Last fall, I followed the American election more closely than I've followed some Canadian ones in the past. I was dismayed when Trump won, more than I expected, for a variety of reasons. In light of the presidential inauguration on January 20th, I thought I would gather the articles, podcasts and comedy sketches that informed my feelings about this American election.
First of all, that Donald Trump might win seemed impossible, and John Oliver wanted to make sure listeners got the message. Hence the short-lived "Make Donald Drumpf Again" hashtag.
PBS Frontline made a two-hour documentary available online, and we watched it.
The podcast This American Life (episode 599: Seriously?) addressed the befuddling support Donald Trump was getting and investigated how the truth was getting distorted. They also addressed the american concern over immigration and the rift within the Republican party (episode 600: Will I Know Anyone at This Party?) and Hilary's problematic e-mail account (episode 601: Master of Her Domain... Name).
As the election drew near, even CBC got involved and hosted a Munk debate titled: Be it resolved, Donald Trump can make America great again, during which Jennifer Granholm makes a final argument against Trump "in the style of Dr. Seuss."
My sister sent along a short sketch featuring her favourite actor Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Tale of Election 2016".
Surely, Trump wouldn't win. But he did!
This American Life dealt with the deception in episode 602: The Sun Comes Up. And there were podcasts like Fresh Air for explanations. First: "How Trump Broke Campaign Norms But Still Won the Election" featuring a fascinating interview with James Fallows and a discussion about journalism.
I broached the subject with some family friends and discovered that for many Catholics, Trump was given a vote on account of the Republican pro-life platform. Partisanship is one of those issues in the deep-end of the pool where I can't swim without floaters. I take issue with the person. I don't trust his words and his expressions are discouraging. But I learned something about smugness! Emmett Rensin wrote an article on Vox titled: "The smug style in American liberalism" and I felt properly humbled.
Clearly, there is a lot I don't understand about American feeling and American politics. My brother sent along a link to Dan Carlin's podcast, where Carlin explains how Hillary Clinton had been a poor choice of candidate.
John Oliver was not going to have any of those timid bits of optimism... His post-election show was all warnings and no reassurance. Fresh Air talked to a journalist about Trump's "Potential Conflicts of Interest" and how fake news was spread. Kottke started worrying about democracy in a blog post called "Is liberal democracy in trouble?"
Macleans featured a long-read titled "The rise of Donald Trump; The 10 moments that came to define the most ridiculous, unexpected and divisive political campaign in U.S. history"
There is no conclusion to this yet... I hope to acquire a Zen-like sense of perspective and listening to people like Malcolm Gladwell on the last episode of his first season of podcasts, helps. He talks about politics and the use and miss-use of satire. It's called The Satire Paradox. If I remember correctly, the point is that the audience member is supposed to shake off the torpor and stop laughing.