It’s November 10, Australian time, and I still don’t even know what to say.
We went out last night, got roaring drunk. We had Mai Tais when the results were close and Old Fashioneds when they were in. We drank the Blood of Hipsters for the third-party voters, then threw my husband’s tie in the trash when he confessed it was from Trump’s own brand. This morning, we woke up, hungover, and things still weren’t a dream.
I don’t even know what to say.
Did you know it’s the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, the even that really kicked-started Nazi Germany’s pogrom of mass-extermination? Against the Jews, again gay people, against people with mental and physical disabilities, against any ethnic group those in power deemed “other”. Seventy-eight years later, and the US just elected a president who’s endorsed by white supremacists and nicknamed “Orange Hitler”. The name doesn’t seem so funny, in retrospect.
I still don’t know what to say.
Hillary Clinton spent her entire life trying to be better. She’s been embedded in the US political machine for decades, she works hard, she knows her job. By all accounts, she cares. About the work, about democracy, about government, and about people. She’s endured public humiliations and private triumphs and can still stand tall on stage and make speeches that move people to tears. And, last night, when the US had a choice between the most qualified woman in the land and a man who brags about committing sexual assault–who’s accused of committing it against minors–they elected the rapist to represent them as their leader. What do you think that tells women? What do you think that tells victims of sexual assault?
I don’t even know what to say.
Do you remember when DC ran the “President Luthor” story-line? And everyone had a bit of a laugh about it, because obviously an unstable, vicious, bad-orange-wig-wearing billionaire, whose ego exceeded his competence, with a long history of failed projects, just couldn’t come out of nowhere, outside of party politics, and expect to use money and brute force to become president, right? Ha ha! Ooh, save us, Superman! What silly fun!
Yeah, well. I don’t even know what to say.
“There are checks and balances!” other people know to say. “The president doesn’t really have that much power!” Except those checks and balances? They rely on separation of powers. That means having a legislature (Congress) independent of the executive (President), and and judiciary (Supreme Court) independent of the legislature. Except where does the executive come from? The same parties that stack the legislature. And who appoints the judiciary? I’ll give you one guess. Because, right now? Right now, it’s Republicans all the way down. SCOTUS is going to be on lock-down by hard-right extremists for the next generation. God only knows what will happen in Congress.
“But the Republican establishment hates Trump!” Yeah, they do. But you know what they hate more than Trump? Not being in power. And you know what Trump will do to stay in power now that he’s got it? Whatever he fucking has to. They don’t have to like each other to work together. And, yeah; maybe they’ll clash over foreign and economic policy. Maybe. But they’ll horse-trade that all out for civil rights, no problem. Reproductive rights, healthcare, immigration reform, marriage equality, religious freedom, and civil liberties will be the first to go. But not the last. You think Trump cares about the poor, the working class, the people who voted for him? You think he’s gonna bring jobs back to the heartland? Fuck you. I hope you choke on your red hat, the whole lot of you. You made your bed, this extremist theocratic hell-hole. Now you get to burn it in along with everyone else.
Maybe I do know what to say.
And what I can say is the system is broken, the whole damn lot of it. Clinton lost because she played it honest, tried to win on merit. But there’s no winning on merit. There’s winning on gerrymandering and disenfranchisement. On race war and wedge politics and well-poisoning. On closing voting booths and mass incarceration. This isn’t something that happened in one day; this has been engineered over a lifetime. It’s a rot that crept into every corner of the American political system, a rot no-one wants to see or smell or think about. Just plaster over with the tattered wallpaper of American exceptionalism and the paper tigers of the American left. Oh, you legalized medicinal weed? Bra-fucking-vo. Good fucking luck affording it without healthcare, asshole.
This is the real end of history, the dying days of the American empire. There’ll be some thrashing yet to come but a hundred years from now this’ll be history’s footnote. The Great Dream, slaughtered in the night by reactionary theocrats in collusion with mediocre whites rebelling against the notion that a minority might be better than them at something, anything, and that people might notice.
Meanwhile, the world will go on. America, I’m not so sure of.
Good luck out there, kids. You’ll need it.