Kakistocracy* on the Horizon

* Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. (Origin:  Greek kakistos: worst, superlative of kakos, bad; kratia: power, rule.)

I started the Sweaty Knitter blog in 2012 and have enjoyed researching and writing fiber arts/crafts posts that I hoped were engaging, informative and educational.  Since the recent U.S. presidential election (November 8), however, I have lost my interest in sustaining a blog on fiber, arts and craft.  Don’t worry; this is my first and last post of a political nature on this blog site.

As a former professor with a doctorate in political science (U.S.), I endeavor to stay current with politics, policy and economics – daily listening to PBS’s Nightly Business Report and NewsHour and reading an array of reputable news sources, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, and Mother Jones.  I value the economic and political insights of knowledgeable experts and columnists such as Robert Reich, David Brooks, Paul Krugman, Mark Shields and Noam Chomsky.  (In fact, Chomsky’s “Requiem for the American Dream” and Reich’s “Inequality for All” are two films I believe every American should view.)

On the morning after the election, after only a few hours of fitful sleep I stared at the ceiling stunned that a candidate without political experience, with scant political and/or policy knowledge, openly hateful and discriminatory (not to mention predatory) who mocks the scientific community’s warnings on climate change, will be sworn in as the 45th president of the U.S. next month.

I understand why many people voted for a candidate they saw as having no political baggage or history: They were tired of, among other things, “politics as usual;” of seeing a once attainable (or at least hoped for) standard of living (depending on race, sex and ethnicity, of course), slipping away; of feeling they have no say in political decisions; of politicians making decisions that benefited the wealthy (especially the extremely wealthy) – to the disadvantage of every other socio-economic class.  They didn’t like or trust Hillary Clinton for various political or personal reasons, real or imagined.

What is difficult to fathom, however, is why these people swallowed Donald Trump’s ludicrous campaign promises and tolerated his open hate speech and insults.  How the same people who claimed they didn’t trust Hillary Clinton were willing to trust Donald Trump.  Skipping over his failed business ventures and his status as a complete political neophyte, Donald Trump is unlikely to be their savior if only because he is a vacuous, a filter-free, narcissistic showman.  I assume his supporters expect him to fulfill his campaign promises (including his oft-repeated promise that if elected, Donald Trump would then release his tax returns).  When he doesn’t, what will they do?

I expect this unabashed plutocrat will cause more failures than solutions.

I shudder and my eyes tear every time I think the of the world, with Trump at the helm of the U.S. government and the posse of mean-spirited Republicans currently dominating Congress, my grandchildren could inherit:  Revitalized institutionalized sexism, racism, religious discrimination and nativism; health care affordable only by the wealthy; clean air and water for nobody; corporate giveaways extraordinaire for business; a tax code benefiting a minority of citizens.

This morning I read Charles Blow’s column in today’s The New York TimesHe argued that “resistance isn’t only principled, but essential and even existential.”  Blow captured my feelings with these words:

“We are not in an ordinary postelection period of national unity and rapprochement.  We are facing the potential abrogation of fundamental American ideals.  We stand at the precipice, staring into an abyss that grows darker by the day.”

People who share my concerns face two options:  Either ignore all things political, social and economic and float along hoping things will work out somehow until the embrace of death, OR become more politically, economically and socially aware, involved and active.

The first option is morally and ethically repugnant to me.  As I decide how I can be actively involved for positive change, you will understand if my fiber-related posts to Sweatyknitter.com become sporadic (and no, I won’t post any more posts of a political nature to this blog).

I, of course, am still weaving and knitting, but my thoughts are preoccupied with my grandchildren’s future.

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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21 Responses to Kakistocracy* on the Horizon

  1. Pingback: Best Wishes for a Happy New Year | The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

  2. somethingspontaneous says:

    My eyes are sweating. A phrase I’m experimenting with for the experience of rage tears. And perhaps a name for your political blog. I have been off my craft blog this year – the cluster turd 2016 – but I am feeling the strain of keeping silent. Sometimes we have to speak. Thank you for your words and for listening to and imagining the perspectives of people who think differently. It doesn’t matter how much we expose ourselves to the real world outside of the academic bubble or whichever bubble we find ourselves in. People can read as much as they like from the ‘enemy’ but if they aren’t actually hearing anything that contradicts their prejudice there is no escape from their cage.

    Like

  3. Rebecca says:

    Brava! It sounds like you are gathering your strength and your voice with intelligence and grace. You will be a force to be reckoned with.

    Like

  4. kmkat says:

    I am with you. It has been nearly a month since the election, and I am finally emerging from a cloud of rage, disbelief, and bitterness. Hillary was not necessarily my first choice, but I voted for her in confidence that at least she would not blow us all up (after making life in the US sheer hell for immigrants, people of color, LGBT folks, and anyone else not wearing a cloak of white privilege). Of course I redirected my monthly political donations to organization that work to protect our rights — ACLU, SPLC — but otherwise I felt too dispirited to do anything positive. Now I have started the process to become an ACLU volunteer legal observer; that is something positive I can do.

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  5. Thank you for your thoughts. I agree: scary. Demagogues terrify me and the fact that so many Americans supported such an open demagogue nearly mystifies me. I haven’t definitely decided whether to start a political blog. With hate speech becoming increasingly tolerated, it could be a quite unsettling experience.

