(We have a podcast! Sort of. It's not on any kind of schedule or anything so it's not really a podcast. But if you don't want to read this entire thing, Matt has read it out loud and you can listen to that here or you can actually listen to it while driving if you search "Pioneer Outdoors" in the iTunes store).
Well class... where should I begin?
The 2016 Election has finally come to its end despite the fact that most of us felt it was a normal part of every day life. I think we expected a nightmarish loop of waking up to hearing about what Donald Trump said, did, and was accused of doing followed by what Hillary did or was accused of doing. My words were chosen carefully there and for more on why, you'll just have to stay tuned.
At this point I am contractually obligated to say that I'm disgusted, disappointed, and depressed by the level of indecency, racism, etc. but I'm not. There is a level of political correctness all of us (on the left) are supposed to embrace when speaking on such subjects. There is a point to this and I will detail it further below. We have become emotional over this (and previous election results) and this emotion betrays a certain level of ignorance to who we are as a nation. We have used the term "polarizing" in describing our politics as people push to the right wing and people push to the left wing. In a pluralistic society, the media on either side has made us believe that you are represented on either of two sides without anyone staying in the center as the majority push to one end of the horseshoe or the other. The key term in that last sentence is "pluralistic society." We are complex and if you don't think we are, I encourage you to ask what should happen to a woman that has an abortion the next time you're at a dinner with extended family. I'm willing to bet you get a wide swath of ideas unless you simplify it into categories in which case (and I really hate to break this to you), you're part of the problem.
If you were following this election and digging into the intrigue it represented, you will know that there were multiple threads being spun on multiple levels and multiple planes. I will argue that it really was a spiderweb that comes back to one central point. But that web was not spun by a single spider, but rather multiple different ones with multiple different starting and end-points. They occasionally spun over each other and became entangled and continued together - but ultimately they all have one anchor and this anchor has put placed into each perspective and it must be addressed. How it is addressed will decide happens in the next four, eight, twenty, and one hundred years.
So with all of that said, let's lay an outline for the web. I originally wanted to discuss the reasons why someone might vote for Trump but in outlining everything it soon became clear that to fully integrate the idea into our leftist brain would require the devil's details first. So here is how I'd like to lay out the web. First, we have to discuss the state of the country. This will not read like a history lesson but it will stretch back into recent history a bit. We'll discuss the affect this had on very sensible people and then we'll talk about what the Democratic establishment did with these assumptions of the country's temperament. From there, it will be relatively easy to transition into talking about the polarizing nature of our politics and how that polarizing effect should have been the canary in the mine for the left. Finally (I hope), I will lay out the argument using everything we have put together from above, for why someone would vote for Donald Trump, why given that information they should not have voted for Donald Trump, and how the future will be dictated by each party's ability to respond to what is a genuine political crisis.
Phew. That should be easy.
I cannot overstate the importance of reading this from the perspective of someone in the middle of America - in what we call "battleground states." In this case, you only need to consider the "Rust Belt" of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. These places were (and still are in many respects) the absolute hubs of American industrial manufacturing. A lot of our automobile plants are there and most of these cities have blue collar reputations. You don't even have to be familiar with the actual geographic or economic nuance to know this. The sports teams in these cities have names like Pistons, Steelers, and Packers. To someone living here, the outsourcing of American manufacturing to foreign countries has not only been a direct shot across the bow of their pride but has been a direct hit to their pocketbook. Families have worked for generations in factories in these areas and they are disappearing. If you haven't heard of what has happened to Detroit (it declared bankruptcy - a city!), then you should read up. This has not improved over the past 8 years under Obama. We are starting to build an undercurrent of resentment when the message has been hope and change - and these people continue to see absolutely nothing.
Considering this viewpoint, let's run through a few of the things white Americans (who, as a group, dominate the population in these areas) have seen in the last ten years. You have to understand that these people have a set of beliefs and core principles that are critical to them. They are not ignorant any more than any city-dweller is ignorant of how to live in the country. A trip to the store, the DMV, the bank, or school is often times an hour or more away. They have "simple" lives by comparison but that doesn't make them simpletons. They do not require much from the government and have a belief that they are self-sustaining. I happen to believe this is an ignorance of how the farm system has been propped up by a number of government institutions but that doesn't change the fact that those institutions could disappear tomorrow and it would hardly change their prospects. And that is the life they lead - the only time they have to deal with a government official is when something has changed and impedes them in some way.
