My list of "meta" topics in regard to the 2016 election:
Collaborative vs authoritarian approaches
The connection between words and reality
Brexit and the Colombian peace referendum as precursors
Topics that we're not even talking about
Vomiting repeatedly, considering drastic action
Acknowledging what's wrong
Fire, water, homelessness
I'd be interested to see your list!
It's OK if my meta doesn't make sense to you. I'm writing for myself. Being a witness.
In August I wrote an essay about how this US presidential election offers a choice between a collaborator and an authoritarian. I was polishing it, to post here, when our apartment building caught fire and we were suddenly homeless. (Will probably still post it, eventually, but other matters are more urgent.)
By then the vomiting had already begun. It's not an illness; it's specifically related to election stress. I have to eat even smaller portions than usual, and practice all kinds of mindfulness when I eat, to keep food down. I've written here about my instrument (point of view), on top of which I am a student of history, a US citizen who is proud of our "experiment" and also deeply concerned about our communal crimes and dysfunctions, who has her own version of our to-do list ...
... who believes that only when words are connected to reality can we use them to create bonds with each other, to bridge all the divides, with reason or with empathy, depending on what each person's values and strengths are ...
So I understand what's happening as it happens, which is not comfortable, which is why I'm vomiting from stress, and obsessively collecting URLs that seem to me to each have a piece of the puzzle. I pay for the NYT and Guardian (I believe in paying for content; I used to be a technical writer frevvinsake) but today's are from Vox:
Our thoughts help create our reality; toxic thoughts can lead to actual harm .
Totally aside from the harm done by the run-up to it, this election's result is absolutely still in doubt. The Brexit and Colombian votes show how elites and pundits (who arrogantly, smugly predicted victory in both cases) can easily underestimate the power of people voting from places of fear, full of passionate intensity. People who don't feel they have enough, who don't feel secure, seeking others to blame.
My favorite Brexit analysis was written the day after the vote by the first socialist-feminist I ever met, Peter Mandler:
Remain thought it could laugh off Leave, or dazzle it with “facts.” A very large part of the Remain campaign was focused on troupes of “experts”—investment experts, science and university experts, fiscal policy experts—signing collective petitions and open letters declaring their loyalties to Europe. This played directly into anti-elitist sentiment.
Further madness: this vote didn't have to be taken! Cameron thought a vote would put paid to Farage. I still hope for the success of the legal challenge (the body that got them into the EU would be the one has to take them out?) that would mean the UK could have a do-over.
The Colombian vote didn't have to be taken, either! The President was empowered to conclude the deal (so long in the making) on his own. Arrogance, smugness. In areas where the fighting had been, the vote was for peace. In areas farther from the strife, the vote was based in fear and "I hate those people why should they get a government handout." As :
The Colombian news website La Silla Vacia, citing the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, reported that in 67 of the 81 municipalities most affected by the conflict, Yes was the winner.
Often, war is rejected by those who have experienced it; those who see it from afar can afford the luxury of wanting it to continue.
Many speak about Colombia these days as if it were a country severed in two. But what exists is a country divided into three. Those who voted Yes account for just over 19 percent of the Colombian electorate; those who voted No also account for just over 19 percent; those who did not come out to vote are over 60 percent of Colombians. And that is, in the long term, the biggest problem of all.
And now we come to the US election, which we actually do have to have. Smugness on behalf of the Democrats worries me profoundly. With low turnout, we could lose.
I'm only halfway through my list. The fire is relevant, too. Thank you for metastasizing with me. I'll finish this posting soon!
 I'm remembering how Reagan (and his posse) turned the national discourse in a direction that exalted greed and blamed poor people directly for their situation. My future husband believed such a buffoon could never be elected, and in some ways never recovered from the shock. (I married him anyway, six years later, and we are still friends, and you can read his diaries on Daily Kos...) And we're still dealing with the legacy of his simplistic us-them thinking.
Jimmy Carter was a wise man who failed to make his case. (I enjoy every time he speaks, now, except when I compare him to all the rest of our presidents, and mourn.)
Bill Clinton put his own psychodrama (need to be "caught" and then forgiven, over and over again) ahead of the progress he could have made for the country, and actually increased the harm caused by systemic racism.
George HW Bush took the exactly wrong message from 9-11, playing directly into our enemies' hands, a man who had failed at every job he'd ever had including this one, run by a combine of war profiteers. During his rule I left the country I loved to try to make a life overseas. The view of the US from abroad, wait, that's another essay, but "What were you thinking?" is what people asked me, during the Bush2 years, and I can only imagine what they are thinking now.
Barack Obama kicked up the drone murders, but he tried to talk across the divides that wrack our country. By his time the "each party has its own separate media bubble" had made obstruction and fear-mongering seem more attractive (to some) than patriotism / collaboration.