On the Impending Trumpocalypse

It’s not over but it looks over. The numbers must be wrong. I can’t keep my eyes open, I’m falling asleep in my chair. I have to be up at five for work.

I still have hope. Or I’m still in denial. I don’t know.

I close the browser on my desktop, call it up on my phone and trudge upstairs in the dark.

I set my phone on the nightstand, pull up the covers, and the tinny voices of analysts seep into my dreams. Not sleeping, not waking, at some point I reach over to check the numbers and I see he’s won.

I can’t fathom it.

At some point after one in the morning, I hear that disgusting voice I’ve come to loathe. He’s thanking the soulless supporters who’ve pounded their fist alongside him. My heart stops beating and I have a late night moment of mortality, the kind you have in the middle of the night when you wake and realize you will die, that it’s going to happen. Or in this case, that it might be your republic that just died.

I’ve never knelt for the national anthem. But I have stood by passive-aggressively, ballcap on my head, hands at my side, not happy about the militarism of the fly over, resenting the enforced nationalism and feeling surrounded yet not bold enough to call attention to myself. I’ve never felt proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, as if there were no other “free” countries on the planet, or places with better country-rock. Or developed countries with far less poverty, less for-profit health care and fewer elementary school kids killed by gunfire in a given week.

After 9/11, I said some unpopular things that alienated me. I suggested that perhaps our attackers attacked us because they felt attacked. Like we had already begun a war against them, one they couldn’t fight with policy or a military because they had no resources for such a fight. That perhaps they were suffering because of decisions we’d made as a nation that impacted their lives, their futures, their families, without our giving a good goddamn about it. Perhaps we were not innocent victims, I said.

That was not a popular opinion.

Nor was it popular when I suggested that we not take such pride in our response to a tragedy like 9/11. Not to take away from the valor of police men and women or firefighters or civilian responders, but I do wonder if their human response to save other humans necessarily made us great Americans, or America great, as we were so fond of saying at the time. Isn’t that to suggest that, say, Canadians or Mexicans wouldn’t have responded the same way, had they been attacked? Such a response is not uniquely American. It’s not even uniquely human. Ants do it, for chrissakes. When their mound is stepped on, they rebuild. No matter what country they’ve made their mound in.

I drive to work in the morning wondering how anyone can be doing something so mundane as driving to work in the morning, the morning that future history books would point to as the end of America’s bold experiment in constitutional democracy vested in checks and balances. The morning of it being twisted, corrupted, conned, and thrown away in exactly the way the wisest of our founders feared, by a duplicitous demagogue. Yet here we are, brake lights pumping in the pre-dawn, heading to work like nothing has changed or ended or been destroyed. The elitist in me wonders how many of us had a voice in choosing the CEOs of the companies we work for, and what a disaster it would be if we did.

It’s always been easy for me to cross my arms and look crossways at the process, and pretend to be above it, better than it, and pretend it doesn’t matter and that I don’t care. I’ve lived and worked overseas and seen better educated citizens there than here, talked to people who understand our electoral process better than many of us do, who understand and feel the impact of our policies more than some of us.

For a long time, I’ve pretended to have washed my hands of our process because it’s broken and corrupt, and that it runs on money and false fear and nationalism. And that may have been true at times. And at other times it might not have. But today it’s different. Today it’s real. Today the American people, or at least one out of two out of those of us who voted, have shown we are not what we thought we were, or claimed to be. Today we showed we are small and petty, fearful and hate-filled. And some of us are spinning away from that towards some notion of unity, and too few of us are acknowledging that we might have just handed a tyrant his throne, or wondering whether we can ever get it back.

I’ve always kind of prided myself on being cynical, but today, at what looks to me to be rock bottom, I’m fearful and sickened and sad. Today I can’t be cynical. I’m looking for hope. I’m hoping everything we’ve ever been taught about the power of our particular construct of government is true, and that we can survive this. And I’m wondering what I need to do to ensure that. And whether I can, and whether it will matter. I have to believe it will.

***

Addendum: Just did a quick google search to see if I’d coined a new term with Trumpocalypse. I really thought I had, and was definitely going to take credit for it. Turns out I didn’t, and I’m upset about that, too. Looks like we’re all spelling it the same way, so there’s that, at least.

