October 7, 2016

Irreparable damage.

I worry, sometimes, that the election is already lost. There were moments, months ago, when I was more optimistic, but that optimism has faded in the realization that no matter who gets elected as President in November, the damage of the election has already been done.

In his candidacy, Mr. Trump has made it acceptable to preach hate. He has made it normal to blame the other for the ills of society, to encourage people to detest their neighbor. He has encouraged bigotry and prejudice, incited violence and abuse, and has made de rigeur the idea that the real America” is made up of people of one color, one creed, one sex, one perspective—one narrow box within which so few can truly fit.

The election is lost because even if Secretary Clinton wins, these hateful sentiments are now not just present, but have been given the permission to percolate to the surface. It is no longer shameful to hate others; prejudice is no longer something that is frowned upon. Hatred is celebrated, almost, and refuses to lurk in the shadows. The normalization of hate has permeated throughout the country and over the border into ours.

The New York Times’ in-depth endorsement of Secretary Clinton and robust rebuke of Mr. Trump have been some of the best examples of the writing we need to read in order to reverse this trend of normalizing hate, but even then, perhaps this is not enough.

Whatever his gyrations, Mr. Trump always does make clear where his heart lies — with the anti-immigrant, nativist and racist signals that he scurrilously employed to build his base. […]

The 2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Americans who say their government has done little to ease the burdens that recession, technological change, foreign competition and war have heaped on their families.

Over 40 years in public life, Hillary Clinton has studied these forces and weighed responses to these problems. Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena. […]

Voters attracted by the force of the Trump personality should pause and take note of the precise qualities he exudes as an audaciously different politician: bluster, savage mockery of those who challenge him, degrading comments about women, mendacity, crude generalizations about nations and religions. Our presidents are role models for generations of our children. Is this the example we want for them? […]

Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.

I worry, sometimes, that the election is already lost. The votes in November may go one way or another, but the fomentation of hatred has begun, and shows no sign of slowing down. The damage may be irreparable, at least in the short term, and this makes me profoundly worried about the future.

Unrelated miscellany, gathered:

When I lived in DC, I would spend hours staring at the ceilings and walls of metro stations, amazed by what architects were able to create from concrete. Thus began my love of brutalism, an architectural style that often gets ridiculed, but is slowly experiencing a resurgence in interest:

Unlike steel and glass, concrete has terroir: the reddish concrete of Boston, for instance, looks and feels very different from the fine-grained concrete of Japan. You take the local rock, bind it with cement and water, and there you have your concrete. Its very nature is local rather than blandly international.

As someone in a mixed-race marriage, I was shocked to learn that just 5% of all unions in Canada were between people of different ethnic origins, religions, languages and birthplaces. Now that I think of it, however, what L and I consider pretty normal isn’t as widespread as it seems:

It’s an early kind of euphoria around celebrating multiracialism in Canada. We’ve romanticized this notion far too quickly. All the numbers from Statistics Canada show that yes, we are seeing more interracial relationships, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the racism is decreasing. People who are in interracial relationships are still experiencing a lot of racism.

It has become popular to be enamoured with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her upcoming memoir reminds us that she’s more than just a pop culture icon, but someone who has had to go through a lot to become the powerful, wise, and considerate Supreme Court Justice that she is now:

The court’s main trust is to repair fractures in federal law. Because the court grants review dominantly when other jurists have divided on the meaning of a statutory or constitutional prescription, the questions we take up are rarely easy; they seldom have indubitably right answers. Yet by reasoning together at our conferences and, with more depth and precision, through circulation of, and responses to, draft opinions, we ultimately agree far more often than we divide sharply.

Atlanta is the best show I’ve watched on television this year—and this has been a great year for television. Bryan Washington argues that the reason for its appeal is because it actually treats young black men with humanity.

Is the brouhaha over Maryam Monsef’s birthplace an example of birtherism in Canada? It definitely feels like it is, and I’m worried about what that means for the state of our political discourse in our country.

In case you have a vote and are still undecided—though, your indecision is truly and utterly baffling—New York Magazine has created a summary of where Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump stand on all of the key issues in this election.