Ramblings

Trumpland: The Old Fierce Pull of the Blood

It happened. I don’t know if I can really explain it. I don’t want to place blame, at this point that won’t do anyone any good, but I do want to understand how someone as vile as Donald Trump could become the President Elect of the United States of America.

What I heard most was that people were sick of the direction the United States was heading…That confuses me. Direction? Like equal rights? Marriage Equality? Legal Pot? Healthcare coverage for everyone? That direction? Is that the direction we are talking about? Or was it really about safety? Are people so worried about terrorism, black lives mattering, brown people taking “our”jobs, big businesses taking manufacturing jobs overseas, and women having a say about their bodies, that they were willing to take a chance on a man who made promises like a sixth grade ASB election? “We’re gonna have a Coke machine and the teachers are going to pay for it.”

Let’s be honest, it’s easy to make a protest vote when you don’t have anything to lose.

For some reason Faulkner’s short story Barn Burning popped into my head yesterday as I was thinking about this election. Faulkner helps those of us who don’t live in the South understand the South. In the story Abner Snopes is a bit of a southern rascal. He moves from farm to farm doing as little work as possible and when someone in power pushes him into a corner he responds by burning a barn and running away or dragging his horse shit covered boot across an expensive white carpet in the main house. “Wood kin burn” is one of my favorite lines in the story, it foreshadows the final scene and it tells you everything you need to know about Abner…he gets his power from destruction. Let it burn! Why not? He’s got nothing to lose. It’s not his barn. That ain’t his carpet.

Abner’s son knows it wrong to burn the barns and tries to stop him, but he can’t. He feels the “old fierce pull of the blood” but he eventually runs into the darkness to escape the destructive actions of his father. That pull of the blood, the idea that the past holds a promise of greatness, the obedience to the blood of family gives people who are powerless the idea that power was something they had at one time, but it has been taken away from them and they are now victims of the great machine.

If there is one thing I know from experience it is power dynamics and how that works with groups of people, I deal with it every day. People need to feel they have power, the ability to determine their path, and when they feel powerless they will reach out to gain power through destruction. Why do bathrooms get vandalized in schools? It’s the perfect place to destroy something without getting caught. Why do students disrupt classes? Because it meets their power needs. It’s better to get sent to the office than have to analyze Barn Burning‘s connection to modern elections.

I guess I understand that aspect of voting for Trump, a protest vote, a Molotov Cocktail tossed into the White House. Let it burn, you’ve got nothing to lose. Look at the election polling and one thing is clear, my fellow white males are angry. The numbers are shocking and telling. Polls were wrong going into the election because white males couldn’t vote for “that woman” and were willing to vote for someone staggeringly unprepared for the job.  We put all our money on a lame horse with long odds because we had very little to lose.

So, it’s done. Now what to we do? I saw people protesting the results in major cities across the US last night. They are angry. They might be willing to burn some barns too, they have nothing to lose now that Trump is President. I don’t know what to say to them. I will make a promise. I will not stand by quietly and let the United States get pushed back to 1950. I will stand by them when things are difficult. I will be more vocal.

With that said, I also want to give the Donald his chance to be a President of ALL of the United States. I was furious when the republicans announced their goal was to make Obama a one term President and then spent eight years blocking anything that would have assisted the rust belt and built infrastructure. I don’t want to double down on stupid.

But…I hear “wood kin burn.”

 

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14 replies »

  1. A lot is said about the angry white men in regards to this election, but I’m baffled by the angry white women who voted for Trump. My level of understanding can only go so far, so it’s likely better to focus on rebuilding the barns when they get done with the burning.

    • It is puzzling. I don’t understand when people vote against their own interest. I understand voting for the greater good, but I don’t see a lot of good in this situation. We will need some barn builders when we weather this storm. Thanks for dropping in.

  2. It was rigged! Just like stupid said, “Rigged!” I don’t understand how any woman could have voted for him. Maybe drugs or mental incapacitation? The return to the 50’s was my thought. Do women really want to be June Cleavor?4 years of this?