33 thoughts on “On the Impending Trumpocalypse

  1. How are you right now? Food to eat? Computer to type on? Roof over your head? You’re probably better off than 90% of the worlds population. I am kind of tired of hearing the fear-mongers proclaiming gloom and doom. There’s a saying; What you fear you become. If you get enough people agreeing on FEAR then it will become your reality. Guaranteed. THEN you will be right. Right now all you have is an illusory wave of possibilities based on some rhetoric spewed in an election that you happened to not like. Just talk. You’ve discounted over 200 years of history building the greatest country in the world. Have faith, trust in that. You think this system is so fragile?
    Here’s a question; If what you and millions of others and the press FEAR, comes true then who created that? What you fear, you become. What you focus on, grows stronger. Ooops..I said too much here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No worries, you did not say too much. I appreciate the feedback, and I get your point about allowing fear to feed on itself, which it certainly can. And yes, I’m doing fine with food, computer, and roof. Those aren’t the things I’m concerned about, but thanks for stopping by and speaking up.

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  2. When 9/11 happened, we lived in a working class town close enough to NYC that we could walk to the top of our hill and see the smoking skyline. Everyone on our street brought out their flags that week and even the paper ran an edition with one you could cut out and I guess tape to your window or car or dog. We did not have a flag to fly and did not want one and it reminded me of that itchy, passive-aggressive feeling I too experienced at ball games, mostly. We’re not all alike, which is what’s causing this visceral reaction unlike any election in US history. We’re not all alike, thank god.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The house we bought has a flag-stick-holder thingy attached to the brick by the front door. I keep wanting to take it down but then I thought one day the Rangers might make it back to the World Series and I might want it then.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Let your freak flag fly. We too moved into a house with a flag holder thingy and currently fly an American flag…there was a stupid amount of hand wringing over that, but we put the first one up along with some Obama and local Dem signs with the idea to take the flag back. (It made sense to us at the time.)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is the feeling over half the voting electorate has, Walt. I’m waiting for the fist that has been launched into my gut to be extracted. The thing I can’t get over is how we rewarded a candidate who had based his entire campaign on fear, hate and misogyny, with not an ounce of public service experience and terrible, appalling business practices and failures. The American public voted for a grenade. And now the rest of us who didn’t vote for him must live amongst the rubble. It is disheartening to say the least.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Voted for a grenade, indeed. I agree with you entirely. What kills me is he could have been stopped, a number of times. Hell, he could still be stopped, but it’s not going to happen. This is what the founders feared, and they put in place the mechanisms to stop it. They didn’t count on us chucking their system.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There are millions who share your extreme disappointment and disillusionment, including myself. If the country goes down in flames, it will be because of the choices made last Tuesday, not because we dread events which can no longer be prevented, as someone ^ mentioned.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah. There’s a difference between, say, an irrational fear of spontaneous human combustion as opposed to a scientific certainty regarding what happens when chemicals are combined in a certain way. The lab is going to blow.

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    • He burned through three campaign managers, and each one became more and more like him. How many cabinet members will he churn through in his first 90 days? Don’t like my socks? You’re fired! He’s probably installing the little Dr. Evil trap doors under their chairs right now. Look at him wrong, and it’s down the chute.

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  5. Glad it saw the light of day, your thoughts on this as you say. Similarly, I had to capture that odd feeling in the car driving in, when everything’s the same (but so not). They were talking about it on the radio too, as a common thing for people going through the shock of a lost loved one (in this case, they were using the David Bowie and Jerry Garcia examples). Ha, kind of petty by comparison — or is it?
    I like how you share though how this might have changed you; I think that’s stirring and hope for some strong voices, as my wife predicts, and I’m proud of good ol’ Portland. Thought about driving down there even.
    Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good way to think about it, similar to the shock of a lost loved one. That’s pretty much exactly how I feel. I was gassing up today, looking at people just going about their business, buying chips and cokes and shit, and I didn’t understand it. On the positive side, I myself have not seen one blip of anger or confrontation between people of different opinions at any point. No hostility or signs of any. But I feel like I’m walking around in a state of shock.

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  6. Bravo, WW, and I second your thoughts. As blithe as some have been these last few days (“Just listen to the other side — hear their story. We need to come together.”), we all know that the heinous Republican agenda is now going to fly through congress like corn through the colon, and inside a year this place is going to be a lot different. That might not be literally fear-worthy, but it’s going to take this country in a direction half of us don’t want to go.

    As for the comment above — “How are you right now? Food to eat?” — that’s the kind of attitude that scares me. If it’s all good with you, then don’t pay any attention to what’s going on beyond your cul de sac. Immigrants, Muslims, blacks, gay people … let ’em fight their own battles. Oy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah. The food on my table, etc, is not my concern. Nor is the Republican agenda. It’s Trump himself, and his desire for power, vengeance, vindication, and his willingness to ignore or discard process, fact, law, things like that. I’m not a huge fan of Republicans, but I do hope that they can get a grip on him and reign him in. I don’t think they can, or they would have already. That’s where my fear is coming from. A beast unleashed with no one to check him.

