I woke up on 11/9 to a landscape I no longer recognize. Scary weather is on the horizon. There is no silver lining in this looming shit storm, no way to lighten a dark future. The only mystery is the extent to which we are fucked. I’m mourning what awaits us all.
I’ve looked for solace from my favorite comedic commentators: Colbert, Bee, Meyers, Desus & Mero. Nothing helps. The poignant laments from the Daily Show’s correspondents made me cry, not laugh (“That’s not how you handle a pussy!”).
How could this have happened? We can blame Comey, or Bernie, or Gary Johnson, or the too-late-to-wake-up media, or Paul Ryan, or Fox, or the Clintons’ flaws – and all deserve blame. Nevertheless, with eyes wide open, close to half the country’s voters intentionally picked Donald Trump to be leader of the Free World, holder of the nuclear codes, and role model for our children.
There will be no excuses for buyer’s remorse. No one can be surprised with what we’re going to get. The President-Elect’s ignorance, vulgarity, dishonesty, racism, misogyny, bigotry, and pathological narcissism have been on display for decades – splashed on tabloids, publicized on his TV show, and creepily revealed in numerous on-air conversations with Howard Stern. Trump’s endless, abominable smear on Obama’s legitimacy left no doubt of his true character.
Then came the primaries. As a rubbernecker to a gruesome wreck, I watched the Republican clown car careen out of control and plunge into a septic cesspool. What emerged, like the creature from the black lagoon, was a cartoon humanoid covered in orange slime – the soon-to-be-President-Elect of the United States of America.
Throughout the debates, the Republican Party’s new leader reveled in his delusions of brilliance, preening and sniffling and bullying and giving inchoate responses to complicated issues. He preyed on the deepest fears of working-class, white Americans, confirming their suspicions of The Other – scapegoats for all their very real problems: the Chinese, the Muslims, a rigged system, the Mexicans, the lying media.
“Ladies and gentlemen, either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community!” – Professor Harold Hill (“The Music Man”)
Trump, the greatest con artist in American history, closed his campaign promising that by electing him, “all your dreams, for the nation and personally, will come true.” He proclaimed himself a messianic mensch who was “what you’ve been waiting for your entire life.”
I know we’ve survived terrible politicians before, men like McCarthy, Nixon, and Cheney and their henchmen. We’ll probably muddle through somehow with Trump and his crew of crazies. But there will be costs.
In my state of Oregon some 400,000 people will lose their health insurance when Obamacare is repealed. Across the nation, millions of decent people fear deportation from their homes to foreign and unsafe places they may have never known. Parents have to shield their children’s ears from vulgarities spewed by the heir to the office of Lincoln.
I’m not going to detail all the damage on the way: erosion of rights, critical setbacks to slowing climate change, protective regulations weakened, loss of moral standing in the world, and worst of all, an unpredictable foreign policy overseen by a stupid, dangerous man. It’s all been explained many times by others.
And as for the rejected alternative to this gloomy apocalypse, the evil Hillary, the villainess in the Trump immorality play, I spelled out my thoughts on that last summer in “Why I’m With Her.” What might have been, however, no longer matters.
Friends have called to commiserate and share their depression. Some grumble, only half-seriously, about moving to Canada. Some, like me, can no longer bear to watch the news, retreating from politics to family and friends. But not all.
A few relatives and acquaintances are ecstatic about the prospect of making America great again. Most are professed Christians. Their enthusiasm for Trump baffles me. I wonder what Jesus would say.
“Lock her up! Build the wall!”
Is that was Jesus would say? Or this?
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Trump's boosters, however, love The Donald precisely because he’s rich. Like they want to be. They cheer and vote for a morally bankrupt, womanizing, conniving hustler with zero relevant experience because they’ve somehow conjured an image of Hillary that’s even worse. They care more about emails than racism. I’ll never understand.
I’m glad I live on the West Coast, which generally hates Trump and loves cannabis. Not that we can escape entirely the country’s cultural cleavage. After all, it was an Oregon jury that just let the Bundy brothers off scot-free after they led an armed takeover of a national wildlife refuge last winter, a stunt that cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. (See “What the Heck’s Going On in Oregon?” and “Blame the Mormons.”) But I digress.
“If there is single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: ‘He says the things I’m thinking.’ That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t.” – Neal Gabler, “Farewell, America,” Nov. 10
Millions of words have been spent trying to explain why so many have been fooled by Trump’s bullshit. Maybe it’s not that complicated. I call it Wayne’s Rule, a failsafe, four-word way to explain most any inexplicable human behavior: people are fucking morons.