This morning’s hideous Cabinet news: Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a man literally too racist for the 1980s. It seems obvious that, like during the election, Trump is working to numb his enemies with a fire-hose of soul-crushing and shocking news, every one bit of which should be immediately disqualifying. President Obama is trying to keep his chin up, but this week we’ve seen Japanese internment cited as a positive precedent for Muslim registries, requests for security clearance for Trump’s children and their spouses, literal fake news straight from the horse’s mouth, accusations that protests are paid and thus should be punished and suppressed, media outlets tamping down their descriptions of racists and bigots taking top roles in the new administration…
- You don’t think fake news is a problem? This dude made $10,000 a month writing it. To be fair, he’s very sorry he put Trump in the White House. These students might have hacked a small fix, at least.
- “Not sure how a party supports healthcare, living wages, = pay for women & paid family leave yet is told it ignores the white working-class,” tweeted Jelani Cobb on Nov. 16. For your consideration: The New Republic posted “J.D. Vance, the False Prophet of Blue America,” about the author of the widely cited memoir Hillbilly Elegy. From The Nation: “Why Do White Working-Class People Vote Against Their Interests? They Don’t.” See also, from Harvard Business Review: “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class.”
- More grief and fear: From The Atlantic, “The Guilt and Pain of a Clinton Supporter,” although the problem remains that none of Trump’s visceral ugliness was a deal-breaker for millions of voters. (Side note: Voter turnout may not have been as depressed as we thought.) More on that, from Anita Finlay; an angrier version, from Adrian Anchondo. My Yale THREAD classmate Katrina Otuonye’s essay “Our Waning Sense of Goodwill” is a must-read on voting in person as a black woman in small-town Tennessee.
- Heather Havrilesky (advice columnist Ask Polly) gets her own item: “I Don’t Believe Anything I Do Will Make a Difference!” made a difference for me. “Seeing empathy as heroic is part of the problem,” indeed.
- One story that keeps coming up in the wake of this election is how we need to listen to each other and break out of our social media bubble. The Guardian asked people to switch Facebook feeds, to some predictable results. WNYC’s Note to Self took voice memos from voters and supporters from all over the spectrum, for an episode on how to take care of yourself online in a post-election world.
One tip from that last link is taking a moment to clarify for yourself what’s most important to you politically and personally. I still have no idea, in my inmost lizard-brain heart, why Trump’s campaign rhetoric wasn’t a deal-breaker for so many voters. You can talk to me about economic anxiety and feeling ignored and beaten down and disparaged until you’re blue in the face, but minorities and people of color in this country, not to mention Native people (who have the most right to rage of all, frankly), have been treated far worse by society and the government and still didn’t buy in. If you have links to an argument otherwise that truly convinces you, I’d love to see it — please share in the comments if you can.