They have a healthy skepticism of a lot of things, an unhealthy skepticism of some other things, a healthy belief in some decency principles and perhaps some ignorance of race. That is not meant to label as racist - something we take for granted living in places that are quite diverse (California, New York, or any urban center) is the utter lack of diversity in some of these places. There are plenty of people in the Midwest that have quite literally never seen a black person. Ever. The only time they do hear about them is when they turn on the news at night. Imagine learning about an entire culture only from the news media. Never mind which side. The prospect of education by pitched bias should terrify you - and yet, as we will get to, that is how most Americans have learned about their government.
These people who have an admittedly limited and flawed view of some aspects of daily life (corporal punishment, shaming, religious encroachment) have watched the wall of political correctness surround them in an ominous crescendo of large-syllable talking points. This issue of political correctness will come up over and over again. It is at the heart of the problem for most Americans and the issue we all have with politics. In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find an American who hasn't been put off by the ridiculousness of political correctness. The language we use has been updated to take the sting out of some words. In many cases for strictly historically derogatory terms this has been socially acceptable and should be. I'm not advocating for the return of a number of racial slurs used to describe blacks, Latinos, and Italians just to name a few. But as the protected groups became more and more nuanced, they became more and more frustrated. I will argue that most of these changes should never be forced but, given the right steps as a society, should begin to happen organically. We shouldn't have to remind someone to say "or she" when they say "he." We shouldn't have to correct someone when they say someone is mentally retarded (the word retard, which means to slow down, has been virtually phased out of our language even in science) even though it precisely describes a condition that has slowed brain development or slows brain function.
At first these were minor annoyances to deal with at PTA meetings and then bitch about on the drive home and over dinner afterward. Then what happened? It became a formal letter from the school saying your kid was sent home because they wore an offensive shirt. Then it became your kid is being expelled for a terrible joke (because if there is one thing the regressive left has been consistent about, it's been chopping off heads for offensive deeds).
Then, when you expressed healthy doubt about climate change they told you the world would drown in a flood in ten years (well the media did - the scientists weren't that sensationalist about it). What are you to do with this information? Your skepticism, which started out as simple and healthy, was immediately met with an even simpler response that was even more alarmist. And then, on a normal September morning, some jihadists flew two planes into the World Trade Center in HD. The anger in the country was palpable and the Islamophobia began. I'll be the first to admit that this was an unhealthy position to take and, like so many things, the correct position is somewhere in the middle between total acceptance and total distrust. The threat of jihadist terrorism never actually went away as the world witnessed - but they were total to "stop hating Muslims." They didn't hate Muslims - they just noticed that gosh, ya know, most of these people committing terrible acts of violence are young, male, Arab Muslims. We should probably take a closer look at the ones that come into the country." The consternation the right showed towards "common sense gun laws" is the same consternation the left shows when the right asks for "common sense profiling." Do we need to continue? The #BlackLivesMatter movement has demonized nearly all police despite there being a movement to curb the problem. At the same time, the crime statistics overwhelmingly show that most blacks are killed by other blacks (and most whites are killed by other whites). The research into the nuance of a gender pay gap also shows that this issue is largely oversimplified. The common denominator from this vantage point is that the world is telling you that the one thing it is no longer okay to be is a white, Christian male.
And here is where we get to tread territory that is sure to get me in the doghouse of every single person that reads or hears this.
Straight up - if you're a white, Christian male in this country you are afforded more opportunities and wealth than a lot of entire families down the street will struggle to make in their lifetimes. We are the most recognizable in positions of power and are thus the most predictable and comforting. In short, because of frankly how shitty European and American powers have been over the past few thousand years, we have a psychological leg up on every single person we meet. It is critical for those of you on the right to understand that ANY abuse of this position has to be perceived as a threat because an ambitious, white, Christian male can accumulate power and influence faster than a nerd cheating at Civilization V.
And here's where I piss off the lefties.
Policies put in place to increase the diversity come from a good place but, like the afore-mentioned politically correct policies of making sure not to use offensive language, should probably have been promoted naturally. There's obviously an argument there for another time - but the perception is that "equal opportunity" has put a bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouths and taken some incredibly talented, humble, and empathetic people and turned them into bitter, jaded, and selfish assholes. Is that their fault?
From here we can stack on ObamaCare (a policy that really only failed due to its being a laughably one-sided compromise), a culture that runs away from failure and gives trophies to all participants, and a complete drowning out of the voice on the right on college campuses has led to a phenomenon among civil liberties groups known as "disinvitation season."
