Opinion » Maxed Out

The U.S. voted for change, but at what cost?



Well, this is going to be interesting, isn't it?

As it seems it has with everyone, there have been too many times in recent years I've found myself wondering how out of touch those in power can possibly be and how seemingly intelligent people can so totally cocoon themselves they fail to grasp their isolation. So it was with former British Prime Minister David Cameron. He was so certain "right-thinking" people agreed with him and so enamoured of retaining power in a fractured party that he was willing to roll the dice on Great Britain's marriage with the European Union.

It was late in the evening of June 23 I first pondered the unthinkable. The surprise outcome of Brexit — which shouldn't have been that much of a surprise — more than anything else foreshadowed what happened south of the border Tuesday. You can only lie to and piss on people so long before they hitch their wagon to a bigger lie, or a bigger liar.

It's too early to write the words president-elect and that man's name without retching, but that is the reality in Wednesday's pre-dawn.

There's really no need to ask how this happened. It happened for the same reason Canada elected Justin Trudeau a year ago. Canadians were fed up with, bored and tired of Stephen Harper's version of reality. We wanted change and Justin was the change agent just as Harper had been the change agent when years of Liberal rule crumbled at the feet of Mr. Dithers. That Canadians voted for a swing to the liberal side of the ledger was more coincidence than philosophy.

Trump was the change agent in the U.S. He couldn't have had an easier foe than Hillary Clinton. Well before the electoral college numbers had tipped over the magic 270 mark, social media, TV pundits and editorial writers had already hung the foreseeable loss on their favourite targets: FBI director James Comey's late hit, a failure of Bernie Sanders' self-absorbed Millennial supporters to rally around Clinton, the crumbled coalition of black and minority voters that swept Obama to power, duped white uneducated voters... whatever.

If you're looking for a scapegoat — I'm not but so many seem to be — look no further than the Democratic Party and its out of touch leadership. Yeah, those folks. In the face of a challenger they couldn't take seriously and an electorate they were clearly out of touch with, they offered up a target instead of a candidate. As blind as they were to the voices clamouring for change, they were more blind to the weaknesses and baggage Hillary Clinton dragged around with her and the distrust and disgust so many of her reluctant supporters felt for her candidacy.

She was the consummate insider in the Year of the Outsider. She brought a nudge-nudge, wink-wink resume to a sledgehammer election. She promised four more years of the eight previous years when voters on both the left and right of the political spectrum wanted change.

And she embodied the very worst attributes a presidential candidate in 2016 could represent: status quo, insider privilege, Wall Street lackey, free-trader, military interventionist, globalist, and perhaps worst of all, simply being another Clinton. She never grasped this was a race about passion and her surplus of tepid wasn't going to cut it. She grinned like the Cheshire Cat at the sophomoric, moronic antics of her opponent through three debates when the electorate wanted to feel some heat, see some passion, taste some blood. She fell into the same trap John Kerry fell into when he thought campaigning against his opponent — Bush the Second — was all he had to do to win.

The power brokers of the Democratic Party couldn't see and wouldn't believe the passion Bernie Sanders ignited. They were scared of his populism and worried for their own cosseted positions if he somehow managed to wrest the candidacy from their anointed one. It wasn't this upstart's turn; it was Hillary's turn. They managed to dissuade the Party's other populist, Joe Biden, from running. It wasn't his turn either and, well, you could never be sure what he was going to say was safe, bland, uninspiring.

Oh well. You play the cards you're dealt... or you step away from the table. Donald's the man; hang on to your pussy. His victory will most certainly embolden the neo-fascist, alt-right creatures who crawled out from under the rock he lifted. His attack on the First Amendment and favour of the Second will play out in ways too gruesome to contemplate. With control of both houses of Congress, his Supreme Court appointees will help make America great again — as great as it was when whites ruled, minorities and women knew their places and the educated elites weren't the only ones who could aspire to middle-class comfort.

And the rest of the world? Screw 'em. Let 'em solve their own problems and pay their own way, the snivelling wastrels.

It's not all bleak though. OK, that's optimism speaking. But the one thing the next president has going for him is an ego-driven fear of failure. How that will play out now that he is going to be the reputed leader of the free world is impossible to know. He could be better than we imagine or he could let slip the dogs of nuclear war; depends on how he feels and who's insulted him. They may be dancin' in the streets in Moscow right now, but no one knows what the world is going to look like on Jan. 20.

What the hell though. Cornucopia swings into high gear today — Thursday — and I can't imagine a better way to drive the dour thoughts of the havoc the Orange One may unleash on the world than to indulge in food, wine and spirits for the next 10 days. With a schedule so dense with enticing opportunities, this year's version of Whistler's celebration of food and drink offers the best ticket(s) to either celebrate the new regime or drown your sorrows and fears.

I think I'll start early.


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