May you live in interesting times

IT is an old curse, a decidedly conservative curse, as it relies on the fear of what lies ahead to have its power.

We do, in fact, live in interesting times now.  For me, that’s never been a threat, a risk, a danger, though, as interesting is, well, one of my favorite things, after all.

The country is deeply divided. The election showed that more sharply than it has in decades, and it is a brutal division.  Wide eyed, once famous celebrities spent the last several hours tweeting inanities about the end of the world, and we knew it already — this was the stress cycle, the change cycle, the push towards something different.

In the election, 89% of voters who are white and not hispanic voted for one candidate.  Everyone else voted most enthusiastically for another one.  Beneath the class war rhetoric, there was an often spoken of and frequently seen dynamic involving race that is tied strongly to that class dynamic — this was the election between the haves and the have-nots, those in power versus those struggling for a piece of it, and while we will know within the next couple of months what that really means for the future, the mood right now is starkly different.

Locally, here in Arizona, things are going to be very interesting for the next two years, as this election returned the people that have embarrassed us, that have made horrible decisions, and that have put us into a situation where the most populous county in the state is engaged in a quiet state of war with itself.

It is going to be a fight at this point, and the old promises here will not be good enough — there needs to be new ones, new ideas, new goals.

The Southern strategy worked, yet again. The problem is that the southern strategy wasn’t enough. A look at the election maps by district and demographics brings it into sharp relief: urban versus rural, minority versus dominant, men versus women.

By targeting very precise areas, by looking at voting patterns and by going out to get more people on the rolls and involved, the status quo for those who have held power since Stonewall has been overturned, and we face a world that is not how people have sought to pretend it to be, but how it truly is.

There are people who have cried out that this is too calculating, too cold an election.  That it was not about people, but about votes, and yet, each vote is, in the end, about people.  IT wasn’t even a really close race in terms of the electoral college.

As an example, look at Phoenix: 60% of the state’s population lives here.  It is, in the metaphor of color, a very mixed color space, a melange of red and blue and green and god knows what else that follows the lines of wealth.

IT is, generally speaking, divided into several big elements: South Side, the poor and impoverished area. Central, the heart of the region. East Valley, the bedroom communities. Northeast valley, where the wealth and exclusivity are found. West side, getting ready to split stealth into north and south, divided by ethnic and economic lines.

You can divide it along a north south line, and you end up with red to the north and east, blue to the south and west. Higher populations density works against the red areas, combined with struggling and a sense that those in the north and east are actively trying to deny them everything.

And in this deeply divided area are 60% of the state’s population.  Enough to as a whole completely carry any election. Those margins are exceedingly slim, and tend to favor Republicans, but only because of people who cling to loyalty over other principles.

We have more independents registered here than any other place in the state. And yet a system that would make the race more open was defeated, because the money was spent to shut it down.

We are not a trusting people.

Faith in the government here is low. It mirrors the rest of the country in many ways, but this has always been a libertarian leaning state, where the old cultural more of Personal Independence, and leave your neighbor alone is almost like an unspoken mantra chanted by an invisible greek chorus.

Αφήστε το γείτονά σας μόνο, Αφήστε το γείτονά σας μόνο, Αφήστε το γείτονά σας μόνο, Αφήστε το γείτονά σας μόνο, Αφήστε το γείτονά σας μόνο

well, it looks pretty if nothing else.

In the popular vote, it is neck and neck — and this still mirrors results in the past — there are trend lines here, and all that remains for those who seek to win in the future is too look at those lines and see how they can turn them against themselves, or, better yet and far easier, to use them to move forward.

Those lines mean that the talking of the last two decades must be cast aside.  You can’t use “gay” as a cudgel.  You can’t use “welfare” as a cudgel.  You can’t use race or abortion.

The key factor when ti was broken down, more than anything else, really, was education. Not in the sense of a traditional education, but in the sense that for those to whom education was important, for whom knowledge is power, and experience and struggle and success all go hand in hand (traditional values, right there).  For those to whom this is important, this was a no brainer.

For those to whom what they think about the world is more important than the facts about it, those to whom the ideas of economic and ethnic divisions are mythical or unimportant, the news today is like a slap in the face, saying this is where the line is.

And so now we are left with a 300 point drop in the dow jones as those in power freak out.  We have a massive sigh from the middle class over the risks they took in an uncharacteristic fashion. We have a massive self engineered disaster awaiting.

This is the new world order in its most stark form.

That order isn’t defined by the old, but by the new.

This election was shaped and guided and won by the things I talk about often here, the larger forces in play, the sociological concepts and ideas that are at use.

Use them, and you can win, this election said.  Because all of them are linked strongly to math, and as has been the truism there for years, if you don’t think math can kick your butt, then you are going to have it handed to you.

It is, for me, a strong vindication, and, more importantly, it tells me that yes, the work that is being done, the efforts and the plans forthe future that have been laid down — they are all possible.

They are all right.

Now to make it happen.