Some Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to Some But Not All White Men
Specifically, to the white men who have spent the last week freaking out about the fact that Obama won a second term without the majority of white men voting for him.
1. First off, relax. A rainbow coalition of gays, women and minorities is not coming to your door to take your guns or your freedom. As difficult as it may be to believe, when anyone else votes, they’re usually actually not ever thinking about how their vote is going to have an impact on you, the white man. Consequently, in the aftermath of the election, they’re generally still not thinking about you. You’re just not that interesting or important to them.
2. Second, stop believing that the problem was that Romney didn’t sell the message. He sold it just fine. So did Paul Ryan. So did the GOP candidates you favor. So did hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ads funded by SuperPACs. The problem isn’t the selling of the message. The problem is the message. Everyone else got the message. They just said “thanks, no,” to it. Stop being the guy who thinks the message will work by restating it again in a slightly different, often louder, way. That says “You’re stupid enough not to notice I’m selling the same message.” This is not a good way to convince people.
3. If you’re going to “go Galt,” now really is an excellent time to do it. Please, go Galt! We want you to go Galt. It’s probably best for everyone if you do go Galt. I feel compelled to warn you, however, that as you don’t actually live in an Ayn Rand novel, your self-deportation to the Galt’s Gulch of your choice will not, in fact, collapse society into a wailing socialist pancake of misery. What will happen is that someone else in our nation of 300-some-odd million will slot into your position, albeit with probably less strident personal politics, and things will go on more or less as they did before. This is something Ayn Rand got wrong.
4. Speaking of Ayn Rand, I realize that many of you are still using her terminology and trying to blame Mitt Romney’s defeat on a coalition of “takers,” or, like Bill O’Reilly, really believe that tens of millions of your fellow citizens voted for “things” and “stuff.” I understand it makes you feel better to say “takers” rather than, say, “people who believe that the overall benefits of a pluralistic society should be less obviously tilted to the tiny minority at the very top of the income pyramid,” but be aware that a) not everyone (and by “not everyone” I mean “almost no one but you”) sees the two as synonymous, b) you’re not helping yourself by continuing to assert that they are. This is another thing Ayn Rand got wrong.
5. In fact, as a general note going forward: Ayn Rand? Got it wrong. On pretty much everything relating to humans. Yes, I know. It was hard for me to believe it too, for fifteen minutes when I was teenager. But I struggled through! And so can you.
6. While you’re at it, consider widening your diet of political thought and reportage beyond the holy trinity of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report, and their various lesser cognates. They stopped modeling reality and started just saying what they think should happen and called it “reality.” Political scientists call this “epistemic closure” but I call it “NYAH NYAH NYAH I CAN’T HEAR YOU AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW.” I’m not saying don’t listen to them; you’re going to do that anyway. But you might double check the things they say against a source that doesn’t make its money, as I’ve noted before, terrifying aging white people.
7. Finally, relax yet again. There are still tens of millions of you. Your political concerns are not going to go away. You still have a seat at the table. The politicians you favor are still going to win lots of elections, especially at mid-terms. Heck, your favorite politicians still have the House of Representatives! That’s half a branch of government right there. You’re going to be just fine. You’re just going to have to get used to the idea that you won’t always get your way. Which makes you like everyone else. I know, that’s not what you’ve been led to expect. But it is fair.
Update, 11/13: Liberals and or Obama supporters! I have notes for you too.