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  • Ilan Morgenstern, Bass Trombone

Off topic, or some thoughts on the Sunday after the elections.


Trying to organize my thoughts tonight after the long week we all had. Here goes nothing.


  • Joe Biden owes his victory in part to a surprising swing voter: conservatives. Enough conservatives of various stripes were motivated to vote republican up and down the ticket, but couldn’t get themselves to vote for Donald Trump. I hope we can all return the service they did to everybody’s cause by not vilifying conservatives, and by listening to sincerely held beliefs especially when they contradict our own. Those conservative people I personally know really do think those ideals help the most people, really do believe in the power of personal responsibility, really do want to do well onto others, and honestly want to lift as many people as possible. They deserve our time and ear.


  • You can’t please everybody. Donald Trump is seen as a polarizing figure, but I feel when I take a step back that there’s also the perspective where he used issues to try and court voters from a wide variety of perspectives. He warned people who fled autocrats of totalitarianism, he bought public relations between Israel, UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan through weapons sales and financial aid (both traditional diplomatic tools for the US), he invoked made up threats to personal freedoms to court libertarians, used race-baiting to attract ultra-nationalists, inflated the stock market, irresponsibly cut taxes to people who can’t even spend the money they already have, paid off big business etc. In the end it really did seem to significantly expand his coalition, but ultimately didn’t make enough of a difference. Maybe people saw through the lies, maybe strange bedfellows became too strange, or maybe enough people were just embarrassed to fill in the box by his name. Either way, those shallow attempts at courting constituents didn’t prevail, and Instead of a Conservative with a capital C, or even a Capitalist, we just got a president with a lower-case coalition. Unlike Trump I don’t think “some, I suppose, are good people''. I really think the vast majority of Trump’s voters are honest people, who made their choice in order to advance policies they believe in.


  • The American version of identity politics doesn’t work anymore. At least not as well. Republicans aren’t only the party of whites or straights or native-born, or whatever. People of all stripes subscribe to conservative ideologies. Besides, we all have multiple components to our identity; why reduce others to a single perception of what group they “should” belong to? Don’t believe me? Ask a pollster.


  • Black Lives Matter. Somewhat in contrast to my previous paragraph, I feel it’s impossible to ignore the impact of one of the most significant voting groups in American politics. As a voting block and as agents of change, this group of people, berated by Trump for lawlessness and violence, proved that when given the opportunity to use the ballot box, they can do just that. The populations of Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and so many more, organized, mobilized, unified around a candidate, and ultimately changed the course of history. I hope this movement can assemble into a voice, unify around coherent policy priorities, and form leadership that can act as worthy advocates for their causes.


  • The Supreme Court has become a fig leaf for legislators. As it stands, the use of SCOTUS as a legislator has allowed politicians to advocate for some pretty bizarre policies without ever having to live with the consequences or present voters with alternatives. While it is often the republicans that criticize an activist judiciary, it is also them who appoint activist judges, use them to strike down laws and policies that don’t fit their agenda, and now it’s their candidate who's trying to use the judiciary to bypass a democratic process, a goal one can argue they have already achieved previously. I feel that conservative reliance on the supreme court to save them from their own policies has perpetuated some pretty disastrous wedge issues, shamelessly exploited for political gain. The ACA, Roe, gay marriage, affirmative action, religious freedom. I feel in all those cases there’s a widespread consensus on what is reasonable and should be legal. My interpretation is that our representatives abdicated their responsibility to negotiate and come to agreements on those issues, in order so that they can then blame the court for stepping in and filling the vacuum.


  • the fact that the electoral college, an institution meant to allow states to bypass the need to allow slaves to vote, while still getting to use their electoral power, is still around and relevant is a disaster. It disenfranchises voters, and discourages advocacy for issues that aren’t on the forefront for battleground states. If you disagree, I’m curious to hear the reasoning,


  • Nazis were an actual thing. Trump isn’t Hitler, and the Republican Party isn’t the Nazi party. Those comparisons are both unbelievably insensitive, and completely unfounded. Let’s argue with ideas instead of all the name calling.


  • what exactly needs to happen for us to be able to tell the difference between a news article and an editorial, between journalists and entertainers, and between experts and college dropouts and academic failures?


  • I don't for the life of me understand Fox News. The sense of victimhood at every turn, and the use of that to spread disinformation as a business interest of a billionaire owner are extremely irresponsible. I hope this conduct by Rupert Murdoch's business doesn't cause any bloodshed in trying to further enrich this mogul.


  • Pete Buttigieg is quickly emerging as a pivotal voice for the future of the Democratic Party. With limited experience and a boyish smile, he seems to have the political savvy of Barney Frank and policy insights that seem to rival anybody in his party. He’s also not a millionaire. Not even close. I’d pay to see him debate any conservative, but his pay-per-view special would have to be against Mike Pence.


“steps off soapbox”


P.s.

How did covid-19 not make the list?


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