Peering around your blinds you watch as the mud encrusted pickup truck with the 18″ suspension lift and 40″ tires is doing celebratory donuts in your development’s cul-de-sac, dual Confederate flags flapping in the wind. Despite the intentionally loud exhaust you hear the empty cans of Bud Light hitting the ground as they are thrown from the windows, truck speeding off into the distance, occupants giving a 2016 version of the Rebel Yell.
You hope they don’t notice the Hillary: Maintain the Status Quo bumper sticker on your Volvo. You’re not thrilled these people are in your neighborhood but you know what they are celebrating. Moments ago you turned off MSNBC as they called the presidential election for Donald Trump. Maddow was in tears.
This cannot be happening. You picture yourself on NPR’s The Moth regaling the audience with the story of the time you had a fashionable bout of temporary insanity and thought Trump won the election. The laughter, coaxed out by your wit and pinot grigio would be so frequent that attendees will need to remove their eye glasses in order to wipe their tears. The frames of said glasses are thick enough to demonstrate the owners are hip but not too thick to be considered a hipster.
You know you won’t be able to sleep. It’s not the $27 frappuccinomaccograndelatte keeping you up; its soy is grown on land that was for formerly rainforest and you find it soothing. No, it’s the horror of a, you can hardly think it, a Pres… President… President Trump. You’ll be up all night wondering what the hell went wrong although you agree that making Oprah his VP was a shrewd move.
Hillary was up by 15 points in every poll. Every poll. She had endorsements from both sides of the aisle. Even Dick Cheney endorsed her, stating “You won’t find one foreign policy decision that we disagree on. And she was right, Iraq was a great business opportunity.”
It wasn’t Bill Clinton’s sorority house incident. Lena Dunham rushed to his defense explaining that when Hillary said to reach out to college students Bill innocently thought she meant literally.
It wasn’t that Hillary still refused to release her transcripts. Trump ‘released’ his but voters knew it was hardly fair. There were no speech transcripts for Trump. Apparently nobody previously thought anything he had said was worth recording.
The terrorist attack last month. That must be it. The worst October Surprise in political history. It didn’t help that it was committed by a recently arrived Libyan refugee via a grant from the Clinton Foundation. Or that the terrorist obtained a gun from an illegal Mexican immigrant who in turn obtained the gun from President Obama’s Operation Fast and Furious scheme. And it definitely didn’t help that the terrorist’s name was Osama bin Saddam Ghadaffi Ibrahim Salam Inshallah Salifist. Or as Trump calls him, “Osama ISIS.”
“Are you kidding me? We let in someone named Osama ISIS? Folks, I told you so. Bigly.” #OsamaISIS was the top trending Twitter tag.
And to make it more politically damaging, the attack occurred at an animal shelter and killed four puppies. Osama ISIS only targeted animals which helped him command news coverage for the weeks preceding the election. America is used to people being killed by guns. America is even used to White people being killed. But puppies? Not since Cecil the Lion was killed has a gun death invoked such outcry. CNN covered it nonstop:
Andersen Cooper: You’re a Hillary supporter. Does this attack matter? Will it impact the election?
Andersen Cooper: You’re a Trump supporter. Does this attack matter? Will it impact the election?
You feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future 2. Or 3. You’re not sure which one. But whatever movie had Biff in charge running everything. You can’t believe your country did this to you. Should you move? To where? Canada is out of the question. If you wanted to live in damn socialist country you would have voted for Bernie. Maybe Mexico. You don’t know any Hispanic people but you vacation yearly at Cabo San Lucas and find it pleasant. However, that option may be out. Mexican President Enrigue Nieto was quoted as saying they will build a wall to keep out insane Americans.
Dammit. You do at least take assurance that in your bedroom you have your newly purchased assault rifle. You have always been anti-gun. Strongly so. You were even anti-hunting and vegan for a couple of weeks in your life. Heck, in your 4th vacation home you altered the plans and only did the downstairs in bamboo flooring because you were worried about panda habitat.
