…in point of fact, I don’t see the point much in writing it. But, faced with the ugly, demoralizing reality of Donald Trump being chosen by tens of millions of Americans as their new president, I simply do not know what else to do. I’m a writer, so here’s where I go. I write things down to work them out, to exorcise them. Shit, just for something to do.
The thing is, I’m not much of a writer at the moment. At the moment, I have met three deadlines today, the Wednesday after Election Day, without feeling much of anything. I feel things when I write, at least some satisfaction at doing it well (even if the task doesn’t move me), or frustration at not conveying what I feel properly. I’m scattered, I’m dazed, and I’m hurt and scared. I’m exhausted. I’m heartbroken. I’m rambling. There’s no point in trying to organize all the rest of this cogently. It’s all spillage for the time being. You probably don’t need to read it, but I need, somehow, to write it.
—Donald Trump is not going to be one of those bad presidents I sort of get worn down by and used to being awful. (See: Bush, George W.) He is someone who was elected by appealing to the worst in America. Meaning the worst in white people, overwhelmingly and brutally. He mocked and demonized women, black people, Mexicans, Muslims, people with disabilities, the press, the military, fire marshals, gay people, transgender people, people (women) he finds physically unappealing, Jews, President Obama, his political opponents (almost all of whom were tagged with insulting/demeaning nicknames), the political process, and I know I’m forgetting some. He told his overwhelmingly white base that he was going to stem the tide of diversity and respect that he claimed were undermining America, his “make America great again” slogan a direct appeal to those wishing to roll back any kind of civil rights protections or racial progress. Donald Trump offered no concrete policies other than this childishly hateful bullshit—and a certain receptive element of white America ate that shit up.
—For his efforts, Trump was rewarded with even more boorish and insulting crowds who brayed at his lame, insulting jokes, ate up his message that white Americans were the ones being marginalized in American society, and incessantly seized on his provocations to brutal effect, intimidating protesters, abusing the press there to provide proof of his and their ugliness, and sported junior high school level “funny” Trump merch calling opponent Hillary Clinton sexist and derogatory terms, white power slogans, and Confederate flags, among other things. Can’t choose your friends, I suppose, except Trump cultivated his friends—and then turned them loose. Any sense that this person would call for civility or shut down the racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, all-around awfulness—even once—was a joke. Trump knew what he was doing, and knew what he needed. He hyped up hate for personal gain, and engaged in infantile “plausible deniability” about the things he said. Eventually, he didn’t need to pretend, but did anyway, claiming that the press, by accurately recording his words, were twisting them.
—I wrote some articles about Trump when he hosted Saturday Night Live back in November of 2015. The morning after the first went up, I woke to more than 300 tweets from Trump supporters. Every other one (I’m being generous with the percentages) was variously racist, anti-Semitic (I’m not Jewish, but that’s their #1 target against white-looking writers), personal attacks, and physical threats. I still have the folder (labeled “Trump People” on my laptop, thinking some would prove useful someday, somehow). I was shocked—I learned not to be. As Trump’s campaign went on, I saw how other writers (and God forbid if you were Jewish, or a woman, of black, or gay, or anything but white) routinely fielded dozens of these attacks a day. I responded to some before seeing that there’s a brutally childish willful ignorance involved. Feigning affront that Trump’s racist comments (then confined mainly to Mexicans and Muslims as I recall) were being called racist. Demanding proof, and then deriding the easily-Googled proof I showed them, coupled with more abuse, more threats. I went on a blocking spree eventually—300 the first day, 150 the next and so on, until they dwindled. I still see some other writer dealing with a no-doubt horrific tweet only to see they’re dealing with someone I blocked at some point in the past. It’s an occupational hazard now. A weary price for being a writer, for expressing opinion. Even just reviewing a damned TV show. Again, I’m a straight white guy—I get the merest taste of this foulness. Others have it far worse, and far more incessantly. But it happens every day.
