Thursday, November 17, 2016

Business as Usual

It’s been over a week since the election, and I’ve had a chance to process the results. With the advantage of twenty-twenty hindsight, it’s clear now what happened: once again everyone courted the minority vote and ignored the average American. You know him. He’s the blue-collar working man, usually white, who may or may not have a college degree, who at one time was or might have become middle class before the factory jobs that paid living wages went overseas. Now he and his family are struggling to stay afloat, or else they’re unemployed through no fault of their own, and justifiably pissed about it. That’s who Trump went after, and that’s who turned out in droves to support him. Because Trump’s not a career politician. He’s not part of the system that wrecked the American Dream. He thinks the way they do, believes what they believe in, and says what they’re secretly thinking. That right there should scare the bejeezus out of a rational person.

Hillary? I don’t think she lost because she was a woman. She just wasn’t the right woman, just as Jesse Jackson wasn’t the right man to become our first black President. That should have been Colin Powell, and I’m still kind of sorry it wasn’t. Also, Hillary is the poster person for The System. America didn’t want another Slick Willy (Slick Hilly?) and they voted in droves to prove it.

The final nail in her coffin was probably driven home by a man-in-the-street interview I saw on our local news station. The middle-aged woman with the mic in her face said of Hillary, “She’s sly.” Yep, that’ll do it. It’s okay to joke about sexual assault, publicly make fun of the handicapped, vow to abolish women’s rights and be openly bigoted in regards to race or sexual preference, but “sly” is the kiss of death.

As someone who’s been laid off at least five times in four different professions, twice when a job went to India, I probably should have voted for Trump. I was just too scared he’d grab my pussy. This was a frying pan/fire election. Or the giant turd vs. the shit sandwich, as South Park so aptly termed it. America chose the President it wanted. God help us all.

Well, folks, good luck with that. You put Trump in office. Cookie for you. We’ve survived total morons in the White House before (Bush Jr. being the most recent example). Because it’s not the President we have to worry about. The real threat is Congress, our elected House and Senate. They’re the ones who make the laws. They can override Presidential vetoes. If they don’t like Trump’s policies, they’ll find ways to block him. And now we’ve got a House and Senate run by conservative, rights-repressive, woman-hating Republicans, possibly soon to be joined by a similar Supreme Court. All politicians, members of The System. That’s who’s going to be running the country for the next four years.

No matter what Trump’s intentions, good, bad, or hideous, I suspect he’s going to run head-on into the same brick wall Jesse Ventura hit when he was Governor of Minnesota. Ventura was the outsider-elect there too, and his Congress thwarted him at every turn. Wait’ll Trump finds out he can’t fire anybody. The drawbacks of a democracy. Well, at least Trump isn’t sly. He’s got that in his favor.

Be interesting to see how this all shakes out, though “interesting” may be too bland a word for it. Fasten your seatbelts, America, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

# # #

Meanwhile, out here in the everyday world, business also continues as usual. My cable provider is switching over to all digital broadcasting, so we the customers now have to attach a converter box to our TVs in order to receive the new signals. I got mine and hooked it up and even got it and the new remote running. Everything was fine until one of my channels went Spanish. Efforts to fix it fouled up the other channels. So I took the box and remote back and got replacements. This time when I hooked up the box, the power light started blinking red and green. The other one hadn’t done that. This meant a call to the helpful 800 number provided by the cable company, for some needed customer service.

I explained to the girl what the problem was. She attempted to send a signal to the box. Nope, still blinking away. “Did you get letters from the company?” she asked me. Not beyond the initial “we’re changing our system” announcement. “We don’t have the new signal yet,” the girl on the line said. “Unhook the box and wait until you get the letters. Then you can hook it up.”

This sounded odd to me, since when I took the malfunctioning box back the woman at the office advised me to hook the new one up immediately, otherwise I’d start getting phone calls. Not to mention the annoying crawl that had started appearing at the top of my screen—“If you can see this, you haven’t hooked your box up yet”—every hour on the hour. Luckily I live within walking distance of the cable office, so I went up for a second opinion.

The woman behind the counter had no idea what the girl on the phone had been talking about. She scheduled me for a free service visit, have a tech hook the damn thing up.

That worked out better. The tech came by and had my set up and running in about ten minutes. The blinking that prompted my call was the box processing its software. It stopped after about five minutes, just as the tech told me it would. He also had no idea where the girl on the phone got her info. The customer service handling box-related issues comes from an out-of-town call center. No telling how long, or if, any of them were adequately trained.

Either the girl got a dose of misinformation from a similarly-clueless instructor or, as I suspect, when confronted with a question she couldn’t answer she made up something to get me off the phone and out of her hair. Doesn’t matter that she was totally wrong. Doesn’t matter that she would have left me waiting for a letter that wasn’t ever coming. Her problem was solved. People do whatever’s easiest for them. Life among the minimum-waged.

So the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’d like to see more bucks in my wallet. Bush Senior promised us “no new taxes” and then reneged. But he was sly. You get what you pay for, and sometimes what you vote for. Wishing you a pleasant good day …

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