Originally, I had a different plan for this blog. It was to be a collection of personal, literary, philosophical essays. Which will still likely happen—someday. It was taking me a while to get it off the ground. Mainly because I am out of writing-shape. There are other reasons, which I’ll get to as I continue to write this column. In the meantime, Trump is spazzing out.
Right now though, as I sit here in Milan, looking over my Facebook feed, I’m thinking, “Shit, everything’s fucking nuts over there.” But it is Facebook and of course my feed is fed by a bunch of liberal, outspoken, thoughtful, atheists—my favorite kind of humans. Looking over the Guardian, the New York Times, CNN, etc though, I’m not finding anything too very different.
Here’s my view from Italy:
1. Trump is the Real Deal
Generally, as long as I remember, the political system has used the same operating system. Sure there have been updates and the apps have changed, but the US political machine has largely traveled on the same track, with a Democrat or Republican pennant signaling the different administrations. This feels different though. This is a different OS. I feel like the Republicans have wanted to do this kind of shit for years. The large-scale immediate changes against women, against healthcare, against immigrants, against the environment, against science, against intellectuals—you know they wanted to do this but were worried about the backlash. Now they’re waiting to see what sticks to the wall and what is actually way too far. They are incredibly waffley about Trump. They want their agenda but don’t want responsibility for the repercussions. Now they’ve unleashed a force they can’t control. They will be unable to get the jinn back in the bottle (oh, wait, that mythology is likely to be banned soon).
The new scary shit: censoring the government scientists, threatening martial law, blocking immigrants, wanting to control the internet, wanting to shut journalists up—to quote one Mr. Byrne: “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.”
2. Honey Badger Don’t Give a Shit
We saw this during the election, so it’s no a surprise he’s putting his foot on the gas now. Lies and Facts are the former paradigm. He knows what he wants to be true, so the plan is just to keep hammering at it.
“The honey badger doesn’t care! It’s getting stung like a thousand times. It doesn’t give a shit. It’s just hungry. It doesn’t care about being stung by bees. Nothing can stop the honey badger when it’s hungry. What a crazy fuck! Look, it’s eating larvae, that’s disgusting.”
—Randall, from The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger
Fact-checking is busy work for liberals. We’re not going to change his behavior by pointing out his errors. His disregard for politics as usual is as informative as it is scary as shit.
“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.” ― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
3. Trump Could Totally Lose His Shit
So what happens then? Mike Pence is probably more controllable but he’s still a crazy, right-wing Christian motherfucker. He might be better than anarchy—sure, there are people that think anarchy would be a perfect shift-into-neutral mode for this country but I absolutely do not trust the most efficient power-grabbing group—see every dystopian novel ever.
4. His cabinet is terrifying.
And white. And unqualified.
5. Even Conservative, Opportunist, Warhawk Dick Cheney has Spoken Against Trump
“I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from,” Cheney said on a Monday appearance on the radio show. “A lot of people, my ancestors got here, because they were Puritans.” —Dick Cheney
6. Now is not the Time for the Democrats to Prance Around
It’s time to put on your pussy-hats people—actually, it’s time to put on your pussy-helmets, and sharpen those pussy ears—and get some work done. It’s time to be solid and strong and not be an unorganized bunch of wusses, over-beholden to corporate dollars. Who knows what new parties we’ll see emerge in the next couple years. The Democrats should not take anything for fucking granted. Trump won because he appealed to a white working class that had not been taken seriously for a long long time. Also, the amount of people who were not inspired enough to vote is a failure of the imagination of the Democrats.
7. Do Not Burn Out, Do Not Grow Numb
It’s only been a fucking week. Maybe he thinks we’ll burn our bulbs out after a couple months. It’s quite a pace to keep up but boy would it suck to tumble lazily into the River of Complacency. How do we keep this up until we get the job done?
8. World Citizenry
I don’t know about you but I have friends from all over the world. I have friends I have met from the University of Washington’s Human Center Design and Engineering Department, from my wife’s international work teams, from traveling, from friends of friends—from every continent. They are far more important to me than how well our governments play together. As E.M. Forster wrote: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” So far, Trump’s mainly signed a bunch of executive actions (although it looked like he was ordering dino-nuggets and fries from a kids’ menu) but the action going on at the airports—blocking immigrants from entering the country—is the simply first domino going over.
It’s not time to see what Trump will do. He’s doing it. We see it. It’s not time to compromise and work together. This is not a Bush or Reagan level threat (or if you’re conservative, it’s not an Obama or Clinton level threat). For those of us who have compared any of these people to Hitler, we were wrong about that. Hopefully, we aren’t the boy who cried “Hitler,” too many times. Because, this reads more like a coming-of-age boy-becomes-a-dictator story, than any of those previous ones.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, by all means, read your 1984, your Handmaid’s Tale, your Brave New World, your V for Vendetta, your Origins of Totalitarianism. But it’s time for us to stop filling our Facebook feeds up with See-What-He’s-Done-Now outage. I get it. I’ve done it. I did it earlier tonight.
What’s next though? We’ve tried out all sorts of forms of protest since the sixties. How do we protest in a way that gets shit done—that continues to get shit done? He has to be stopped without bringing the chaos. We are vulnerable. That’s going to get worse, probably a lot worse. It’s time to sharpen our wits people. We’re already in it deep.