Thoughts on the Election

I’ve had multiple panic attacks since Tuesday.

I had four on Tuesday alone. Starting when the election results started coming out. Too much “red” was showing up too early on the maps and I started getting scared. The 2000 Bush/Gore fiasco taught me to be very afraid when I saw Florida turn red and that’s not a lesson I’ve ever been able to forget.

Jesus…that was 20 years ago. I’m the same age now that I remember my DAD being when his friends threw him a surprise “over the hill” party in our house’s basement. Some of the party favors are still down there, I think.

I had FOUR panic attacks on Tuesday alone. Each time a state I “trusted” turned red, it set one off…and I knew I needed to stop watching, so I went to bed. And lying in bed, right in that stage where you don’t know if you’re awake or not, I had another one. And it was BAD. VERY bad. So bad I was clutching my chest, and I had the phone in my hand with 9-1-1 dialed, just waiting to hit “send” because I thought I was having a heart attack. I had the active thought, “All I have to do is press send and help will come.” And that phrase “help will come” registered with my higher brain and slowed my pulse…and I knew my heart was fine. It was just a VERY bad panic attack.

That is what Donald Trump does to people.

Well…that and grabbing their pussies. #NeverForget

I’ve calmed quite a bit since then. I was almost happy today, in fact. I have my team at work to thank for that. (I’m a manager of a small team, and they’re good folks.) In the time of COVID, we’ve all been working from home, but I’ve made it a point to have a weekly “meeting” via Google Meetings, where we’re all on a webcam, talking. Sometimes we have serious work stuff to talk about…but I’m sure to always dedicate 10 or more minutes to just bullshitting. We’re all (by the grace of God or something) like-minded politically, at least for now. So today we spent some time with our “election stories” and there were tears and there was anger and there was laughing. It was good to feel less alone. I didn’t realize I’d felt alone. We usually talk for 20-30 minutes. Today we went 50–30 of it was just enjoying talking to each other. I needed that. I thanked them for it multiple times…and told them I was taking off work on Monday because I need some fucking sleep.

Today, the election results look better. And if they don’t look better to you because you’re a Trumpeter… Get the fuck off my page, excommunicate yourself from my life, and wallow sad and alone in your hate. You have no place here. No have no place in society. You have no place in America. America is RUINED because of YOU and you are not going to be tolerated any more. Fuck off. Die alone. I mean it. You do not EXIST to me anymore.

Clear?

But…again…today the results look better. But they didn’t yesterday. And I feel no guarantee that they will tomorrow… I wrote about how I feel on my Facebook page. And maybe it serves me best to simply post it here too…here’s what I wrote:

I’m sure we’ve all been watching the numbers coming in. Personally I’ve had a laptop in my house that has ONLY had the electoral map on it for four days. And while it presently looks like I might be able to breathe one of the DEEPEST sighs of relief I’ve ever breathed–and by the way I’ve had multiple panic attacks since the election results started coming in on Tuesday…I must say, I was hoping to write a smug little victory post DAYS ago that I presently feel no desire to write. It was going to include things like “it’s going to feel good to call someone ‘President’ again, because I haven’t said that word in 4 years.” And it will, assuming this holds in the forthcoming challenges and whatnot… But…

If this is a victory, it is a pyrrhic one. There are some realities to face…

206,347,000 people are registered to vote in the USA. 143,300,000 voted in this election–which is a pretty high percentage compared to other elections. (It’s about 69%. Heh. Nice.) 73,600,000 voted for Biden–the most voters EVER recorded for one candidate…but hang on. 69,700,000 voted for Trump–I do believe that’s the SECOND PLACE (first to lose) most votes ever in the popular vote. 63,047,000 didn’t vote for either–and most of them didn’t vote at ALL.

A lot can be said about those numbers, but climbing on my soapbox, the important thing to notice is that for nearly 50% of voters in this election, racism, sexism, bigotry, corruption, hypocrisy, hate, and fraud were ONCE AGAIN not deal breakers, at the very least. Babies in cages didn’t sway them–because “Prolife” ends at delivery–neither did…well you know the list. Although there’s no way to know the actual percentage, it is very depressingly clear that for many those were actually viable reasons TO vote for Donald Trump. That’s a lot of you. Yes…sadly, I mean a lot of YOU. I want to be able to convince myself that I can limit that to just my casual Facebook acquaintances rather than believe it of some of those who I’ve called family and friends…but I can’t do that. I learned years ago that the lies one tells oneself are the most damning. I know why a lot of you felt you couldn’t vote for Biden…but I just can’t do the mental gymnastics required to figure out why you WOULD vote for Trump–you must be gold medalists.

