I see people responding to the widespread despair and fear on social media with a positive message of strength and unity. Thank you to these people for responding in a positive fashion, and looking for what we can do to improve our world.
However I personally disagree with the idea of ‘unity’ on a national level being a solution. Take a look at this:
As it was in 2008 and ‘12, the map shows not red and blue states, as the media (due to the electoral college) talk about, but blue cities, and red rural areas. We should be starting to accept that there is not one America, there are two, and that this is ok. I talk frequently about ‘foot voting’, which is the idea that people can express their political preferences by moving to places that are are a better match for them. This has been happening for a while here, and around the world, younger more educated and liberal people are moving to the cities. When they join together in these cities, they change the cites to be closer to their ideal, through the local political process.
So, what should be done about our federal government? Which does have a large impact on us, even those of us in the cities? Well, I believe that a better result for ‘America’ as a whole, and certainly the cities, would be to reduce the power of the national government, to allow cities to diversify, and provide various options for people to vote with their feet. I provide several links talking about this idea in comments to this post below.
Does this mean we are ‘abandoning’ the poor folks in red areas to their terrible fate? No. I have seen some very disappointing articles linked on social media about how third party voters are operating out of white privilege, etc. If we only were at risk of the ‘consequences’ of a Trump presidency we couldn’t vote for anyone but Clinton. In my mind this is exactly the attitude that has gotten us here. That we only have two choices, and we all have to fall in line with one or the other, due to how scary the other side is! The fact of the matter is that to a large extent already, LGBT, people of color and others are already refugees from the red areas. Is this fair? That people should have to leave their houses, families, etc to go to the cities to be safe/express themselves? No of course not. I believe that everyone should respect each other for their beliefs, and be able to live free wherever they are. However this is not reality, and though I hope it will be reality in the future, it will surely be a slow process. How will this process take place? I believe it will be through competition between the cities and the rest of the world. This is how progress has always been made, people that believe in a better life going to a new area, making it theirs, and proving that it is a better way. See also my separate comment below about the rights of ‘red people’ to live as they please. (‘Red people’ of course being a label for people who voted for Trump, red on the map, nothing further is meant by the term)
So, we should work on unity at a local level. Act to make this city the best it can be. Welcome the refugees, provide them safety and a hope for a better future. And if you agree with me about an idea for a better world being a less powerful federal government, work to provide open immigration into your city from the rest of the country as well as the world. Will life here in Seattle become less safe for the people Trump attacked in his speeches, and threatens to do in in policies? I hope not! I hope that we can prevent that, but if it does seem to be happening here, let us gather together and fight it. And even Seattle today (yesterday) as we all know is nowhere near a safe place yet for marginalized people, there is much work still to be done here already.
Freedom of red folks to live as they want to: The flip side of this, is to try and think about what the red areas are asking for. They went out and voted for Trump for a reason, their own reasons, and who are we to say that they are wrong. Trump seems to me to be a misogynist, and a dangerous person to women. I have a reaction that I should protect all the women of America by voting against him, to prevent him from coming to power. But, 62% of non-college educated white women voted for Trump. By voting against him I actually tried to overrule their stated wishes! I don’t believe in forcing my views on people, and a national election is just that: Me trying to force my views on a whole lot of people who don’t agree with me. I would much rather people in red areas that voted for the policies they desire be allowed to have them, even if the election had gone the other way!
Cities as a term: A city is currently the example of a progressive place in America, and also seems to me to be the future, for economical, cultural, and environmental reasons. However, I do not mean that rural places can’t also be progressive, or that rural places should not be able to take autonomy in a political sense. So I use cities here as a term to mean a self governed group of people. I hope that other places will also be able to self govern if we set up a system of government that would allow it.
Unity locally and tolerance: So what of those people who voted red right next to us, our neighbors and family, etc.? I think as progressive people, we already are aware of the value of inclusion and respect, but these trying times ahead will of course be challenging. They have “won” our national election, and we will have to forgive them some gloating, but do not need to accept their strategic attempts to take the national position of strength and use it locally. Respect, but not passivity!
And a great counterpoint to the conventional narrative from WaPo called Election maps are telling you big lies about small things. Which I feel mostly reinforces what I say above.