What we have to understand at this point is just how annoyed sensible people were becoming by all of this - on both sides of the fence. As I said earlier, we have all collectively joked about political correctness. Imagine living in a world where literally every single "politically correct" idea works against the world you've lived in. Imagine if you're a liberal and you had to spank your child or time out was seen as child abuse. What I'm trying to communicate here is culturally speaking, there is no such thing as progress - only change to an established, working order. The inability to communicate how something being done is no longer acceptable in terms or time-frames that are sensible is at the heart of our problem. This isn't limited to the United States, obviously. There are people all over the world that bring even more extreme practices to their emigration sites. Something as (relatively) petty as spanking is a sharp dividing line between two groups of the same race and religion in the same country!
The inability of the left to empathize with this group of people - a truly ironic problem given the left's reputation for enacting policy based on empathy rather than direct conflict - is what set up our fall. We built a bubble around this ideal because more and more of us live in city centers, discuss politics on Facebook with people we agree with, and just assumed the rest of the country agreed. How could we possibly think that over 95% of the land area we don't live in was exactly the same? We didn't spend any time in those places and actually go out of our way to avoid them if we can. While I think most backpackers and snowboarders are liberal-minded - most liberals are not backpackers and snowboarders. They stay in the city and if they vacation it's someplace warm and dry. That's the bubble.
Now, can we breathe? Are we okay? Do we understand the position of people on the right? Good. Because now I'm going to tell you something that will make complete sense. This is why we are facing a true crisis in this country. Our intellectual laziness (see everything I listed above) led to the assumption that the country was hunky dory, loved the first black president and his socialist reforms, that most people thought guns were icky and should go away, and that there is no way an orange sexual predator could possibly be elected president. All Hillary has to do is not piss anybody off and she'll win with 10% of the country actually voting.
The democratic establishment and Mrs. Clinton decided to play the middle and not piss anybody off. In this absolutely prophetic piece by Michael Moore entitled "5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win (and I'm not typically a fan of his), he explains far better than I can the atomic bomb that was waiting to explode in the Rust Belt. The economy in the manufacturing sector of the United States had been struggling for years before 2008. The recession only made it worse and the Rust Belt elected Obama twice in hopes that he was turning things around. And they waited. And waited some more. Eight years later and they were still broke, still losing factories, and still losing hope. The Democratic rhetoric had run dry and a snake offered them a way out. Trump literally is the answer to their prayers. He is an outsider that wants to shake up the world order and (in my opinion) forced a major auto manufacturer to put on front page the opening of a factory in Mexico with a weak response to how it will benefit American workers - who did not buy it.
Clinton made next to no attempt to distance herself from her Wall Street money - something entirely more damaging that anything James Comey was responsible for. The problem for people in the middle of the country wasn't that an insider could maneuver and help maintain the status quo - they needed someone who could blow up the apparatus that held them back. This is the only argument for Bernie Sanders (by the way) that passes muster, though it must be said that a lot of states would seriously struggle to vote for him on other stances. But I digress.
The proof that Hillary was trying to appear as vanilla as she possibly could was the selection of her running mate, the incredibly bland and non-factoring Tim Kaine. While most options in the Democratic party were too stifled to make a name for themselves, there were other options that would have painted her in a much more motivating light. Putting, for instance, a second woman on the ticket or a retired admiral she was considering.
So with the two biggest issues on the table in America being ISIS and the not-failing but not-growing economy, she chose to address neither with the vote she needed the most. It must be said also, she knew that she needed that vote - that's why she picked Tim Kaine. Should we start talking about the election statistics? I'll throw two out that will probably make your blood equally boil and chill. First - 1 in 4 white men voted for Hillary. That's right, 75% of white men voted for Donald Trump. Shocking, I know, but this was a known weak point of hers and she chose to ignore issues important to white men - security and the economy. I'm not saying she had to endorse a policy of keeping all foreigners out of the country - but a cogent plan for keeping the country safe and not just promises to keep it safe are what they wanted. Concrete ideas. Did Trump offer those? Hilariously over-promised, but yes he did. The second statistic proves just how un-electable she actually was. She secured less female voters than Obama did in 2012. In an election for the first female President, there was nearly zero change in support from women.
