In four years America awakens, shivering cold, in a bathtub. How the hell did I wind up in a tub full of ice cubes? Gotta’ get up. Gotta’ get outta’ here. A searing pain emanates from somewhere…from somewhere. Oh Christ! What is going on? What the fuck happened? Scoop up a handful of ice cubes and toss them over the side of the tube. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Wait. Oh, Jesus Christ! What is that? What the fuck is that? The stitch job on the abdomen’s nearly black lump looks like the work of a seamstress with twisted fingers. Blood seeps. A serrated steak knife may be the culprit. Rusty too, perhaps. Who did this to me?
You did it to yourself, America. You did it. Now your organ is up for bid on the dark web to the highest bidder: China, Putin, or the four-hundred-pound couch potato and hacker. And who knows which organ was reaped, anyway? Hard to tell. Doesn’t matter, really. Surely not a heart or head. Those both atrophied long ago. America, you stuffed your face with the Kardashians, tall tales of Mexican rapists clawing at the cellar door, and post cards from a new Rome. (Psst! Nero has been fiddling the whole time.) The red pills that were slipped under your tongue during the commercial break dissolved quickly. You didn't even know you were saying aah, did you?
The trip was good at first. You let loose pleasure squeals after you dropped trou in anticipation of a hand job from Ronald Reagan’s ghost. But then consciousness became gradually foggier until it flatlined. This unleashed the suppressed indoctrinated butcher lying low in the deepest reserves of the hindbrain since the 1950’s. You were alone, a defenseless and witless victim of your own worst angels of your folly. Your right hand sawed through healthy skin and muscle, despite the left hand vying to wrest control of the blade handle. Now there’s just the Frankenstein wound, and the life support of the ice cubes.
You did it to yourself, America. You did it.
Hunter S. Thompson’s nemesis was Richard Nixon. He wrote of Nixon in his crafty He Was a Crook obituary, “Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning.” For those of my generation, George W. Bush and his administration was our Richard Nixon and his gang of thugs; Bush’s mind was run by a solar panel on the dark side of the moon, and Dick Chaney was Cthulhu in a latex body suit.
In a 2004 pre-presidential election piece, Thompson wrote “If (Nixon) were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him.” Why? Because Bush was a “treacherous little freak.”
With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of American, I understand Thompson’s renewed sentiment, squared.
Elementary school teachers might as well pull down the United States 2016 post-election map over the chalk board and say, “Okay kids, the metro areas are blue, everything else red.” Truly, the big cities are lily pads in a blood pond. Zoom in on the 2016 election map of Allegheny County, in western Pennsylvania. My hometown of Pittsburgh is navy blue and (most of) the suburbs are various shades of red.
Sure, minorities and liberals are concentrated in the cities—not to mention hubs of academia—but the contrast in political preference is stark. The answer is surely so nuanced that a political psychologist typing Facebook posts for an infinite amount of time will eventually nail a thorough explanation of the dilemma.
Regardless of the urban-rural divide, which fascinates me, I’m comfortable making a few non-geographical sweeping generalizations: Too many voters dim their minds for convenience sake, and cast ballots from the gut. What a fucking stupid thing to do! Considering the recently concluded 2016 election, stupidity meant being as socially conscious as rolling a powder keg into a cigar lounge, and as safety conscious as using it as an ashtray. (Or vice versa, I suppose.)
I believe that relatively few Trump voters are truly racist/Islamophobic/misogynistic homophobic/etc. at their core. I believe that relatively few Trump voters cheer as factories continue to spew carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the peril of their grandchildren, their children, and themselves. I believe that almost zero Trump voters want a human roulette wheel to possess the nuclear launch code.
But guess what, Trump voter? It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a bigot, or if you don’t consider yourself environmentally unconscious, or if you don’t fancy applying for a city building permit to construct a backyard fallout shelter. You voted for Jim Crow 2.0, the gradual manslaughter of Earth, and the potential swift first degree murder of Earth. You voted this way because you choose to be stupid when the stakes were highest. You chose to be selfless and dangerous.
I hold that Donald Trump ran for president as a vanity project. He viewed himself as the focal character of a real-time reality show, not unlike The Apprentice. He relished the raucous crowds at the rallies, and the omnipresent microphones and camera lens. He saw himself as Billy Mays, but instead of OxyClean he pitched a brand of retro white utopia. He was entertained by the day-to-day reaction of America, as much as America was (regretfully) entertained by him. America itself was his real-time reality show.
On November the 8th, the reality got real.
For all that makes Trump a maniacal scumbag of the highest order, the Trump voter is riper for ridicule than the president-elect. You handed the debauched king his scepter.
Trump’s position on climate change assaults my sensibility, and may provide the clearest example of the source of a pragmatist’s rage. The overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that humans are chugging headlong toward the sixth extinction. Whatever! The man chosen by the populace to be the most powerful human on Earth actually said that he believes climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. As soon as Trump expressed his stance, the American people should’ve dismissed him out-of-hand. Boom! Off the ticket and out of mind you go. Instead, Trump's popularity skyrocketed. He was fucking elected president! As a result, the extinction of the EPA will likely slightly predate the extinction of the human race. Think about that for a second. The most perilous crisis the Earth faces will be exacerbated by the person Earthlings blessed. Forget the Mexican border wall. The landlocked states will need the bricks to keep out refugees from the American coast.
Call me smug. Call me out of out-of-touch. Call out my lack of perspective. But when the scientific community warns of a worldwide catastrophe that will eventually render all politics moot, and you vote for a leader who will clearly worsen the catastrophe…
I know. I know you want "change," whatever the fuck that means. Name three things, specifically, you want changed? How would you orchestrate these changes? Ok, you're drooling now.
I’m afraid I’m going to begin belaboring points espoused by countless blogs and Facebook posts. Besides, I’m probably preaching to readers who already see things my way. Readers who don’t will dismiss me as whiny and go about grazing on Astro Turf.
Also, my fingers do not possess the endurance to type enough patently obvious reasons that Donald Trump should not have been voted president. However, I do see hope.
The bottom line for this patriot: I'm embarrassed to be an American today. Those feeling the same have been overrun by the other who are either too lazy to think, or too selfless to care, or too short-sighted to see more than 37 seconds into the future.
"Majority rules" sucks when the majority sucks. (Ok, I know, the majority did vote for Hillary Clinton, but it hardly seems worth another tirade). Democracy will doom us all.
I’ll sign off with this: Let’s say you sliced your thigh and have begun to bleed. It’s not a dire emergency yet but you need to drive to the hospital. En route, bovine are blocking the highway. You honk, but they don’t move. You politely ask that a narrow lane be cleared so you may drive through, but they don’t move. You impart the wisdom of moving to the highway’s shoulder lest a semi-truck going 75 mph comes through, but they still don’t fucking move. By now you’re getting woozy from blood loss and you absolutely must get to the hospital. There’s no choice but to back up, slam down the gas pedal, and become the semi-truck.
Inertia can be a beautiful tool when it means self-preservation.