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Archive for the tag “US elections”

Protesting against US president-elect Trump

There are reports in the media about people protesting in the streets against the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA Thousands take to the streets to protest Trump win –

They chanted anti-Donald Trump slogans. They flooded city streets. They gathered near the White House, disheartened and dismayed. Not my President, not today, many across the nation yelled. In cities from Boston to Los Angeles, thousands of demonstrators gathered Wednesday night in protest of election results that mean the billionaire real estate developer will be the next president.

And American online friend, Paul Ilechko, responded on Facebook as follows:

I voted for Hillary Clinton, and I’m upset that she lost and the orange baboon won, but I don’t understand why people are out in the streets protesting against democracy. Once he’s actually president and does something evil, that will be the time to protest. Doing it now makes you look like a jerk and a sore loser. And it perpetuates all the stereotypes that conservatives have of liberals (my emphasis).

I agree with him.

trump-protestProtesting against his election makes it look like you are protesting against democracy, and besides, most politicians don’t actually fulfil most of their election promises. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. So the advice to wait until he’s actually president and does something evil seems good to me.

Also, protesting against the mere election of a person seems to be anticipating evil actions that may or may not occur, and by the time something evil does happened, the public will be satiated with the protest and will think the protesters are just crying “wolf!”

Those who feel inclined to protest at Trump’s mere election, as opposed to any evil he may do when he is actually president, should read this — The sneering response to Trump’s victory reveals exactly why he won | Coffee House:

This response to Trump’s victory reveals why Trump was victorious. Because those who do politics these days — the political establishment, the media, the academy, the celeb set — are so contemptuous of ordinary people, so hateful of the herd, so convinced that the mass of society cannot be trusted to make political decisions, and now those ordinary people have given their response to such top-down sneering and prejudice.

Oh, the irony of observers denouncing Middle America as a seething hotbed of hatred even as they hatefully libel it a dumb and ugly mob. Having turned America’s ‘left behind’ into the butt of every clever East Coast joke, and the target of every handwringing newspaper article about America’s dark heart and its strange, Bible-toting inhabitants, the political and cultural establishment can’t now be surprised that so many of those people have turned around and said… well, it begins with F and ends with U.

And the biggest irony of all is that in America these cultured despisers of the masses as “a basket of deplorables” are often thought of and spoken of as “the Left”.

No doubt some of Trump’s supporters are racist and sexist, and some have and will engage in violent acts against members of minority groups. But protesting against Trump’s election is not likely to deter such behaviour. What might be more effective would be to urge Donald Trump himself to publicly condemn such behaviour. For good or ill, Donald Trump has been elected president of the USA. It would be better to urge him to good rather than to condemn him for ill that hasn’t happened yet.

The One Ring

People have often discussed the symbolism of the rings of power in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Some have tried to interpret the story allegorically, an approach that Tolkien himself rejected, and the question keeps cropping up.

Someone recently asked, in a Tolkien newsgroup:

Assuming Sauron’s fears would have come true, and Aragron had brought the Ring to Minas Tirith.

What could he have done with it?  Or did Sauron consider the unexpected appearance of the Army of the Dead as something that Aragorn had done with the Ring?

It seems to me that even attempting to answer that question would indicate that one had missed a central point of the story. Nevertheless, people do ask such questions, and there seems to be no adequate way of responding to them.

But the other day someone posted a graphic on Facebook relating to the elections taking place in the USA later this year, which seems to be an excellent response:


It says quite a lot about the US elections, and it says quite a lot about The Lord of the Rings. At least that it how it seems to me, writing from 10000 miles away from the US, in South Africa.

Of course it assumes familiarity with the plot of The Lord of the Rings, and it also assumes a certain degree of familiarity with US politics, and the different approaches taken by different candidates. Not being American, I rely on those online quiz thingies to tell me which candidates come closest to my way of thinking, and one of them told me that I side 94% with Bernie Sanders on most 2016 Presidential Election issues. Hilary Clinton came second. But the graphic summarises quite nicely the difference between them, if one is familiar with The Lord of the Rings, and it also, if one is at all familiar with the positions taken by the candidates and their supporters on various issues, helps to make the significance of the ring in the plot of the book clearer.

