Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It’s Not You, the Sky Really is Falling: An Open Letter to America

It's time to vent about the terrible election last night.  I find that writing about it deflates my rage like air from a balloon.  It's better than keeping it bottled up.
Let me just say it: you fucked up, America. You’ve just screwed not only yourselves, but your children and your children’s children and maybe their children—provided the world is around that long. There was no love lost between me and Hillary Clinton, but you just elected a racist, misogynistic, moronic con man and would-be tinpot dictator. And to cap it off, you now have Republicans controlling all phases of the government—or you will once Trump installs someone worse than Scalia to take the open spot on the Supreme Court. Do you know what that means? It means:

·                     More trickle-down economics that doesn’t work
·                     No more financial regulations, ineffective as they already were
·                     No more Obamacare that benefits the poor
·                     No more environmental regulations
·                     No more investment in alternative energy
·                     No more gay marriage
·                     No more Roe v Wade
·                     More bullshit like “corporations are people”
·                     More gerrymandering, voter ID laws to maintain the Repubican hold on power
·                     The distinct possibility of national “stop and frisk” that won’t be unconstitutional now
·                     Less gun control than ever
·                     Less education than ever

Is the depth of your failure starting to sink in yet? At a time when we’re reaping the consequences of climate change (like the hottest summers ever in recorded history) we’ve elected someone who believes climate change is a myth and will probably disband the EPA. Someone who supports coal and fracking and has no interest in solar, wind, or other alternative sources. Sure gas is around $2 now, but the surplus of oil from fracking and such is only short-term; we are still going to run out eventually and without other viable options we’ll end up in a Fury Road situation. Have you seen pictures of the smog in India and China? That’s what happens when you don’t have environmental regulations. The water in Flint? That’s what happens when you cut costs, disregard the poor, and roll back regulations. So yeah, at a time when we badly need to try to fix the damage we’ve done to the planet, we’re going to go backwards and make things irreparably worse.

After all the symbolic votes they held on Obamacare, you can be sure January 21 or so they’ll repeal that. Since people have already signed up you’d think that would have to wait until 2018 but still it means going back to the “good old days” of “free enterprise.” You know, the system no one liked before. That leaves 22 million people uninsured. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I have a sister undergoing treatment for cervical cancer and it terrifies me to think she could end up as one of those 22 million because her chemotherapy is charged through Medicare. There’s no way she could pay for that therapy on her own, nor could I or anyone in my family, so if the plug gets pulled on her Medicare, she is up Shit Creek with no paddle.

Compounding that my mom is on Social Security and we know how much Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz and their Tea Party (or whatever they call it now) buddies want to cut Social Security. My mom can barely pay the bills now and if her Social Security gets cut, she is also up Shit Creek with no paddle.

And the money from those cuts will be used for what: a stupid wall that won’t keep anyone out? Deporting most every gardener, construction worker, and motel maid in the country? Giving more tax cuts to the billionaire class in the hope that some of their crumbs will trickle down to our plates?

You blew it, America. You elected a mentally unstable candidate with a lot of crazy promises he has no chance in hell of keeping. Why? Because the rational, competent candidate had a vagina? And emails! Emails you never bothered reading and that not even the Trump-loving FBI could find a smoking gun.

I kept hearing that this was a repudiation of “insider politics” and representative of all this angst going around. Angst despite that gas is $2/gallon, unemployment is 4.9%, the economy grew nearly 3% in the third quarter, and the stock market WAS at near-record highs. So, I’m sorry, what the fuck are you so angry about? Oh, right, because that black guy was in the WHITE House and a “nasty woman” could replace him.

I said it before: Trump can’t fix the real problem. He can’t reopen the factories and bring back those $30/hour blue-collar jobs that required no education or barely any skill. Like I said, it would cost billions and take years to repatriate all the “American” company factories in China, Mexico, and so on. Most of the jobs Trump creates are like those you already have now: low-paying if not minimum wage (or less) and no benefit jobs at hotels, golf courses, and casinos. He’s never owned factories and most of the construction for his buildings is contracted out. As much as he claimed to love my state of Michigan, how many properties does he have here? Hmmm, none? Because Michiganders aren’t fancy enough for his hotels or golf courses. And yet you stupidly think he’s going to fix your problems? That would be adorable if the reality weren’t so fucking terrifying.

Maybe some of the things aren’t going to happen. Maybe he actually will hire “really smart people” and they’ll actually make things better. Maybe he won’t start a trade war with China, let Russia continue its aggressive expansion, ruin NATO by demanding protection money, destroy the environment (more so), create another “bubble” economy that will burst, or start a nuclear war that kills us all. Maybe he won’t turn America into a fascist state like Man in the High Castle. But I really don’t like the odds on it. Hillary was not charismatic and not making big dumb promises and wasn’t going to take it to Wall Street, but at least we weren’t playing Russian roulette.