  3. You know the best thing for a whole group of angry, white men…which is exactly what this is planting a seed for? Conflict. Nothing takes cares of anger more than putting a gun in someone’s hand, sending them off to some jungle somewhere and giving them an enemy to kill. Culls the herd. Pulls a stagnant economy (not now, but give him 2 years) out of a recession. Redefines nations. You know what probably would have stopped that? A woman. Because we generally tend to channel our anger or at least internalize it instead of burning the horse WITH the barn.

    This one’s personal for me. My country just elected a man who’s very existence is an affront to everything I stand for. Who’s now legitimate administration is a big, giant Fuck you to American women. Come on, you don’t mind a bit of pussy grabbing, do you?

    I am sick. I am grieving. But even more, I am raging. And right now, I am NOT ready to let him be a president to ALL Americans. I’m ready to set the whole thing alight myself. Just because.

    But ask me tomorrow. Or the tomorrow after that. Or four years of tomorrows later.

    • I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you. I spent a month reassuring people that Trump couldn’t be elected while I traveled. I don’t know how you tell people in Copenhagen that we voted for this clown. I have a lot of friends that think I’m being a sore loser, but we have emboldened the bigots of our nation. Yehaw! I’m sorry.

      • The Danes cried with us and hugged us. They are terrified and flummoxed. A Ukranian friend figures once Trump and Putin go all public with their relationship on the cover of People, Poof, there goes Ukraine. The French think it’s a boost for Le Pen. The Dutch have an election coming up with an alt-right candidate in play. It’s a global fucking nightmare. I’m not being a sore loser. It doesn’t matter to me that my candidate lost. (Ok, it does). But what matters is that I’m not going to to lay down for an authoritarian to chip away at human rights court case by court case. Perhaps if the Germans had done that, we’d all have been better off. Perhaps I’m fooling myself but I feel like I’m on the side of right.

        My non-American friends keep hoping–but the checks and balances! They say. They’re gone I say. Poof. Like the possible outcome of Ukraine.

  4. I love this piece, Jon. I am stil stunned and heading for numb. Not sure how long that will last for me, but I’ll be damned if I’ll stand by mutely and let discrimination, bigotry, misogyny, and just plain “stupid” gain the upper hand in this nation. It’s my country, too!

    Oh, and Hillary won the popular vote? Makes me a little less crazy knowing my peeps are the majority. 😏

  5. “The Old Fierce Pull of the Blood.” That’s a great title. I’m terrible at titling my own posts, but I know a great title when I see one, and that’s a great title.

    I am one of the angry white males that is being talked about. I’m an extremely pissed off white male. Also, I voted. And I voted for the white female democrat, because I don’t like predatory, narcissistic, vengeful, shallow, inarticulate con-artists, and I don’t want one running my country. I don’t even like this country all that much, but I damn sure don’t want it run by a tyrant. We white folk (from Europe mostly) came over here, killed a lot of natives, tugged along a lot of slaves along behind us, fought wars with our neighbors to the north and south and Across The Pond, then retreated amongst ourselves until we had another good reason to start fighting with pretty much anyone we thought we could beat, despite our grandiose ideas of how wonderful and kind we were, and now we all watch a lot of tv while hired hands kill for us at home and abroad. I’m embarrassed and enraged, I’m fearful of the tyranny a Trump regime will bring, and I feel the world has changed as of 11/8 way more than it did on 9/11. Trump is the demagogue our founding fathers feared. They tried to protect us from him, and they pretty much succeeded for 240 years. Unfortunately, these kinds of firewalls only work so long as we agree to them. We seem to have disregarded them. And you can be sure Trump will continue hack away. Also, I might have been drinking a bit. But am I wrong? No, we have a huge shit storm ahead. Good luck to us. We’ll need it.

    • Thanks Walt. Drinking while commenting is what we should all be doing after this election. Your feelings mirror mine. I’m American by birth, but I think my humanness should take precedence over any nationalistic ideals. Your comment reminds me of one of my favorite albums of all time: Amused to Death by Roger Waters…I’ve been listening to it a lot recently. It was about 25 years too early, but it still hits the bullseye for me. Good luck to you too Walt. Cheers.

  6. It will take some time before we understand what has happened. I hope you will revisit this post next year and do another insightful update! In the meantime, I very much appreciated President Obama’s press conference on November 14th. He pointed out that electioneering is not the same as governing and that when one becomes President, the strictures of the office and what the president actually can and can’t do, will impose themselves.

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