A tear is an intellectual thing

Just before the results started coming in, Nate Silver’s 538 model gave Hillary a 70% chance of winning the election.  Still he had been emphasizing that something with a 30% probability of happening could very well happen.  He also wrote a piece more than a week before the election about the increasing likelihood that Trump could win the electoral college even if Hillary won the popular vote.  Having listened carefully to all the 538 podcasts provided a little cushion as the results hit me on Tuesday night.

Being prepared for disappointment doesn’t make me any less disappointed.  But I didn’t cry until the middle of Hillary’s concession speech on Wednesday.  Her obvious struggle to hold herself together hit me with two realities.  First, that she would never have another chance.  Second, that Trump really was going to be president with Republicans in control of all three branches of government.  Many of my friends have been more bothered by the idea that so many people could vote for a man like Trump.  While more than a quarter century in local government has given me a great respect and affection for democracy, it has also disabused me of any illusions that democracy always results in decisions based on facts or moral principles.  Nevertheless, the way to correct wrong decisions is to change hearts and  minds, not to impose technocracy or theocracy.

We can begin that process by acknowledging our own feelings.  The other day I found some words from William Blake that express mine.

But vain the Sword & vain the Bow
They never can work Wars overthrow
The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear
Alone can free the World from fear

For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing
And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King
And the bitter groan of the Martyrs woe
Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow

The hand of Vengeance found the Bed
To which the Purple Tyrant fled
The iron hand crushd the Tyrants head
And became a Tyrant in his stead

One Comment

  1. Thanks for this post and the lines from Blake, Ken. As far as changing hearts and minds, how difficult this is when we are strangers to one another – which accounts in part for the surprise of Trump’s victory.

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