Alan Jacobs’s reflection on election reactions

by Mr. Sheehy

After a few days, or weeks, I hope self-reflection will kick in, and my friends on the left will get beyond simplistic denunciations — they hate women, they’re racists — and start to own some of their own responsibility, not just for Trump, but for a government that’s now entirely run by the GOP. They mocked people they didn’t have to mock; they supported policies that ran roughshod over people’s most deeply held beliefs; many of them treated everyone who disagreed with them with undisguised contempt. And they did all this because they felt that they stood for #Reason and #Data and #History — they were “on the right side of history” — they thought hashtags and cheap slogans were tools sufficient for the job of transforming America. Their smugness was titanic.

This morning my internet friend Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who is a supremely decent person, remembers how troubled she was by George Bush’s election in 2004 — and, interestingly, shared that with her students, who I suppose all (all?) shared her politics — and reflects on how different this election feels: “In 2004, I felt that I might have a lot that I could teach. Today, I cannot help but feel like I have much, much more to learn.” If the majority of the people on the left take this attitude, then there will be a good chance for the renewal of their hopes, and for them to win over politically complicated people like me … should they want to.

Alan Jacobs

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