This Is Not Normal

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What can I say? I’m sick to my stomach over this racist buffoon becoming president. I can’t spend four to eight years venting on twitter and facebook every day, and it’s clear by now how I feel to the handful of people online who read what I write, so endlessly repeating on a loop how awful and dangerous Trump is will accomplish nothing save to take precious time away from napping.

So let me just write this and then I’ll (mostly) let things be.

Do not normalize this. This is not a Republican winning an election. There is no comparable event in U.S. history. As such, we must not treat it as if it were any other regular transfer of power in any other election year. We do not owe this man a clean slate, an open mind, a chance to lead, or any of the other numbingly idiotic suggestions given to us since the results came in.

We know who Trump is. He has told us again and again.

Trump is a bigot. He hates and demeans women. He despises Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, the disabled and anyone who he considers weak or has the temerity to oppose him. He is a bully. Incapable of empathy. Completely amoral. He is stupid yet convinced of his own superiority in all things. He is willfully ignorant and lacking in curiosity about the ways of the world and the people in it.

Informed of the facts, Trump will repeatedly double down on whatever asinine assertion he has spouted off the top of his head, despite the obviousness of the truth. The light is yellow, Mr. Trump. No, it’s green. Here’s a photo and twenty eyewitness statements verifying the yellowness of the light. Nope, it’s green, I was there, I saw it, it’s green.

What can you say to someone such as this? He is a fourth grade intellect with the temperament to match. An entitled, privileged egotist who has never once been denied anything, nor forced to pay a price for his behavior. Trump is the ultimate proof that a rich, white man can literally say anything and not only will he not be punished, he will often be praised and elevated.

He is unfit to lead a third grade field trip to a museum. That he has been elected is a national disgrace. I am ashamed to live in a country that would inflict his callous disregard for others upon those groups already marginalized within the United States, to say nothing of the rest of the world.

Nothing that happens from this point forward with Trump is normal. Acting as such legitimizes the words and actions of a man who would be booted from an Andrew Jackson kegger for being too much of a boor. It’s not a matter of political affiliation or disagreeing with policy, it’s a question of our fundamental values as a nation. Every time he speaks, remember he is openly and proudly racist. We elected a bigot.

That’s the part that cuts the deepest in all of this. A huge percentage of the United States is either racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and amoral or they simply aren’t bothered by any of those characteristics in an elected official. I live here. These people are my neighbors. Of course I saw the crazies in the dark corners, I’m not blind, but to think that there were enough to elect a president is shocking. How is it possible that I could be surrounded by such pervasive ugliness and not realize it? What fucking country am I living in?

We owe Trump nothing. He deserves no grace period, no clean slate, no chance to lead. He has not been ‘humbled’ by winning the presidency, as Oprah Winfrey so bizarrely wrote. The horrendous things he has said time and time again do not vanish because he has been elected – if anything they are magnified. We cannot make the mistake of thinking otherwise. Trump is who he has always been – the enemy of those who believe in the fundamental humanity of all people.

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The End of All Things

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Look, endings are always rough. If it were otherwise, nothing would ever end. And so here we are, at the end of all things, minus Sam to help us through the dark patches.


The above clip would be the perfect expression of a Donald Trump America, except there won’t be any eagles in a few years to save us after they’ve been wiped out by the Chinese hoax of climate change.

But this isn’t about how Donald Trump is a disgusting piece of shit. Anybody with an internet connect knows he ran a white supremacist, xenophobic, misogynistic campaign that spewed an endless mix of lies and hate. It wasn’t subtle, either. He didn’t allude to these things as candidates had before, with wink-wink asides and heavy-handed language. His entire candidacy was predicated on racism and sexism – they were the issues he chose to argue before the public. You can argue about whether Trump is actually racist, xenophobic and misogynist, or whether he was playing to the crowd in an effort to win votes, and for my money, it’s pretty obvious where to land, but what you cannot argue is that his campaign was built upon such sentiment. His pitch was predicated on the idea that a dog whistle was too subtle. And who am I to argue? He won the presidency, after all.

We’ve got 4-8-12 soul crushingly brutalizing years to lament Trump’s presence in the political landscape, if the world survives that long. Lots of time to write about it while drinking heavily.

His opponent is headed out for the curb on heavy trash day. What do we make of such a remarkable public figure? What’s the epitaph? Well, first, and to be clear, Hillary Clinton is not a particularly good person. She is unethical. A warmonger. A money grubber. Yes, she was undone in this election by forces out of her control, by an assault of sexism that was painful to watch, but it does not alter the record of her time in the public sphere. She was – always – a terrible candidate for public office.

She is also a calculating politician and deeply ambitious, the two often going hand in hand. I don’t much mind these last two, after all, I’m not looking for a buddy to have a drink with, I’m looking for government service. Who in politics isn’t calculating or ambitious? My guess is it’s a pretty small number, and most of them are about to take their pension.

Still, it’s this last part that stands out to me. Ambition. Had she not run, Trump would not be in the White House. Does anyone doubt it? We come to the end of Hillary Clinton’s intensely driven political ambition at the moment it forced Donald Trump upon us.

This is somewhat unfair, of course. It’s massively unfair, actually. She did not operate in a vacuum. The DNC is as much to blame as Hillary, force feeding her to the electorate. Still, the culpability rests ultimately on her shoulders. It must. She chose to run, blind to her own faults. She could never see what was so obvious to everyone outside the Democratic party machine – she was a terrible candidate.