Other things that affected her? Do you want more? Michael Moore did touch on the other critical piece known as the "depressed vote." In an election where people are motivated and fired up for their candidate they often bring more people with them. You inspire a voter in a number of ways but most of them are exciting ways. You lose them by not squelching fears. Hillary made no attempt to show even the slightest hint of contrition on the email server fiasco. She made no attempt to address the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation has received from Saudi Arabia - one of the single most corrupt states and are alleged to be the largest sponsors of Sunni terrorism in the known world. To borrow from Sam Harris or Andrew Sulivan from Sam's "Waking Up" Podcast, simply acknowledging that where the money came from to help needy people should not matter. Taking money from bad people to use for good people is a noble thing and we frankly all should. The Clintons as a pair were also pretty instrumental in suppressing gay rights in the 90's for fear of it upsetting re-election prospects. What did she do to crush these doubts and ensure voters for her (people that don't like Saudi Arabia, people that strongly support equal marriage, and people that want to lock up most of Wall Street but all equally hate Trump) would be excited to wake up on Tuesday, drive people to the polls, work the phones, and help organize polling locations? Nothing. They put in their early voter form and then stared at the TV and hoped middle America didn't send us back to the 40's.
And finally, the biggest offense was falling for Drumpf's bait. In any other election the tapes revealing sexual assault language would have disqualified him. Imagine if George W. Bush was one month from the election and a tape of him calling all Mexicans rapists came out. He'd drop out. With Trump, he willingly danced from controversy to controversy and let the liberal media keep the pot so thoroughly stirred that his reputation became impenetrable. Keith Moon just won the election - because each story about him is more ridiculous than the last and each one of them is true. He has been elevated to rock star status. With all of this happening, Hillary's job was to appear as a grown-up, highlighting Trump's deliberately vague policy (or total lack of) and speaking honestly about her own - but she played his game. When it became a mud-slinging contest it was pretty clear who had better weapons. As the saying goes, if you're arguing with a 4-year old you've already lost.
This segues rather neatly into the emotional red flags we on the left should have seen coming.
The narrative throughout this election cycle was the complete dismantling of the Republican party. Trump was man-handling every candidate they threw at him and he was about to shake up the machine. If you'll recall, there was talk during the republican convention of denying Trump the candidacy and these weren't whispers. We were watching it come apart on national television and we were glued to the television eating our popcorn. Meanwhile, out left...
We failed to notice that an extremist in our party (Bernie Sanders) was giving HIllary an absolute run for her money despite the Democratic Party having already decided Hillary was the presumptive nominee. Any reporting of delegates would always should Hillary's including the super-delegates which would depress the support for Sanders. Even so, on the eve of the RNC and with everyone watching as Trump might be denied the official candidacy from the party, Bernie waited to enter what could have been a four-horse race. The left was split.
I personally found it in the weeks leading up to Bernie's concession. I believe this is around the time of the "filibuster" by the Democrats over "common sense gun laws." I attempted to engage a Hillary supporter, as a Bernie supporter, on what was playing out and why Bernie was playing coy until the last moment. When I got ganged up on, I had to qualify that "hey, I'm voting for Hillary, we just need to discuss what's happening." I got the following in response: "I don't give a fuck who you're voting for." Okay. I failed to put the pieces together but that should have been my own first sign - the left was splitting into pieces but worse - the Republicans were already ahead of them on dealing with it. We were being forced to wait until Election Day to find out our party had completely and utterly blown their commitment to their electorate.
Or did they?
The left has effectively convinced itself it is "more advanced" and thus "more immune" to radicalization. Indeed, most think the term "radical" can only apply to someone on the right wing. I mean, right wing radicals are violent right? Doesn't that mean left wing radicals are totally nonviolent? Well... no.
Left wing radicalization is a very odd thing. It is typically seen as the absolute protection of the freedom of speech - by intimidating and chastising people that exercise that right in a manner they do not agree with. Let me explain.
If you opposed the Black Lives Matter movement - you were a racist that condoned the killing of black people by police. Your Twitter tag would be re-tweeted and you would be bullied mercilessly.
If you opposed the demonstrators representing Bernie Sanders at Trump rallies that became violent and even suggested that maybe, just maybe, the Bernie supporters were inciting people to violence - you were a Trump sympathizer and probably a closet fascist.
If you opposed the Occupy Wall Street movement on the strict grounds that it was ineffectual at actually motivating legal change to the system. If you thought Kaepernick (I actually support him for what he's doing, by the way) was only doing this for the camera, you were immediately a racist. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.
Finally, if you thought it was wise to discuss the growing problem of Middle East jihadist violence spreading to the industrialized world, you were immediately senseless, or put on the SPLC's Anti-Islamist Extremist List, or labeled a racist islamophobe.
