where we are and where we are going

I admit that I thought the election would be a blowout,  that white people wouldn’t go full throttle on dooming the planet. That the polls were correct and that Donald Trump was such an abomination that, although people expressed their support for him quite loudly, he ultimately didn’t have the numbers. I believed all that. I was anxious, and glued to Twitter and my RSS feed, updating 538, Sam Wang, of course. But they said it was in the bag, so I curbed my anxiety. When I voted, I was in a sea of women, and I reassured myself knowing that women, at least, wouldn’t let that happen. Wouldn’t let this happen. Watching the returns come in, looking at Sam Wang on Twitter. “Nothing matters until 10 PM,” he said. Chill out. So I did, but not really, but I chilled out, and again I’m lying here. But I did, and when it was 10 PM everything was still shit and so I looked at Twitter again, and everyone’s like, “Fuck.” And I said, oh my god this really might be happening.

I have a friend who posted on Facebook something to the effect of, “This wouldn’t have happened with Bernie.” And I looked at the Colorado measure to pass single-payer healthcare failing overwhelmingly, Russ Feingold losing, the rust belt beaming red, and all I could do was shake my head. Donald Trump was inevitable in this country, I suppose. The story of failed states, time and again, is one of the charlatan seizing power and botching it. The center can’t hold forever, as someone once said much more beautifully than I. We’re about to see what happens on the edges.

The accelerationists, naturally, will be okay with this. They can be, as they typically have the privilege to cheer for burning it all down. Wannabe revolutionaries with their 401ks and their iPhones, just as culpable as the rest of us for the horros of capitalism, pretending to be above the fray because they read Marx in undergrad and really got it, man. There’s nothing at stake for them. I’m a straight white able-bodied cis-gendered man. There isn’t much at stake for me under a Trump Presidency, either. The difference is that I understand a basic responsibility to not fuck things up for other people. That fellow leftists don’t seem to get this is gross. That they would demand a candidate cater to them, prioritize them, ensure she’s won them over, when the lives and livelihoods of millions upon millions are at stake, is the epitome of selfishness, and they don’t deserve to be called people of the left.

And that leaves us with where we’re at and where we’re going.

I went to the bar last night to read the news and get drunk and talk to random people, because fuck it that’s what bars are for, and Jesus. Just Jesus. Two friends who’ve recently started dating stopped by for food and we chatted about this and that before they left. I spoke to a lovely couple about the election, and they were boomers and on a date and just really quite nice. Another friend said she’d swing by in a bit. I got into an argument on Facebook because I dunno I just felt like it. And then in the middle of all that, there was this guy. Who is also a friend. I’m not gonna use his real name. He’s just this guy.

So this guy comes in with a buddy and two women, none of whom I know, and he’s like, “Hey!” and I’m like, smiling and pretending to be happy about anything in the world, “What the shit is going on?” And he’s like, “Kicking it, meet [names omitted because I honestly forget].” And I’m like, “Nice to meet you!” So whatever. And we get to talking and they seem fine — because fine-ness is what I’m judging the outside world on these days — and then, because I’m dumb, “Let’s talk politics, who’d you vote for?”

So both this guy and his buddy voted Trump and I’m like c’mon dude really? And they’re like Fuck Yeah Can’t Stump The Trump. And I’m like, c’mon. You’re fucking dumb. And things start to get loud between me and this dude’s friend, so I’m like, okay. Let’s go outside to talk.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t turn into a fistfight.

So we go outside to have a cigarette and not cause a scene, and we berate one another, and one of the women (the far drunker one) is like, “Go Trump. It’s just locker room talk, I’ve heard way worse than that!” And I’m like, really? And the other woman is like, These People Are Nuts, I Voted Hillary, Too. And I’m like, Thank God. And the woman who’s all Go Trump MAGA is like, “Whoops, I didn’t actually vote yesterday,” and this dude and his friend are like, “Trump isn’t the establishment,” and I’m like, “Really?”

This dude’s friend and the MAGA lady then leave to go fuck behind a dumpster (really, this is what they did), and I continue to argue with my friend, this dude. We shout and wave our stupid drunk dicks around about this and that. The dumpster fucking couple comes back from fucking behind a dumpster (again, this is really what they did — they went and fucked behind a dumpster), and they all leave.

Jane comes by a couple of minutes later. We smoke pot and way too many cigarettes and have a couple of beers and generally feel devastated.

Welcome to the future, America.

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2 responses to “where we are and where we are going

  1. Friend Tom,
    Your post was just what I needed to remind me that I don’t live in a world entirely occupied by bigots and insensitive pricks. That’s who voted for our Prez-elect, isn’t it? Surely no good person could have wished that kind of insult on every woman I’ve ever known, every person of color, every stranger I’ve met at an airport, could they?

    Rosie and I spent most of our time together yesterday talking about how we might bundle up our babies and escape before walls start popping up all around us. The whole of Canada isn’t hiring.

    When we weren’t talking about emigrating, we talked about the shame we feel, and our fear for our children. That fear’s not hyperbolic. In the next four years, Hank will be graduating kindergarten, already taught that certain offices are to be respected and revered. The people occupying those offices are, by extension, examples of what to aspire to. Will he learn that it’s okay to grope and to hate and to name-call and put up walls and to tear down people? Will a million other little minds learn the same lessons? How might that endanger my daughter, to have an army of little locker-room men marching around, clutching indiscriminately and disrespectfully and unconcernedly?

    It’s a little overwhelming, as you might guess. But, that’s key – that you might guess – that there are beautiful, kind, caring people who surround me and who can see the anxiety welling up inside me and tap me on the shoulder and pull me into an embrace before I start to shake. Thanks for the reminder, and for acknowledging the insanity.

  2. Good one, Tom.

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