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Friday, November 11, 2016

This is your day

Yesterday was the day after election day, and it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. This is not unusual for me, but usually it's because someone punches me in the stomach. This time it was due to the kind of shame and fear that comes from other people making bad choices for me that I have no control over. Aside from a joke here and there, anyone who knows me would tell you that I am not a political person. So I'm going to get this off my chest once, then hide in a corner for four years, hopefully not any longer.

When Barrack Obama walked through the door, he was the smartest one in the room. And the coolest. Michelle Obama was a shining light by any standard. The President knew what he was talking about, and if he didn't, he didn't say anything. And now he's walking back out the door, and in his place will be an orange-colored fatuous boob. I never thought I'd refer to the president of my country in those kinds of terms. Yeah, Bush senior was a little nutty, and George W. might have been a little goofy, but I liked them as people. This is new territory, a dangerous place. America has elected to its highest office someone who says something ill-informed, self-congratulating, misogynistic and indefensible every single day, sometimes all in the same sentence.

He's a weak-minded, psychologically unstable individual who can't contain his emotions if someone says something unflattering about him, whether it's true or not. His oratory has the sophistication of a middle school debate team member. And when someone professes to know everything, there is no  reason for that person to learn anything else. They don't know what they don't know, and don't have  much interest in finding out.

If you voted for him, this is your day to shine. He's all yours, and now America can move forward, if you think that moving forward is to try to bring back all those factory jobs that robots and free trade took away, or all the other careers decimated by the internet. It's a pretty dream, but you might get a wake-up call pretty soon.

Maybe moving forward means removing health care for about 20 million people, so that when they get sick you and I can go back to paying for it instead of insurance companies. Maybe progress means concentrating more on oil, gas and coal instead of those other silly renewable technologies. If common sense gun control sounds like a good idea to you, this is not your moment, either. Have you ever sat on the parkway behind serious traffic, and car after car passes you on the shoulder, and finally you give up and do it too? That's what gun ownership is going to look like, only now the country will be more polarized and less temperate. Did you like the financial collapse of 2008? Well less bank oversight might be the progress that you voted for.

Maybe it means rolling back civil rights a good few notches. And I'm not even talking about women's rights, minority rights, religious rights or gay rights. I'm talking about the right of one person to expect another to be civil to him. Civility has been tabled. The douchebag-in-chief has already set the agenda.

Now when a horrible tragedy befalls this country, instead of turning on the TV to hear a little bit of wisdom from someone smarter than me, I have to go it alone. Because he'll say something stupid. That's what he does, and he has no reason to change, since that is what got him elected.

This feels like a win for bullying, for making fun of the less fortunate, for not doing your homework and getting rewarded for it. For body-shaming, groping and taking things that aren't yours just  because you feel like it and you're bigger. It's a victory for cutting the line.

Douchebags, dickheads and assholes, this is a day to celebrate. The overwhelming majority of people who voted for trump are not douchebags, dickheads and assholes. They're your neighbors, your friends, and that made me call my own values into question for a moment or two. That moment passed. I don't think my feelings are a mirage, and I think America's reputation will suffer damage in the eyes of the world and of its own people that will take decades to undo.

So I have to grit my teeth for four years and hope he goes away, but I don't think he'll ever go away now that he's found his people. I'm in the unenviable position of hoping he does a horrible job as president so I don't have to see as much of his bloated face anymore. I don't want him to crash the country, that would be bad. I just want him to put a huge dent in the fender so that somebody takes the keys away from him.

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