I’ve often found myself at a loss for what to write, what to say, in the wake of this presidential election.
There was so much to say during it. Which latest tweet might be Donald Trump’s “final straw?” Which primaries would be won by whom, and why, in each state? Who was this Bernie Sanders character coming up from the nowhere quiet of Vermont senator-dom? Why couldn’t any of these other Republican contenders take down Trump? Would Lindsey Graham actually agree to endorse his sworn enemy, Ted Cruz? Would the FBI investigation actually charge Secretary Clinton? Would my generation support her the way they did Obama?
How could the United States of America put forth the two least popular presidential candidates in history? Was it a cruel joke? An inside job? An unlikely but somehow successful international conspiracy?
But now, after Nov. 8, as evidence mounts that Trump will strive to be the sort of dictator our governmental system was built to prevent him from becoming, the only question I’m really left with is this:
Where is my country?
I mean, according to the online world of news outlets, Twitter, and Facebook, the “lovely country” that Gwen Ifill (a hero of journalism to me and countless others, whose presence is already deeply missed) worried about seems to be wholly gone, defeated by the raging voices of those who can tolerate no dissent.
There are open white nationalists giving the “heil” sign in Trump approval. Their leader tweets – for the world to see – and questions whether or not Jews are people. The man who gave these sick and evil ideas “a platform” – ideas that tore the globe apart during the 20th century – is now “Chief Strategist” to the president-elect.
And what do you see from many so-called “conservatives?” Deference to their great leader. But of course.
Now watch a group who regularly lambasted the detestable “mainstream media” for carrying Obama’s water now jump to defend their beloved god-king like the W hotel’s old motto: Whatever/Whenever. #TrumpTrain is gonna stand by her man.
There is no word, on Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly’s Twitter feed, about Steve Bannon. Though Laura Ingraham weighs in with her own ra-ra for the self-described “Leninist” who gave Breitbart over to the alt-right (read: white supremacists) and now sits at the tiny hand of Ingraham’s cheeto idol:
“It’s hard to overstate the insight and foresight” of a man who said he’d prefer his daughters didn’t attend school with Jewish kids, who are raised (in Bannon’s bigoted opinion) to be “whiny brats.” He also called liberal women “dykes.” What a winner!
There is not one word from these conservative “truth tellers” about white nationalists corrupting the Republican party. Instead, Ingraham, O’Reilly, Hannity – they all relish in Trump yesterday dressing down media executives, who are private citizens, so let me ask them this:
In what universe would you have praised President Obama, should he have called in Roger Ailes and ripped into the ‘ol windbag about the “unfair” coverage of Fox News?
The hypocrisy is so blatant, and so nauseating, I feel the need to cleanse my computer screen, having been lately forced to crawl their filth and report back.
And what about on the left? There’s just anger.
So. Much. Anger.
Talk to a progressive, and get ready to put in the earplugs. They’re screaming about everything, from climate change to student debt, and oddly enough, they get the loudest about some “offensive” things that aren’t… well, let’s just say they’re unlikely to be raging about the children dying daily in Aleppo, the water in Flint, the unconscionable death toll in Chicago, the perpetually failing school system, especially as it pertains to minority children…
Mark Lilla at the New York Times had his own Bernie-esque take on the liberal obsession with identity politics: “America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.” In other words, take those fights to the people who are responsible, but let the national issues be about things of national importance. It’s hard for working class families who face the threat of chronic unemployment, poor performing schools, and rampant drug epidemics to understand why a tiny portion of men or women wanting to use a different bathroom is the Most Important Issue.
But look, I get it. I feared Donald Trump would try to rule like a third-rate fascist throwback, and that appears to be exactly right. He’s a cult leader, and as such, nurses egomaniacal tendencies and a warped and terrifying view of himself in relation to others, as well as to democratic norms.
Republicans who are even occasionally thoughtful will likely rue the day they ever decided to give this blowhard ignoramus a chance.
Democrats who decided to stay home on Election Day may come to regret that choice just as much.
But for the Trump believers, their man can do no wrong. And if he does, they just deflect to shouting, “BUT UNDER OBAMA—”
It’s a nasty world online, and I fear that under Trump, both the physical world and the internet will grow ever coarser, crueler, more cordoned off into separate zones of tribalism.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
I know that. And I want to believe it.
Yet I’m still wondering now: Where is that “lovely country?” The one that celebrates the diversity here, from rural Arkansas to Manhattan? The one that is good-natured and open-minded, the one that wants to get along with one another? The one that believes in big, grand dreams, the dream of a real republic, the dream of racial equality, the dream of putting a man on the moon, the dream of curing cancer?
Where are all those Americans?
Where is my “lovely country?”
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