My Facebook and Twitter are reeling. No one can believe what just happened. Donald Trump is president elect of the United States Of America.
Everything was telling us this was impossible. Hillary Clinton thought this was impossible. She picked a venue with a glass ceiling for fucks sake. She was thinking about symbols. But we were all wrong. We didn’t know shit. The votes are in and we all have egg on our face. We look like children. How did this come about?
Part of it is probably because we act like children. We live like children. At least online we do. Our social media is a giant hall of mirrors reflecting the world back at us in our own image. We shun (unfriend, block) anyone who disagrees with us. We wittingly and unwittingly don blinders that cut out everything we don’t want to see. We avoid truths that are too hard to deal with. We think we are engaged but we are disengaged because we are only ever dealing with people and opinions that flatter us.
We, the urban liberal elites thought we had the world figured out. We thought that just by knowing our opinions and values were on the right side of history that they would just come about. We believed our brave new world wad inevitable with an orthodoxy not unlike radical fundamentalists. The difference is a radical fundamentalist is willing to lay down their life for what they believe whereas we think a well tagged tweet or clever meme are enough to win a battle. We are lazy and we are complacent. Why wouldn’t you be when everything seems to be going your way. Why fight when the result seems to be decided already?
Well tonight showed us it wasn’t decided. Tonight showed us the winds of history are not necessarily blowing our way. We thought Brexit was an anomaly. “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” don’t they say? While we’re busy polishing our trophies, the far right is at work. Trump won because the old, the racist, the white and the ignorant saw an existential threat to their world and got up and did something about it.
We damned the old for Brexit and we’ll damn the old for Trump but the old come from generations that when something needed to be done, it was done. Whether it was good or bad, they fucking got up off their asses and they did it. They did it again. We’re here photoshopping shit thinking that’s enough.
We need to realize that the current way the winds are blowing, the existential threat, may be faced by us. Actually I’m a white male so I’m probably safe. I’m more afraid for the people of colour, the lgbtq people, the women and any other historically marginalized group that are in sights of these newly invigorated forces. Also I’m in Canada but I don’t feel safe. In Brexit and Trump we have a proven method for reactionary forces to achieve victory. This is a show that will be coming to a theatre near you. Trust me.
It’s not all our fault. Hillary Clinton in hindsight seems like such a terrible candidate. She seemed like a terrible candidate before as well. She was a woman. So what? Was that enough? Obviously not. She was a symbol of everything wrong with democracy. She was the symbol of everything wrong when you try to please everybody. She was not Trump but what was she beyond that? How was she going to get us motivated? There is nothing captivating about the status quo. She was just asking us to shrug and say “I guess I’m good. Don’t fuck me over too hard”
Donald Trump proposed taking the institutions of America and stomping on them. He proposed taking the the Monopoly board and flipping it over. How many of you have been in the long death throes of a losing game of Monopoly and just wanted to flip the board over because you just didn’t wanna play that shitty game anymore. Well I think that’s how a lot of white people in Middle America felt. They were like “let’s just see what fucking happens because it can’t be worse than this!” I talk about the political angle of this victory but there was also an economic one. Middle America is a long neglected shithole. It’s like the food in the tupperware in the fridge that went bad a long time ago but you feel like if you never open the tupperware you’ll never have confront that you have a festering mess in your home. Maybe you just end up throwing the tupperware out. You can’t just throw Middle America out. You gotta deal with it and no one has. A lot of the criticism of Trump is that he will make America turn inward. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Every now and then you gotta clean your fridge. The problem is that Trump is not one to do it. He’s just gonna eat all the good stuff left and leave America with a bottle of mustard like the fridge of some 25 year old single guy.
Donald Trump is a wake up call. Donald Trump is our alarm going off telling us we need to go to work. It’s time to stop hitting snooze.