She had other options. Other paths to take. After 2008, she could have been a kingmaker. She wanted the crown for herself. And now she’ll live with the knowledge that she must shoulder the blame, partially or fully, for Donald Trump winning the white house. It’s sad, really. Part of me hopes that she’s immune to self reflection, that she’ll choose to blame her enemies (of which there are plenty to choose from) and the agents of chance rather than look inward.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, too. Our candidates, our elections, our public servants are all a reflection of who we are as a people, as a country. I should have done more. I should have shouted from the rooftops. Given more money. Volunteered more time. Convinced more people. We all should have done more to keep Trump from power. Collectively we will pay the price.

In the most cynical version of apportioning blame, it was her naked ambition that blinded her to the reality that her candidacy was always an uphill battle, that she risked the betterment of the country/world in her own mad quest for power, but this seems unduly harsh, an overreach. In the charitable version, which is the one I subscribe to, it was Hillary’s unwavering belief that she was the best person for the job. A genuine belief borne from a lifetime of struggle, persecution, hard work and passion for a better world. That she was never able to look at herself objectively and make the supreme personal sacrifice is hardly the worst thing to say about someone, and if anything, it makes her incredibly human.

I like to think that. It cuts a sympathetic figure. Someone who wanted something good and decent for this world. Maybe it doesn’t matter at all. We’re here. At the end of all things. And she did everything in her power to make it so.

Tilting at Windmills

This is a lie. Your vote does not matter.

This is a lie. Your vote does not matter.


Like the caption says, your vote in this year’s presidential election does not matter. Please don’t get mad at me.

This is indisputable. It carries with it no inherent bias or room to maneuver. It is simply a factual statement beyond reproach. Your vote does not matter. Again, please don’t get mad at me. It’s not my fault.

Presidential elections do not hinge on a single vote. The reality, of course, is that virtually no election at any level will be decided by a single vote, now or in the future, and certainly not for a presidential election, and for your vote to matter, this is precisely what must occur. So this November 8th, feel free to stay home, secure in the knowledge that your failure to contribute to the total number of ballots cast had zero impact on deciding the winner.

People get very upset by this, as if pointing out the blatantly obvious is somehow an assault on all that is good and decent in the world. I bring this up most every election, and most every election I’m subjected to people who argue vociferously on the importance of an individual’s vote. Al Gore did it recently with his, “Your vote, really, really, really matters.” No, Al, it really doesn’t. We all feel cruddy about the W years, but it doesn’t change the pointlessness of a single vote.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” “People suffered and died for the right to vote!” “Nothing will ever change if you don’t vote!” I added the exclamation points, but it seemed appropriate to sum up the typical arguments I hear expressed. This clip captures the prevailing attitude really well.


Could you make it through all of that? Holy shit, what a painful mixture of self-righteous smugness and preening knowitallness. It’s like watching California: The Guy.

He also makes the classic mistake of confusing the importance of elections with an individual’s vote. They’re not the same thing. One person staying home in Florida in 2000 would not have swung the election in any way, shape or form. Yes, elections matter. A lot. Large numbers of votes matter. A lot. Individual votes mean absolutely nothing. This is because what is true for the whole pie is not necessarily true for the individual slices, aka the fallacy of division. That people willfully argue against unassailable logic is just the most perfectly human/American response. Now, to be fair, the sort of crass appeal below makes a measure of sense:


An ad designed to encourage large numbers of people to vote against a particular candidate. Good for you, various celebrities, for using the same tired argument of ‘your vote matters’ in order to encourage lots of people to vote the way you want. That’s not sarcasm, either, this is likely a genuinely effective method of swinging elections because it aims to manufacture large numbers of votes through the use of Andrew from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But wouldn’t the world be a better place if people could be prodded to go the polls minus illogical and factually untrue arguments?

So this coming election, with all this in mind, understanding reality, seriously, feel no compulsion to vote. Don’t bother. Go see a movie instead. Or visit a museum. Lots of museums have discounts on Tuesdays. Your individual vote has as much value as Shawshank’s fart in the wind.


Now, for purposes of full disclosure, I’m going to vote this year. For the first time since 2000, I will step into a voting booth and pull a lever, or punch a ballot, or touch a screen or whatever the hell it is people do nowadays in the 21st century, not just aware of the meaninglessness of the act but rather precisely because my vote is meaningless.

Look, there’s nothing left to say about the 2016 presidential election that hasn’t been screamed in print, on television or in some dark corner of the internet. It’s all true, none of it’s true, but no minds are getting changed. I could write about it, I suppose, but who has the energy to explain to ‘undecideds’ why Donald Trump is a disgusting piece of shit and totally unqualified for public office or that Hillary Clinton is monstrously unethical and totally unqualified for public office. If ya can’t see it by now, there ain’t no help on the horizon, buddy.

So, yeah, stepping into a voting booth is nothing more than tilting at windmills. But screw it, I’m a romantic. Why not lash out in vain against my enemies? After all, I am helpless before raging insanity. A defendant in a Kafka court. Powerless. Impotent. Useless. There is literally nothing to do on November 8th but watch someone who was alive in the 1980’s and thinks Nancy Reagan started a national conversation on AIDS ascend to the presidency.

Nothing save for standing atop the hill and screaming into the storm. A pointless act of no consequence to protest the inexcusable, unpalatable and unforgivable. To rage against the dying of the light.

But you should stay home. No reason both of us should waste our Tuesday.