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  6. Thanks so much for this post. As an American ex-pat living in Britain I have been hit with the double-whammy of Brexit and Trump. As the mother of two young women, I despair for their future. As a fellow knitting blogger, I have struggled over whether to let politics into my blog. You are right to point out that this is not an ordinary transition of power by any means. I did not vote for Reagan or Bush (either one), but I did not feel as if their election signaled an end to all that our country stood for and put in peril democracy itself. These are scary times indeed. If you do start up a new blog, I will be among the first to follow; let us know.

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  7. thetinfoilhatsociety says:

    But you do live in an echo chamber. You read sites that confirm your views. You watch TV that confirms your views. You hang around with people who also mostly believe the same as you, are probably in the same general income strata. I don’t. I read blogs that p!$$ me off on a regular basis, because I feel I need to know what those who don’t think like me *are* thinking. And I can tell you that the average person is sick and tired of the PC BS, the fact that they can’t get a job with a full time wage or benefits, but they can surely make enough to be penalized if they don’t get Obamacare. Meanwhile the drug dealing neighbor is getting free health care, food stamps, and unemployment. You may think it’s a liability that he has no previous political experience. I view it as a strength. He isn’t beholden to those people for favors. Yes, we will see. And as I said, I really think we’re on the slow slide down. I don’t think he or anyone has much control over that. BUT. The ride down can be relatively smooth or it can be terrible. Hopefully he will give us a couple of years of smooth.

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  8. Cathy says:

    I am pretty sure we are heading toward war, so everyone life will be shifting. All the usual signs are there but we try to ignore them.

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  9. I had to smile when I read your first sentence. I resigned and left the “echo chamber” almost 13 years ago and have only one close friend from that world (and she was an ESL prof). I think my “liberal culture” is more product of my formal education and research in U.S. political-economics COMBINED with my concern for our society as a whole and the future of our planet, not my individual place in it. I continue my education by learning on an ongoing basis.

    It may be a “general relief” where you live that Trump won, but I don’t believe plutocrats, especially those with openly authoritarian leanings, should lead the U.S. government. Many businesses will probably flourish under Trump’s presidency: Big businesses, hedge funds, investment firms, banks, etc. We may see something similar to the Reagan era’s “trickle-down economics” which set into play the top 1/10 of 1% of this country benefiting from the vast majority of the productivity gains over the last 30 years while the average worker was left, AT BEST, with an inflation-adjusted (i.e., unchanged) salary in real terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Trump promised the U.S. that as soon as he was elected he’d release his taxes. Haven’t heard anything from the president-elect about that since November 8. Maybe he’s hoping nobody will remember and push him on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If/when I start a blog revolving around political education, I’ll write a quick post on sweatyknitter.com directing interested people to it.

    Like

  12. Yes, I followed and was surprised by the Brexit vote as well. Soon the pro-Brexit voters will realize their “old way” of life will not be returning, despite promises to the contrary.

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  13. thetinfoilhatsociety says:

    Honestly I think it’s because you’ve lived in an echo chamber of university culture and liberal culture. Where I live it’s general relief that he won. And I share in that relief. My business might just make it long term now. And my neighbors might actually be able to get jobs. Though, as a peak oil person, I think we’re still on the long slide down and this admin will not be able to accomplish as much as they hope, they might be able to make the slide a little easier, or prolong it a little.

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  14. jengolightly says:

    I feel the same as you. In the UK we are upside down having had a ludicrous referendum on the EU as a distraction to avoid the previous PM being found out for dodgy taxes in Panama.

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  15. streepie says:

    And I’ve learned a new word today – and it sums it up perfectly. I am thinking in horror about the upcoming election in France. And yes, please start a “political” blog – I’ll certainly read it as I enjoy your thoughtful insights!

    And please keep up sporadic fibre-related posts!
    Connie

    Like

  16. salpal1 says:

    Yes, please do! because I want to learn more about the political things you are doing, and I don’t want to lose the fiber writing, either. 🙂

    Like

  17. Cathy says:

    Thanks for making me giggle !

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Cathy says:

    If you start a new blog, I’d love to read it ! Here, on the other side of the planet, we are shocked too. This comes only a few months after the Brexit, which endangers the European Union and, basically, peace in Europe. The situation with refugees in Europe is beyond horrible and it’s already a shame for mankind. I’m afraid the US president-elect will not make the world a safer place. And right now, there is so much to be dealt with politically.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. salpal1 says:

    My Cousin said something to me last winter which really resonated. I was asking him why he shut his business down for a week and went to NH to stump for Bernie. He said something like this “These times are different, and if we want to make sure that the things we believe in are still here in the future, we have to do more. Voting alone is no longer enough.” I took it to heart and worked for 6 months on a state-wide referendum (which passed, yea!) but was shocked and horrified at the national election process and outcome. So I am interested in what you are thinking and doing, although I recognize this blog is not the place for it. Will you be blogging elsewhere on these topics? I’d love to follow such a blog if it exists.

    I also did think to send a set of handspun, handwoven horsehair undergarments to the President-elect, but I suspect the message would be lost on him.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I am considering starting a political-economic educational blog. If/when I start that I will post the site info etc on the sweatyknitter blog. Doing so might give me an internal “it’s okay to write about fiber” because a pol-Econ educational blog would make me feel as if I were doing something worthwhile for the future.

    Liked by 5 people

  21. thatbradleywoman says:

    So, in the interest of continuing to follow your writing, where will your political posts be available? I too see no value is passivity and wait-and-see.
    Phyllis

    Liked by 2 people

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