Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Post-Election Blues and Purples

Richard Sobel

After the distressing election results of last week, people around the nation and the world are understandably upset, and unsure what to do to respond. Perhaps some perspective from the past and on the future might help in finding a way forward. This election indeed involves a dreadful outcome for the majority of American voters and others who opposed putting into our highest office a candidate the leaders of his own and opposition parties described as unqualified to serve by his statements, proposed policies, and politically deficient experience.

These campaign activities included dreadful statements and proposed detrimental policies especially on immigration, civil liberties, and foreign policy. Platitudes about the will of the people have only a grain of truth when a desert faces the nation. As a constitutional democracy, the rights of citizens and others, especially of minorities, cannot be denied by transient majorities. After the Cubs World Series victory and the optimistic polling predictions, the election results represent a stunningly shocking reversal into negativity.

For many of us, this constitutes a loss, anger and stress, like the passing of a family member or friend. In response, it is wise and advised to mourn these losses, and as in any mourning, to give yourself time and space, and join hands with friends and family for mutual support. Those who can channel their upset and anger sooner into political actions may be doubly effective and help us all. The nationwide post-election protests so far indicate that many people are already mobilizing for the future. The Constitution, disagreements among the leaders and caucuses of the ruling party, some good fortune, as well as united opposition will blunt some of the problems. But we cannot rely on those, or hopes some policies and people won’t turn out as bad as they appear, as adequate preventatives or solutions. We need to act further: Citizens and aspiring citizens can be the foundations and fonts for a better future.

While the fear may be that last Tuesday could turn out as the worst day for America since September 11, 2001, it doesn’t have to be so. Individuals, leaders, media sources, and political parties need to oppose, from now forward, those Trump policies they disagree with as contrary to the public interests. Protesting, writing, contacting officials, running for office, and joining in other political actions need to be continued and increased. . Individuals can choose two or three issues, like immigration, the environment, civil liberties, economic justice, racial inclusiveness and equality, and women’s rights, to work on with allies.

This is going to be a long, but hopefully finite, 4 year term. Plan to work for 2018 to elect a more responsive Congress and 2020, the centenary of women’s suffrage, for a better president–perhaps at long last the first of her gender to reach the top. Consider contributing your time and resources now to organizations that can effectively work for a better future. We need to join together to preserve the blessing of liberty for ourselves and our posterities.

Long ago, Mother Jones, admonished, “Don’t mourn, organize.” In a more emphathetic age, perhaps it is better put, “mourn and organize.” Individuals, groups, and parties can prove to be the effective counterpoints to big money and bad politics. Fortifying yourself and allies as effective and active can foreshorten the next four years to proving not as bad as they could be. And allying our activities and mutual fortunes can become foundations for a better future for all of us in America and the World.

About The Author

Richard Sobel

Richard Sobel is a political scientist, and author and editor of eight books and numerous scholarly, law and policy articles. He graduated from Princeton University, New Jersey and...

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