The appalling acts in Charlottesville played across my TV screen (and my laptop and my smartphone) for a whole weekend but, on Monday, no one at work even mentioned it. At Monday’s happy hour, friends who I consider to be intelligent, informed, and plugged in didn’t even know what I was talking about. “What? What happened in Charlottesville?” That after the pause to try and place exactly where Charlottesville was.
The DC area has long had the ability to insulate itself against the happenings in the rest of the country. You have to literally bus people in to march through our streets before DC residents take notice of what everyone outside the Beltway is thinking and, even then, we just retreat to our favorite bar and watch it on TV. Look at ‘em, Steve-o, they’ve blocked off Massachusetts Avenue. That’s gonna fuck up the commute. Guess I will have another.
I know this is a generalization. I know there are plenty of residents here in my hometown who are outraged and trying to do something. I know that, if the chips do fall, then there are many great people here who will rise up in their expensive condos and march down the bike lanes. I’m just a little disappointed that they’re not doing it now…because now’s the time. Now is when we should do something. You have to hit shit like this when it begins. Instead, we make the same mistake we’ve been making throughout history. The madman who will undo everything is elected and we shrug. Not our problem. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Above our paygrade. Whatever.
Then, when it starts to get nasty, we think about leaving. I have friends who have fled to Canada, to the isolated beach town of Chincoteague, and, in one case, to Mongolia. At chez Nacho, we’re thinking about moving to Santa Fe (and, sadly, a large motivation for that decision is that Santa Fe is also a weird, insular community that rarely considers the larger world beyond its city limits. We’re creatures of habit.).
I hate to draw that old Hitler parallel but, man, it sure sounds like I’m talking to you from early 30’s Berlin. From “I’m alarmed but…nothing will happen,” to “Let’s bug the fuck out,” to “And then they came for me.”
When Trump was first elected, the front page of this site was on fire with words of protest, but it all died as fast as the Lannister army in the face of Drogon. We just don’t have time for this shit. I’m running my own company, trying to turn myself into a stupid fucking author, and working a full time day job. Everyone else I know is equally scattered to the winds trying to make ends meet and pay off the bills. Or maybe they’re just in the hunker-down state of mind. Live and let die.
Mind you, I understand. I’ve spent almost 17 years on this blog establishing that I don’t actually give a fuck. Bring it on. Give me the apocalypse. If I don’t die in the first blast then, baby, I am ready to go right down that Lord Humongous path. Fine by me. But I worry about my friends who are struggling with the reality of The Big Darkness. I worry about this sickness that’s spreading all around us. America has been sick before – occasionally explosively so – but this current sickness has a different sort of feeling. Packing people on a bus and protesting on the Mall won’t help this disease. This is blood simple and bone deep. This is the sickness that kills you. And I think we can see it and we just don’t know what to do because there’s no one out there who will speak for us.
Or, worse, maybe we don’t all see it? Maybe you’re reading this now and shaking your head. Poor, stupid Nacho.