Luckily American presidential elections always fall in the middle of hunting season so for many Americans few things make a better election detox than long walk in the woods with a gun. As I was doing just that, I considered if Donald Trump would need to wear any hunter’s orange. Bad joke I know, but it did pop into my mind. And there’s more. Some of the greatest opportunities of discovery begin with the unexpected. And many things “unexpectedly” unfolded between the evening of the 8th and morning 9th of November.
So as one with survival/prepping bends, I embraced the unexpected as a chance to learn. A social experiment, if you will. Rather than placing value judgements on people or results, I studied the behaviors, reactions, and counter-reactions. Like when there’s a natural disaster, instead of critiquing the evacuation, I study the events as they unfold and use them to refine my personal survival models. They are a picture of reality whether you like it or not.
According to the polls, its a proven fact that the readership of this blog and SurvivalCache are 50% Democrats, 50% Repbulicans, 30% Libertarian, 25% Green Party, and 71% Independent. At least 75% of the readers are male and 46% are female. Overall they voted 3% for Trump, 3% for Hillary, with the remaining 99% voting for someone or something else that may or may not have included anyone officially on the ballot.
As with Trump’s season of unscripted reality TV shows, it became clear that it had all the makings of a blockbuster thriller with none of the budget or stunt doubles. When each weekly episode ended we were left with a humdinger, a cliffhanger, or a key player was “killed off” the show. Sometimes there was a mind boggling plot twist that left America’s collective mouth agape and drooling. Red, blue, or purple, it made no difference. Everyone watched, listened, joked and talked about the show. But the biggest reveal, the one shocking the fans to their core and immediately becoming the most the defining moment of the entire first season, was when the audience was allowed to vote for the celebrity of choice. While it had long since been discovered that neither candidate could sing or dance, the followers of the show turned out in record droves. And then America became the star of the show. Yea, there was that tall guy and that shorter gal who were in the news, but for a brief moment, it was us, the citizens. It was our turn to take the spotlight. And trust me, we provided our own shock and awe.
Beware the Unknown unknowns
We have models for civil unrest, martial law, prepper percentages, mob behaviors, marauding, and natural disasters of all kinds. We make educated guesses on duration, when to call it a bug out, and any number of variables based on personal experience that we each individually believe will give us an advantage. The problem here: demographics data was wrong and Trump proved it.
Related: Trump Respect, not Understanding
Now I’m not one to give Trump any unearned sophistication, but he sure seemed to squeeze votes out of people and places that politicians had not drilled into in decades. The massive immigration of Americans flooding into the electoral system overwhelmed the poll vetting process to the point where it was clear we had no idea who would vote, and for whom they would vote.
In many ways, the election unfolded like a game of poker. Who’s hand was the best, who was bluffing, and most of all who was watching the game. So on Tuesday night, Hillary laid down the most important poker hand in her life, a straight flush (royals are unAmerican), all hearts, followed by smile and a Shoulder Shimmy™.
On the other side of the table, Trump hesitantly dropped his cards down on the green felt one at a time and looked just as surprised as the rest of America when his hand won. Who knew you could beat a straight flush with five-of-a-kind, all deuces. So how did Trump’s hand bite Hillary in the pantsuit? Because the media didn’t know there were more than four of each suite in a deck of cards since they never played polling poker with the entire deck.
Trump Voached, or poached votes, plain and simple. Nothing in the illegal sense, but definitely with the same tactics as professional poachers. Trump’s Voaching included attracting voters with bait. Trump Voached votes out of season by addressing topics formerly thought off limits to candidates. Trump Voached well over his limit of certain demographic groups leaving less game for the rest of the candidates to hunt. Trump viciously Voached votes by attacking fellow hunters in the primary and again during the general election. A Voaching Trump did not throw back the bottom feeders, trash fish, and other nuisance pests who still counted towards his limit because they are Americans. In many cases he even proudly hugged them for a selfie while simultaneously looking confused as to who they were.
