Dear World, about this election. . .

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“I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.” – Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath captured the best reason of all to write – because you have to. Martial Arts are my profession, writing is my practice. It keeps me sane. Today is a good day to stay sane.

America just elected a man who intentionally barges into the dressing rooms of teenage girls, as President of the United States. How could this happen?

Here are my thoughts. If they ease even a little anxiety for you, even better.

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The end is not near. Penn Jillette is right.

America’s institutions were created and organized by very smart human beings. Our founding fathers understood the need for a balance of power. Now is the time when that balance will be put to the test, and I’m optimistic our institutions are up to the task. That is an optimism built from knowledge, not propped up by hope. Those of you who know me know that I don’t believe in faith. I don’t believe that pretending to know something you don’t, is better than admitting you don’t know. I believe that belief should be proportioned to the evidence. And I believe that we must always endeavor to look reality square in the eyes. So with faith and hope aside, what, post-election, do we know?

We know a man that openly admitted to physically assaulting women, has just been elected to the highest office on the planet. And we know, despite his lies, that bragging about grabbing women by their private parts isn’t just “locker room” talk. I’ve been in lots of locker rooms. I’ve made a living around athletes. I’ve heard all the bragging, and I’ve heard the less mature among us declare just how badly they want to do lay with someone, or how hot they find someone. But I’ve never heard a man, in my presence, boast about assaulting women. That’s not locker room speak, that’s degenerate needs a beating speak, and we all know that.

We know a man who has casually discussed taking the lid off nuclear proliferation, is going to be commander in chief. What most Trump voters cannot know (based on how they voted) – is just how dangerous that kind of thing is. The cold war, believed to be long over, doesn’t hold the same level of concern it did when I was young.

Those weapons are all still pointed at us, and those bombs can still be sent, ending the world as we know it – within minutes.

What’s kept that from happening? The decades long moratorium on the mass spread of these civilization ending tools, which now sits perilously on the edge of the fence. Whatever you think about Black Lives Matter, transgendered bathrooms, PC speech, or gun control, if that fence breaks, you may find yourself fighting the next culture war with sticks and stones, as opposed to words typed furiously on the internet.

We know a man who has talked openly about murdering and torturing the families of suspected terrorists, will now be sitting in an office that would allow for him to give such orders. Orders which, by definition, would be illegal – orders which, if given, throw the Nation into an immediate constitutional crisis.

And we know, I think, that all three of these things, boasting about sexual assault, casually pontificating about the spread of nuclear bombs, and suggesting State sanctioned assassination and torture of suspected terrorist families – were given very little, if any, conscious thought, prior to be said out loud. And given that the wrong words from a President of the United States have the power to send markets crashing and Russian tanks rolling – I also think we know just how dangerous that kind of weakness of character could be, for the entire world.

Yet – he was voted in. With his terrible comb over, vulgar mannerisms, orange skin, and toddler like temperament – he was voted in.

He was voted in by fewer votes numerically than Mitt Romney received when he lost. But he was voted in nonetheless.

And so now we must ask, why?

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To my friends on the left, the progressive “Social Justice Warrior” branch among you has created a toxic environment. By so quickly branding anything that doesn’t conform to their dogma ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, or, borrowing a term created by the Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood – ‘Islamophobic’, you have produced an environment where people who may disagree with you are afraid to speak their mind publicly, to pollsters or in polite company, for fear of being smeared and maligned.

The result? Take a look around today. People who are afraid to tell the truth, and a world where – when a true sexist pig does arise – you lack the authority or public trust needed to point it out. You’ve so misused these pejoratives that you’ve rendered them toothless – at least, in so far as they come from you and yours. You’ve lost moral authority, because you handed it over to the most obnoxious and entitled among you.

You’ve also made common cause with hate groups like Black Lives Matter, which openly chant for the murder of police officers – and then feign indignation when the men and women of law enforcement refuse to vote for a woman who invites Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, the convenience store robber and attempted cop murderer, to stand on stage at the DNC convention. A decision she later, thankfully, pulled back from. But not before her attitude of contempt for the people who put their lives on the line daily for us, revealed itself in a way no pant suit could hide.

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I could go on. Whether it’s the Southern Poverty Law Center branding a true hero like Aayan Hirsi Ali, an “Islamophobe”, without any irony or sense of shame – or the ease at which you dismiss someone based solely on skin color, sexual preference, or genitalia; assuming that color is white, that preference is heterosexual, and that genitalia is a penis.

My friend Sylvia Benner wrote something this morning that captures much of this better than I can:

“So my wall and media commentary are full of people who say something to the effect of: This just proves that American is full of racists and misogynists.

That is precisely the wrong analysis, and repeating the mistakes that very likely either created or at least contributed to the Trump phenomenon.

By saying that, you imply that Trump’s supporters had absolutely no bona fide issues, that the only reason someone could vote for Trump is out of racism or sexism. Is this really your position? Do you really think they had no bona fide complaints, and that nothing about Trump could be attractive to them if it wasn’t his comments about women and minorities? Then I allege that you are NOT thinking!

