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Russell's Lighthouse

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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

The Towering Babel

Two days after the election, sitting in a small town restaurant this is a conversation overheard. A lady in her sixties who serves tables and cleans homes on the side is talking about Hillary Clinton's concession speech. "She was so gracious, calm, and well-spoken." An hour earlier in the same place, another conversation is heard. This from an older married gentleman, age close to the aforementioned lady, and he tells this from an entirely different view. "Hillary didn't even thank her followers, she doesn't care about the common people."

America no longer hears itself. It no longer can communicate reasonably. We see the same things, we hear the same things, we watch the same things, yet we process the events differently. We cannot talk across the aisle because we have been so divided by the media and our political parties that we are losing what we all have in common. We are definitely not listening to each other.

On the progressive side, we are appalled at the statements made by President-Elect Trump. The coarseness, the racism, the bigotry; all a mystery. I mean, the KKK is holding victory parades to honor Trump. Why would anyone vote for this fool? Then again, on the conservative side, their dislike for "political correctness" makes Donald a champion for those who are tired of the gentrification of the country. And to a certain extent, they are right. College campuses have become fairly insane to this old guy as well. Safety zones, trigger warnings, stopping certain speakers from coming to their campus because they don't like what he has to say, etc. You can't even dress for Halloween without someone being upset about cultural appropriation. It is a problem.

We have gone off the board in protecting people from speech and ideas instead of enjoying our freedom to state clearly our thoughts. 

Susan Jacoby wrote that in the past when we weren't connected to an information grid, speakers traveled the country. Everyone came to hear them, they agreed or didn't agree, but there was a real discussion. When intelligentsia travels now to tackle the very real problems in society today, their audience is composed of those that already agree with them. Susan also made statements about the decline of information in the media. At one time she may have been allowed thousands of words to make a point, now the limit is in the hundreds. Apparently, America's attention span has dwindled to the point of a few seconds.

There is no doubt that there was a failing of the media and the democratic party. Too attached to the money, they were unable to hear the rural area's roar. Sitting comfortably in their cocoon of certainty, they could never imagine a Trump presidency, and the majority of Americans still can't. We can only hope he was all talk and no action, but it isn't looking good, especially for liberal atheists.

We will not know until it happens, and right now it might be the left fueling our passion against Trump, but there are seemingly valid troubling points. We are hearing that deportation will start at day one. A wall will be built, although it may be more of a fence, the best fence ever. We know that financial regulations will be decimated, we know that as much of the Affordable Health Care Act will be dismantled as possible, we know that Muslim immigration will be stopped. We know that Vice-President-elect Pence is even worse than Trump. He is what atheists fear most, a man who wants us to be ruled by God. There is no doubt that the conservative party is the anti-science party, and their followers agree with them. We will not be battling Climate Change because in their minds it doesn't exist.

Protests are still going strong, but will not change anything as far as I can tell. The Democratic Party is in the midst of an upheaval, and it is needed. We ignored the crowds that Trump was gathering wherever he campaigned, just like we ignored Sanders' crowds. They were both running strong campaigns, but the democrats made the choice that they wanted Hillary. Right now the Sanders' movement is taking over the party, they want to severe all ties with Wall Street, they want a populist message like Sanders, and I think it is their best move to stop what I see as an imminent threat to our society.

In two years the house can be taken back, and for now, major American cities and liberal states are firm in their decision to fight for the people they serve. California's legislation has said they will use every federal, state, and local means to stop Trump from affecting their state. New York City and others have promised to be sanctuary cities where immigrants will be safe, even though it means a reduction in federal funding. The country cannot afford deportation; four-hundred to six-hundred billion dollars estimated to round up all illegals, then another three-hundred-and-fifty to five-hundred-and-fifty billion lost in revenue. Doesn't appear to be a reasonable approach to the problem.

The majority of the "nones" that voted went for Hillary, but only sixty percent bothered to cast a vote. Tens of thousands of residents in my state of Michigan voted, but not for a president; they disliked both candidates. 

