Well, well, well, America. Aren’t we full of surprises. You little freckle-faced rascals!
You’ve done something good. You’ve made a start on redeeming yourself; made a little wobbly-oopsy baby-step towards taking America from a state of total insanity back to the regular, day-to-day state of verging-on-insanity that we all know and love.
Democrats control the House — unprecedented wins for women, women of color, Native, Muslim and LGBT candidates — you’ve been holding out on me, you sly puss! Sincere and heartfelt congratulations.
We won’t, not yet anyway, take on those topics of: Gerrymandering and voter suppression, Republican specialties, and it is a toss-up whether you’d classify these activities as art, for the exquisite finesse in the redrawing of boundaries; or sport, for the breathtaking speed of execution and their brazen exhibitionism. Either way, any close-call vote is suspect, notably in Georgia, where I understand the person in charge of the election’s integrity is also a candidate. Conflict of interest much?
The post-mortems are already underway, but as a Canadian I can just take the day off and spend it sighing with relief. I can still remember — and, youngsters, let me take a second to hook my thumbs behind my suspenders — how my loins shuddered and my flanks trembled from my absolute shock a couple of years ago when, in the wee hours after the election, I heard a crowd of voices outside my apartment on Sherbourne Street, in Toronto — if you’re not familiar with the geography, just think “up there” — then somebody saying something like, “Holy fuck, TRUMP!”, then everyone bursting out laughing.
It was, indeed, holy fuck Trump, and were I to say that you’ve exceeded my expectations by reining him in a little, please note that this is sincere — but also a bit like those desperate compliments you give your friend who’s just made their acting début in the local amateur production of “The Mousetrap,” where they say the line “dinner is served” with the gawdawful stiffness of those who have thought too much about how to say “dinner is served,” then disappear for the rest of the evening.
And you are obliged to sit through the whole damn play because you have to go backstage afterwards and tell them, “Well, gosh, Darlene, I’ll be honest — I never knew you had it in ya!”
So, here’s the deal. You got your common sense back, sort of — though it involved waiting until Trump was literally on the verge of holding a fascist-style parade, I can imagine the armed Boy Scouts in formation and modestly-clad girls performing gymnastics, because healthy women are needed to breed the Amerikanisches volk — and you have partially put a little bit of a check on Republicans run amok —
But—and I have to go here, yes—you just couldn’t elect another ssssshhhhh! black! man! for Governor of Florida, could you? That was way too much to hope for. That’s still just too errrrrr crunchy and difficult to get your heads around. We understand, and don’t forget — baby steps! It’s important not to take on more menschly normal than you can handle at a go. Saving the Free World from Trump is just fine for today.
‘Cause we know how the last black guy worked out, right? I mean, can you just imagine those Klan members’ brains, with those racist neurons and synapses firing back and forth — slave!/POTUS! slave!/POTUS! error! error! error! — until the cognitive dissonance was just too much overheating of the circuits. The greatest cross-burning opp of a lifetime, and whitey’s got mind-frazzle!
And, right on cue, like an army of rejects from a Cronenberg casting call, comes The Awakening. In this riff on The Manchurian Candidate, an entire shadowy doppel-nation of slumbering fascists is stirred into action by the opening words of Obama’s inauguration ceremony. Their eyes take on a remote, permanently glazed appearance as they stock up on ammunition, check the tire pressure, maybe research the End of Days, because what else could this be?
Your best friend has changed his name to “Biff,” buzzed his hair and joined The League of Pretty White Boys. Next thing you know he’s going skinny dipping in the bayou with his new buds, putting “Gurlz keep out!” signs on his treehouse and getting suspiciously interested in Physical Culture. You can no longer have a meaningful conversation because your values don’t align and besides, it’s really hard to talk when he’s playing “Ein Heldenleben” at full volume…
… And I know, like any marketer knows, that sequels are a shoo-in because they combine just enough novelty with a big helping of the familiar and predictable. In which case, I think it’ll knock ’em dead in Des Moines, how about you?
All that ugly racism awakened, yet from Obama: class and grace and decency, eight years of taking the high road . Like, what was that crazy-ass American Dream fucktard-ery all about?
I mean, stop the merry-go-round of normal! I need to take my crazy pills and chase them with a big, hot, foaming, rabid Trumpstein of white supremo!
— so, you’ve made a tiny initial act of reparation for the sinking-in-synch of democracy worldwide that Trump has enabled. You’re like the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman who throws dirt on the lady’s carpet so he can demonstrate how “nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” Or you threw a banana peel in front of good government and it slipped and broke its ankle and now it’s finally off the crutches, and where does that leave us? Right back where we started.
So don’t go all self-congratulatory and amber-waves-of-grain just yet. Keep going, and don’t lose this momentum. Take out your smartphone now and make some movies or even animated GIFs of all of you being happy and jumping around so you have a reference if you forget what momentum means.
Don’t lose momentum. Prove that you’ve learned the lesson:
Democracy is not the default. Goodness is not the default. Fairness and empathy and love and justice are not the norm. These things are precious and extraordinary and they have an exquisite eco-system, an equilibrium that can be destroyed.
Prove that you know: the fight for democracy is never done. There is no time off.
We will never let you forget that, somehow, you guys were put in charge of democracy— god only knows why — and then someone yelled, “Chicken ‘n biscuits ‘n Red-Eye Gravy!!! AND FRAHS!!!” and you all just spun around and you lost your grip and you dropped it.
Just don’t drop the democracy. OK? Wear rubber gloves if you need.
Also, get Young People to vote. If they ask what voting is, tell them it’s something easy that they can microwave and eat right out of the box and someone else will wash up after them.
In fact, tell them that voting is all about them and you’ll do it for them, if they’ll just come along. You’ll have their socks pulled on and their laces tied and their noses wiped and them ready to head for the polls faster than they can say, “That’s so, like. Totally woke!”
Also, make sure Bernie doesn’t run again. For anything. Maybe run for coffees, at least that’ll get him out of the house. But in that case, make sure he’s the only one running for coffee, take care that he knows that you know he’s in charge of the coffee, and if he drops the coffee, just pat his little nutty professor head and say there, there and tell him you didn’t really want coffee anyway.
I mean, you dropped the democracy, you’re no one to judge.
Because I would say, work on your universal health care. Work on this one concept, so you can shout those words in, say, a crowded theatre, without someone screaming back “Satanic Socialist Hillary Communism Obama!” and you’ll have taken an important first step. Leave the hygge and the full-frontal free-meatballs-for-all social democratic platform with lingonberry sauce until you’ve got a little more practice under your belt. K?
And please, it’s alright. No, honestly. Don’t apologize about your little mishap with the world’s peace, order and freedom.
Just don’t friggin’ let it happen again.