What the left has utterly failed to see is how their reaction to the situations listed above isn't too terribly different from the reaction of the right in both the Bundy Ranch and the Bird Sanctuary stand-offs. You have to be able to put together from that statement the idea that I'm not creating a false equivalence. People from completely different cultures reacted completely differently to different circumstances. What is interesting is that both sides behave like the other when radicalizing.
And yet radicalizing is exactly what many on the left have been doing. Every article you read (from news sources that agree with your point of view - msnbc, HuffPo, Salon, PinkNews) is designed to get you to click and the best way to get you to click is to piss you off. We have laughed at the insanely one-sided articles the right posts about conspiracy theories and spin. Yet, we quite often are presented with a story that offers limited substance but vague detail about alleged discrimination when a simple misspoken word or misunderstanding adequately explains the situation.
The left has presumed itself too advanced and too immune to knee-jerk reactions and yet as you pull back from the blue goggles you begin to see how similar the two sides actually are. And while I can personally attest to it, I will spare you the chilling forms of bullying I've personally experienced during this incredibly tumultuous time. Suffice it to say, if you have an opinion that is even remotely moderate - or centrist as I prefer to call myself anymore - be prepared to work twice as hard just to calm people down enough to actually talk about the issue. That goes for both sides of the spectrum.
So we are finally at the meat of the story. We are going to discuss the case for why someone would vote for Trump. If you've gotten this far, you probably have a damn good idea. Seriously, if you've stayed with me for this long you clearly haven't been turned away and want to soak up this message. I hope, then, that it also rings true with Trump supporters who are tired of being called racists for voting for him. This next part is for you - I hope I represent you properly.
Before we discuss the reasons for voting for him, let's discuss why you shouldn't. I have intentionally left this bit at the very bottom. An honest leftist will have gotten this far. And that's good for them. This next part is where we start to lose faith in humanity (as leftists).
The absolute worst reason to roll the dice (if you're from Middle America) on Donald Trump is the activation and enabling of racist and hate-filled groups in the country. I will use a phrase I saw somewhere on Twitter but have forgotten from who - "Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist... but all the racists voted for Trump." This is an important distinction and it's the strongest case for why that roll of the dice for the Washington outsider simply isn't worth it. Even if Trump isn't who we think he is (I'll detail that below), the means he has chosen to get himself into office come with dire consequences. The acknowledgment by the voting public that it is okay to subject women to objectification, penalize women for making the most difficult decision of their lives, lock up your detractors, casually spy on women naked, label a minority as violent criminals, poke fun at the mentally retarded, bully and shame those that oppose you, and casually promote mass violence unleashes an entire group of society that has only needed the wink and nod to assume hostilities. If you don't think it's going to be a problem, we're going back to that bit where I mentioned you probably haven't seen a black person before. And it's already a problem. It has been a major problem in Britain as well.
There are the other bits related to the above when you give a petulant narcissist access to a lot of power. He has access to the greatest surveillance network in the United States - that we know spies on American citizens. He can lock anyone up that he wants to citing the NDAA. And the guy who will bomb the shit out of ISIS has access to the nuclear launch codes amid rhetoric from his supporters that have asked to "turn the Middle East into a glass factory" for nigh on years uncountable.
The situation in Syria is beyond tricky. To simplify the conflict, there are 11 sides vying for power with multiple international governments unofficially or officially defending, aiding, or directly attacking one group or another. It involves Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Russia, the United States, France, Great Britain... To "bomb the shit out of ISIS" is to play terrorist whack-a-mole. There are enough groups with enough support to simply fill the void left by ISIS who filled the void left by Al-Qaeda who filled the void left by the Hussein regime. Bombing ISIS means supporting Russia who supports Assad - the guy who is being investigated for crimes against humanity for killing political detainees. Not backing Assad means directly challenging the Russians, who are bombing rebels themselves. No word on what Gary Johnson thinks of this.
Can Trump handle this delicate situation? Do I have to answer that question? If you studied history, you'd know how easy it is to start a world war. You either have to have religious war or an expansionist government. Oddly enough, you have multiples of both in that region right now.
His supporters did the mental calculus on what you see above and deemed all of it worth risking for the below. Mind you, if you think we should stay out of Syria or at the very least unilaterally make it clear we are only attacking ISIS strongholds while also believing that the racism aspect is overblown and not a problem for most of the country (you won't like it, especially if you're one of the minorities, but you CAN make that case), then you can see the above as being small potatoes. Let's dig in.
