This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Well, this Wednesday morning is dawning better than expected. The feared Republican wave in yesterday’s election hasn’t materialized, and while that party may yet take control of Congress, it is by no means assured.
But I started this post with the title in my head Monday evening after being part of an event that made me realize just how truly fucked we are here in this country.
I was aboard the boat I live on in the marina where we tie up and was chatting with a friend who was aboard his boat in the slip next door. A guy was departing the other boat beside mine after having worked on that boat. A lovely full moon was visible as it rose out over Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
My neighbor pointed out the moon to the guy who remarked that a lunar eclipse was to take place during the overnight hours and that it was the last such eclipse visible from this area until 2025. I knew that but was pleased to see that somebody else was aware of celestial events — that was one of the things I loved about Alaska: even the biggest redneck meathead knew when the solstice took place and was aware of the increase or decrease in sunlight each day (a very noticeable change that far north). To see similar awareness here in the populated Mid-Atlantic Region was a pleasant surprise.
Then the guy started in on politics, the following day being Election Day. He proceeded into a tirade about the Democrats and how they’d spoiled everything, how they’d ruined San Francisco (a city he knew well from having grown up in Monterey) and were at fault for pretty much everything else wrong with the country. He concluded his tirade by saying, with a straight face, that he could never, ever vote for a Democrat again because, and I quote, “they were more concerned with allowing trannies to follow a six-year-old girl into the bathroom than with anything else.” And he was serious.
I fell into a despair that evening, reasoning that if a guy as aware of the natural order of the moon and stars as this guy was could be so duped into believing such an obvious fallacy, then how the hell could you ever get through to him about, oh, I don’t know, the threat to our very republic and democracy as a whole posed by the currently insane Republican Party?
The answer is: you can’t. There’s no amount of facts or logic or reason that can get through a delusion that thick.
Monday evening was in stark contrast to the genuine joy I felt on that November Tuesday in 2008 when Barack Obama was declared the winner of that presidential election. The fact that hope and change — yes, the keywords straight off the campaign poster — might actually be possible induced a euphoria I’d never felt before when it came to politics. That Obama was stymied at every turn by an opposition party more interested in blocking anything from getting done rather than governing was the first bummer. The second, bigger bummer was when the reaction by white Americans against having had a Black man as a two-term president led to the ascension of a lying, grifting con man and the degradation of American politics, well, that drove my cynicism even higher than it had already been.
(And don’t come at me, you friends of mine who actually voted for that cheeto-faced buffoon, and say that it wasn’t racism that prompted your vote. That’s EXACTLY why he won and you know it. You can rationalize your dislike of Hillary Clinton as much as you want — hell, I didn’t care for her either — but there’s no way in hell any rational being votes for Tangerine Mussolini unless they’re voting based on skin color. The guy was and still is too dangerously unhinged, woefully ill-equipped and mind-blowingly narcissistic to ever be worthy of the job of president. Period. End of story.)
So while this was originally conceived as a lament about the state of American politics, the results from last night actually have me moderately hopeful. Again, still some other races whose outcomes are yet to be determined. And the larger problem that seemingly intelligent people will allow themselves to buy into moronic conspiracy theories is not going away anytime soon.
But the fact that maybe we’ve staved off the destruction of our nation for a little bit longer is a good thing. As is the demographic information coming in: that young voters (those 18-35) voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. We just might make it after all.
Update: And then I saw this blog post, and while it’s a little too pie-in-the-sky for me, it does a good job of summing up Tuesday’s real result(s).