Could this really be happening again?

First the anxious checking and re-checking of news and opinion pieces, looking for some sign of certainty amid the noise. Going to bed, content that in the end reason would prevail. Waking to a text message telling me that the world had changed for the worse while I slept. And finally the shock, the disbelief, the creeping dread.

Once again,  a majority of voters has pushed their country down a patently absurd course. Once again, everyone will be worse for it. And once again, the suffering will be nowhere near equal, as the oppressed and the marginalized are punished for the audacity of existing, and of refusing to do so in silence.

Brexit was the rattle of the window-panes and the first, distant howling of the wind; now the gale has arrived, and the rafters are coming down around us to rapturous applause.

Admittedly, Trump’s win wasn’t a total shock. I have been anxious these last few months, mindful of the way he consistently out-performed all expectations. And his message, however heinous, is an undeniably effective one. Throughout the campaign, Trump has been the one setting the tone and forcing others to react to him; even Hillary Clinton’s slogan, “Stronger Together”, was a clear repudiation of her opponent’s decisive rhetoric. In hindsight, the outcome doesn’t seem quite so unexpected.

But it’s not just Trump. It’s Nigel Farage. It’s Marine Le Pen. It’s David Duke and Vladimir Putin and the alt-right and Europe’s sickening reaction to the Syrian refugee crisis. It’s fear of the past repeating itself. Fear of dictatorship and world war.

Does that seem paranoid and melodramatic? Why?

These things have happened before, many times in many places. There’s nothing about this time or this place that’s special, nothing that makes our current world invincible. People of my generation and in my sphere of experience have lived in an unusually long period of relative calm; I can’t help but wonder if that time of peace is coming to an end.

But let’s put that aside. The world isn’t ending right now. All that’s happened is that the most powerful and influential country on the planet will soon be led by a man who is either a raging, putrid bigot or fully willing to court raging, putrid bigots in a grab for power. Oh, and there are a lot of raging, putrid bigots. A whole lot. The overwhelming majority of them look just like me, and come from the same background and broad experience as I do, and absolutely reap the same ingrained privilege that I have my entire life.

We’re not the ones who are going to truly suffer if the lamps go out again. Sure, it will be bad for everyone. But if we’re lucky, people like me and people like Trump will be allowed to come out the other side in more or less one piece. There will be no such mercy given to the people who aren’t like me and who aren’t like Trump.

If, some day soon, those people look at the juddering, unstable mess that we’ve built on their backs and decide that the only sensible solution is to burn the whole thing down before it can collapse and crush them, then I will quite happily sit and twiddle my thumbs while the lighter fluid and dry straw gets passed around.

Because I really think that’s why this happened. No, it wasn’t fucking economic anxiety, but it also wasn’t because voters are stupid or because Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination or whatever self-serving nonsense white liberals are telling ourselves right now. It’s because people like me realized that letting Those Other People get a shred of dignity and freedom would involve some tiny sacrifice on our part, and that realization fucking terrified us. And we responded to fear, as we have so often, with anger. We don’t deserve to be angry, but maybe we deserve to be afraid.

You were probably hoping for something a bit more positive toward the end of this– maybe something about unity or action or whatever– so here’s the closest thing I can muster: if history has taught us anything, it’s that our societies and our cultures sleepwalk into darkness. The road to hell isn’t paved with good intentions; it’s paved with we-didn’t-know and who-could-have-guessed and we-never-saw-this-coming.

See it coming. Know what’s happening. Watch for the signs. It’s not too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “

  1. plantpaladin

    I think the primary reason for Trumps victory is all the stuff that has been allowed to pile up. DNC handling Sanders, Clinton and her Emails and most of all the drip down economy. where the wages of the people at the bottom is being pushed to the bottom and the rich get richer.

    Micheal Moore have done a lot of editing the facts to fit his agenda in his movies but I think he nails it on why white working people voted Trump. I predict a scenario where those white working people realise that Trump aint their savior. From what I’ve gathered it’s the same old shitty trickle down economy plan.

    Reply
  2. reveen

    Well, one of the biggest problems was that a tone of democrat leaning voters straight up didn’t fucking vote, and as much as it makes me seem like a dumb piece of shit for saying it, it’s the mainstream media’s fault. The coverage of the election, and really the atmosphere of the whole thing put forth this narrative that Trump was some crazy fluke and Clinton would win by a landslide, so people got complacent and didn’t bother to turn up to the booth so sure they were that everything would be fine.

    And as much as alt-right fucks try to claim that “if the SJW hadn’t been so mean to us this wouldn’t have happened!” the opposite is true. The Clinton campaign and the media went out of their way to either play off the rampant bigotry as a personal failing of Trump or the butt of a joke, while they should have been using that to galvanize the minority vote.

    This entire thing kind of proves the right both right and wrong at the same time. They were wrong that the left is some insidious entity infecting every strata of society, and they were right that the left was in a weak enough position to be blown over by the right wing mob. We need to do better and become the far reaching academic conspiracy movement these fuckers imagine we are.

    Reply
  3. AaronAO (@AaronAO)

    I tried submitting a couple times and my comments are working, has anyone else had this problem?

    Trump didn’t win the popular vote. The last I’ve seen is that Hillary was up 200,000 votes.

    The problem with the Economic Anxiety vs. Racism debate is that many of the people involved are trying to come up with THE one reason Trump’s supporters voted for him. But in America White economic anxiety is tied up in race. China owns all our debt. Jobs are sent to China and Mexico. Immigrants will take the jobs that aren’t outsourced whether it’s an Indian doctor or a Mexican farm worker. No one talks about the decline of unions or automation. Instead POC get blamed for White economic woes.

    Reply
  4. AaronAO (@AaronAO)

    I just submitted a comment and it didn’t show up. Has this been happening to others?

    Trump didn’t win the popular vote. The last I’ve seen is that Hillary was up 200,000 votes.

    The problem with the Economic Anxiety vs. Racism debate is that many of the people involved are trying to come up with THE one reason Trump’s supporters voted for him. But in America White economic anxiety is tied up in race. China owns all our debt. Jobs are sent to China and Mexico. Immigrants will take the jobs that aren’t outsourced whether it’s an Indian doctor or a Mexican farm worker. No one talks about the decline of unions or automation. Instead POC get blamed for White economic woes.

    Reply
  5. Signatus

    For the past several months I’ve been feeling more and more emotionally drained, to the point all fight is gone from me. I’ve tried fighting for women, I’ve tried fighting for the needed and for the ecosystem, and each and every single time I’ve been portrayed as a radical extremist for pointing out things like, hey, we’re animals dude and if we destroy the ecosystem that’s bad news for us.

    Well, congratulations USA. You’ve got what you wanted, a mysogynist, racist, climate change denyalist that is saying the things you wanted to hear just so you can feel more comfortable. I hope you enjoy breathing coins and eating bills, because that’s what will happen if you continue through that path.

    Sorry, I’m not happy. If the people want to burn the world, then for goodness sake, burn the fucking world.

    Reply
  6. AaronAO (@AaronAO)

    Trump didn’t even win the popular vote, the last I’d seen Hillary had over 200,000 more votes than Trump.

    Regarding the Economic Anxiety vs. Racism debate I think you can’t meaningfully separate the two since so much of White America’s fears about economic woes are tied up in race. China owns our debt. All our jobs are shipped overseas to China or moved to Mexico. Immigrants come to steal the jobs that can’t be moved abroad, whether it’s an Indian doctor or Mexican farm worker. The discourse can’t get away from race. Few people talk about automation and the decline of unions. Instead POC get blamed for it all.

    Reply

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