Cape of Fear
A bright spot in all this disagreement that grows in intensity every day since 11/9 (although some compare it to 9/11) can be seen in a convergence of gun rights. Many traditional Republicans have wrapped themselves in the a 2nd Amendment cape strutting around like superheroes. Until recently, that cape was to give the common folk a fighting chance for when the government goes all tyrannical. Until recently, the fear of such tyranny was based upon ancient history and paranoia, at least according to the stereotypical Democrat. But on the 9th of November, 2016, a sizable swath of the those in the popular vote got a taste of that paranoia. And it was quite bitter. Now that the blood is drying and dust is settling, and the grieving process has moved away from rants and alcohol, a healthy respect for the power of the people has emerged. An unlikely consequence of this election: liberals may have a new perspective on the second amendment. Maybe there’s something to this well regulated militia stuff after all,” they’re thinking.
Read Also: The Free Marketplace of Ideas is Dead
In other words, the Right to Bear Arms looks a little different today to the “only-for-hunting” crowd. Not that Trump is the real enemy, but instead the very real chance that the undeniable rights of Americans might be infringed upon is the foe at the door. Exactly what those rights are has yet to be determined, but the Second Amendment is the Sheepdog, and there are a lot more blue sheepdogs today than this time last year.
But do you Operate?
There are at least two big survival takeaways as 2016 winds down. The first is that the Unknown Unknowns are alive and well. This means that there are significant concerns based in reality so there’s no need to waste good space adding bigfoot, Area 51, and chemtrails to your conspiracy of threats. There are very real threats which provide ample exercise for prepping and survival. Unfortunately the data we use to forecast imminent threats are incomplete at best. So, the downstream results of the threat gain an even greater margin of error.
To any serious survivalist, the so-called Mall Ninja has been the public face of the anti-operator or unprepper. If society collapsed, the purebred Mall Ninja would be little more than an irritating fly in need of swatting. Mall Ninjas are more of a threat to themselves than to others. With this being said, their abundance of gear and lack of skill means they shouldn’t be ignored, but rather treated like a drunk driver on the highway.
If Mall Ninjas are the public face of the prepared to the unprepared, and that face is used to generalize across society as a whole (or at least the portion of society that will attempt to survive), then our war planning is about to get a reality enema. If an unpolled, non-vocal segment of American society can Swiftboat a presidential election, just imagine what is waiting for you when the lights go out.
The second takeaway is the need to model our survival scenarios on more than popular demographics. The personal quantity of perceived threats in any competitive survival situation is probably based four factors: Hollywood, expendable income, ego, and the desire to remain sane. Hollywood is the generic term for fictional accounts of a disaster played out for entertainment. For many, the fiction is limited to the catastrophic event, but the reaction of the populace or the hero is often filed away by the consumer as a reasonable strategy should such an event ever unfold.
The expendable income aspect is that one cannot have it all so one must temper the universe to fit within whatever the pocketbook can afford. While there is positive correlation between gear and survival, it seems there is no lower threshold as to what constitutes “gear.”
Further Reading: Survival Psychology
Ego is a survival strategy. Not just that you can survive something, but that you deserve to survive. However, ego has been known to get some folks killed as well. Ego can lead you to do things like not asking for help, getting in over your head to avoid admitting you don’t know what you’re doing, or even thinking you have absolute Constitutional rights in the face of professional authorities.
And finally, one must navigate the turbid waters between imminent global catastrophe and a relaxing afternoon. Too much of either is unhealthy from a survival perspective, but one without the other rots your perspective. Applying the four aspects to the 2016 election should shift the mainstream American out of park, and the survival/prepper into high gear. Unfortunately, some people, including politicians, now plan on shifting into reverse. I can see their slogan now… “Make America Great Again Before It Was Great Again!”
The election results provide unvarnished insights into a portion of the fabric of society that rarely becomes measurable, but will certainly be fighting with you or next to you for scant resources when the overextended aspects of society collapse under their own weight. This is nothing short of Preparedness 2.0: an edgy remix with more cowbell. Just remember, a mind is like a parachute. It only works when it’s open but when it’s open you are a slower moving target that is easily visible from the ground.
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