I am a political junkie. Like any addict, I depend on my obsession to get me high. I love watching the down and dirty brutality of campaigns fighting, of messy and dishonest attack ads against all opponents, of smarmy debates filled exclusively with lies. In many ways Election Day is like the Super Bowl for me. And I sit in a daze, yes, drinking, and watching the results on a variety of television channels and podcasts and other forms of modern media in order to get numerous viewpoints on what is actually happening.
I call this whole website “Recording Editorial History,” and Election Day can give me a prime example of what I mean by this. Elections, of course, are history, events that will go down and have significant meaning (or not) on the fate of what will become of the future. As an editorial the whole thing is based on our individual opinions. And all I am here to do is record it, to tell you what I have seen and what I think, based upon an unquestionably biased knowledge of history, of editorial opinions, and on how to chronicle the different voices that speak up in favor of every side imaginable.
Before I go into the primary topic–today’s election and whatever ideas we may have for the future, I am going to offer a disclaimer/autobiographical comment that might give you a deeper example of where, exactly, it is that I am coming from. I have developed a pretty decent following over the past few months (or at least decent enough to make me proud of myself), and so I will give some insight into how I truly assess these issues. And the only point I can make is from a significant moment in my past.
When I was seventeen years old (I am now in my mid-forties), I ran for vice-president of my high school’s student council–not because I had an interest in serving, or actually doing anything for the improvement of the school, but exclusively to cause trouble. I was pretty popular, a recognizable and funny enough guy that I had made a lot of friends within many different cliques, and had made a great many more laugh in class at my generally vindictive, bitter criticisms of everything people held sacred, as well as the occasional mistakes the poor teachers were bound to sometimes make. I was an asshole, we should all admit, and I have only gotten worse as time as has moved on and I started getting old (my back hurts right now. And my right knee. I may have arthritis in my left shoulder and both of my hands. I am tired all the time).
Anyway, while running for this office I campaigned against an ex-girlfriend of mine, someone with whom I was still somewhat friendly. She was a nice girl–pretty, smart, popular. She was the head cheerleader of the school’s squad. She was a straight-A student. She would eventually be named homecoming, and later our prom queen. She was a genuinely lovely person. We had only broken up because of me, because at that young age I was unable to remain faithful. But these are not the relevant points. It is important only so I come across as the villain.
So I was running against her. I started plastering the school with posters of my opponent, taken from personal pictures I had of her from our three months together. One was of her passed out drunk on the floor of my parent’s house. Another was of her bikini top dangling, her holding it up with her hands, a humiliated expression on her face and a nipple hanging out (this was of course taken down almost immediately). Once I caught her snorting cocaine off of a coaster (probably mine, or my cokehead friend’s), her wet drink on the table beside it. All of this went up on the walls of the school, with tag lines such as “Is this the sort of person you want?” and “How can we ever forgive her?”
The finally vote tally was 333-329. She was a preppy girl. I was a low-life scumbag who was an otherwise excellent student, the sort of bad boy that many of the shy girls who resented my opponent would have momentary crushes on, until they got to know and dismiss me. When giving the speeches, my opponent gave the standard rah-rah let’s- have-fun, while I waded into apocalyptic territory and discussed how I could help to bring about the end of everything. The teachers, the administration, they hated me (except for those few teachers and administrators who hated the rest of the staff). I was dangerous as far as they were concerned. I was not fit to hold office.
I lost the election by those four votes. Curiously, there were a handful of absentee ballots cast from students that left campus to attend tech school, working on engines, learning to cut hair, building things. I had a lot of friends among this crowd. After the in school vote, I was winning by one, 328-327. Among the tech school I apparently lost 5-2, despite the fact that four of my closest personal friends were among that crowd. If nothing else (and I am glad that I lost because I really had no interest in putting the work in at that time), this taught me about the malleability of open democracy and how easily it can be corrupted. Which brings us to today, where I will make no such claims about the electoral process.
The Democrats have reclaimed the House of Representatives after a number of years lost in the darkness. They did not reclaim the Senate, and even fell farther behind, giving the moderate Republicans who once held such sway in that body less importance than they ever had.
In Governorships, there has been a mild changing of tides, and a number of losers got so damn close to winning that you know they will have an impressive political future. There are numerous demands for recounts and I guess that is what has become of our tribal Democracy. Depending on which bias you are watching report the news, or that you share or reject, you will hear many different voices telling you exactly what the future holds. As I said, I prefer to listen to different voices, hearing the numerous points-of-view and opinions that make America exactly what America has become: a nation consumed by many different variations on the truth.
