I consider myself a logical, reasonable person. “In God We Trust,” as an old New Yorker cartoon once said, “all others show data.” I am in a scientific field, and my life is ruled by logic. Cause precedes effect. If you rigorously examine your hypotheses, try as hard as you can to eliminate biases in your information, and check your math, your conclusions are as rock solid as any human endeavor can be. Science beats superstition and belief like a drum, every single time.
I am also a baseball fan, and I like to think I’m an intelligent one. Nate Silver, the analyst who came to some renown in the world of baseball statistical analysis, put the odds of a Clinton victory at approximately 70%, and I believed in Silver’s methods and overall intelligence, so I wasn’t worried as that day began. Silver would have been the first to tell you that 30% is not zero, and that all estimates are just that, approximations of the real world, not the real world itself. But I still asked my friends and family if they were excited to elect the first female President, and I had all the confidence of a manager handing a 3-0 lead to a great relief pitcher in the top of the ninth inning. Nothing is certain, but you’re pretty damn close.
Needless to say, I have been in a semi permanent state of shock since November 2016.
I don’t need to catalogue the current President’s crimes, both petty and grand. If you agree with me, you already know them, and if you don’t, you’ll never believe me. What has stayed with me ever since then is the shock to my mental equilibrium. Not just the statistical long shot coming through, which is far from impossible, although that is a considerable part of the stunning feeling. What bothers me is the lack of faith I suddenly have in the people around me. I have lived here all of my life, and while I have no illusions that I have been born replete with the privileges of relative wealth, skin color, education, and a stable upbringing in a small New England town, I thought that I had a decent grasp of how people in my country, generally speaking, thought and reasoned and dealt with the world.
I no longer have that belief. And that makes me feel more unhinged than I have felt in my entire life.
Michael Webb works with chemicals outside Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Lisa Bolduc, aka Ratty: I am a Boston based Hip Hop artist, specializing in poetry and art that encourages critical thought. My pen name is Ratty. The letters stand for Righteousness And Truth Transform You, representing my art’s mission to awaken one’s spiritual senses.