There’s been no escaping the post-election freakout. I’ve tried. But everyone’s talking about it…seemingly more than usual.
The four stages of jilted liberal grief are just so predictable though.
First, there’s the knee-jerk hate-posting. This includes the threats to leave the country, the outrage at the results, and all that #notmypresident shit followed by rationalizing the popular vote and calling the Electoral College unfair. Yes, Hillary got the popular vote…by 1%. And she’s still under 50% so it’s not like that’s something to cling to. If your candidate can’t even get a proper popular majority when she’s running against a flat out monster from an 80s slasher flick than it might be wise not to go on about her appallingly narrow popular victory. It’s not a victory. It’s an embarrassment.
And, let’s stop and think about the Electoral College for a minute. It’s an institution that, up until recently, stopped candidates like Trump from gaining power. Trump’s victory isn’t a sign of an archaic and broken institution, it’s a warning of what life would be like without the College. Can you imagine an America that relies purely on vote results? Do you really think this nation is unified enough for such things? Why, overnight, we’d have a 50 party system. There’ll be the Bernie Sanders Party, the Obama Party, the Rush Limbaugh Party, the Save the Bay in Maryland Party, the Don’t Build the I-68 Bridge in Dead Indian Bend Party… And let’s not talk about what the fucking South would do or our countless unchecked militias and hate groups. They already successfully elect local candidates. I hate these people who think getting rid of the Electoral College would have saved us. How would that have changed the fact that tens of millions of Americans voted for Trump and he got within a few hundred thousand of the popular vote? Okay, he wouldn’t be in the White House…he’d just happily run a shadow presidency and destroy us all the same. You need to learn how to correctly identify the problem, friends.
The second stage of liberal grief is a bit recent. It’s a social media thing. It involves long treatises about how we’ll be okay and we need to be strong and fight together. Basically saying what Sam Bee said on her post-election episode: We’ll live to fight another day, blah blah blah. On social media, these messages are directed at the people who just fucking watched you freak out a few days ago. And, as I said in my last post, you’re preaching to the choir. Your friends on social media are on the same page you are so why inflict your pompous fuckery on us? Who the hell are you? Hmmm?
This second stage, though, is a natural extension of the rationalizing aspect that ends the first stage. Okay…the bad thing happened, so now I’m going to tell all my friends how I plan to stand tall and be a good American. Well, great. Quit hogging my feed.
The third stage is the most frustrating. It’s the call to action. It’s been a bit more on the surface this time around with people taking protests to the streets, which is actually nice to see. The more passive call to action – “We need to be more aware and responsible,” “We need to pay attention to the world around us,” etc. – is an interesting moment of self-awareness. How many people (myself included) have adopted the “news blackout” approach to the last…um…er…15 years? We’re all so very busy and we’re all so undereducated and overmedicated that we can’t focus on one thing for more than a few seconds. We’re like a nation of kittens. And, collectively, we have roughly the same IQ as a room full of kittens. It’s good to blame yourself as a victim of ignorance because you probably are an ignorant fuck.
But taking action requires a bit more than a peaceful protest and a vow to your like-minded friends on Facebook. But, then, if you take it to the streets, you’re kind of just following a peaceful herd that’ll dissipate as soon as the police start to walk towards you. The third stage is tough for everyone.
The fourth and final stage is: Giving up and going back to being a whining fucking armchair liberal. Just like you always have done. I saw this in 2000 and in 2004. I promise you that, a month from now, all these fucking people are going to be right back at it in their fucking stupid routines. Tra-la-la. Sheep in the field. You’re all a bunch of hot air. You did nothing to prevent this from happening and you’ll do nothing in reaction to it.
You losers are just so damned boring. You ruin my feeds, you tie up traffic, you fucking jabber jabber jabber about nothing but this horrible shit, and then, a month later, you’re back to spinning around in your office chairs and eating junk food and talking about cool car commercials and football. And two years later you don’t fucking vote in the midterm elections for some mysterious reason.
You fucking people need to learn to put your heart and soul where your stupid idiot mouth is.
So, okay… What should I do, Nacho?
Here’s my guide!