Furthermore, these are the same accusations that the left has been making for a long time, and it feels to people who are sympathetic to any of Trump’s positions like pure and unmitigated bigotry – and they are right. It made your side unattractive because it made your movement look like it was composed of a bunch of unpleasant people. In addition, it created a sense of beleaguered minority status (true) and a sense of victimization (irrational) in people who were sympathetic to Trump. This may rock your world, but let me tell you that people outside of the traditional victim groups can experience a sense of oppression. Now, they are as wrong about that at the traditional victim groups are in 2016, but people on the left just never even consider the possibility that this may be their experience. And the left has been reinforcing this sense of victimization by saying the most awful things about Trump supporters in particular, and less educated whites in general, for months and years. It is ok to assume the worst about their intellect and character simply because they are not protected by a history of victimization. But they noticed! The left invented identity politics and victimhood politics. You are the ones who invented the idea that certain beliefs are so beyond the pale that they should not even be expressed. That the expression of those ideas constituted psychological “violence” against you (do you know what “violence” is, by the way?) You are the crowd that thought that certain things should not be expressed in polite discourse. You not only cast aspersions on people’s character, but you actively tried to shut them up. Well, this is the result. When people feel beleaguered and you give them a sense of tribal identity, they will circle the wagons. Good job! Well done! Really splendid work on your part! Now Trump is getting the nuclear codes. Can’t wait!

And last night, one of the women at the party I attended made another excellent point: Why was everyone so sure that Clinton would win? Because supporting Trump was not socially acceptable, and expressing support for Trump resulted in attacks on one’s character, so many Trump supporters simply didn’t dare be honest about their support, even anonymously. In other words, Trump supporters were shamed and bullied out of the conversation. The price we all paid for your incivility and hubris, my dear LINOs (liberals in name only), was that we were unable to accurately measure the level of support for Trump, or to engage in productive, respectful, persuasive conversations. I was massively wrong about the election outcome. But as for the illiberal bullying – I’ve been bitching about it for months.

By all means, attack the candidate on the issues, on his temperament, intellect and knowledge as qualifications for the presidency. But stay away from his supporters’ character. And don’t give me a Tu Quoque, now. First, it’s irrelevant to my point, and secondly, only the left committed the offense of trying to bully one point of view out of the national conversation **as a basic MO of the entire movement** instead of the actions of a few.

I really, really hope that this will lead to some introspection. But in the media and on my wall, I mostly see doubling down. There cannot possibly be any other reason for a Trump win than raging racism and misogyny in society, they say. You. Will. Make. Things. Worse.

Also, you are not winning this fight. Time to de-escalate.

I hope some prominent Democrats pay attention to what Classical Liberals, like Sylvia, have to say.

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For my friends on the Republican side of the aisle, you have much to answer for. From Lee Atwater to the Southern Strategy to Roger Aisles to the stupidity of the birthers  – you intentionally set about creating a Frankenstein’s Monster of ignorance and fear. And now you must feed it.

You have a voting block so ignorant, many think Obama is Muslim. And you have amassed a group of Republican sycophants so hypocritical, they can rant on endlessly about Hillary’s e-mails, without ever mentioning the 22 million the Bush administration deleted; repeat “Benghazi” over and over, as if it were a magic word, exploiting the loss of four Americans for political gain – all the while willfully ignoring the 13 embassy attacks and 60 deaths that occurred when Republicans held the same office. And never once, not even for a moment, admit to the fact that their placing of party above country reveals them to be anything but patriots.

And now you’ve done it. You have a voting block that calls the opposition “Killary”, think a sitting President was born in Kenya, and while unable to point out Russia on a map, have become a useful demographic in service to a former KGB agent turned autocratic sociopath – who seeks nothing less than the destruction of NATO, and dominance over the Western World. If there was a hell, I think the Rosenbergs would be doing high fives in it.

Well done, Republicans. I’m sure Reagan would be shocked.

I’m also sure Putin feels like the dog that just caught the car he’s been chasing for years – as America just elected a 71 year old degenerate who has admitted to intentionally barging into the changing room of underage girls, our daughters, in order to catch them naked – and none of what I’ve just said, requires faith, because I’m following the evidence where it glaringly leads.

So am I depressed, am I despondent about the future of our Nation, am I going to mope around in despair?

Hell no.

Our Nation isn’t run by one autocratic leader. The reason the average American born today will live one third longer, make more than twice as much income, and have double the education that someone born the year I was born had, is, as I discussed in my last essay – our institutions. Those institutions are, for the most part, run by smart people, with good intentions, and specialized expertise. If they weren’t, the kind of massive progress we’ve been making as a Nation wouldn’t be occurring at the pace that it is.

So the next time you feel yourself feeling despondent, or the next time you hear someone spouting off about how none of it matters, remember that fact – the reality of our progress. Because it isn’t the gloom and doom crowd that has made our lives better – it’s the men and women who wake up every day, put one foot in front of the other, down a coffee, make a commute, and work to advance us as a people – in the courts, in the schools, in the agencies, in the hospitals, in the police stations, in the universities, in the military, in our homes, on Wall Street, on Main Street, and in service to our government.

Put your trust in them. Not out of blind faith, but rather, informed optimism – an optimism that recognizes the great trials we have already overcome, the great advances we have already made – and the structure our founders put in place.

Let’s do what we always do, set aside the circus that is politics, and go back to loving our kids, building our businesses, and nurturing our tribes – and America – will – advance.