Usually I trash Donald Trump in pieces such as this, but it is a little unfair for the agenda I have for this editorial. Yes, he has fucked up everything in 2020, from the indifference to the virus, his cruel inability to care about life and death, sickness and health, personal wealth and the droning majority too honest to profit off other people’s misery. Yes, it is very easy to blame this petty, insignificant failure as history will finally paint him, a dart board for the real horrors to follow. It is easy to dismiss our time with Donald Trump as a singular villain.
But let’s try not to do this because it is an overblown mess, everybody saying it. You know where you get the deepest insight into just how awful the Donald Trump era of American government is? It’s from his lingering supporters, the desperate and frequently pathetic justifications, and the weird twists on reality, those irrational QAnon conspiracy theories that remain too stupid to claw their way into the mainstream. I mean, try listening to this nonsense, connections to international child trafficking alleged towards the most moderately asexual democrats still mouthing their bland philosophies about suggested equality and the corporate takeover of their friendly financial supporters. It is hilarious in its depressing reality. The fact that people promote such grim silliness displays how far gone the rest of us on one side or the other of the middle have become.
Who are we to blame?
For a long time I have believed that it is all of us, our bipartisan cynicism and indifferent lies, pretending that those we disagree with are far worse than we really are. We call ourselves names, pervert our customs and demands, insulting one another so vitriolically that those on the hyper-reactive fringe cannot help but take their offense seven steps too far.
I mean, consider the absurdity of the moment, the crashing of statues and refusal to wear masks. Teddy Roosevelt, the father of the burgeoning progressive movement, declared a racist over a statue some talented moron sculpted after his death. Ulysses S. Grant, a product of his times, a hero who fought to end the great evil of slavery in his native land–and won!–because his wife’s southern parents gifted the couple in their ignorance a dowry of some poor slave shortly thereafter freed with an apology and a handful of cash. These reckonings are absurd, gone too far, a gleeful cynicism on the reactionary left to shove a small-minded middle finger of righteousness up the ass of our horrible past. They even demand that liberal popular culture instantly straighten their act, dismissing the art of the past, replaced by the elementary pastel of self-righteous finger-paint.
Those on the right are perhaps even worse, these cawing absolutists declaring anyone disputing their basic morality an absolutist, their hypocrisy far more on display than the petty children on the left. When they use the wannabe derisive term ‘snowflake’ they cannot be talking about anybody other than themselves. I mean, have you listened to their hurt feeling-ed rants, condemning everyone as weak while they cry like broken-hearted teenagers over the perceived betrayal they see in America, disregarding the reality that they were dumped for very good reasons.
Those on the right are much better liars, convincing themselves that their fantasies are the truth. They invent the viewpoints of their opposition, generalizing their perception on their reality based entirely upon one left-wing moron holding an offensive sign as standing in for the entire cause. They call them socialists, commies, pinkos and Nazis, or whatever other derisive slur they can dredge up from a forgotten cold war past, and plunge it at college kids who have no comprehension of the past. They are all desperate frustration, a yearning for a past that never was, their mindless alignment to a Trump that couldn’t care less about them.
Of course the idiots on the left, a terminally self-destructive crowd, decide to take advantage of momentary trends and go too far and piss off the rational center left and center right, going past the abolition of confederate images (the confederates were traitors, so fuck all consideration for those defending them: I am a historian, ultimately, and believe in sustaining the narrative, but no one has ever learned anything from an honorable statue of whomever the fuck you name. Go to a museum. Read a fucking book. Removing these celebrations of treason from a town square is not a concealment of history. It is justice. It is history writ by the winners.) No, the sneering self-righteous children (no matter their age) who have gone so far as to pressure artists and demand a modern justification for history simply do not understand anything about the value of before towards after, nor the grudgingly slow process of social evolution. Sure things move far too slowly, and yes, many complaints need to be addressed, but it is an ignoral of reality, a self-righteous demand for all change to happen now.
I started this piece by saying that Donald Trump, a miserable failure as a human being, does not deserve the blame for everything. I mean, we elected him–and before you nasally go too far and squawk nonsense like “not my president,” it is important to realize that many (perhaps most) of those who elected Donald Trump did it more so because they wanted to upset those righteous young liberals (a gang that plenty of liberals tear apart too) than any sort of belief in Donald Trump’s merits. It was a fuck you vote, a fuck you against the very idea of America. It was saying fuck you to everyone, to everything, to even the idea of themselves.
So if you ask me, were you to ask me, who should we blame for just how terrible 2020 has been, I would admit that Trump and the sneering Democrats out to get him are only partially to blame. The real pointed finger of condemnation really belongs to us, the American people, the blindly disillusioned and cynical creeps so many of us have become. We choose to negate instead of support, deny instead of believe, attack instead of defend and destroy instead of create. It is us, our fault, all of our faults. This is what we’ve yearned for. This is what we get. How many of us are truly happy?