The 2016 Shitshow Comes to a Blessed Close

(Author’s note: Upon review, this is crazily all over the place (no, I haven’t been drinking; I opted for abstinence in the face of potentially devastating news tonight) and it seemed a lot more coherent when I thought about it over the course of the day, but…oh well.)


One friend said it was “rude” when I posted this image to Facebook in 2012. Perhaps. But it’s still true.

I’ve had the urge to write a column on the 2016 election for many months now. At various times during this tragi-comedy that passes for our political process, the urge to open the window and scream, “I’m mad as hell! And I’m not going to take it anymore!” has been almost overwhelming.

Almost. Which is why I’ve been able to refrain. “Why bother?” I wondered. “I’m not going to change anyone’s mind in the United States in 2016. Everyone’s mind was made up on day one.” And in that case, why bother wasting my time writing down my thoughts on the situation.

And yet, here I am, doing just that on election day itself. Obviously, at this late, I DEFINITELY won’t change anyone’s mind. And to be honest, I don’t really want to. I just want to get this stuff off my chest and on record before the results are known, and if I can get through to some of my friends — no, not change their mind; just reach them so they’ll at least think about and discuss some of this stuff with an open mind — well, that will be icing on the cake. But mostly this is for me. So here goes…

No one who knows me has any doubt where I stand in the current election. And yes, I voted this morning, so that stance is now set in concrete. But let’s go open this diatribe with one assertion right here:
Anyone who votes for Donald Trump is guilty of treason because the man is an existential threat to our nation.

Whatever your opposition to Hillary Clinton, there’s no denying that the United States will survive her presidency and perhaps even thrive. With Trump’s hair-trigger ego in the White House, we can’t say that about the country — or, with him having the nuclear codes, the planet. Should that horrible day come to pass, your act of treason will rise to a crime against humanity.

Why are people so anti-Hillary? It boggles my mind that someone can have such a deep-rooted hatred for someone they don’t even know, especially someone who has spent her entire adult life in public service. You may not like that service — which I get because, you know, an emphasis on the rights of children, women and the poor is odious and reprehensible — but there’s no denying that she’s given more than you or I have to the betterment of this country.

Oh, that’s right: She did that so she could get rich via the Clinton Foundation. Right. Because she couldn’t have gotten a whole lot richer had she been in the private sector over those years.

And then there’s that whole tired trope about how Hillary lies. Please. Trump lies so much more and what’s worse, he lies right to your face. And you eat it up. Yes, Clinton lied about her email while secretary of state and that is regrettable. She also copped to it and apologized for it in a simple, declarative statement during the debates.

But if you’re all bent out of shape about Hillary lying, where’s your indignation about Trump lying? Virtually every independent analysis of everything Trump has said or tweeted has his lies outpacing Clinton’s by about 7-1. Trump lies to you — and you know he’s lying to you…and he knows you know he’s lying to you — and you accept what he says as fact. It happened countless times during the debates, countless times while campaigning, countless times will being interviewed and it continued to happen right up to the weekend before the election.

On the topic of Hillary’s emails: Where was your outrage when the Bush administration “lost” more than 20 million emails from a private server? Where was your indignation when both Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice used private servers for official business? Uh huh. Thought so.

Oh yeah? Well, Hillary killed four Americans in Benghazi! Really? And who controlled the Congress that denied her requests for more security for foreign embassies? Oh, that’s right. Another thing: When 224 people, including 12 Americans, died during attacks on American embassies in Africa in the 1998, no one was calling for the secretary of state’s head. So admit it: it’s only because it’s Clinton that you’re after her.

And if you’re all up in arms about tax-and-spend Democrats, why aren’t you pissed that Republicans spent $47 million of our dollars — that includes yours and mine — in a doomed-to-fail-before-it-started attempt to affix a scarlet letter on Bill Clinton? Why aren’t you pissed the Republicans spent more than $20 million investigating and reinvestigating Hillary on her emails — even AFTER the FBI had cleared her? Because it’s the Clintons and, well, fuck them. Am I right?