1) Become involved in local politics. Run for city or county council maybe. At the very least, pay attention to your local politics. It’s the local politicians who decide whether or not to build a highway through your home. They decide how to educate your children. They tack on taxes that seem to go nowhere. They influence the county cop who may or may not save you one night. They make sure your house is safe and your sidewalk is clean. And if the local politicians are assholes… You need to hound the fuck out of them. Half of these fucking people rule like village potentates. The judges and the board of education folks on my ballot all ran virtually unopposed. What? Are we in 1970s Argentina? Our County Council spent an enormous amount of time and money opposing a question that called for them to have term limits. This was our big local shake-up. We said yes, so now council members only get three terms instead of, you know, ruling like motherfucking lunatic dictators for decades. These are the important things, really. We need to hold our local reps to the fucking fire every single chance we get. They are our spokespoeple. So, be active. Either run and oppose the unopposed, or watch them carefully and hold them accountable at every turn.
2) Stop it with the news blackouts. That’s just willful ignorance. You’ll reap what you sow there as, I hope, you’ve just learned. Now, I know, it’s hard in these days of Fox News and comedians who pretend to speak for the people and the smirking face of Rachel Maddow. What you need to do is curate your news. It’s very easy. Once again, think local. Your news absorption needs to begin from the bottom of the pyramid, not the top. Find your local news outlets and follow them. Learn to be responsible and knowledgeable about your own backyard before you decide to change the universe.
Curating is easy these days. I use Google News, which acts as a powerful news aggregator. You can personalize it to focus on specific topics and locales and tell it to filter out all the garbage.
You also want to look at the international news at least once a week. I spend Friday mornings cruising through the non-US versions of The Guardian, Der Spiegel, World News (wn.com), Al Jazeera, and the Times of India. That may sound like a lot of work but, really, you can skim this stuff. You’re really just looking for an alternative view. (And you can, again, create nice Google News filters that’ll do the skimming for you.)
3) Quitting social media may just be a good idea. Under my real name, I solely use social media for marketing purposes. I have close to 4000 friends… And I don’t follow a single one of their feeds. I don’t care. Everything I post is fueled by the ulterior motive of selling a brand. And, here’s a secret – that’s really what social media is in 2016. If you’re on social media just because everyone else is and you don’t plan to use it for business (or actively starting a revolution), then you’re insane. That shit will shorten your life. There’s nothing there but agitation, angst, and misinformation. Social media’s purpose, these days, is just to sell you something. It’s propaganda, pure and simple. And you know this.
4) Become involved in the Southern Poverty Law Center. Pay attention to what they’re doing and fighting for. I’ve been seeing calls for donations to all the places that may or may not be disenfranchised during a Trump presidency. But nobody ever pays attention to the little SPLC. Click the link, explore, educate yourself. When the war comes, it’ll come from the groups that the SPLC are monitoring and fighting against right now.
5) Protests are fun. Hard to organize, though. Hard to keep that head of steam going. And probably dangerous in this day and age. I wouldn’t know what to do in a revolution. I do a million little anti-corporate protest things – I buy and shop local and small, I’m an unreformed torrenting pirate, I pay off my debts and avoid new debts, I make my neighbors think their attic is haunted by a violent poltergeist. The usual stuff. So if you’re the protesting sort and you have some sort of skills that can make it worthwhile – hacktivism or, you know, bomb making – hey, go ahead. Let no talent be wasted. But, otherwise, we’re kind of trapped folks. I’m probably being watched by my laptop camera right now as I type this with every keystroke being recorded. The days of true protest are over. If a real riot or revolution starts, cool, we can go out there and firebomb a police car or two. But we actually kind of don’t need that in our lives. That’s the sort of “no choice left” scenario. Be ready for it but, in general, all we can really do is be more responsible and awake and aware. And if you want to truly be involved and throw donations or volunteer hours around, then focus on the education of the poor and disenfranchised. And for your set-in-their-ways conservative neighbors, the attic poltergeist routine really works. Plus you can film it and post them having heart attacks or accidentally shooting each other. Very rewarding.
Not to encourage you to kill your neighbors. Just floating out the idea that you might want to ask yourself if the world would actually miss them.