—Trump has released no policies that aren’t childishly simplistic (in deference to what he knows will appeal to his base), and even those are sparse as hell. Mexico is, according to Trump, sending nothing but rapists to emigrate to America? BUILD BIG GAME OF THRONES WALL! The complex issue of international extremism and terrorism? BAN ALL MUSLIMS! He is possessed of no convictions, because his only cause is himself and his ego and glory. He says things, then claims he never said them, even when proof is plentiful and readily available. His fans don’t care. Neither they nor he can be argued with, so committed as they are to maintaining their collective immunity to reason or facts. It’s like arguing with a stubborn and dim child—”No I never said that” is the only argument necessary. Truth is nothing. Trump claims there are thousands of people turned away from an overflow rally when cameras show the venue a quarter empty? Fuck you—the press is crooked! Trump claims never to have met Russian dictator/role model Putin when he’s tweeted about having done so, something everyone can just look up? Fuck you. No followup. Even now, when Trump’s victory hinges of the electoral college, his tweet whining about how the electoral college system made “a laughingstock of our nation” when it looked like Mitt Romney was going to win it, but lose the popular? Fuck you, again. Facts are what they say they are. Braying, bullying obstinance.
—After being elected—Jesus fucking Christ, was it only yesterday?—reported instances of hate crimes, hateful messages, and actual physical assaults on anyone outside of Trump’s narrow, cruel concept of “a great America that was” are everywhere. Trumpies emboldened by his narrow victory (in the electoral college, but not the popular vote, one adds) think that now they can express their previously veiled bigotry with impunity. Again, no concept of shutting this shit down will come from Trump. Why would it? These people got him where he is.
—On a personal level, I’m going to wind up at the center of this sort of thing. I spent a frightened, uncomprehending childhood and adolescence not understanding why bullies were they way they were. I was bullied until I decided I would not be any more. Then I wasn’t. I’m a big fucker, so I’m rarely the primary target of bullies (who always prefer weaker-looking targets, and only when they think they can get away with it). But I don’t stay quiet. I step in. I’m going to be put in a situation, and soon, I imagine, when some Trump-emboldened dickbag starts trying to assert his assholery on someone in my hearing, I will do so again. Maybe there’ll be a physical confrontation. I won’t hit someone first, but won’t back down—I just constitutionally bridle at the concept now. So, what? Police, maybe. An ambulance. I don’t know. Inside, I’m still the overly emotional kid who gets so wound up that tears flood his eyes, that is left flooded with adrenaline and anger. I’m no good under pressure like that. I stammer, I clench my teeth and glare. Either it (meaning the bully) will back down, trailing insults as he slinks away, of there’ll be something else. I hate it. I hate the idea. It filled me with anxiety about even going outside today, anticipating the inevitable is going to come. I know other people have it so much worse. But I’m still the one who has to live inside my head, and this is my thing, so I’m stuck with it.
—Trump was endorsed by the Klan. And he never repudiated them. Not one single major newspaper, not one living ex-president—just the Klan. And he won’t say he doesn’t want their support. I simply cannot fathom a mind, a soul like that. Maybe he’ll offer one now that he has what he wants. But I don’t imagine he will.
—He will not be my president. There will be no wearing down or smoothing out of the anger and disgust I have for this man and what he has done, and threatens to do. His ties to Russia are deeply suspect, his influence over the Supreme Court and public policy, his history of sexual harassment (at best) and probable actual sexual assault, his long trail of fraudulent and failed business ventures and deals (he’s going on trial for racketeering THIS MONTH). This person is a conman, a pig, and a betrayal of and threat to the fragile faith I still (dammit) have in this country’s ability to do, sometimes, the right damned thing. I will fight (with words, with my meager donations, with direct action) every step of this person’s path, because it’s a horrible, shitty path. I’m not alone. Right now, hundreds of thousands of people—Americans, in all their diverse glory—are marching on Trump’s vulgar towers and many other places all over the country tonight. They’re getting arrested. They’re getting tear gassed. Hopefully, they won’t think that’s all they have to do, but we’ll see how the grassroots organizing goes. But now, I’m so tired. I’ve been shattered since last night, not sleeping, waking up in fitful sweats. I managed three deadlines today, typing like a zombie. Like I’m doing now. I’m the shattered thing Trumpies imagine I am as they mock and sneer at the “losers” (one of Trump’s favorite insults) hurt to their souls by what we have seen happen in this country. I imagine I’ll pull up somehow, sooner or later. Now, all I do is scroll Twitter and Facebook and other sites, numbly. Hoping for some—something. This man is a disgrace, an affront to anything the American idea could be. Anything good.
—I am tired. I do not know what to do. So I write this. You probably don’t need to read it.