I was going to organize all of this, but ... eh.
Wow, democracy sure is a thing, eh? 59,789,023 votes cast for Hillary Clinton, and 59,583,744 votes cast for Donald Trump. And even though Hillary Clinton won by a measly 200,000 votes, Trump is the electoral college winner. On the one hand, I sure would like the get rid of the electoral college. On the other hand, the popular vote has shown exactly how divided we are. 47.7% vs. 47.5%. There really isn't a "mandate", just a lot of people, going in the cast their votes.
And that's what they are, aren't they? Just people, doing people things. Late last night I was in the "48% of the country hate people like me and my friends" stage, and early this morning I was in the "48% of the country would fear/scapegoat people like me and my friends" stage. But now ... well, 59 million people cast the vote for Trump for a whole host of different reasons. Sure, some of them are horrible fascists and racists. But also, some wanted a conservative judge on the Supreme Court. Some feel betrayed by the Democratic party and their promise of bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Some view government with utter suspicion and would rather trust a sleazy businessman than a sleazy politician.
And so. We are here. Because democracy worked.
Voting is pretty awesome. Recently I was working on putting a fan book thing together, and I was like "how many people want it as one giant tome, vs. 4 slim booklets?" And the mailing list was like "eh, I don't care either way" and "I see benefits of both, so I'll defer to the group." So then I set up a survey, and... guess what? Everyone except for me wanted a giant tome. If I hadn't set up that survey, I might have mislead everyone into the impression that everyone else wanted the 4 slim booklets, just because I was the most vocal person in the mailing list. But then people voted.
Just like how people in California voted for higher taxes to help build schools. And to ban plastic bags in grocery stores to help the environment. To allow bilingual education. For stricter gun control. Turns out that we prefer reforming the death penalty rather than repealing it. And sure, the California state legislature is officially allowed to be upset about Citizens United (37 more states to go before it becomes not-ridiculous!)
So voting -- it happened.
And I want it to keep happening. I want the popular vote to count, and not just focusing on 11 swing states. (And apparently there's a way!
). I want the Voting Rights Act bolstered. And I want to vote in a Democratic congress in 2 years. And in 2020, when Rutabaga is 4 years old, I want to help vote in Democratic state legislatures across the US, to fix the gerrymandered districts. (Or at least gerrymander it the other way for a decade).
And I vote in other ways, too. I vote with my money when I choose which TV shows to watch. (Watching The Get Down, *not* watching Daredevil). I vote with my time and energy when I choose what to do with my life outside of work. And I vote with my voice when I express my opinions.
I've always been a "everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as they're not being a dick about it" type of person. But yanno what? The thing I always forget is that this means I'm also entitled to mine. So next time someone's like "oh, this country is going to hell under the Democrats," I'm going to engage and make my opinion heard as well. I should do more than glare at the guy harassing a woman on the subway, because that is Not Okay. Just like building a wall or banning Muslim immigrants is Not Okay.
More importantly, though -- 59 million people voted for Trump. Hillary was expected to have a 4% lead in the popular vote, but ended up with 0.1%. That means that there's roughly 5 million people who unexpectedly voted for Trump. How did we overlook 5 million people? Why is it that they were only able to make themselves heard through voting?
If the people who voted for Trump are not college educated -- well, let's work to make college more accessible. If the people who voted for Trump are sick and tired of working a dead end job with no prospects, well, people are teaching coal miners to code
. If the people who voted for Trump think that immigrants are evil and white male privilege is threatened ... well, I don't see any other way to show them differently except to make my opinion heard. To vote for more inclusive mass media by putting my money where my mouth is. To vote for better education through donorschoose, and by being a good teacher. To vote for school boards that value pre-K education and to vote for state legislators who will vote to keep polling places open. To vote.
Because voting doesn't happen once every 4 years. And like a muscle, it needs to be exercised.