It’s literally too depressing for me. Regardless of how this U.S. election shakes out, what it has brought out in people—the public, the politicians, the media—is never going to be fully rescinded.
The cat’s out of the bag…we all now know what people *really* think. Your Facebook friend? Your family? Your neighbors? Your bar buddies? Everyone now knows what and who everyone else thinks, supports, etc. And conflicting/alternate points-of-view NOT welcome! That’s an unfriending. That’s a relegation of said “other point of view” person to the metaphorical cornfield.
And so we live in virtual echo-chambers, venturing out just enough to have a rage-stroke at the Other.
So how do we become a “whole” society again? Some people say we never were. Others say that at least we had some semblance of cohesion “back then” (80s? 90s? 1940s?), but now the wounds are just too deep. This is an election where saying you are supporting a particular candidate is tantamount, in some people’s minds, to being a baby-eater or a puppy-stomper or an evil Venusian (I just made that last one up, just in case you’re wondering). There is no “grey” area.
This is all not to say that I don’t think people have a right to be passionate about their beliefs, or outraged, or whatever. Especially in this election. But it’s such a zero-sum game. If Trump wins, we’re all fucked. Even most of the people who voted for him are fucked (except for, perhaps, Omarosa).
If he loses, he jumps right into Trump News Network (TNN), and makes money hand-over-fist delivering “we were robbed” speeches and echo-chamber news to a built-in audience. And then what if somebody comes along, some slick politician or Frankenstein’s lab creation, who embodies all of Trump’s rhetoric but is not a sloppy buffoon? It’s a perfect storm for a truly terrifying and (and this is the important concept here) competent fascist dictator-in-waiting to step in.
Meanwhile, everybody else will be so relieved that Trump did not become president that no “fine-print” will be read for quite some time. Many of us will still be riding so high on those fumes of “whew—near miss!” and associated smugness that it might be months or even years before we “dare” get more critical again. We’ll just feel…that we should just be happy with what we “got” and don’t rock the boat again.
And so that brings me to the future of the concept of a “maverick” in mainstream politics. Trump kills that potential dead. Trump’s campaign will be used as an argument against working outside the system for decades. Potential outsiders like another Bernie Sanders? Whatever “gap” or burrow-hole was used by Trump & Sanders to get to the forefront of the election, will be sealed up with industrial-strength caulking material.
Because…you don’t want “another Trump.” You can’t “chance” it.
And so: he ruined it for everyone.
But you could say the same thing about the media, who squeezed all the guffaws and outrage out of Trump for many months before unloading what they basically already had on him in the 11th hour. Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad all his bullshittery came out. But it’s so…by-the-numbers. You know what I mean? It’s like a scandal advent calendar at this point. Why not have exposed him a while ago? Before the primaries, even?
Because…bad for ratings. Bad for clicks.
This entire election—and, more specifically, Trump—has been more than a national nightmare. It’s like a national PTSD attack. It’s like a national exorcism, a national “ritual” where Trump stands in for every bully, every sexist pig, every racist, every boorish person you have ever ran into in your life. And now we just collectively went through all this trauma for like—I dunno, more than a year, like 18 months or something—and next is the part where we “destroy” the bad guy and all point fingers at him and just like utterly obliterate him.
It’s a wrestling match. It’s a long wrestling “saga” and now we’re getting close to “Wrestlemania” and (presumably, but who knows?) the bad guy is going to get “his.”
And I’m tired. I know what is at stake with this election. I’m voting. But I’m fucking tired.
I was so excited when Obama ran (and won) the first time. I mean—genuinely elated. Not in the way of “we’ve got to defeat the Republican swine” or anything like that. It just…was this sort of joy.
And now I just feel battered. I don’t feel proud of the democratic process at the moment. I feel very unsure about our country. I feel very unsure about the future. I feel unsure about many of the people I’m sharing this chunk of land with (and, I’m sure, they’re likewise unsure of me).
And the funny thing was…you know, all these years and decades I never had a huge problem with Donald Trump; he was always just on the very periphery of my attention, as just another cartoonish pseudo-celebrity. I never would have guessed he’d be the Big Bad of this season of Buffy. Who knew?