They’d finally done it. America (U S A ! U S A !) had been toying with the idea for some time, dancing around the idea of handing the keys to the castle to a self-obsessed celebrity, because fuck it, why not?
Now today we stand together before the world and God and Allah and the ghost of Abe Lincoln and say, ‘The man we have collectively chosen to lead us is Donald J Trump’. That is indeed reality, that is the air we now breathe. Please allow this to soak in for a moment.
‘How did we get here?’ ask many on the political Left. We were all so alert after Bush, so ready to do battle with the forces of oligarchy and creeping fascism. We vanquished the neocons and perhaps felt we could rest safely behind the stately assurance of President Obama. Light had won and driven out the darkness (See Cheney, Dick). Then the Tea Party had staged their faux-revolution and seemingly abated, the visages of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann bobbing like buoys in the receding tide.
Did we lull ourselves by thinking we had made the world safe for liberalism when maybe the country could have used some actual conservatism – fiscal responsibility, infrastructure growth, investment in the present to add to the Obama era focus on the future? Though the pipeline for such a brand seems reduced to a drippy faucet, I believe there is space for conservatism that ignores the Judeo-Christian identity politics that have defined the Right for decades, and adds a heightened sense of skillful diplomacy in a world already full enough of unfiltered aggression and bluster.
And for our part as liberals (to whatever extent I am such), I believe we suffer from a very real arrogance, allowing the indeed righteous cause of progress to justify a condescension of anything Republican. Equally debilitating for each side is the staunch partisan stance, often supported by talking points and misinformation, durable walls for our echo chambers. Until we can see this folly within ourselves and move beyond it, the pendulum will swing only further, not equal and opposite but gathering greater force with each return, tugging at the rusted hinge regulating its motion.
Remaining disconnected and jaded with the political process, allowing millionaires to take over the system (#OverturnCitizensUnited) while critiquing any and everything from the sidelines, thinking that arguing on Facebook is the same as political activism, giving the name of our Nation to our most popular beer as a marketing gimmick, hashtagging our own gluttonous actions as those of #Murica, we’ve been blind to our own foolish arrogance for so long and still, displaying the most foul dichotomy of self-awareness and ignorance imaginable. We are deserving of the fate to which we have doomed ourselves for Mr. Trump is not just a representation of those who supported him but of us all – not our highest ideals mind you, but rather our lowest common denominator, a monster cobbled together from our ignored social darknesses, unpaid debt, and gluttonous prioritization of entertainment over information. I feel pity for my fellow leftists with #NotMyPresident signs and posts – your ostrich behavior will do nothing to change the weather. And anger and disappointment rises as I watch political protest turn to violence, soiling the pure and beautiful language of democracy with our frustrations and childish reactions.
There is a Dark New World to fear but as of high noon today Donald Trump IS your President, duly, dutifully elected. The real question now is where from will come the light in this era of darkness?
‘Government sucks,’ they cried, ‘we’ve had quite enough of it. Or if we must have a government, at least let it be led by someone who knows nothing of it and thus can’t be tainted by its corrosive influence.’
Ideas? Bah! What good are ideas? We need action. Action to pull us back from the horrid precipice, to face down the foreign creeping enemy, to return us to the good ‘ole days because things now are worse than they’ve ever been (and so is the weather). There are grabbing hands eager to take what is rightfully, God-givenly ours, undeserving, unscrupulous hands, linked to hearts that hate us because we are free, and fat, and awesome. #demagoguery
The emperor not in clothes of invisible thread but in a gold-plated suit and draped in the American flag, picking off people in the crowd with his pea-shooter as he leads his marching band of misanthropes, miscreants, and other circus animals (RIP Barnum and Bailey’s) down the middle of Fifth Avenue, down the East Coast, and to the front door of the White House.
‘We’ve come for what you stole from the American people,’ they say, with smarmy smiles and oil-soaked palms. There are scoffs and chortles and a couple racial slurs from the short one in the back.
Some of them wince, but most do not. They proceed.
‘We will burn down your legacy and piss on the ashes (or at least pay someone to piss on them for us).’
‘And what will you build in its place?’
‘Well a wall, of course.’
‘One wall, that’s all. No doors, no windows, no ventilation or heating system, no roof, or rooms, or kitchen sink. But it will be the biggest, strongest, most fearsome wall you’ve ever seen. America will once again return to the strength of blind conviction, of neo-virility, of might over all.’
Somewhere within my recycled soul there is an actual hippie that right now is crying out, “NIIIXOOONNNN!!”
But we can’t hear the scream of history repeating because fifty years is simply too far back to possibly see and who had recording devices back then?
The pendulum continues to swing and I believe it shows no signs of slowing. With its next swing, I fear it shall vault off its axle and ring out a terrible knell as it cracks the Firmament.
Welcome to our InTrumpuration.