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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Viewpoint

The triumph of the stupid

‘I see no reason to extend my understanding to the 59 million people who voted for Trump’

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, holds an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and has worked as a journalist in New England for more than 35 years.


How did Donald Trump get elected president?

Like many in the reality-based community, I severely underestimated how much hate, ignorance, and violence there is in these United States.

Maybe it’s because I have been in Vermont for the last 27 years of my life, a place where we still have a democracy and civility, and we still live life on a human-sized scale.

But mostly, I truly believed that there were more people of goodwill in this nation than people motivated by hate, ignorance, and violence.

And I was wrong.

There really are two Americas.

One is educated and humane. The other is not.

One sees diversity as our strength. The other fears those that do not look like them.

One believes in science, logic, and reason. The other rejects anything at odds with their carefully cultivated ignorance.

One believes in government as a tool to help us create a more perfect union. The other sees it as the enemy.

One is unafraid of change. The other is terrified of it.

And these two Americas are completely at odds with each other.

* * *

The other America, the one that voted for Trump, thought it was getting its revenge against the elites by electing him president. They will learn soon enough that it is not a winning strategy to put your faith in a man who has betrayed and double-crossed every working person he has come in contact with.

And the America I live in will have to deal with the immense damage that will come from the combination of having the most unqualified man ever elected president with the scheming leaders of an unscrupulous political party that cares only about serving money and power and now controls every branch of our federal government.

There will be plenty of analysis and postmortems in the coming weeks. But, to me, this election at its heart represents a triumph of the mean and the stupid, of people so willing to punish the so-called elites that they are willing to burn our democracy to the ground.

I make no apologies for being educated, and I see no reason to extend my understanding to the 59 million people who voted for Trump. I consider them people who have betrayed our democracy and the idea of coming together for the common good.

It is the difference between people who are willing to be governed, and people who wish to be ruled.

It is the difference between people who remain committed to the idea of self-government, and people who want a man on horseback.

For those of us who still reside in the land of reason and logic, we must now fight like hell to turn back these barbarians, and the rising tide of hate and fear that threatens to swamp us.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #383 (Wednesday, November 16, 2016). This story appeared on page D1.

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