Trumping Anxiety

 © TOI editors at The Times of India

 © TOI editors at The Times of India

The first couple days following the election I was in full breakup mode. My mind was a crash test dummy endlessly slamming head-first into Trump’s wall. I couldn’t sleep. Food wouldn’t stay down. I paced anxiously about cursing and mumbling under my breath, refreshing the New York Times every five minutes. Eventually, I barricaded myself in my office behind stacks of books on authoritarianism and enough bourbon to assure a dupe like Trump doesn’t get all the credit for making me vomitus. This went on for a week or so, the days differentiated only by food stains on my shirt and the greasiness of my hair.  

For the bulk of the primary season I had taken aim at the WASPY privilege of the Bernie or Bust fanatics. Some of my fellow citizens had fallen victim to left-leaning, phony news articles, the ones that regurgitated Trump’s talking points as to why Hillary Clinton was such a “nasty” woman by wrapping them in appeals for social justice. Others had simply bought into a populist movement led by a likable curmudgeon with wild hair who, though well-intentioned, had no way to follow through with any of his policy propositions even if elected. As was the experience of many people this election season, pointing that out online led to “unfriending” and “unfollowing.”

The American left has always been drawn to shiny notions of hope sparkling from the depths of uncertainty. It's a blessing and a curse. The danger beyond the obvious susceptibility to a ruse is that, with each consecutive empty-handed plunge, a bit of anti-Americanism tends to rise to the surface. Divisions grow and not just the ones between party ideology. People who share 90% of the same political views as you can become "part of the problem." 

Then, no less than 24hrs of Trump clinching the nomination, my inbox was flooded with inquiries along the lines of, “What the fuck do we do now?!” and “Will you please start writing again!” The very people who had rage quit following me on social media were now asking me to provide an analysis of the moment. What vindication and validation! It felt exquisite. It also felt too late. I didn’t know what to say, what to write. At the moment, setting the cap lock and proclaiming WE'RE ROYALY FUCKED was, by all metrics, completely appropriate. 

I could easily have written posts calling out Trump's lies and mocking his hair or tiny hands. I hesitated. My disdain for the man runs far deeper than that. Besides, for over two years now, “think” pieces roasting the mogul have been going viral across the web. It was also pointed out to me by a frothing troll that nothing I write is true or worth a damn because I only have around 400 Twitter followers. Perhaps that's right. When journalists are the enemy of the state, and the president gets a pass to lie daily on Twitter, it really does start to feel like post-modernism is actually a thing and the truth belongs solely to the victor of a popularity contest. In this brave new world, starting my career focusing on global politics was an amateurish mistake. In retrospect, I should have built a base audience with a hard-hitting combo of screaming goat videos and listicles. Or better yet, listicles of screaming goat videos. Hindsight is always a bitch!

After replying to each message I received in kind, I setup a Facebook page for a third party, The Millennial Party. It was sort of  a mental Tums. A necessary reaction to a growing internal discomfort. Do I have the patience and time to follow through with it? Probably not. While I stand by the principles put forth, albeit lofty,  it's a difficult thing to keep up with when you're living off a freelancer's income. The hustle is a time sucking specter. Whether or not a revamped leftist Tea Party of sorts is merely shrapnel from my exploding brain, or merely a fist swinging in the air, it seems like something worth considering. Whatever the case, the page is still there. Not sure what will become of it, but that’s a different story.

What’s the point of this ramble? I’m not sure. Over the first two weeks of Trump's presidency satire lost its bite. Much of the media crumbled under the assault and inability to find grounding in facts. As Trump rolls out draconian and unconstitutional executive orders, resistance grows evermore necessary. That's why the protests haven't stopped. They won't. But keep in mind, the left is once again in reactionary mode. That's ok... for while. But if we're going to accomplish a damn thing, it takes much more than being pissed off. It's time to reclaim the flage, this time in the image of our America. Lets fill the halls of government with people who share our values. The Anti-American sentiment that often rises from the fringe left has no place in an real revolutionary thought; it's simply the product of another predominantly lazy white group of assholes, the so-called anarchists. Smashing windows is what Trump wants you to do. Instead of destroying America -- we must protect it. We must protect it from the state! That's why I will get off my ass and continue to write. That said, a living wage would be nice.