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It’s Going to Be Okay

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A lot of people in this country feel like this right now:

1

Or this:

2

Or even this:

3

I feel ya.

It’s a lot to take in. President Trump. The guy who said all those things over the last 18 months is our president, and the most powerful person in the world, for the next four years. Four years is a long time. At the end of which, there will be another Donald Trump campaign. This is someone we’re going to have to get used to.

A lot of people are scared right now, for a lot of reasons.

But at this very moment, there are also a lot of Americans who feel like this:

4

Or this:

5

Or this:

7

Those people aren’t scared about what happened last night—they’re elated, and relieved, and grateful.

And though it probably feels unintuitive to most readers of this blog, it turns out that there are just as many people who are thrilled by last night’s election as there are people who are devastated by it. For every single American who voted for Hillary yesterday and who watched last night’s events unfold in horror, there’s another American out there who rejoiced. It’s a 1-to-1 ratio.

Hillary supporters are going to go through a bunch of stages of grief before they finally reach acceptance. I’ve already gone through about nine stages myself—and I’ve come out of them with two main thoughts:

1) This is not as bad as it seems.

2) This is a moment for reflection.

Let’s discuss #1 first. Reading the internet throughout the night, I saw Hillary supporters saying a lot of pretty dramatic things, and I think we all need to take it down just a notch. Some examples of things I’m seeing:

“I’m moving to Canada.”

You and I both know your ass isn’t going anywhere. First of all, Canada doesn’t want you. Secondly, this is still a great country you should be proud of. More on that in a bit.

“She won the popular vote. This system is so fucked.”

Yup. The system is dumb. But if Hillary lost the popular vote and won the electoral vote, you’d be fine with it. You can’t protest a system only when you lose.

“We’ll never have a female president.”

I don’t believe that for a second and I don’t think you do either. Hillary didn’t lose because she’s a woman. She lost because Hillary is bad at campaigning and because Trump had a message that resonated with a lot of people and she didn’t. The country is unbelievably ready to elect a woman as its president and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in the next election or the one after. And it’ll be so awesome whenever it happens.

“Trump has no idea how to be a world leader.”

He sure does not. But think of it this way: the US executive branch needs to have expertise in about 1,000 things, and no president comes into office as an expert in more than a tenth of those things. The president’s job is to bring in a large team of experts to fill in the 90% that he or she doesn’t know about. For Trump, maybe that number is 98% instead of 90%. But our executive branch will be run by a large group of people, not just Trump, and as a whole they’ll have all the expertise of any other administration. Sure, the president has a lot of say and does have a significant amount of individual power, and that’s a bit  mildly terrifying when it comes to Trump—but I’m encouraged by both his experience running a large, complex company and his surprisingly adult choice of Pence as a running mate. I’d predict that President Trump is all about surrounding himself with experts who know very well how to run the executive branch.

“Holy shit the Supreme Court.”

If you care passionately about socially liberal values, this is a fair thing to be super upset about. But it’s also kind of an expected reality. Bush Sr. appointed two justices. So did Clinton. So did Bush Jr. So did Obama. And it’s historically unusual for one party to hold the White House for more than two terms, so history shows that we’re kind of in line for a couple conservative justices. There will be another liberal in office before too long who will appoint more liberal justices. Yes, the whole Merrick Garland thing was maddening if you’re a social liberal, but overall, the fact is that you live in a democracy where half of the people are socially conservative—so this is reality. Look at the bright side—Trump isn’t especially socially conservative, so his appointees may not be either.

“RIP America.”

America didn’t die. In fact, what happened last night is America being very much alive. Half the country felt ignored and angry and disenfranchised and they wrested control of the government from the people they felt ignored by. That’s how democracy works. It’s an uncomfortable compromise where half the country is appalled by who the president is at all times. Obama’s elections made tens of millions of people feel the same way.

Now granted, this is an unusual case. Trump is extra appalling. So much so that much of his own party is appalled by him. That’s unusual. But it’s not unusual where it counts—he got about the same number of votes as Hillary and ended up winning pretty big in the electoral college. That makes him no less legit a president than anyone in the past.

Secondly, a bigger point: no one person has the power to RIP America, no matter what they do. America is bigger than you or me, and America is much, much bigger than Donald Trump. America is a 320-million-person melting pot, run by a government made up of thousands of people working within a twisty, convoluted set of branches, ruled by a 240-year-old instruction booklet that specifically makes it impossible for any one dick to ride a wave of populist anger into a position where he can RIP America. America is un-RIP-able, at least by the hands of any president.

