Flashback to 2016: forebodings-come-true
I wrote what follows on December 2, 2016.
It's been hard to pull out of the morass. As devastating and unexpected and potentially catastrophic as the election of Dump Truck was, what I find almost overwhelming to contemplate is what the Bad-Dream-Team of DT and a Republican congress is going to leave behind when they finally get the boot. The rich will be in a new-and-even-better heaven and the suburbs will still gleam, but the hidden reality of decline for everyone else is going to be much worse than now and worsening.
In recent years I've looked at this moment – the rotten juggernaut of self-serving ideology, propaganda and ill-gotten gains the Republican party has devolved into over the past few decades, sweeping up much of white America with shabby, distracting, materially worthless identity politics – as the last gasp of the people who've lost the argument. America is not going to be (exclusively) dominated by 50's-style white Americana any more; fundamentalist Christians have lost the culture wars for good and so on, and they're all just going down in a rage. I still think that, actually – they can't put all the genies back in all the bottles and they know it, which is why they're grabbing everything they can by subterfuge while the grabbing's still good. All the while telling themselves they are the defenders of virtue in this joint, digging into a delusion.
But I didn't think they could pull off this stunt (because I thought enough Americans would be informed and decent enough to deny a dumb asshole like Trump come what may – turns out it was only a majority, not "enough"); and the dastardly thing about it is that with the whole government under their power, they can reshuffle the deck to some extent. They're going to emaciate the state and change how America works for the people who are most vulnerable to the changes. For the worse. For the long haul. Without scruple. In the worst-case scenario, they can whip up so much shit that fear and hatred become the defining forces between groups of people, at which point all bets are off – there's no telling what might happen then. They're already there anyway and hold the power – if we stay calm, they win; and if we rumble, they have their excuse. It's a bad situation.
Much to lose
But even if it doesn't come to that and the damage falls short of the worst case, they will leave the country standing there bereft of much of what we have today. Certainly, most people believe in tolerance and want to live in a society that's accepting and fair. But now we'll have worse laws in place; the (already woefully inadequate) safety net will be shredded; and even more of the country's wealth will be firmly in the hands of the people who put Trump in power, meaning that we'll have set back progress in just about every category and cemented self-perpetuating structures that divert more and more of the country's wealth to the haves. (Think tax cuts are just tax cuts? They permanently shift wealth to those who already have more of it. More of the wealth generated by society goes to the rich and the state has less to spend, but what gets cut? Not the stuff that serves the well-off, we know that. The losses are borne by public schools and services and healthcare and the poor.) Not to mention the Supreme Court seat they brazenly stole and will smugly hold as if they'd earned it fair and square it for as long as they may.
We'll be spending ages just clawing our way back to what we had before, which wasn't nearly perfect in the first place. And that's the fucking good scenario – the one where DT's shameless cruelty, ignorance and mental problems don't blow shit up.
It's so discouraging, honestly. Now people just want to get on with their lives and they will, and DT won't be there forever, and soon enough most (especially white) people will just adjust to the new normal and not even think about or realize what just happened. But everyone who's halfway vulnerable in this society is worse off, and everyone else who doesn't want to live in a society like that is worse off – frankly everyone's worse off. But the people who are doing fine in their consumer realities don't give a shit, and the fundamentalists never care about anyone but themselves anyway although they always claim to be saving everyone. It's society going backwards but who cares ...
It's hard to think about. I'm still trying to gather myself and my strength for what's ahead because I think we're all in a way-worse pile of shit than most people have any clue of. Don't people ever realize that when you change the facts on the ground, you change what was going to happen next as well? You don't get a free Donald Trump like some sort of fucking mulligan and start afresh at the next tee. You get your Donald Trump and then the next tee is a minefield because his ignorance or hate-mongering or general shittiness changed the course. Electing this idiot changed what was going to happen next, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.
I'm not usually into the whole us-and-them thing and it's not the way forward, but it seems to be the moment we're in and I don't see us getting out of it without recognizing the realities of the situation. I'm into getting along with anyone who wants to be real.