I awoke on November 9, 2016 after a fitful sleep. This should be of no surprise to anyone; after all, for the past eighteen months I had been told that a Trump presidential electoral victory would signify the apocalypse. For my part, as a matter of self-preservation, I turned to my partner, who turned to me, and we took stock of ourselves, of our situation. The day lives on, so we prepped the kids for school, and gave them, as best as we could at 7 am, an explanation of the electoral results. We skipped discussing significance, or consequence. We only told them that adults would be on edge, and therefore they should be a little more mindful of their teachers, good-hearted people I assume, given their profession, but humans nonetheless, prone by design to outbursts despite otherwise benign provocations by otherwise innocent children. Our world shrank, albeit temporarily, in scale so that the concerns and bedlam of the outer world, out there, stayed put, and did not encroach or even gaze upon our front door. The kids wanted to know who won, and we told them, and so off they went, leaving my partner and I free to collude.
I have absolutely no hope for you, but I do not bring the four horsemen with me either; I figure, given the climate, these are reasonable terms under which we, you and I, can converse. Among those who are inclined to nurse a defeat in their chests, and also those among the victors whom, in their immediate foray into ecstasy, albeit temporarily so, can hardly be bothered to hear from anyone, there is, if you’ll allow me, a collective desire for a pause: Donald Trump looks to be a man beleaguered and defeated in victory as realities settle into the bones, as the summer rallies simmer to quaint, distant memories, no more worthwhile than trashed lawn signage, and the congealed heart, encased in hamburger fat, flexes and contorts within the brittle sternum of a seventy-year-old man who has just completed the most taxing task of his life—winning the American Presidential Election—and who must now do more. That we are all on the verge of death by strokes seems to me a natural reaction, given our identity as Americans, but I am not one to speak on what the country wants, or what the country is, or should be, in any corporeal or ethereal sense. Real talk, I thought the country wanted a progressive and liberal agenda; the funny thing about elections is that people have to vote, and all choices have consequences, even choosing not to choose, which is still a choice one is free to make, and I say, truly, it is important to acknowledge now those who did not vote, so we—who did vote—can ignore those who did not when matters regarding the political direction of this country are raised. That you did not vote does not mean you still have a vote to cast, and besides, the polling places have closed, the folded chairs have been folded and stacked, the stale donuts discarded, the cold coffee poured away, and all the requisite fucks, they too have been stored in plastic containers and shoved away, for no one, no participant in the American electorate, winner or loser, the privileged or the terrified, which is to say, the duped, on both sides, wants to hear from someone who elected to stay home.
I don’t mean to be divisive, but that’s where we are now and while I maintain a generally cheery outlook in regards to a future inclusive society, the voters have spoken, though the message remains unclear. True, immigrants and people of color should be concerned, should, as a matter of self-preservation, keep their eyes open and hands clenched, but only those who thought, once upon a time, that the streets were safe are shellacked by the reality that the streets aren’t in fact safe at all, and never were. Brown people are currently under siege by rowdy, deceived white people emboldened to do the things they already do at NFL games, or in safe company; these are not new enemies to you if you know what lurks in the shadows, if, I hope, you consider the shadows themselves, and consider their own meaning within what appears to be a massive machine running out of gas. American democracy is not dead, and neither is the Republic, but those who the Republic favor, those who are still cradled by American democracy—the question of who—drives the current fervor. I would say, this world is unrecognizable largely because the superpower has proven itself to the rest of the world, at long last and once and for all, to be a nation of lunatics. That the racists, or anti-abortion activists, or gun lobbyists, or evangelicals, or monied baby boomers, finally defrocked of their illusory idealism, should have no reasonable idea whether or not their man is an actual racist, or is anti-abortion, or a gun supporter, or a Christian, or even a taxpayer, should tell you all you need to know about the next four years. Meanwhile, the other nations will, I suspect, and as a matter of self-preservation, find their ways, soon, to detangle themselves from us—economically, militarily—and it is at that point, I think, one should wonder if the apocalypse is nigh, because it will be, but until then, we live in full.