America survived a civil war, slavery, two world wars, a handful of crippling recessions, 9/11, and a whole lot of really shitty presidents—and it’ll survive Donald Trump.

“But Trump can still do a huge amount of damage.”

Yes he can. And that sucks. But every president can do a lot of damage, and many of them do, and we’re still standing. And remember, the president is seriously limited in what he can do without the approval of other parts of the government, so he’s unlikely to be able to carry out anything that crazy.

On the plus side, it’s a little simplistic to assume that every idea Trump has is terrible. Trump has some good ideas and some refreshing ideas. He may be very good in some areas. He’s nerve-wracking for sure, but let’s look at the full picture.

“Easy for you to say, white male blogger. I’m brown and I don’t feel safe here anymore.”

Here’s what I’ll say to that:

This country had your back yesterday and it’ll have your back tomorrow. America isn’t the president and it’s not the government—it’s 320 million people, and those people haven’t changed. Almost every ethnicity of American was at some point in the role of unwelcome immigrant, and I think there’s a deep ethos of acceptance that pervades everything—an ethos Donald Trump can’t touch. Sure, there are plenty of racists and xenophobes—the US is a troubled place when it comes to race, religion, and ethnicity—but I don’t see Trump’s election as proof that there’s some growing people-phobia trend happening. Which reminds me of another thing I keep seeing:

“I hate everyone who voted for Trump—those stupid, racist, xenophobic fucks.”

Again, that’s a pretty simplistic way to look at things. This election was about much more than the really nasty things Trump said during the campaign. First of all, Trump won in areas where Obama was strongest among white voters—i.e. people unracist enough to vote for a black president. Secondly, Trump did surprisingly well with Latino voters. This isn’t as simple as the media portrays it to be. Trump did say shameful things, and he definitely won over some very hateful people by doing so. But he also stood for a lot more than just those things. In many people’s minds, he stood for hope and change—the same exact thing Obama stood for for millions of voters in 2008.

People vote for hope and change when they’re in pain. When I watched the election last night, I didn’t see a bunch of assholes voting to be hateful, I saw a bunch of people going through a lot of suffering hoping for something better.

Which is why, if you’re a Hillary supporter, in addition to this being a time for disappointment and frustration, it should also be a time for reflection. Half your country voted for Trump. Over 50 million people—people with kids and parents and jobs and dogs and calendars on their wall with piano lessons and doctors appointments and birthday parties written in the squares. Full, three-dimensional people who voted for what they hope will be a better future for themselves and their family.

So yeah, we’re gonna have to look at Trump’s face a lot for a bunch of years, and that’s a shame. that sucks. And he might do some really shitty things. And it’s fair to be really upset about having a guy like Trump representing you in the world and worried about how the country will fare under his administration. But if we want to make the best of this, we need to ask a question: Why did those 50 million people vote for Trump?

Trying to get to the bottom of that question will help us learn from the past and get better.

And remember—this is hardly the first time half of America has been apoplectic about the lunatic they just elected as their president. And we’ve always survived. And we will here too.

___________

Want to feel hopeful? Read about Elon.

Or

something much bigger than all of this.Or watch this video

bunnies .

___________

If you’re into Wait But Why, sign up for the Wait But Why email listand we’ll send you the new posts right when they come out. It’s a very unannoying list, don’t worry.

If you’d like to support Wait But Why, here’s our Patreon page.

The post It’s Going to Be Okay appeared first on Wait But Why.

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lsmike
2016 days ago
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Mike@third-interval.com
Machesney Park, Illinois
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2016 days ago
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2 public comments
mxm23
2003 days ago
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No. This is not okay. This is not politics as usual. It's not that the wrong candidate won, it's that he's a horrible despicable person and the country voted for him anyway. This piece, while written with good intentions I'm sure, seeks to normalize something that is distinctly abnormal. Not okay.
West Coast
jimwise
2016 days ago
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Yes, this, mostly.

