It is now 1:17 AM at the moment I begin writing this. I have attempted to sleep for the past two hours. I've tossed and turned for a few minutes, tried to stay my beating heart. Then I flip the TV back on. The talking heads can only show the inevitable. Hillary Clinton has lost. The final results are not in, but she has no path in Pennsylvania. It's over. Donald Trump will now be our next president. And god, I wish any of these news people could say anything positive. Because I need a sign of something good. Anything.
My only silver lining is imagining that I'm wrong about this man. That I am as wrong as pollster and every pundit. However Donald Trump offers absolutely nothing for me. I could run down his entire run of campaign promises (even the ones that contradict the other ones, even the ones that are so vague as to be utter bullshit) and not find a single one I agree with. And this man has a mandate. He was the smartest person in the room today. He has a Republican Party that controls the Congress that can only sniff which direction the mood is going. There's a Supreme Court vacancy he can fill. There's an army of state politicians who will follow him. Donald Trump has power to remake America. You were told to be terrified during the election by Hillary Clinton.
I want not to be terrified. I am terrified anyway.
These are bad years coming forward. I want to write about reconciliation. About how maybe with united government we can have a successful nation. I want to find something good to take away from this election. I can't find one though. I am 2016's Liberal Tea Party.
The America I knew is gone. I had a Real America. A Great America. I don't know if we'll ever see it again.
Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate and a disaster for her party. But her biggest mistake was making the election about Trump's temperament. She targeted his language, the way he talked about women. She didn't target his message or his promises. This was an election about nothing. In the end, she didn't offer anything, Trump did. And this is a bad direction for us all. This isn't just about Barack Obama's stupid health care law, and his so-called legacy. This is about something much bigger. America has been redefined this night. And don't celebrate about that.
I grew up in a Great Empire. It was a unique Empire in history in that most of its citizens did not even realize what they had was an Empire. But an Empire it was, and it ruled the planet. We Americans had a mandate to direct the world towards a goal of freedom, economic opportunity, equality of the religions and races, ever advancing technology - all the positives of Western Civilization. We defeated several great forces to build that dream.
We were a clumsy Empire. One that stumbled badly in world affairs and caused real sorrow. We also helped bring the human race to what might be the apex of prosperity and opportunity by the early 21st century. You can criticize America for Iraq. You can point out the terrible hypocrisies of its history. You can say how it was all built on the souls of many misfortunates. Or mention the many times it betrayed it's own values for money or power or simply to kick the USSR in the balls. America was not perfect, but I don't see anybody standing up to be any better. Think a Chinese Century is going to be as nice as the American one?
Now you might be wondering, isn't Trump a Republican? Doesn't he claim to be a tough badass that will "Make America Great Again"? No, he's not a Republican. Not really. Not in the way we've understood Republican since Dwight Eisenhower. He has the power now and seemingly the moronic stubbornness to tear down free trade, to break our position on the world stage. We'll abandon our promises and our military alliances. Trump wants to cut and run from the world. He will have us all cower behind a Wall, behind ruinous tariffs, and hide in our artificial communities. Maybe the Oceans will keep us safe for a few decades.
Or maybe it's the year 2016 and isolationism is going to be as bad this year as it was in the 1920s. I don't want to sit and watch Russia and China push their vile dictatorships into carving the planet into spheres of influence. Now I get to watch that. We had a unipolar world, that held the nuclear peace. You start breaking the world up into great powers, how long is that balance going to last? Study your history. The vacuums that form as Empires fall are not pleasant times to live in. And this is an Empire falling today, make no mistake about that.
Obama and George W. Bush were fools that tried to save the Middle East. One tried to install democracy by force, the other tried to support its natural growth. They both fucked things up. But at least there was the idea of being a better power. There was the goal of improving the world. If Trump doesn't just say "fuck you, I got mine" he promises to bomb the desert to glass. There is not a shred of morality behind his worldview. We've lost our Imperial Mandate. We've lost ourselves. Forget his terrible economic plan, we're already dead as a culture.
Let's go to domestic issues, since that's all Trump cares about. There was a vision of this country that I thought we had. We were exorcising our demons, overcoming the terrible wounds of our history. We were a democratic land with the goal of becoming more democratic. The days of slavery, Jim Crow, Chinese Exclusion, women as second class citizens, etc. we were working away from them. In my life time we've achieved a great civil rights victory with Gay Marriage. That was a step towards the ultimate goal: to build a society where everybody could be whatever they wanted. I was told we were all equal.
I had a Real America. Not the one Sarah Palin imagines. No, a different Real America. This Real America was one with goal, a vision for itself, and the globe.
I grew up in an America with people of many colors, of many races, of many religions. We were taught to respect each other. We were taught this was post-racial America. The sins of the past were the past. The 21st century was going to be different. We were going to be post-racial. We were going to accept each other and not be like the Southerners with the fire hoses aimed at protesters. This country was supposed to be better, to constantly grow and be enriched by taking in cultures and peoples from around the world. Anybody could come here and be anything they wanted. The Real America was an open door.
Turns out no. For most of this country, that Real America never existed. They paid lip-service to it while they were rich enough to care. Now that the economic squeeze has come, their true ugly colors have come out.
America is not about equality. It's a closed door. The real America is White. It's suburban. It's Christian. It's conservative. It doesn't give a shit. It's un-curious about the world, and wants to protect its own power. It's "not in my backyard". It's moral majorities. It's about being superior to the brown races. It's about hiding its little girls away from the black man. It's about locking away all the things it doesn't want to see in inner cities and ghettos. It's about bulldozing those ghettos to build Robert Moses' highways. It's about arresting the victims of its economic progress. It's about shipping its sweat shop jobs overseas so it doesn't have to pay five dollars more for shitty plastic furniture.
That America won.
I thought this election was just the last convulsion before the end of White power in this nation. This was the last test before we could finally try to be more than just an Anglo-Saxon state that accidentally stole a bunch of other groups to build its shit. Turns out this was about white revenge.
Will Trump deport millions of people? Just what horrors is going to do to the Black community? Is Gay Marriage staying up? Will abortion still be legal by next fall? He has the government to do all those things and the mandate now. Just how far is this reversal going? I hope I'm merely a poor hippie in 1968 crying about Nixon. I don't want to be the liberal in 1933 Germany.
Either way, I was wrong in the end. America is not a great country. It was one, it was becoming a greater one. But those days are over. This is Trump's America now.
It also is now 2:20 AM. Hopefully I can sleep.