How I Learned to Stop Despairing and Accept President Trump
I’ve spent probably a few hundred hours in the last 8 months writing articles about Trump’s unfitness for president, about how damaging many of his policies and stances will be and how he will combine the disastrous age of Silvio Berlusconi with the alienating age of Duterte to generally fuck up our country; I’ve been arguing with associates, friends and strangers online and in person about whether Hillary has “blood on her hands” from Benghazi (she doesn’t) or whether what Trump has said and done proves he’s disrespectful to women (it does). But Donald J. Trump, reality star and silver-spoon-born real estate developer, is the 45th president of the United States of America, having ridden a wave of populous discontent to the White House.
It took me half a bottle of Wild Turkey and some serious rage venting Tuesday night (and an abandoned article that starts off with a rant against Susan Sarandon and at some point blames Snookie for a Trump presidency) but I’m working on getting off that hate-filled ledge. The truth is, this is America’s vote and we can be unhappy with it, we can write scathing articles or doomsday prognostications or more insults aimed at the Trumpkins’ education level (because that obviously worked), or we can try to decipher what this means and do whatever we can to continue moving forward as a little more than half a country (after all, Hillary did win the popular vote).
Yes, on one hand this is easier for me to say because I have a blond-haired, blue-eyed son and I live in the mountains. On the other hand, my whole life revolves around nature. Clean air, healthy waterways. Deep snow, make America white again indeed. And the survival of our species depends on the health of the Earth. Civil rights have always moved forward, even if sometimes there’s a slight ebbing or impediment rising. But the environment is dying and once it’s dead, there is no guarantee that it will ever return. To build a wall or overturn gay marriage or Roe V. Wade will be impossible (plus, no doubt there have been a few abortions undertaken to quell some errant mini-Trumps). But he can gut the EPA, greenlight every coal/oil pipeline and dig, and turn federal lands over to the states relatively easily. Environmental destruction may be one of the longest possible effects of a Trump presidency.
But for the immediate future, I can’t help but be disgusted with the message his win sends about what is okay to say about and do to women, about how much this win is a vindication of hatred, xenophobia and bigotry. The philosophical scars will go much deeper than the gubernatorial ones, especially with all the emboldened derelicts getting their kicks from physical, verbal and psychological attacks on people of color.
His policies as written will add trillions to the deficit without improving the lives of any except his uber-rich cronies, his list of scandals, including some still being investigated, is longer than the Benghazi report, and the real kicker is if he were to get convicted, incarcerated, impeached, his VP wants women to bury their aborted fetuses and believes that turning a gay person into a straight one through conversion therapy is real while evolution isn’t. So we’re still fucked. As for his supporters, the ones who didn’t vote out of hate but just voted because they thought he would make their lives better? In 3 years I’ll make sure to tell the working class Trump supporters who still can’t get a job because he doesn’t have the power or will to actually bring back labor or factory jobs at a decent wage “I told you so.” But it’s time to stop calling them fucktards and uneducated rednecks. It’s such an attitude that led them to think a spoiled rich, immoral New Yorker is one of them.
That said, short of moving abroad there’s nothing realistic I can do to change my nation’s leader for the next 4 year. So here are 10 things I’ve been trying to focus on to keep the fear and loathing from overtaking my shell-shocked mind; to inspire myself to keep on, save my energy, revitalize the heart and get ready for 4 years of fighting the good fight in whatever way I can.
My President Trump Mantra
1. Republicans, it’s on you.
For 8 years now I’ve had to see Republicans claim that they could fix the world if Obama wasn’t screwing everything up. “We know how to make health care work if Obama would just repeal the ACA.” “We could make so many jobs if it wasn’t for government regulations.” “We could fix inner city violence and make all the poor rich if Obama didn’t foster this victim entitlement attitude, bootstraps and all.” Alright. You got Congress, the Senate and President Trump in the White House. GOP, you can no longer be the anti-government party. You are the government.
Fix everything you’ve been promising to fix for almost a decade. Or admit you were full of shit all along.
2. Guns Inc. Has Lost Its Most Powerful Ad Tool
Since Barack Obama’s first campaign, the NRA has been claiming Obama, and most recently Hillary, will be coming for your guns. Nobody ever came for anybody’s guns but the gun companies made bank hand over fist thanks to this fear-mongering posing as constitutional defense. It was all a mad man magic trick and you folks who spent thousands of dollars to protect yourself from the government got got. But now there’s no black/female boogeyman waiting in your closet to raid your arsenal. Look for gun sales to plummet. Hell, this inability to use fear as a marketing tool will be more powerful than any AR-15 regs.
