I am not a betting kind of person. The first time I bet on something was so that I could reverse-jinx, a one-rupee rosogolla againt India winning against England in the World Cup 83 semi-finals. When I lost the bet, I refused to pay up. Years later, this time because I was actually confident I would win, I bet a coffee on Hillary Clinton with a colleague, confident that I would get a free Starbucks coffee.
This time, being older, I could not cry and get out of my commitment. So I bought the coffee.
Because all through these months, I was absolutely sure that Hillary Rodham Clinton was going to win. Absolutely sure. Blame Nate Silver. Blame the different polls. Blame my faith in data delivered from a pulpit of authority. Most importantly, I had based my belief, and I acknowledge I was wrong, that the cosmic order would give Clinton the presidency, that somehow, to quote Paulo Coelho, when you want something the whole universe conspires to give you it, and boy has Ms. Clinton wanted this. My middle-class upbringing tells me that the studious girl always gets A, the one who has prepared for the test, again and again and again, for the past forty years, and not the hungover bully, smelling of shots and lipstick, who staggers into the exam hall, and scribbles something on his sheet.
And then this happens.
Miley Cyrus is twerking with tears. There are protests everywhere. Racist bullying spikes all over the country. A host on liberal talk radio spends ten minutes conjuring Nazi imagery, before helpfully adding ‘not that I am implying Trump is Hitler and gas chambers will spring up’ (too late sir, too late sir). Stephen Colbert is shellshocked. Trump is not my president. I am ashamed to be American. From op-eds in the major newspapers to Trevor Noah on Comedy Central, the message is the same—the US is at the core a country of racists and misogynists, though I fail to catch the part when it went from the place that elected Obama to this, the underarm of Darth Vader, maybe because no one quite tells me.
I have to react too, because everyone else is. As a brown immigrant US permanent resident, standing at the doorstep of a possible future where supposedly “The Man In the High Castle” is no longer alternate history, but reality, who will be dragged out any time now to be put deported, despite my very legal green card, this is perhaps my last chance to speak.
Oh my dear liberals, of my dear Democrats. If you cared so much about me, about your beloved country becoming the Third Reich, perhaps, well perhaps, you should not have put Hillary Rodham Clinton on the ticket. When your must-win states passes right through the rust belt, historically the portion of your country most ravaged by globalization and the flight of manufacturing jobs to other places, surely, you do not put on the ballot a person who is the anthropomorphism of that very political culture, of free-trade and no import tariffs and of NAFTA, the candidate of Wall Street and high-paid corporate gigs and the ultimate Washington insider, so much an insider that she has actually already been inside the White House. You do not put her on the ticket, when the opponent can legitimately claim not to have been part of the establishment that was responsible for the flight of jobs overseas, neither Democrat nor Republican, and whose principal political message is “I will get those jobs back, I will rip up the treaties, and I will launch a trade war on the countries that took your jobs” (it’s another thing if he will ever do all this, but between him and Clinton, he is the more likely to even try).
And if you do, well, this is what happens.
The numbers are in, dear Democrats, and your own people, did not vote for her. Here is the data. The same people who voted for a Black American did not vote for a White Woman, and if there is one thing I have learned in my years in this country, is that no single group as mistrusted in the country than the black American male. So apparently, the same people who were enlightened enough to vote for a black American male with a Muslim middle-name turned racist bigot misogynist in four years when it came to Hillary, who, lest you forget, ran on promising a third term of Obama’s policies.
Whose fault do you think was that?
Oh I get it. It was the racists. It was the basket of deplorables. It was the homophobes and the rape culture-enablers and the mansplainers and the culture appropriators and the women who would not support women.. See there you see is your problem. While you argue, and rightly so, that the activities of a few Muslims should not make all Muslims terrorists, you forget that very same principle when you generalize the traits of a few Trump supporters to taint all Trump-supporters, denying them their individuality, and the genuineness of own respective circumstances. You, kale-eater and Whole Foods shopper, may think, from the point of view of your “privilege” (it’s a word that cuts both ways, you see) that “pussy grabbing” disqualifies Trump from being a President, but there are others, who surprise of surprises, prioritize the promise of getting their job back over the personal failings of their candidate. There are women, the overwhelming majority of white women as the numbers show, who do not feel that Hillary, the entitled and privileged woman she is, represents their own personal struggles, that her breaking the glass ceiling is just her breaking the glass ceiling and nothing else. Feel free to say they deserve a special place in hell for not supporting a fellow woman, as Madeline Albright had said. Feel free to be creative but remember they get one vote each. Just like you.
So pile on. Call them what you want, use the word “misogynist” or “mansplainer” or whatever-is-the-pejorative-of-the-day as per Slate and Jezebel to tar and feather. But remember this. If someone who wears a costume during Halloween you do not approve of becomes a “racist”, and a supervilliain in an XMen film holding the neck of a female XMen becomes misogyny, what happens is that when the real misogynist and homophobe comes along, like Trump, your labels have lost their edge. Now all it does is it makes people shrug their shoulders and say “Oh well who cares, they say that about everybody nowadays, the PC police”. Worse, being named and shamed drives people underground, makes them reluctant to say what they feel, declaring they are voting Hillary and then voting Trump. Which means you have bad data to go on, and decisions based on bad data…well…we see now what happens.
So keep at it. Refuse to accept him as your President, just like the President refuses to accept climate change. Because, the truth, as you know, bends to your will. Blame the FBI director, as if that was the reason that Hillary lost her own Democratic vote. Keep discussing, on TV, the changing demographics of the US, that makes white voters increasingly redundant. Of course, that won’t lead to a backlash from white voters, and of course, no political operative, would be smart enough to play on that. Keep on foisting uninspiring candidates, on the wrong side of history, on the American public, and try to shame them into voting for that person. Keep doing so.
And it’s not Trump that would have brought the apocalypse.
And I can bet on that.