters are exhibiting right now.

Your commitment to Democracy is strong enough to step aside, even though you were quantifiably more qualified, dignified, prepared and capable than any other person who aspired for the position. For this, Mrs. Clinton, you are a hero to me and millions of people at home and abroad.

Thank you for being brave, for not backing down to the sexism you have faced in your life. Thank you for being patient with this country. A country which clearly has lessons to learn before it is ready to accept and embrace a woman with your resume to represent us.

With a heavy but hopeful heart, thank you for aspiring to lead us towards a progressive future we are clearly not collectively ready to receive. 

From one nasty woman to another,
 
Natasha Watkinson


It's a personal choiceShaun H. Coley ~ Shadwell ~ Tower Hamlets ~ London E1 ~ UK ~ shaunism.blogspot.co.uk


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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

[The Life of Shaun #540] It's not the end


It will all be OK in the end.  If it's not OK, it's not the end.


Today was not a good day to have an American accent in London.  I tried to stay silent, or at least speak very quietly.  I spent my first years in London having to answer for W, I didn't have the energy to field unanswerable questions about Trump, or explain how the person with the fewest votes will become president, again.

Perhaps it's just the denial stage, but I didn't feel the same devastation today that I did the day after Brexit.  While I love and respect Hillary Clinton, and know she would have been an amazing president, my 11+ years in the UK have detached me considerably from US politics compared to 2008, when Obama was elected.  Perhaps that's because I lived through most of the Bush years in situ, whereas the Obama years passed on the pages of The Economist and the New York Times.

Much like Brexit, the next four years will be very interesting to watch unfold.  We're living through one of those momentous periods that we all learned about in school and wondered what it must've been like to live through such turmoil and change.  It will be fascinating to see which of Trump's election promises, from the ludicrous to the frightening, he fails to deliver on; how (or if) he will explain that to his supporters; and how they will react to it.  I just wish I didn't have such a good seat to the show.




It's hard to think beyond the hurt and disappointment of Brexit and the Trumpquake, but it's important that we do.  Increasing income inequality, decreasing social mobility, diverging educational attainment and life expectancy - these are all symptoms of the failure of Western governments to provide for their people.  How have governments so failed their people that voters rejected the most qualified person ever to run for the President of the United States in favour of a sexual predator?

To me, the most glaring deficiency is in education.  Symbolised by Nixon's 1972 visit to China, America has led the post-WWII world towards an integrated, global economy.  While efficient and prosperous at the macro level, literally lifting hundreds of millions of people out of penury, globalisation has shifted the blend of labour needs from the local level to the international, leaving glaring holes in affected communities.  Over three decades of chasing the fallacy of trickle-down economics has led to a focus on cutting taxes rather than investment in people and infrastructure.  Governments have failed to meaningfully evolve education, leaving most people in the West with an industrial-era education for a flat-white economy.  This is apparent in the shift in voter allegiances; this election wasn't about the culture wars of the Bush years, it was about the winners and losers of globalisation.




I don't believe for a minute this is what united all of Trump's supporters; sexism, racism, xenophobia and two decades of Republicans' Pavlovian training in mistrust of the government all played heavy hands.  But I do know when people are doing well and feel equipped to succeed, they feel much less apprehensive about who's living next door or working in the kitchens at their favourite restaurants.  Every structure, physical or political, relies on its foundations.  Unless we do something to shore ours up, we're going to see more and more of these cracks.  I don't think Brexit or Trump will help this cause, but I hope that they will serve as a warning: we've been here before.  Let's hope this time we can see it.



It's a personal choiceShaun H. Coley ~ Shadwell ~ Tower Hamlets ~ London E1 ~ UK ~ shaunism.blogspot.co.uk ~ #Im
WithHer

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