You didn’t buy the gun because you thought Trump would be president. You thought there was no chance. No, you purchased it when you realized that somewhere between 30-45% of the country actually liked him. And yes there are the local police. And yes you have ADT Home Security. But still, you take comfort in the fact that if you are going to have to live under a President Trump, and going to have to live in a country that actually voted for him, that you at least have a gun. Who knows what these people will try to do next.
In your mind this is the Apocalypse. The unfathomable Trumpocalypse. Although you have never actually seen an episode, you now view the country as a large-scale zombie scene from the Walking Dead. A bunch of climate change denying racist anti-gay right-wing nut-job zombies.
Don’t they realize that the poorest counties and states in the US are all Republican? Have they forgotten how horrible the country was under Bush and how President Obama saved us? Why do they keep voting Republican? Why do they…..It’s hopeless. You can’t even get animated with your usual retorts. You are too shocked to even be angry anymore. You are going to read your rifle’s owner’s manual.
Damn Republicans. You hate them. If they were just not so ignorant the country would be better off.
You leave the medical center furious. You can’t wait for President Trump to be sworn in and repeal this damn Obamacare. The receptionist told you that you have not yet met your family’s $7,000 deductible. It’s November and it will again reset in January. Deductible? What the hell does that mean? You’ve been deducting $650 from your income every month to pay for the damn insurance to begin with. Jesus Christ. What the hell is the point of insurance if it is too expensive to use?
You used to have insurance through the plant but you were laid off when it moved to Mexico. Damn NAFTA. Thanks a lot Democrats.
You don’t get why if all the American jobs are going to Mexico all the Mexicans are coming here. You can’t wait for President Trump’s wall to be built. The damn liberal media mocked the wall idea. But hell, the damn Democrats voted to build a wall too but only made it 700 miles. The border is 2,000 miles. Only a Washington politician would build a 700 mile wall for a 2,000 long border.
And to top it off, the damn Lefties keep calling you racist. Damn liberal media. Hell, you heard that only White people are allowed to live in communist Vermont. And nobody talks about Obama’s White House fence. The White House is actually raising the height of its fence. If fences don’t work, why is Obummer making his bigger?
The White House has a fence and armed guards. What those damn Liberals don’t understand is that your house is more important to you than the White House. You’ll protect it anyway you damn please.
You do at least take assurance that in your bedroom you have your newly purchased assault rifle. It has joined your collection. You bought it just in case Billary won and tried to get rid of the 2nd Amendment. You’d probably have more guns if the damn big government Democrats didn’t keep taxing every cent you make.
You’re not even sure of why you have to keep paying Social Security taxes. Nobody in your family has ever lived past the age of 62. Those damn big government anti-gun high tax left-wing nut-jobs.
Too bad the animal shelter didn’t have any assault rifles. Stupid liberals. Damn Osama ISIS wouldn’t have had a chance and those puppies would still be alive.
You are glad Trump won. You barely even like the establishment Republicans. Obama obviously created ISIS and has destroyed the country, but you still remember that Bush got us in Iraq to begin with.
Damn Democrats. You hate them. If they were just not so ignorant the country would be better off.
And there you have it. A sardonic tale of two cities. The polarization of our political system. The polarization of our country. Either way you slice it, roughly half the country at any point thinks the country is being run by a fascist. The same fears that Trump gives the Left are the same fears that Clinton / Obama give, and have been giving, the Right. One man’s fascist is another man’s president.
Maybe it means we need more political parties. Republicans and Democrats in the center with the Tea Party and Progressives on the wings. Of course, each party would still feel they should be in that figurative center. Or, maybe the Libertarians had it right all along; keep the federal government small. Keep everything within the original scope of the Constitution, lessening the importance of a president. Governors, state legislatures and members of Congress would be more important than the president.
Trump vs. Clinton. Does it matter who wins? Either I’m crazy or either way, half the country will feel it loses. Either way, it will always be the best of times for half the country and the worst of times for the other.
Thank you for reading. Consider sharing – Nick Pepe