So if you’re willing to vote for Trump — at the expense of our country’s safety and strength — because you hate Bill Clinton so much that you want to give his wife the finger well then, that’s an act of treason.

Because there’s no question that on every level, Hillary Clinton is infinitely more qualified for the presidency than Donald Trump. To wit:
* Trump runs on his business expertise…yet he’s filed for bankruptcy multiple times and has stiffed contractors working for him. All of you friends who are small businesspeople supporting Trump: How would you like it if you did your job as contracted and got stiffed?
* Speaking of getting stiffed: Trump hasn’t paid income taxes in decades. Talk about a free ride. He gets government grants and contracts — and then doesn’t pay income tax. But you and I do. And yet you think he’s got your best interests in mind.
* Policy: The ONLY policy Trump enunciated during his campaign was building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. That’s it. Not one policy otherwise. What are you basing your vote on? Oh, yes: he’s on your side. Well, see the above points. I’ve posted this photo a few times on Facebook and it’s appropriate at this time. Trump has one person in mind and it ain’t you.

Okay, I’m tired of this rambling diatribe and if anyone is still reading I’m sure you are too. So let’s make it a bit more personal…

What’s been most distressing about this election process has been finding out some unsavory things about friends of mine. No, not that they support a buffoon like Trump. Rather, what their support of that buffoon has clearly demonstrated: rampant racism, sexism, xenophobia and a willful ignorance of fact and reality. Harsh? You didn’t see what they were posting and commenting.

I didn’t unfriend from Facebook anyone who posted pro-Trump propaganda. But I did unfollow a few. Namely:
* The friend who was posting the most blatantly sexist, anti-Clinton websites (which I won’t link to here because I am not contributing to their traffic). This friend’s mother, whom I adore, was all wound up in recent years about that Muslim president of ours and all he’s doing to tear down America — it seems my friend has followed his mother around the bend
* The friend who posted “news” that was in fact made-up bullshit by teens in Macedonia tweaking Trump fans for clicks to pad their wallets. When called on it, this friend said it didn’t matter; he wasn’t being played. This is the same friend who told me in 2004 that John Kerry shot himself in Vietnam so he could get those medals. Really
* Another friend whose unhinged comment on someone else’s pro-Hillary post had me wondering if he’d come off his meds. The vile, personal assertions about Clinton were the same old tired and disproven talking points we hear from Fox News all the time
* And a couple of others, including some 20somethings (and one 20something woman) which is a demographic (or two) I can’t believe would fall for Trump’s bullshit

So it was heartbreaking to find out that people I respected and consider friends turned out to be filled with hate. And several of them are self-avowed Christians — and yet they’re all-in for an adulterer who’s twice divorced and has no discernible morality or religion beyond Mammon.

And that’s going to be the legacy of this election, regardless of outcome: the divide in this country, even among friends, is only getting worse. The Republican party encouraged the tea-party bullshit and then couldn’t control it, so the underlying racism and sexism and xenophobia driving those outliers is now mainstream. And that’s my great fear: that even if Trump loses tonight, someone who isn’t as clumsy as he is but still espouses the same evil, fascist crap will come along in four or eight years and succeed where he failed.

Because here are a couple of other facts for you:
Fact: If the Republicans had put up anyone other than Trump against Hillary, they’d have been measuring for curtains in the White House by Labor Day.
Fact: If the Democrats had put up anyone other than Hillary against Trump, the race would have been over after the first debate.
The system is so broken that it’s only a matter of time before another disaster-in-the-making gets nominated. And that time, we may not have someone who, while unpleasant, isn’t so qualified for the job.

But telling the system “fuck you” by voting in someone so dangerous and obviously unqualified is tantamount to saying that the American experiment is over. And that’s heartbreaking because we’re still the first and best at what’s possible.

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