On top of that, there’s the 63+ million who didn’t vote… Look, I know that for most of them they just said, “sure?” when asked if they wanted to register at their DMV when they were 16 and probably now view standing in line once every four years as an inconvenience that wouldn’t really make a difference…but this year, in THIS election, they had WEEKS to vote in most states. On their own time, some of them not even having to leave the house. And racism, sexism, bigotry, corruption, hypocrisy, hate, and fraud were not big enough motivators for them to even care enough to do THAT. Not even motivation enough to throw their vote away in the main race then vote on their local issues where they might make more of a difference. 31% of eligible voters simply didn’t care about who won, who lost, and who suffered for it. Again.

Also…this result is going to be fought and fought hard. I don’t think we’re actually going to know the results FOR SURE until someone is standing up at the swearing in ceremony. To me, even if this is a “win,” it feels fragile. It feels temporary. It’ll probably hold…but it doesn’t feel like it will. Like duct-tape on a broken bumper.

So… Game point…nobody wins.

TL:DR – You’ve got a couple years before another major election. Start giving a damn. And maybe give a damn about someone other than yourself. I’m tired of feeling alone amidst the 35.67% “majority” that sees it that way.

I’m happy with the result. I really am. But I’m very disturbed by the way we got there. I don’t see any way NOT to be.
And you can Google “pyrrhic” yourself. I’m not defining it for you.

…and that’s pretty much how I feel. It’s not good. None of it is good.

But even though it’s not good… Tonight, Joe Biden addressed the nation and my immediate reaction was, “Oh…I’d forgotten how it sounds when a President is speaking.”

I’m not joking when I say I haven’t used that word in 4 years. I really haven’t, unless I’m speaking about a PAST president like Obama, Clinton, or–God help me–even BUSH. (And longtime readers of the blog may recall what kind of trouble talking about Bush used to get me into back when I was still miserably in ministry.) Tonight I felt like I HEARD one. And I hope that sticks. It should. It might. It could.

Right?

There’s a lot to be worried about.

In 2016 after Tr*mp the Worthless won the election I was having a conversation with a friend and I jokingly said, “Well look at it this way, we’re both white, middle class men… WE’LL be fine… It’s just our friends and loved ones who will suffer.” And neither of us laughed…because we knew I’d accidentally said something true.

Well…I’m very, very, bone-achingly tired of watching the people I care about suffer. I’ve got friends who are brown-skinned who’ve been told to “go home” in the past four years–they were born in a Missouri suburb…they WERE home… I have gay friends who’ve heard “fa**ot” more in the last 4 years than in the previous 30 of their lives. I have a bisexual friend who got the shit kicked out of him for the first time in his life because he was flirting with the “wrong” person. I have a Black friend who served time in jail because she made a clerical error on a tax form–a simple mistake. I have a Jewish friend who opted to shave his curls and wear a bald haircut because “God cannot protect me, but a haircut can.” I have a Muslim friend who stopped covering her head because “you have no idea how hard it is to get spit out of an hijab.”

That’s just within the last FOUR YEARS–most within the last TWO. I don’t think any of the above people I referenced are under the age of 35, but they’ve all described those experiences to me as having happened to them for the FIRST TIME in their lives under the reign of Tr*mp. Under the Pr*ud B*ys. Under this bullshit we’ve all been living in… And that isn’t even accounting for what most of my Black friends are going through on a daily basis–which frankly isn’t going to change under Biden either, but maybe the active racists will feel less empowered. Christ, we can at least hope for THAT, right?

ALL of these problems are systemic. They were all RIGHT THERE…but the perpetrators might not have done it under Obama. And God (if any) willing they won’t under Joe. But under Tr*mp? They’ve felt empowered. They’ve felt free. They’ve felt “right.”

I hope every one of them burns in Hell.

And I hope Donald Tr*mp lives into his 100s…but from now until the day he dies, I hope he never produces a solid shit again. And I hope that when he’s in the triple digits, in a hospital bed with none of his children or 17 ex-wives gathered near him, it suddenly all dawns on him. He realizes the person he’s been. The person he IS. That he’s unloved and alone… He finally feels regret and remorse and thinks, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?” And with his last ounce of strength, he just barely whispers out the words, “God…please forgi…” and he doesn’t get the words all the way out before the EKG reads a flatline.

THAT is what I want for Donald Fucking Tr*mp. And I’m not sorry.

Because I’m tired of seeing only the GOOD people suffer. And I’m tired of jerking awake in a cold sweat, and dialing 9-1-1, wondering if I should hit “send” or not because of HIM. Fuck him. He doesn’t deserve my fear.

Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) was talking on his podcast about the last full conversation he had with The Amazing Randi, who recently passed away. Randi was one of Penn’s mentors–a father figure. When Randi was still lucid, Penn went to visit him and took him out on his own in his wheelchair…and they talked about Donald Tr*mp, of all things. They KNEW they were saying goodbye…and that’s one of the last two conversations they ever had. (For the record, Penn and Randi’s final conversation was 20 seconds long–Randi woke up briefly, saw Penn, and they both said “I love you.” But Penn seems to count the former as their “final” real conversation.) Through much emotion and thinly held back tears, on his podcast, Penn said, “What business did (Tr*mp) have in that conversation?”

Do you have an answer? Because I sure as fuck don’t. Donald Tr*mp didn’t deserve to be in Penn Jillette’s last conversation with James Randi. He doesn’t deserve to be ANYONE’S last thought. He deserves to be forgotten. But he won’t be…because we live from tragedy to tragedy and we never get over the true evils.

In my team meeting today–which again was GOOD for my soul–I said, “We’ve all got PTSD.” And nobody laughed. Because it wasn’t a joke. I can imagine myself in a therapist’s office describing the last four years…and I’M a white, middle class male! I’m lucky! I’m privileged! …but I’ll never get over it. And I’ll flinch every time I hear his fucking name.

Wanna know how bad it is? Okay…here you go…

Memo to President George W. Bush: Dear Sir. Mr. President. Please forgive me. I am sorry for every word I said about you. Don’t get me wrong…I think you laid the groundwork for what led us to this point…but you yourself? You were a harmless idiot, and I was wrong to hate you. I forgive you for your missteps after 9/11 and I hope you can forgive me for mine. God bless you and keep you, Mr. President.

THAT’S how bad it is now. I’m sorry that I hated George W. Bush.

But… Could it get good? Could it even get GREAT?

If the numbers hold–and I’m a pessimist, so I have my doubts–but IF they hold… We’ll have the guy who marched to the podium right next to America’s first Black President and speaking of Obamacare said, “This is a big fucking deal!” (confidence) running the show. We’ll have the guy who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and when he realized it was happening, his first action was to shake his head in disbelief and quietly mouth “no” because he didn’t think he deserved it at the helm (humility–also trustworthiness). We’ll have the guy who when Bill Clinton was in St. Louis on his way to the White House, my Dad had the honor of driving around town for a little while sitting in the FRONT seat of the nation’s highest office (that’s just neat). And folks, anybody who’s okay by my Dad deserves your trust–he rarely misjudges anybody.

It…could…be…good. Maybe great.

But we have a long way to go. Joe will HAVE to address the racial divide. He will HAVE to address the poor. He will HAVE to address the pandemic. He will HAVE to address the political divide. He will HAVE to address the just plain fact that except for America’s bigots, we’re all scared and exhausted.

And friends…for the first time in four years…I have FAITH. I have faith that he will. Assuming it holds… We elected a good man. In the weeks leading up to the election, a dead-inside pissant Tr*mp advisor (Mercedes Schlapp–you’ll notice her name is parenthetical and her description is NOT) compared Biden to “Mr. Rogers” thinking it was a derogatory thing to say…but folks…we (probably?) elected someone who is COMPARABLE TO MR. ROGERS. GOOD FOR US! I think we’ll be okay. I think Joe will get us there, or at least get us READY…

And maybe if he doesn’t quite get us there… Let’s not forget who our Vice-President will be. The first WOMAN to hold that office (bye-bye, glass ceiling!). And as a bonus, she is also Indian American and Black. Joe Biden has the privilege of having been the VP to the first Black President and the President alongside the first Black, female VP. Tell me that’s not fucking amazing… When Kamala runs in either 2028 or 2024 depending on Joe’s health and decisions, I’ll be glad to vote for her.

And I’m going to live the rest of my life fucking THRILLED that I never have to vote against a Tr*mp again. Unless one of his feckless kids gets a wild hair up their ass…but even if they do, Donny made it because people liked his TV show. Nobody actually knows what his kids even DO, including Don. I bet they’re not even actually in the will. They shouldn’t have a chance…but I don’t want to jinx it.

This has been a long post…it needed to be, I think… I hope to God (if any) that the numbers hold, that someone talks sense into Tr*mp (ha!) and he quietly concedes, and that we can all go back to when America wasn’t great but at least wasn’t infested. Wouldn’t it be nice to have just ONE conversation where he doesn’t come up? One conversation where you know that if that was the last time you talked to that loved one, at least nobody said the word “Tr*mp?” Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one DAY where your first thought upon waking up wasn’t “aww, fuck, has he tweeted yet?” Don’t you WANT that?

Folks…I NEED that. And it’s looking like we’ll have it in January…holy shit doesn’t that feel good?

Until then, wear your fucking masks. Stay the fuck home. And try to be good to each other.

I’ll blog again soon. I promise.

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Current Listening: Bruce Springsteen: “Letters to You” — His best album in AGES. Listen to my podcast for more on that.