From a personal perspective, I am no longer able to have a discussion with family and friends about the election. The Trump supporters say liberals are the haters, progressives say the conservatives are the haters. Personal attacks and innuendo, there is no conversation of substance. Although hopefully temporary, some days it appears that we have lost the ability to partake in a democracy.

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I just watched part of a CBS Sunday Morning piece about a city in West Virginia and why they went for Drumpf, and it was in no ways surprising.  The town was utterly based on coal, and with coal fading in production and importance, the resultant demise of their standard of living and indeed the town itself could almost have been considered axiomatic.  Yet the citizens of that community cannot see their lives apart from coal.  It is a tradition to them, probably not far off from breathing in importance.  I doubt any of them care about CO2 levels above 400 ppm or rising seawater or other ecological changes.  Their reality is restrained to the niche they occupy.  Of course, Drumpf spoke directly to that, saying that he was okay with coal, okay with their lifestyle and would support it as president.  That such a policy would set events in motion which effectively dooms them, their children, and their planet never came up and never would.

While Planet Earth has become a global society, there are a tremendous number of cubbyholes in it which are neither aware of nor care about that global quality.  These amount to cultural blind spots which can take very nearly any form, which sadly include those having to do with religion, sex, gender identity, skin color, or any other difference which can be used as an us-versus-them lever.  Drumpf pushed on those levers to gain the presidency and at the same time further Balkanize our country into yet more little pieces that will strive against each other, because they're taught that their differences overwhelm their commonalities.

Almost 400 years ago, John Donne said, "No man is an island, entire of himself."  During her campaign, Hillary Clinton stated that we are "Stronger Together."  For some reason which escapes my ken, that message has yet to resonate, and we do indeed face a fractious, divided and towering Babel.  So long as there exist those who cannot think past themselves and the tiny cranny in which they live their lives, people like Drumpf who know how to exploit that mindset will continue to use that status quo to their own ends.

The short term result will be the exploiter's advancement.  The long term product may well be the extinction of Homo sapiens.

Well stated. The rural areas have no idea what they have done. I do not see them having a better life with our soon to be president. Well, it will be whiter, but better, no. 

Us left leaning liberals gave up on this election months ago when they opted for Hilary and cynicism over Bernie and decent liberal ideas supporting the working class instead of money grubbing capitalists and accusing anyone who disagreed with the left as racist and bigoted. Until we listen to the fears of the working and middle classes the Democrats and we on the left are doomed to fail.

Bernie was the man. I was amazed to hear 30 to 40-year-olds talking about how he could never win, well, I think he would have won handily. The Democratic party has left its roots, which is the working class. If you align with wall street, you have aligned yourself with the working class's enemy.

We in the UK have the same problem, with Jeremy Corbyn the Socialist leader of the Labour party is being attacked by the right and even the so called moderates in his own party. They are determined not to allow Corbyn a chance to fight the next election.

These #not my President protestors are doing exactly what they would have accused the Trump supporters of threatening to do if they had lost the election.  under the system you have, Trump won accept it.

We are accepting it in the same manner that conservatives accepted Obama. =)

For any that may have forgotten:

There are way too many photos of them protesting against Obama. The obstructionism from the conservative congress, the list goes on and on. This is not stopping anytime soon. Sanders coalition is looking to make this a larger movement than the Occupy Wall Street one. 

Here in the UK, one of the scummier newspapers led with a front page saying that Trump had received an unprecedented (funny how that word sounds like un-presidented) number of death threats.

Better hope nobody carries them out, or you'll end up with Pence!



I don't like Trump either.


Pence would be worse. There is nothing that can be done but for all to resist. Even if Pence went down as well, next up is Ryan who would rape the country. 

We hold on for two years and hope we can grab the house. But as it is, they have free reign until 2018.

I've been reading that Pence is a true End time Christian who supports Israel so as to bring on the rapture. Bloody scary. 

The UKs scummier newspapers are attacking Corbyn because he's telling the truth Just like Bernie would have done 

Good piece mate. 

Maybe now is time to start listening to each other. I find the #notmypresident protests hilarious. While they are expressing their displeasure, Trump will be president. It reminds of my situation. I don't think the current president here is legitimate. I don't think he won the election. So I have been having my own protest for the last 4 years. 


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