One of the sadly hilarious parts of this is when Trump gets his rude awakening about how hard it is to actually be the president. The first mass shooting or natural disaster where he has to go comfort the victims or the first battle where he has to send soldiers to die in battle and he’s going to realize that it’s not like being a figurehead CEO at all. There are life-and-death stakes with the presidency. It’s not like a “reality” TV show where you can do another take or edit the footage if you fuck things up. It is actual reality, where everything happens live, especially now. And unlike Trump Airlines, Trump Steaks, Trump casinos, and so on, he can’t just quit when it’s not working out or it’s not as much fun as he thought. I mean, he could, but it would be so humiliating that I doubt he would be able to go through with it.

On top of that, there’s the issue of the “blind trust” where he can’t manage his companies anymore—which is probably for the best. And like the last week of his campaign, they’ll probably try to keep him from Tweeting so he doesn’t ignite a war with Mexico at 3am by calling its leader’s wife a “fat pig” or something. He’ll be taking a huge pay cut if you believe his claims about his wealth—you know, the wealth he’d never back up with tax returns—and have to leave his precious Trump Tower for the White House, which I’m sure will require millions of our tax dollars to redecorate with a lot of garish gold trim. I guess for us liberals the silver lining is that he is going to be miserable for the next four years—almost as miserable as he’ll make the rest of us. Unfortunately the more miserable he gets it’s likely the crazier and more paranoid he’ll get.

Oh hey, did I mention there’s still the Trump University trial and a rape trial coming up? You know, actual crimes, unlike Hillary’s emails and “Benghazi.” He might not even make it to the inauguration before Mike Pence has to take over, which in some ways would be worse. But for some strange reason people never really dwelled on that while they obsessed over the bogus email “scandal.”

Another silver lining: the Republican Party finally has to put up or shut up. You’ve got both houses of Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court after six years of obstructionism. So two years from now if things aren’t better, you aren’t going to be able to blame Obama. Maybe people will finally wise up and stop giving them more and more power to do absolutely nothing with. And let’s face it, Ryan and McConnell trying to work with Trump on anything would be more fun to watch than any season of The Apprentice, especially since neither of those guys had the fortitude to stand with Trump during his campaign and you know how he is about holding grudges.

The problem for us is the Republican Party doesn’t have any ideas for Making America Great Again. They’re the party that just cuts things: taxes, social programs, and regulations and hopes that Corporate America will work things out for the better. But as we’ve seen time and again with the Great Depression, the post-Reagan recession, and the Great Recession of 2008 it’s only a matter of time before greedy corporations go too far and everything collapses. It’s sort of ironic they’re banking on the corporations that are exporting jobs overseas to create jobs and make things better here. Which of course they’ll do out of the goodness of their hearts, right? Again, it’s not going to happen, people. It’s all a stupid pipe dream, as you’ll find out by 2020.

One thing I forgot to mention is that our already terrible education system is likely to get worse. Along with the EPA, the department of Education is another that could take serious cuts or be phased out entirely. And you know Republicans aren’t going to offer people free college either. Trump loves the uneducated, remember? Which will only put us farther behind foreign competitors for the good jobs we crave. Why are most of your doctors Indian or Middle Eastern? Why do companies often have to look overseas for engineers and programmers? Because our education system is shit. Those who can afford it spend tens or hundreds of thousands on a college education that is mostly worthless. And then they spend the next ten years trying to pay off loans while trying to get work in their field. Those who can’t pay end up with only a substandard high school education that qualifies them to work as a Wal-Mart greeter or Taco Bell manager. Cutting education instead of funding it—or creating bullshit like “No Child Left Behind” and “common core”—is only going to make the problem worse and those same people voting for Trump are going to be looking for answers.

Another sadly hilarious thing will be in four years when there’s no wall, no mass deportations, continued acts of terrorism (including the domestic kind like mass shootings), and an even bigger income gap that Trump will have to go stumping for votes while trying to explain why he didn’t Make America Great Again while having complete control over the government. He’s good at finding scapegoats so I’m sure he’ll come up with some BS conspiracy to exonerate himself. Watching him squirm would almost make all this worth it. But not really.

So you fucked us, America. You fucked our country and probably the world because of your ignorance and petty hatreds. Nice job. And if you think, “Oh, well, he’s only here for four years” just think that we haven’t had a one-term president in 25 years; it’s really hard to get an incumbent out of power. That provides that any of us are still alive or not living in some Mad Max/Walking Dead/Hunger Games world. In which case, not even going to New Zealand will save those wanting to flee a Trump presidency.

Thanks for nothing, America.


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