So one small graphic can help to clarify a political question, of who to vote for in an election, and a literary question of the meaning of a central artifact in a well-known novel.


American elections: rhetoric and reality

The American general election is difficult to avoid on the Internet, as people are discussing it everywhere. As the election has drawn closer, the rhetoric has tended to become more and more intemperate, and I was tending to judge the merits of the candidates by the nastiness of their supporters, and blogged about it here.

But that is not the best way of becoming aware of the issues, or what the candidates stand for.

And then this came up on my Facebook thingy (I’m not sure if it’s a “wall” or a “timeline” or a “status”, but if you’re on Facebook you’ll know what I mean). It comes from an Orthodox priest — no names, no packdrill. I’m sure he is not ashamed of saying such things, but I am embarrassed for him.

Inspired by the comments of David French, in The Christian Post:
This election presents perhaps the clearest moral contrast of my adult life.

On one side is a candidate who is pro-life, and defends religious liberty. As governor of one of America’s most liberal states, he vetoed expanded access to the so-called “morning after” abortion pill and vetoed a bill permitting embryonic stem cell research, and was awarded by Citizens For Life for his prolife leadership.

On the other side is an incumbent who is radically pro-abortion (even supporting taxpayer funding of abortion), and has launched a frontal assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience. After promising his healthcare plan would not include abortion, his administration redefined “preventative care” (which means to screen for diseases, such as cancer) to include contraception (as if pregnancy is a *disease*); he then redefined “contraception” to include abortion drugs (so his healthcare plan would require abortion coverage), and finally, his administration redefined “religious exemption” such that churches will be forced to pay for this murder of children.

On the one side is a candidate who supports marriage, both by policy and by personal example. In the battle for marriage, Maggie Gallagher, founder of the National Organization for Marriage, writes: “Mitt Romney didn’t just oppose court-ordered same-sex marriage with words, he fought hard, including behind the scenes.” On the other side is an incumbent who refused, as Chief Law Enforcement Agent in the Nation, to defend the federal law DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act (signed by Bill Clinton), and who recinded military policies in favor of a homosexual agenda, and who has come out publicly in favor of same sex “marriage.”

I’m not sure that political candidates in a democratic election present a moral choice that is that clear and simple, so I did a Google search for one of those quiz thingies that present you with policies of election candidates, and then tell you who comes closest to your moral choices.

I found several such quizzes, and did four of them.

One told me I should suppport Barack Obama, clearly and unequivocally.

Another said that I should support the Democrats and/or the Libertarians, as they fitted the bill equally.

The other two said I should support Jill Stein.

Jill who?

I had to Google to find out who she was.

It turns out she’s the leader of the Green party.

This is what one of the quizzes said:

I thought that that was also the best quiz, and you can see more about it here.

It has simple Yes/No questions, but if you want something more nuanced, it will show you more possibilities.

Of course I’m not American, and the things that are important to me might not be as important to those who live in the USA, and vice versa.

For what it’s worth, I answered the quiz from a strongly “pro-life” point of view. I marked the “pro-life” questions as “most important” to me — abortion, capital punishment, embryonic stem-cell research and the war in Iraq — and indicated that I was strongly against them all.

Of course in the interpretive summary, those are not all classified together as “pro-life”, but are divided between social, domestic, foreign and science policies.

But one thing I am sure of is that this election does not present the “clearest moral contrast” of anybody’s adult life.

The issues are not black and white, but varying shades of grey.

The greatest mistake would be to think that the election of one of the candidates would be a great triumph, or that the election of another would be an unmitigated disaster. Such an attitude indicates a kind of political messianism that is unbecoming for Christians, to say the least. “Put not your trust in princes.”

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