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  7. I was really looking forward to using ComTrumpence. Looks like I won’t get my chance. This one hurts. Badly. As a white woman, I feel like it was other white women who threw the rest of us under the bus. I expected it from the white male (not all…but most, the numbers show). But fuck. White women. I grieved for a full day. But my grief shattered into a rage that is almost all consuming. Only time will tell if it eventually fully loads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look at women voting for Trump like I look at some of those pictures of never before photographed deep sea creatures with odd features, gigantor eyeballs and glowing flesh. I look, and I think, ‘I don’t understand how they even exist.’

      Liked by 1 person

      • Even worse? I DO understand how they exist. They are just as terrified at the idea of a woman in power because they feel it threatens their narrative. It doesn’t. It shouldn’t. But the casual misogyny and legal brutality of the GOP appeals to them. It makes them feel higher than someone else on the pecking order. It’s going to be a long time before I forgive them. If ever.

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      • Well, in my work I’ve managed a lot of men and a lot of women, and I’ve also had a lot of bosses who were men and a lot who were women, and it seems like gender just shouldn’t freaking matter anymore. I really thought we were past all that, and I really thought we were going to see our first woman in the office of President. That would have been something, to look at that long line of head shots of American Presidents, and get to number 44, the first black one, and then see number 45 come right up next as the first woman. But now 45 looks a lot like all the rest, and he is also the first billionaire white supremacist traveling snake oil salesman (who’s also been on the cover on Playboy, starred in a reality show, and seen Miss Universe contestants standing naked in their dressing rooms) to ever disgrace the office.

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  8. I don’t know that much about the US politics system, except that it’s more or less a two party set up.
    Is it true that when someone is made POTUS any businesses they have are supported financially by The People until they leave the post, or is that just a rumour?
    Do the prosecution cases that have been put on hold during the election now go ahead?
    I think there may be some comfort in knowing that the Trumpinator might get very bored with the slow process of trying to get changes through (unless the senate is also mainly Rep-heavy).
    He looked as surprised as anyone that he actually won. He may wake up thinking of his legacy in History and think ‘what do I want to be remembered for in 200 years? Will I get my face on Mount Rushmore? His ego make take over and move him down a moderate line (with a few hiccups). That is my hope. We won’t know until he starts ‘doing’ things.
    My main worry is that he will be who he seems and he won’t be the only Trump president – after all he has several sons that may succeed him! If he starts wearing emperor purple, make sure you have enough gas to get to the border! :0)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is my worry too, Kate. That he may be who he seems to be. Many people who voted for him seem to think he was just saying what he needed to say to get elected, or maybe even saying it so he would not get elected, maybe keep sitting on his golden toilet, tweeting all day. Either way, I wonder why anyone would cast a vote for that. It’s the stupidest thing ever said. I’m ashamed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The Democrats failed to realize how much desperation there is out there. They wrote it off as irrational racism. But folks are hurting. They don’t have jobs and they’re willing to try just about anything. I think it’s noteworthy that many of Trumps supporters don’t actually believe most of what he says. They’re willing to try something different just because the status quo wasn’t working for them and hasn’t worked in a long time. But I think they’re going to eat their words. They wanted change. They’re going to get it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. It’s going to be a real shit-storm of change. Get out your umbrellas and boots. And I think the right is really pissed off about how entrenched the left has become in the media and academia. They’ve have enough of being muzzled and finally feel free to go hog-wild in the other direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “I suggested that perhaps our attackers attacked us because they felt attacked.” There is an immense feeling of relief here (Nairobi). I don’t know if relief is the right word. A feeling that America has shown itself to be what it truly is and now we can shed ourselves of their control, their hegemony, and bullshit. And a more insidious feeling, maybe now they will know what it is to have a US-sponsored dictatorship fucking with your life.
    I think that if the worst is to happen, the tanks will roll over us first. I was near catatonic on Wednesday morning. Because if Trump likes Putin, he will love my almost ICC convict president.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is he a super-powerful, very rich almost ICC convict president? If so, he and Trump could be buddy-buddy. One wrong word, or glance, though, could be very bad news when dealing with Trump. The good news is, he probably couldn’t find Nairobi on a map.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great column.Agree on Trump and the idea that American Exceptionalism is essentially us claiming to be infalliable while the rest of the world is pathological. It’s amazing.

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