Things may be settling out a bit by the time you read this. All the cheers and jeers over the election, the anger in “Not My President” and “Build The Wall” rallies here and there, the stock market rollercoaster, the warnings and pleas from leaders around the world, and so on. All of that now settles into a hiatus like the runup to some kind of cross between chess and poker, as Trump begins lining up his pieces for the transition and his opponents start lining up the countering pieces. We’ll see who is bluffing as we move into the first hundred days of the future.
Was Trump’s victory truly a surprise? I will say that I didn’t really believe it would happen, but I also had a creeping feeling about the election from the moment that our English cousins voted to leave the European Union – no more illusions there about “Great Britain,” I guess. It felt like a preview for the morning-after headline in the New York Times: “Donald Trump is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment.” I guess when confronted with really hard realities, “stunning repudiations” are the equivalent of the “denial” stage in the grieving process.
Last month I wrote here about the nature – no, the culture – of democracy in a complex, technologically advanced mass society. Such societies are run, of necessity, by elites who know how to build, operate, manage and maintain the vast systems that provide the food, water, power, fuels and everything else we need to support “civilization as we know it.” It’s a system that works in part because no single elite can do it all; the private and public management teams, the scientists, the technicians, the creatives and innovators, the financiers, the lawmakers and lawyers, the media disseminators – all depend on other elites themselves, both in their work and in their daily lives.