This is what the digital front page of The New York Times looked like this morning when I got up.
And this is what the digital front page of The Washington Post looked like about forty minutes later.
Each of these looks about the way I expected. Because, really, did anyone expect a decisive, clear message from the electorate? In 2020 the year of nothing being certain?
Anyone who has been paying attention knew this was what we’d wake up to. And here’s the thing about knowing: Humans have an almost infinite capacity for self-delusion.
In its most benign form we call it hope. The thing about hope is that it is dangerous.
See, people are basically lazy. We want eat all the cake and have six-pack abs without going to the gym. Take a pill and learn French. Have a democracy without doing the work.
The map looks like that the day after a presidential election that will, I’m betting, be the largest voter turnout in modern history, because we brought this on ourselves.
The myth of Cassandra says she was gifted by Apollo the power of prophecy, and cursed by him that her prophecies would never be believed. And why was this?
Because that gift of prophecy was something Apollo promised her in return, as the Encyclopedia Britannica says so demurely, “if she would comply with his desires.” It was only after receiving the gift and then refusing to give Apollo “her favors” that he cursed her with being disbelieved.
Americans, in particular, don’t like unpleasant truths. We ignore them. Just as we ignore the cancer this country has had since it was founded, the cancer we see played out in the media and on those maps today.
We treated our democracy as background. We expected it to last, to just keep going and going, blissfully, perhaps willfully, ignorant of the fact that there were forces pulling levers and pushing buttons and playing the long game.
This result was entirely predictable. Entirely. Yet to say that would be “negative” or “unhopeful.”
At least curmudgeons are rarely surprised.
America has been sick for a long, long time. Now that its finally dying we, and by we I mean white people, are starting to pay attention.