We can hear left-wing commentators praise the first check on the Trump Presidency, while listening to right-wing talking heads laugh and scold America for believing there would ever be such a thing as ‘a blue wave.’ And there are so many uncertainties about the outcome of still a great many elections, as well as where the nation is going, that opining on this in the immediate aftermath is a pretty pointless exercise. Nevertheless, that is exactly what I am going to do.
I enjoy conspiracy theories, while personally believing in very few. With that in mind, I want to articulate a potential future resulting from this election. Hear me out. You don’t have to agree or disagree. I do not even know if I believe this prediction (it’s just fun to try speaking in numerous voices about issues that are very close to the bone):
With only Congress in the Democrat’s corner, President Trump will now have someone to blame for anything that might go wrong. The collapse of the economy, regardless of when this may happen–the Democrats did it! The outbreak of a war–the Democrats! The corruption of America–it must be the Democrats! Everything that goes wrong? You know who. Everything that may succeed, regardless of whose idea it may have been? That comes from Presidential leadership. That is what we will be told and that half of the nation (give or take) will believe. Without the Senate in the Democrat’s corner (had they won this too then President Trump would be no more), the easy blame that will mix with the petty barbarity that Trump is an expert at, I believe he has probably been assured re-election.
But here is a theory, and I perfectly expect some kickback on it. I happen to suspect that this is true. Do you know how President Trump plans to keep the nation economically afloat once the stock market crashes, and the dollar loses most of its value, after we find ourselves in debt that the critics of President Obama could only wish he had left over for Trump? Believe this:
Remember when Trump said how horrible it was that Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who was working for The Washington Post, had been murdered and hacked to pieces, but that he did not want this to interfere with his $110 billion dollar arms deal? This is a key insight into the priorities and moral character of the Trump White House. Money is more important than life. Money rules the world. It isn’t from bias, or from prejudice or racism or any of those significant social issues that most of human progress springs from, and that receives most of the blame for all of our faults. It is only about money.
This is the case with plenty of Americans too, those who see profit as more important than freedom, and who watch a bottom line more diligently than the battle for human rights. Also, remember when President Trump (I believe he was then candidate Trump), when discussing America’s nuclear arsenal, wondered why we should have it if we did not plan on using it? Remember the chill that coursed through your spine when you heard this, regardless of political affiliation? Remember when he said, about a year later, that he planned on building more and more nuclear weapons to let the whole world know not to “fuck with us?” (This is actually a direct quote.)
Before I continue I would like to admit something. I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am actually registered as an Independent. I am fascinated by politics, both historically and happening right before our eyes, and I can usually find something negative to say about every cause, every movement, every politician and nearly every single belief. I have trouble taking sides because I do not believe anyone is truly right about anything. I have described myself, when pushed, as ‘a good-natured anarchist, without loyalty to any political view, and I have voted for candidates from about six different political parties throughout my life. In one local election, where I knew one of the candidates personally and loathed them, and had lived with the open corruption of the other for the past ten years, I wrote in a candidate for the only time in my life. I voted for ‘Satan.’ That year Satan actually got three votes.
Anyway, I believe that Donald Trump expects to save our nation, as the rent comes due for the nearly one trillion dollars he has been placing on credit, by becoming the world’s foremost arms dealer, selling nuclear weapons to all comers with enough scratch to finance their coming apocalypse(s). I do not think he cares about the result, only about the profits. I believe he would be proud of himself for supplying both sides of a holy war with similar weapons just so long as all his debts are paid.
And this is morality in the age of Trump, regardless of how far-fetched my suggestion might be. Money really does come before human life in the world we live in today. And this is of course not exclusively Donald Trump’s fault. In many ways people should feel bad for him as he will take all of the blame should my theory actually come true. It was never his intention to destroy the world, I still have to believe. It was only about making money, about the financial security of himself and the select few he would want to survive, or even of the United States itself, and not about something so primitive and past-tense as an 18th century idea of freedom. We have outgrown such naive notions of liberty and justice. It is now all about the bottom line, about what you can get out of the world before the supplies wane and the market closes forever.
This is the future I can see. I can see Trump winning re-election in 2020 after spending two years blaming the Democratic Congress for things that will be only occasionally their fault. And it will work. It will consume the international conversation about America. And it will all be just another cheap blood-sport to entertain the masses as we await the eclipse of Democracy and the foundation of a new political religion to make its claim on the future of our world.