I’m fighting the urge to explain Tuesday’s election disaster.
I’m bursting to explain it. I’m dying to explain it. I need to explain it.
I feel like if I don’t explain it, I’ll go nuts.
But, like I said, I’m fighting the urge.
It’s not because I can’t explain it. I can. Six ways from Sunday. I’m full up with explanations. I can explain it up one side and down the other. I explain it until the cows come home. I got more explanations than Mobil has gas stations. I can give you more explanations in half an hour than Burger King sells Whoppers in a day.
But I’m not going to give in. Not now, at any rate. Not before I’ve had my coffee. Not while I still have my review of St Vincent to write. Not while I know what I’m really up to.
See, what I really want to do is explain it away.
Or explain it in a way that makes it not matter so much.
Or in a way that validates what I’ve been saying all along. Sharp-eyed readers with keen memories might point out that I hadn’t been saying much all along. Not on the blog, at least. I hardly blogged about the election except to say I wasn’t going to vote for Andrew Cuomo for governor, which I didn’t, by the way, not that it mattered. But I didn’t write about the election as a national event. I wish I had. I wish I’d said a few things I’d been saying to Mrs M whenever she couldn’t escape hearing it.
Things like, My God, Massachusetts Democrats! Martha Coakley again?
And, a trial attorney? We’re running a trial attorney for Senator in Iowa? A trial attorney who doesn’t own a farm at least as side business? A trial attorney who says out loud in front of reporters that it would be a terrible thing if the Republicans take control of the Senate because then a farmer from Iowa might become chair of the Judiciary committee? He said this while intending to ask farmers from Iowa to vote for him instead of the Republican who actually farms?
And, you there, in Kentucky, yes, I’m talking to you, Alice Grimes, here’s a clue: if winning an election depends on your mustering a large turnout of African American voters, then maybe it’s not the smartest strategy to run a campaign dissing the first African American President.
And, speaking of large African American turnouts, Dear Democrats, if you’re depending on a large turnout of black and Hispanic voters to win, maybe you could nominate a few black and Hispanic candidates in places with many black and Hispanic voters. If I’m African American in Florida and I stood for hours in line to vote for Barack Obama in 2012 to help him squeak out his victory there, how excited am I going to be about the prospect of going through that again for Charlie Crist?
The next Congress is going to include a new African American Congresswoman and the first African American Senator from the South since Reconstruction, who, incidentally, will be one of only two currently serving African American Senators, and both this new Congresswoman, Mia Scott from Utah, and this new Senator, South Carolina’s Tim Scott, are Republicans!
I wish I’d written a few posts about things like that. I said some of it on Twitter but I’m not sure that counts. I didn’t here on the blog, and that’s the point.
But if I had written those posts, I’d have probably written a few more about other things that it would have turned out I’d gotten wrong. Way, way wrong.
Things like, boy, we’ve got Scott Walker just where we want him!
And, come on, the Republicans aren’t going to carry both Arkansas and Louisiana.
And, thank goodness Colorado’s safe.
If I had blogged those things, then I’d be wanting to explain how I could have been so wrong.
Or how I wasn’t really all that wrong or how in getting those things wrong I’d gotten other, more important things right.
I’m not sure I could have fought of the urge to explain things in those ways.
As it is, I’m having a hard enough time resisting explaining things in the ways I’ve already mentioned, in ways that explain it away or that make it seem like it doesn’t matter or matter as much or matter how the news media is saying it matters, in ways that validate what I’d been saying all along.
Or in another way.
In a way that is actually wishful thinking.
In a way that that is clearly not wishful thinking but that demonstrates my hard-headed determination to think realistically and accept the cold hard facts despite how I wished the facts pointed another, more hopeful direction.
Or in a way that is just me showing off how smart I am, how much history I’ve read, how I know stuff. Lots of stuff.
Or in some other manner or form that makes it all about me.
And here’s the thing.
This is what everybody does.
This is what’s going on whenever people are explaining things.
Bloggers, journalists, pundits, analysts, experts brought in or brought on to help the bloggers, journalists, pundits, and analysts explain things.
They’re all explaining it in order to validate what they’ve been saying all along or to show off how smart they are or to prove they were right or prove they weren’t wrong even if they were wrong or prove that if they were wrong they’re going to be right the next time because or to sell us or sell themselves on something which is usually their good opinion of themselves.
Or they’re doing it just to make it all make some sense.
This is what human beings do in order to keep their sanity in a senseless world.
We explain things, which is a way of saying we make up stories, in order to sort it all out in a way that not only makes it make sense but gives it sense, gives it order, gives it purpose, gives it meaning, and in the process we make sense of ourselves to ourselves. We fit ourselves into the story in a way that gives us purpose and meaning, that prove that we matter to the story, that prove we are important. We come up with story first and then we find the facts that make the story true.
And this is all that’s going on when any blogger, any journalist, any pundit, analyst, or pundit, even the smartest ones, especially the smartest ones, especially the smartest, smartest ones we agree with, explains it all for us.
They are at least as clueless and vain as the rest of us.
But we listen to them when they do it, we listen to ourselves when we do it, for the same reason children need to hear their favorite stories over and over.
They know the stories aren’t true.
They just need them to be true because then it all makes sense.
Which it doesn’t.
It’s just a story.
I’m giving in. I’m going to explain it.
You knew I would, didn’t you?
Here it is. Pretty much all there is to know.
What happened Tuesday is that a whole lot of people who voted against the Democrat Barack Obama representing them in the White House in 2012 voted against having a Democrat represent them in the Senate.
Six red states voted to have red senators. A seventh is probably going to join the list come the runoff in Louisiana in December when Mary Landrieu will be facing off against only one conservative opponent so the Republicans won’t have to worry about their own candidates splitting the votes.
I’ve given you my explanation for Iowa.
A trial attorney?
Colorado, I’ve got no idea.
Unless it has to do with the Democrats needing a large turn out of Hispanic voters to re-elect a boring white guy whose main liberal virtue, judging by what his admirers have been saying on Twitter, seems to be he’s not happy with the NSA.
Or unless it has to do with the other thing that happened.
A whole lot of people who voted in 2012 didn’t vote Tuesday. Republicans and Democrats.
Another way of saying this is: fewer Republicans didn’t vote than Democrats didn’t vote.
Does that make sense?
Corrected, Thursday evening: When I wrote this post this morning I had a senior moment while working on the paragraph about Mia Love and Tim Scott and apparently forgot the existence of Cory Booker, leaving Scott headed for the Senate to be the only currently serving African American senator. I also wrote something indecipherable about Love’s place in history, which is as the first African American Republican Congresswoman, possibly inviting my own haunting by the ghost of Shirley Chisholm. Fortunately, readers Audrey and S McCoy caught my goofs and gave me the heads up. So I revised the paragraph to fix those goofs. Thanks, friends.