Open Letter

18 Comments and 47 Shares
Are you ok?  Do you need help?
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lsmike
3146 days ago
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Machesney Park, Illinois
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3146 days ago
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17 public comments
josephwebster
3143 days ago
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Finally some rational political discourse.
Denver, CO, USA
Demagog
3145 days ago
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Well, but where is MiB and Greys and a lot of other secret rulers of the (not-so-good-site) of the Atlantic Ocean
beerland
3145 days ago
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YES.
Kensington, California
mrobold
3145 days ago
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Also, please make more bacon.
Orange County, California
herrmann
3146 days ago
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Forgot to mention the Majestic 12...
Brazil
sjk
3146 days ago
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Maybe all the organizations the control the US government are too busy arguing with the other members of the cabal to get organized?
Florida
MEVincent
3146 days ago
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If only this were true...
Manassas, Virginia
joshpennington
3146 days ago
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Yes. Please.
Saint Joseph, MI
bobfa
3146 days ago
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PLEASE!!!!
hannahdraper
3147 days ago
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Yep.
Washington, DC
MourningDragon
3147 days ago
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Full Frontal Truth...
yashimii
3147 days ago
Lols. If it wasn't so sad.
JayM
3147 days ago
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Ha! Definitely!
Atlanta, GA
ToToR65
3147 days ago
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Grève forcée des fonctionnaires US (pas en France que ça arriverait ><)
ashtonbt1
3147 days ago
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Word. This is amazing.
MaryEllenCG
3147 days ago
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Seriously, now.
Greater Bostonia
bronzehedwick
3147 days ago
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Alt text: "Are you ok? Do you need help?"
Jersey City, NJ

16 Things We Can Learn About Music (And Life) From Basketball

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What basketball can teach us about life and music

Arghhhhh!!!!

I’m still a bit bummed about the outcome of the NBA Finals, but alas, now seems like a fitting time to think about the game of basketball and what lessons we can apply to music.

What? Basketball and music?

Well, as coaching great Phil Jackson (11 NBA championships as coach of the Bulls and Lakers) once said, “Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball.”

16 lessons

I suppose a good place to start is practice – and why deliberate mindful practice (especially when practicing scales/etudes/etc.) is so important…

“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
~Michael Jordan

Is practicing fun? Not always, but…

“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”
~Jerry West (14-time NBA All-Star and former general manager of the Lakers)

Because there’s a big difference between wishful thinking and action planning…

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
~Michael Jordan

After all, at the end of the day…

“You always have to give 100%, because if you don’t someone, somewhere will give 100% and they will beat you when you meet.”
~Ed Macauley (NBA Hall-of-Famer and MVP of the very first NBA All-Star game)
And here’s a fun Gatorade commercial about this (basketball player nightmares)

Even though at the end of the end of the day…

“You don’t play against opponents. You play against the game of basketball.”
~Bobby Knight (third most winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history)

In other words, winning and beating others should not be our goal, because it’s not something we control….

“…I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions. What’s more, obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome.”

“What matters most is playing the game the right way and having the courage to grow, as human beings as well as basketball players. When you do that, the ring takes care of itself.”
~Phil Jackson

Admittedly, that’s easier said than done, because growth requires risk. And risk means the possibility of failure. And none of us like to fail. But what if mistakes are actually a sign that you’re on the right path?

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
~John Wooden (10 NCAA championships in 12 years at UCLA)

Indeed, some would say that action trumps everything. That courageous action plus mistakes plus adjustments is more effective than planning for perfection at the expense of taking action…

“You never make any of the shots you never take. 87% of the ones you do take, you’ll miss too.”
~Larry Bird (12-time NBA All-Star, 3-time league MVP)

There will be some rough days, of course, and it’s natural to get down about our misses. And that’s ok so long as we don’t dwell on them and get mopey for too long. Because the silver lining is that we often learn more about success in defeat, than in victory…

“It’s what you get from games you lose that is extremely important.”
~Pat Riley (5 NBA titles as a coach, and current president of the Miami Heat)

Not to mention about ourselves…

“Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”
~John Wooden

Because our reputation is an illusion…

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
~John Wooden

And being too concerned with that illusion can keep us from becoming who we really are…

“Don’t let what other people think decide who you are.”
~Dennis Rodman (5 NBA championships; led the NBA in rebounding for a record 7 consecutive years)

Always remember that we’re much more than what we do from 9-5…

“If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.”
~Isiah Thomas (12-time NBA All-Star, 2 NBA championships)

And that it’s ok to be confused sometime (or even most of the time)…

“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”
~Wilt Chamberlain (only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game, average more than 50 points in a season)

So long as we keep moving forward….with purpose…

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”
~John Wooden
(and check out the great new TED talk of Ken Robinson speaking to this in the context of education)

Because life is short…

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
~John Wooden

photo credit: completely deck via photopin cc

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lsmike
3251 days ago
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Machesney Park, Illinois
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