Thursday, December 15, 2016

Further thoughts on Trump's election - Part 1

Recently, my blog has focused primarily on my cancer. However, I've written one post about Trump's victory (http://blog.ethicalmusings.com/2016/11/thoughts-on-trumps-electoral-victory.html).
Consternation over Trump's win seems unabated if not growing. That consternation has several, not mutually exclusive, causes including:
  1. Objections that the Electoral College ignores the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won by almost 3 million votes
  2. Fears that the Trump appointees and policies will trample the rights of women to choose their own healthcare options, discriminate against the LGBT community, implement initiatives that worsen climate change and tear down important environmental safeguards, misunderstand the threats the US faces, favor the rich at the expense of the poor, etc.
  3. Anxiety that Trump's win will directly or even indirectly align itself with a freshly energized white supremacist movement, further exacerbating racial tensions
  4. Concerns that Trump's win points toward a fracturing of the Union, e.g., as liberal, more youthful populations, who live along the coasts find themselves increasingly alienated from older, less affluent, less educated, more conservative populations who live in the nation's broad middle
  5. Trepidation that Trump's election moves the US toward an authoritarian dictatorship, a fear heightened by Trump's repeated and flagrant disregard for facts, the ongoing involvement of his children in both his business and the government, and his evident reluctance to step completely aside from his business interests in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Each of those five factors merits reflection, which I do in the remained of this post and my next two Ethical Musings' posts.
  1. Objections that the Electoral College ignores the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won by almost 3 million votes
First, one function of the Electoral College is to prevent a tyranny of the majority. The substantial disparity between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote points to a growing divide in the US. A nation so divided will not long stand. Changing the Constitution is a lengthy, torturous process that seems unlikely to succeed or, by succeeding, to open the door to further, perhaps less desirable, changes. Instead, we need to bridge the divide. In 1868, 48% of the US population consisted of farmers; today, less than 2% of the population engages in farming.
Politics, according to an ancient adage, is the art of compromise. Our political leaders decreasingly practice that art. Centrists, from both the Republican and the Democrat party, are opting not to run for re-election, leaving Congress comprised of politicians opposed to compromising their hard- right or hard-left principles. The refusal of the Republican dominated Senate to consider President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court in spite of Obama having more than nine months left in his term, exemplifies this move away from compromise.
The answer to this problem lies in not in reforming the Electoral College but in recovering the art of compromise – in terms of a pragmatic ethic – the ability to get along with one's neighbor while respecting both the neighbor's dignity and one's own. In resolving conflict, humility requires acknowledging the possibility that your neighbor, and not you, is correct, or perhaps the preferred option is a third, as of yet undetermined option.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt trump will be a disaster, but if clinton had won in the electoral college but lost the popular vote, would any liberal be calling for electors to change their votes or for the elimination of the electoral college.