3. “Empire Strikes Back” Is The Best Star Wars Movie
Donald Trump may be the president-elect but since plenty talking heads on the Right refused to give Obama even a modicum of respect or trust from day 1, I refuse to give Trump any unless he can (somehow) earn it. Obama got Osama and still didn’t warrant respect from the hawkish right so the bar’s high. I think Trump’s a dangerous demagogue and if not watched closely, he may very well drop the most retrogressivist policies we’ve seen in my lifetime. That will usher in some very dark days indeed. Still, the dark times are when we grow the most, become the strongest, get the greatest chance to become the heroes we were destined to become. My 8(?) year old 3rd cousin saw that. Dark times are a chance for the powers of good to come together and show what they can really do.
4. Late Night TV And Satire Will Reach Heights Not Seen Since W. Bush Days
I hadn’t watch SNL for years until this election cycle. From Bernie David to Kate MacClinton, it’s been one hell of a season. But Trump is a living, breathing caricature, a walking lampoon in a cheap Macy’s suit. Every Republican talking head and politician will be spending the next 4 years apologizing for what is guaranteed to be one rotten gaffe after another. But Oliver, Noah, Maher and SNL, and every other late show host, will have golden fodder for the next 4 years
5. Paul Ryan Is a Shorn Puppy
It’s crazy that Paul Ryan became the sensible voice of the Right but that’s where we are. I still remember his VP campaign stunt where he spent a day working at a fast food joint to look like an “average guy” in 2012, and I recently wrote about how his health care plan essentially amounted to ensuring that the poor and very sick die quickly so he could keep a few extra bucks in his deep pockets. I get a good laugh when I think about him telling an interviewer that he liked “Rage Against the Machine,” only for Tom Morello to fire back with a statement that Ryan was the machine he was raging against.
But let’s not forget that he’s been a thorn in Trump’s side, going so far as to propose a separate GOP agenda and disinvite El Trumpo from a WI campaign event only to have to endorse the man at the 11th hour, likely at the bequest of the power-brokers. Trump is the kind of man who has twitter wars at 3 AM with women he knew a decade ago. He doesn’t forgive and he doesn’t forget. And now he’s the head of Ryan’s party and his country. It’ll be wonderful to watch President Trump break this lily white scarecrow.
6. The Republican Party Will Actually Have To Figure Out What It Stands For
Most of the college-educated young Republicans I know are social liberals, though most of the Trump crew is overwhelmingly not. As it is, the Republican party has been suffering an identity crisis ever since it became the party of the rich under Reagan. Rich people may have the means to seize power but they don’t have the numbers to vote people into office so they have to find some way to appeal to the poor and middle class despite policies that don’t benefit them. How do they do that? By appealing to religious zealotry and nationalist pride. Sprinkle in some voodoo economics. This led to the populist Trump uprising.
I believe in the importance of balance and even if I’m liberal and always will be, I know the key to freedom is the constant push and pull from both sides of the spectrum. The Republican party may have pulled off a resounding defeat of the Democrats but in more ways it was a defeat of the system as it currently exists. The GOP spent so many years as the reaction party that it seemed to have lost the ability to show what it stands for. That might be because modern Republicanism comprises so many hypocrisies it’s much easier to stand together against than for. They will have to now figure out what they can all stand FOR and if they can’t may have to kill the GOP and start a new Conservative party. After they repeal Obamacare, of course.
7. We Can Finally Stop Talking About Hillary’s Emails
Considering the exorbitant time and money wasted on going through Hillary’s emails with no real results, any impartial observer can see it was a (brilliant) way to trump up enough unsubstantial flubs to convince people that the most qualified presidential candidate in my lifetime (maybe ever?) was corrupt and thereby defeat a candidate Newt Gingrich called unbeatable in 2012. Add in an FBI insiders have said was obsessedly anti-Hillary to the point that they planted false innuendo to sway many of the 20 million early voters and it’s as blatant a fix as I’ve ever seen. Now that Hillary has finally lost, no more government time and taxpayer resources will be wasted on her emails.
8. We Can Officially Stop Pretending We Live In a Post-Racial, Post-Sexist America
When Obama was elected, everybody said it was a sign that America was finally beyond racism and we convinced ourselves that the bastards whose poorly spelled tweets (“your” is a possessive adjective; “you’re” is the conjugation of “you are”) insulting the presence of a black girl in “The Hunger Games” or calling the POTUS a Muslim extremist or claims that women are paid less than men because they do less work were just isolated crackpots. Obama, though, inspired people to point out the systemic racism that still existed, to try and squeeze some gnarly pus out of the festering wound that we’d hoped would just heal. That act in turn pissed off more racists who were finally fine with black people as long as they didn’t ask for more than just a promise not to attack them. And the racists then become more passionate about their bigotry in response to these uppity negros. The most recent development was a bunch of old racists claiming that Obama invented racism, which is like claiming that those folks from Spotlight invented priests molesting little kids.
