How we can win

Heaven help us, we have elected a hatemonger as our next president. Nancy Oates

The day before the election, I accompanied some foreign journalists, many of them from the Asia Pacific, to a Donald Trump rally in Raleigh. It felt like we were on a movie set for a gladiator film. With lies and innuendo, Trump kept the crowd in a frenzy, and anytime they settled down, he’d shout out, “Emails!” and the crowd would start hollering, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” He’d mention immigration, and the crowd would scream, “Build a wall! Build a wall!”

The homemade signs the nearly all-white crowd waved triumphantly were crude. A dark-skinned reporter from Papua New Guinea I stood next to — who was thoroughly patted down and wanded by security while the rest of the whites and Asians in our group were motioned through — admitted he felt uncomfortable, not only because he was one of only three people of color in Dorton Arena, but, as he pointed out, “I was standing between two white women who were not cheering.”

As the crowd roared with bloodlust when Trump disparaged China, the Asian women, in particular, felt uneasy. All of us did as he taunted the “dishonest media.” The New Guinean said that in some areas of his country, no elections are won without money and guns. It seems we in the U.S. are moving in that direction.

At one point Trump told the crowd, in urging them to vote the next day, “You have one day before all the dreams you’ve ever dreamed come true.” Who can top that? Not Hillary Clinton. All she had was truth, compassion, and the experience to make good policy that would help those working class Americans who were hurting.

With a Republican president working with a Republican-controlled Congress to appoint ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices, we no longer have the three-pronged checks and balances our founding fathers set up. He can dismantle the hard-won progress President Obama has made in the past eight years.

While that may not have a devastating effect on my day-to-day life, Trump’s misogyny, bigotry and disdain for immigrants, veterans and the disabled left me feeling sucker-punched. Clinton took it all and deflected it with dignity and aplomb, and if this were a movie, she would have prevailed.

Instead, we got real life. It’s up to us to rewrite the ending. No matter what laws Trump annihilates, he can’t take away our dignity or compassion. No matter how vilely he berates any demographic we identify with, he can’t silence our voice.

We can’t undo what voters who make me feel ashamed to be an American have done. We can shore up our own community by building an inclusive town safe for people of all wealth levels, skin colors and faiths. Through that commitment and by acting with integrity, we can claim victory.
— Nancy Oates

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  1. Betsy Crittenden

     /  November 14, 2016

    As I try to regain some sense of equilibrium after this travesty, the words of your last two paragraphs are both calming and empowering to me. You are so right: he cannot silence our voice. Most important to me right now is to stand in solidarity with all those exposed to hate & violence after the election, and that I will protect those who are treated unfairly because of gender, race, disability, & individual beliefs. #safetypin

  2. Bruce Springsteen

     /  November 14, 2016

    Your post seems to be the unfortunate reaction to the election of many, namely doubling down on the out of touch approach that got Trump elected in the first place. Maybe if we paint the inside of the bubble we’re living in then we won’t be able to see outside the bubble at all and that will make everything better. I’ve got an idea, let’s all stick our fingers in our ears and yell “LA LA LA LA, I’M NOT LISTENING, I’M NOT LISTENING.”

    What’s especially ironic is that the your last post before the election was titled “The modestly paid are people too.” Yeah, that’s right, and that’s kinda what the people in the Rust Belt have been trying to tell us for the last 30 years but they’re not getting a response so now they’re taking more extreme measures to get our attention. I think they’ve finally gotten it.

  3. Plurimus

     /  November 15, 2016


    You are so right. Denial is not a plan.

    It does not take a rocket surgeon that see that the rural areas have been short changed, on power, stuff and respect for a long time. Rational or not the feeling is thay pay in and get nothing out. DJ Trump is a reflection of that anger and frustration. I am still not sure that many of the other half get it still. Listen or not here it comes.

  4. Nancy

     /  November 20, 2016

    Bruce — I’m not convinced that wanting to create an inclusive community is doubling down on denial. My sense is that the Rust Belt voters felt left out, felt that people who are sufficiently different than them got bumped to the head of the line. My aim is to create a place where everyone is welcome, and through that perhaps lessen the resentment of those who feel left out.

  5. Bruce Springsteen

     /  November 20, 2016

    It’s kinda fascinating if you look at it clinically. I don’t recall major figures in one party speaking so ill of the candidate of the OTHER party before, much less of the candidate of their OWN party. The Democrats and half the Republicans were strongly against Trump and he still won. Kasich is a long time popular Ohio politician and the sitting Governor who dissed Trump as much as he could and Trump still not only won Ohio but by a larger margin than anyone has won Ohio in a long time.

    In fact, Trump won the Republican nomination despite not being a Republican and Sanders almost won the Democrat nomination despite not really being a Democrat. Talk about people being against the system!

    Maybe I just have to be an optimist I think in the long run this is somehow going to be to the good. Even if Trump completely craps out, which is a distinct possibility, this may work to re-connect different parts of the country to one another. More than usual of the post-election analysis seems to be “How can there be such a disconnect?” rather than the usual response.

  6. Plurimus

     /  November 21, 2016

    Yo really need to go to the metal bending states and spend some time to appreciate the anger, frustration and willingness to try anything. Trump was not a candidate so much as he was a cathartic message. Some believe everything he said, but for others in their heart of hearts they know.

    What worries me the most about Trump is that when things do not go his way he has a tendency to burn it to the ground. Watch out when he realizes that his popularity has declined.

  7. Nancy

     /  November 21, 2016

    County commissioners have a chance next month, with the vote on whether to give up the chance to renegotiate our share of the light rail costs, to show whether they are inclined to represent ALL of the voters in the county — or whether they want to create a Chapel Hill-Carrboro bubble. Saturday Night Live explains:

  8. Plurimus

     /  November 21, 2016

    Yep. saw that. Hits home doesn’t it? Especially the commentary about the police and fire.

    DOLRT is such a boondoggle that words fail me (although I will likely regain my composure on your other thread). The complete tone deafness of the excuses and empty promises from LRT proponents in the face of facts is staggering and defies logic. We have wasted so much money on DOLRT already that could have solved other real transportation problems. What a shame.

    Earl McKee is the only one who has stood up to the nonsense and he should be supported by those who see through this bad plan on December 5th at the Whitted building.