The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Results and how to deal with them

It is wintertime, and the fish are not jumping—fish being entirely too sensible to that sort of thing at this time of year—the cotton is not high, although I am sure there are many who would disagree with me; there is a certain countercultural quality to cotton that one does not associate with such bourgeois fabrics as nylon or burlap; and Hillary Clinton is not the President-elect of this our Great Republic, which has the snowflakes in a bit of a tizzy.  They are blocking the streets, as snowflakes are wont to do, and they are refusing to acknowledge the results of the late election and demanding that the Electoral College refuse to elect Mr. Trump. The snowflakes are quite vociferous with their demands and have even taken to smashing windows in Oregon and playing with Play-Doh and petting therapy dogs to get their way. Now, I believe that there is nothing wrong with refusing to acknowledge reality; I have done it myself on more than one occasion. I remember the 2004 American League Championship Series, for example, where I could not make myself believe that the Yankees had blown a three game lead to the Red Sox and then spent much of 2005 refusing to believe that such a thing had actually occurred (I’m still not sure I believe it entirely, but I have stopped screaming at people who tell me that Boston won that year. Time heals all wounds…almost).  And I have spent the better part of forty years refusing to acknowledge that I could really stand to lose about thirty pounds, and I will thank you not to remind me of the fact, but the thing of it is this: I haven’t rioted in the streets because I didn’t get my way. I didn’t break any windows, I didn’t set fire to anything, I understood that life would go on.
I understood this in 2004, and I understand this now, because I know that there is something called objective reality. Objective reality, for the vast numbers of people who have apparently never heard of it, is that which exists independent of oneself.  There is such a thing, despite the best efforts of French philosophers to convince us all otherwise. Asia, for example, is there whether or not I have ever seen it myself or been there to affirm its existence. Asia does not need my affirmation in order to exist and the billions of people who live there do not care whether or not I accept the concept of Asia at all. Asia just is and my refusal to accept Asia’s existence does not change the fact that Asia is still there. 

Similarly, in the United States there is an institution called the Electoral College. It is an excellent institution—the menu could use some updating, though—and as venerable as few things are in this country that worships change, and it exists to elect the President of the United States and to give local political hacks a chance to go up to the state capitol for a couple of days and chase girls and get drunk on the taxpayer’s dime.  Recently, however, Mrs. Clinton failed to matriculate at this august institution and Mr. Trump did. That is a fact. That is objective reality, which is not wildly popular with snowflakes this year. For the snowflakes, this reality must, absolutely must, change. For them, the idea that Hillary Clinton is not going to be the next President of the United States is too horrible to contemplate and therefore this must change…because they said so.  That their ideas for how this happy outcome should occur are whimsical to the point of tweeness does not seem to bother the snowflakes, for no one has ever refused them before and they have no intention of permitting a precedent to start now. The snowflakes suggest, for example, that the electors of the Electoral College not vote for Mr. Trump, and have begun a campaign of pleading and only vaguely disguised arm-twisting to get the electors to change their votes. Yet others are suggesting that the voting machines in at least three states were in some way interfered with and that the results should be thrown out. I am sure that there are probably even more fanciful notions abounding in the dim alleyways of the East and West Coasts, but all of these notions have one problem: objective reality.  Did Mrs. Clinton win the popular vote? She probably did, and what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The Electoral College elects American presidents and has ever since the first presidential election in 1788. Having the popular majority is nice, but it is not the point of the exercise. I would venture to say that if Mrs. Clinton had the electoral votes and Mr. Trump had the popular vote, these very same snowflakes would be singing the praises of the Framers and how wonderfully clever they were, even if they were dead white misogynistic racist bastards.  History records any number of faithless electors; there was once a mass defection of twenty-three, I think it was, from the Virginia delegation, said electors objecting to the Vice President-elect’s public relationship with a slave mistress.  This only happened once and I do not believe it will happen again, slavery having gone the way of all flesh.  As for the claims that someone interfered with the voting in three states, Carl Sagan once pointed out that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and I do not believe, based on what we know now, that such proof is forthcoming. No, I think that the snowflakes will have to live with a President Trump, although I will admit that maybe something will come of this faithless elector thing; it is 2016, after all, and the Chicago Cubs did win the World Series, so maybe the impossible can happen here.  One never knows, do one, as Fats Waller used to say.

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