Trump has empowered the hateful, misogynistic, racist, backwards bigots from grumbling quietly in their doomsday-prepped basements to step out into the sunlight. For those of us who dream of a final victory over the racist assholes (who in my case endlessly fill me with shame to be white), the key is knowing who your enemies are. Whether you unfriend them — or keep them on your feed to see what they’re up to — is your prerogative.
9. If You Can’t Beat the Crazies, Join Them
Brexit. Duterte. Europe. The whole world has fallen victim to the false prophet of populonationalism, the end of globalization as we know it and the move to ignore the less fortunate suffering in wars we’ve all had at least a small hand in fomenting, which will of course lead to more desperate disenfranchised middle-easterners which will of course lead to more terrorists. One of the largest reasons for the comparatively-high quality of life for Western Nations is the sharing of resources, supplies and cultures through trade and treaties. President Trump may be a promise to end all of that but it likely would have ended at the hands of somebody else considering the closed-border upheavals in Europe and elsewhere. It’s not just America; the whole world is cracking up. At least we’re still a leader of global trends. And hell, in a world of mad men, only the sane lose.
10. Trump Has Debts to Pay To People He’s Not Used to Having to Pay
Donald Trump has spent his whole life making deals with international dignitaries, wealthy investors, Sultans, Sheiks, mafiosi and God knows who the fuck else, almost exclusively in the largest urban centers in the world. Now, he’s made a deal with working class middle America.
See, Donald cashed a check from a shit-ton of shit-ons, of disenfranchised, underemployed, heavily-armed white men who think he’s going to save their dying towns and/or ways of life from the rot of post-industrial decline. These people think he’s going to bring back steel mills, get iPhones made in the skeletons of the old factory towns and make coal cool again; that they’ll be able to support their families without demeaning their prides or going back to school. Of course that’s not how the world works. Look at Spain, look at Amsterdam, look at London. Once the factories have moved on, they don’t come back. And if somehow he got some of them back, they’ll be offering bottom dollar without benefits.
Not to insult the desperate American white laborer. It’s horrible what is happening to the poor in this country, white or not, urban or rural, and even more a big part of the reason this happened was the constant insult of America’s heartland from elitist liberals, including at times myself. For my part in that I am sorry.
That said, if in three years these people who voted for him still find themselves underemployed, unable to get decent healthcare, unable to support their families; if the rust belt stays rusty and the rural towns of the west stay run through with opioid addictions and dreams of yesterday, President Trump is going to have to answer to blue collar white America. And I know plenty of people in this category. They’re not the kind to take to twitter wars.
But Let’s Not Mince Words
Republicans have been saying now is the time to reunite the country. Of course, that’s only because they won; there were already plans for gun rallies and protests should they have lost.
Do I believe our nation needs to come back together, to heal? Absolutely. My well-educated “cultured” friends from NYC and LA need to try and find common ground with my hunter, fisher, mountaineering survivalist friends out in the range. And as people post pictures and tweets and comments about the fucktard idiots in the middle of America and threaten to separate California from the rest of the nation (hey guys, did any of you think about the fact that all of California’s water is stolen from the Rocky Mountains?), I want to shout out that this ignorant dismissal of nearly half of America is the reason Trump won.
But I will always remember the racist pictures of a big-eared Obama running from elephants that my friend’s brother, a cop in Atlanta, ex-marine and all-time bigot (and animal hater) posted on social media (despite the fact that he was still enlisted and therefore still technically sworn to protect, respect and obey the president). All the birther claims and calls for violence against that nigger in the white house. If the GOP thinks I’m just going to blindly support Trump for “the sake of the nation” after they spent 8 years doing literally nothing but undermining Obama, they’re as delusional as the white underemployed who think Trump’s going to save them from the progress of humanity.
Still as I consider trading Putin for poutein (Justin Trudeau is the president I wish we had), the above ten will be a sort of mantra I’ll repeat over and over to energize me for what will likely be four years of fighting tooth and nail to maintain every gain we’ve made since 2009, to inspire me to contribute however I can to the things I believe in that Trump has threatened to rape, pillage and plunder, things like women’s health, the environment, Religious freedom, gay rights, hell human rights in general.
When things get really dark between now and 2020, this list will become a hyperspiritual dynamo for me and hopefully give some fire to the majority of Americans (since, again, Hill did win the popular vote) to keep fighting the powers of old and evil.
It starts with all of us getting down off that ledge.