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.
It is inconceivable (thanks Inigo) how little we've talked about climate change. Water and food, too. And the rest of the topics that I'm passionate about? Too often the election dialogue approaches them from the the least helpful direction.
Acknowledging what's wrong, taking drastic action: I'll write more about that elsewhere.
I've already mentioned the fire (at least glancingly) in this posting. Most of the water was provided by the firefighters. And then we were homeless, like so many other folks. Last weekend I also had an auto accident, so it feels at least temporarily as if "insurance is my life."
I liked the way our apartment had been shaping up. For all of September and October I worked hard to get back to an apartment where we can do our work and improve our health ... just as we were doing before the fire. Not anywhere near done. Working super hard to stay in the same place, even if that place wasn't good or perfect, in order to protect my dreams of the future that we might have if we can preserve the current launch-pad long enough to work even harder to lift our connected organism from there ...
My personal frustrations seem like a microcosm of what the (relatively organized subset of) Democrats are going through!
As it happened, I worked on my own challenges rather than implementing my empathy idea. But I'll record it now.
As you likely know, people in the "swing states" are doing the heavy lifting for the rest of us. They're being bombarded with information and phone calls and door knockers and yard signs and TV / radio / internet advertising. My empathy idea was to thank them by listening to what they are going through. Lost insurance, lost jobs, medical challenges, cities changing, worrying about the life your kids are going to have? Of course you are.
Each person who visited the site (regardless of who they were voting for) would have been offered up to an hour of empathic listening, and all we would have asked in advance would have been, to please make every effort to vote. High turnout is the best hope of the Democrats so on balance this effort would likely have helped them. But mostly I wanted to thank the swing staters and demonstrate the power of empathy.
Why empathize? We'll let Simone Weil  explain it, except with gender neutral pronouns.
The love of our neighbour in all its fullness simply means being able to say to them: “What are you going through?” It is a recognition that the sufferer exists, not only as a unit in a collection, or a specimen from the social category labelled “unfortunate,” but as a human, exactly like us, who was one day stamped with a special mark by affliction. For this reason it is enough, but it is indispensable, to know how to look at them in a certain way.
This way of looking is first of all attentive. The soul empties itself of all its own contents in order to receive into itself the being it is looking at, just as they are, in all their truth.
I was going to set up a web site where people trained in empathy would be available to listen ... and people from swing states could call in and be randomly matched with them. (For bonus points, maybe another place where people who just wanted to chat would be matched up with each other, too, in some way that protected the security of all.) And of course people would have abused it and I had a plan for that too. Maybe I could still do this as the work of rebuilding begins.
Those are some of my election meta-thoughts. I'd be extremely interested to hear yours!
 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.
 The new place is sealed up tight, thanks to its thermopane windows. In fact it's too tight and too damp: pieces of paper and fabric become damp even if they were dry when I put them down, so something has to be done about that.
 Here's an OK (not perfect) translation of the essay from which this paragraph is taken, "Reflections On The Right Use Of School Studies..."