I already mentioned a great host of them when we outlined the country's temperament. They grew tired of PC leftist culture, Trump is making them feel okay to be white in public, he represents the better (of two evils) at restoring their pre-2008 lifestyle of economic stability, and he has been extremely hawkish about forcing American corporations to keep their tax money in the country and taxing them for building their domestic products internationally and shipping them back home tax-free (yeah, there's a tax dodge for everything). Also, Hillary Clinton is the worst Democratic candidate since James Cox. Don't be worried if you don't know who that is - I didn't either until I looked up "worst Democratic candidate" and after sorting through the Hillary articles, found that one.
But the boogeyman in everyone's closet truly is ISIS. If you didn't know, ISIS is the key cause of nationalist, xenophobic movement across the world. France has taken it to an extreme, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union with promises to save money being given away and shutting the borders to Arab foreigners. The flood of Arabs leaving the area has created an immigration monsoon that no country is adequately prepared to respond to. The idea that hidden within these people are radicals intent on infiltrating and attacking a country has gripped every nation involved in fear. ISIS is on YouTube, has convinced American citizens to commit jihad against homosexuals (they are throwing them off tall buildings in Syria, as per the Hadith), and has perpetrated two of the most deadly terror attacks in the world recently in France.
This is where the web comes back together. The key issues for us stem from an inability to talk frankly about issues. Our PC approach to everything has us treating everything delicately including the incredibly important issue of Islam. Is it any wonder then when all of us want to see this threat be dealt with that the guy who ignores convention and says "I'd bomb the shit out of them," gets elected? It shouldn't surprise anyone.
So here we are. President Don.
A few things I did not cover were reactions to the election. I have certainly struggled to empathize with the left in the wake of what is a national tragedy and will only continue to be so. We face a truly dark time in the coming years but perhaps it is a wake-up call to liberals everywhere. You don't have this thing in the bag and you have a lot more work to do and you have a lot more people to reach. That said, I am not covering the "#NotMyPresident" protests. For reasons why, see anything above in #BlackLivesMatter. You are right to not want him as your president. You are wrong to think you can protest the result. We NEED him to be successful and we have to celebrate any talented person that goes to his cabinet. With luck, he'll be too terrified to make a decision and completely defer to his aids. With no luck, those aids will include Gingrich, Christie, and Palin. But save the crying and the protesting for when he does try to do something unconstitutional. Then we have to fight him.
I'm also not covering the laughably predictable response people offer of leaving the country. It is rather hilarious, however, that the Canadian Immigration server crashed when the election results were coming in. To be honest - if you're leaving the country when things are getting bad and we actually need you, why were you on our side in the first place? Though I do find the idea of Calexit or Cascadia appealing.
I will provide a link to why the Electoral College works and is a remarkably fair system that has gotten the popular vote to line up with it in 54/58 elections. In terms of democratic-style governments (we are a republic, mind you, NOT a democracy), that track record is incredibly impressive relative to any other republic or democracy in the history of the world. I'm sorry, Dems, but your moral superiority does not hold sway in a republic. We compromise on everything and that is the way of the United States.
I will make one final note in closing and that is related to our constitution and how it was written. In 1933 when Hitler was democratically elected by popular vote in Germany, the country next door - France - did not know for six days. You'd think they'd know immediately if a loud, dictatorial leader would have come to power in a nation they shared a border and a fierce blood feud with but they didn't know for six days. Why? It isn't that convoluted a trace back to the origins of French unrest immediately following the American War for Independence. The French Revolution was a left-wing revolt that sought to overturn the establishment overnight and quell any voices that didn't support the glory of France. During the Reign of Terror, if you did not greet a fellow French with the term "citizen" then you would be betrayed to the Committee of Public Safety and likely guillotined shortly thereafter. The French Revolution produced mass instability that France had not recovered from well into the 20th century. The ability to let the people decide, a people that were quick to react to deteriorating results from a war in Europe, a famine in the countryside, and a recession that led to poverty, caused the political environment to swing in ways that labeled people who maintained one position to be considered too radical, then too conservative, then just right, to extremist over the course of a couple of months.
The whims of the masses are not to be taken lightly and this is the ultimate price any democracy pays if its citizens become too polarized and isolated from each other. We have every reason to believe the US can implode from within if we do not come together and find common ground. To quote my lovely history teacher, Mr. Harrington, history doesn't repeat itself but sometimes it rhymes.
We have far too much to offer each other. We don't necessarily have much in common (seriously, we don't), but we do have things that are valuable to the other. If we learn to harness these gifts to mutual benefit, we can make America great again. But we are running out of time to heal wounds that only grow deeper by the day.
Intro music for the podcast credit:
Inspired Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License