Friday, December 02, 2016

COLUMN: Trumped

Well. That election sure didn't turn out the way I thought it would.

I don't ever want to get into politics in this column. It's neither my place nor my forte. We have people working here who can authentically be called political experts, and elections are their turf. I'm the guy who got a B in Civics class. I support my candidates, cast my votes, and I most certainly enjoy antagonizing my conservative uncle on Facebook, but that's usually where it stops.

If you want political commentary, you call our editorial staff. If you want fluff pieces about reality TV, you call Shane -- and I'm perfectly fine with that. But this puts me in a sticky situation since reality TV just birthed its first President-elect, and just like everyone else, it's all I want to talk about. I suppose it could be worse -- we could have just elected Ryan Seacrest to lead the free world, although I'm pretty sure Ryan Seacrest would've had the discipline to avoid offending half of America on the campaign trail.

But as shocked as I was by the results of the election, I'm more disheartened by the divisiveness and bickering that's tearing our nation in two. I'm a social media addict, but right now, logging onto Facebook is like being invited to a dinner party where the only other guests are Rachel Maddow and Ann Coulter and the only silverware are knives. Any post that even hints at politics accrues no fewer than three instances of name-calling, at least one fake news story that someone swears is certifiably real, one threat to move to Canada, and someone proudly announcing the number of people they've unfriended over this whole debacle.

For a day or two after the election, I was one of those people. Two weeks later, it's become nauseating, and I find myself yearning for posts about cats, weather, and what we're all eating for dinner. I blame Prince and David Bowie. The two of them were clearly the creative glue necessary to sustain life, liberty, and the pursuit of funkiness throughout the land. Losing them both in the same year has obviously caused the constraints of reality to break down. Now the Cubs are World Series champions and Donald Trump is our President-elect. Mark my words, if we don't continually check on the health and welfare of Beyonce, we could be looking at Pope Honey Boo-Boo the First before everything's said and done.

I suppose it's no real secret that I was NOT a supporter of Candidate Trump. But the guy won, fair-ish and square-ish. That's democracy. Somebody's got to lose, this time it was my side, and I'm trying to keep looking to the future with hope. That's why I haven't been protesting in the streets with my friends. I just didn't see what good it would do other than opening our side up for folks to call us "cry-babies" and tell us to "get over it." When Trump tweeted that protesting the outcome was "unfair," I begrudgingly agreed.

Then I remembered 2012, when Obama won re-election. Citizen Trump jumped on Twitter that night and told people to "march on Washington and stop this travesty... we should have a revolution in this country!" Now THAT is some dangerous rhetoric. I know a LOT of people crazy upset with this election, but I don't know one person who's openly calling for revolution. You can't say "the phoney (sic) electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation" when things don't go your way, but then call the same result "open and successful" four years later just because you won.

So how did we end up with our first President for whom moving into the White House might actually be "slumming it"? Well, I think we had two flawed candidates whose faults were blown out of proportion by ratings-hungry news networks and a social media adept at turning mountains into molehills. I don't think our former Secretary of State was knowingly posting critical intel to Gmail with gleeful abandon, nor do I think Donald Trump is in secret cahoots with the KKK. I just think he's an egomaniacal blowhard inexperienced at public speaking who learned that nothing motivates the electorate quite like fear.

Sure, I'm worried what a Trump presidency will mean for the values and civil rights I hold dear, but I suppose I wish the guy well. Frankly, he's gonna need it. His will be the most scrutinized presidency of all time, and folks are already queueing up to pick it apart. Maybe this mess of an ugly election is what we need to put future candidates in place who are more concerned with progress than power. Good timing, too, since the 2020 Iowa caucus season starts in, what, two months or so, right?

No matter your vote, we'll all be dealing with the outcome of this election for years. But you'll only deal with me writing about it for the next few words. Instead, I'm taking this holiday week to think about things that DO make me thankful.

Like the super-moon. That was pretty cool, huh? And I'm thankful there's no such thing as a super-Sun, because that wouldn't be half as fun. I'm thankful Canada gets wicked cold in winter, because I don't think any of my friends who are threatening to move there actually will. I'm thankful for punk rock, which always makes a great comeback in a conservative White House. I'm thankful for this column and everyone who reads it, otherwise I'd just be ranting to my cats.

And I'm thankful for my cats, the only creatures I'll ever preside over. I'd like to think I'm a benevolent leader, although my executive orders to date have involved mandatory curfews and forced castration, so maybe I'm a horrible fascist. I might not be super enthused by our President-elect, but if he showed up daily to cook me dinner, clean my toilet, and scratch behind my ear, I might just grow to like the guy. Doubtful, though.

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