Graced with hindsight, the aforementioned warning bells were now deafening. I thought back to 2008 & 2009 and the dozens of conversations with people so disgusted with "the system" that they’d rather blow it up than have it maim them any further. I remembered the conversations in Peru: warning people, to their semi-arrogant “progressive’ amusement, that Trump was a threat. And that one should never underestimate or bet against willful 'merican ignorance.
“Americans can’t be that stupid!”
“Have you met and socialized with many “real” Americans? The ones who don’t travel around Latin America staying in youth hostels? Yes. They most certainly can.”
What I omitted because I’d largely forgotten or chosen to ignore: "Especially when a tendency toward willful ignorance combines with being socially marginalized while watching their perceived world view and hope for the future rot out from beneath them as liberals whine about sixty special pronouns and birds who've stopped fucking."
So, having known and written about that for years, what happened? How was I so gullible and blind for the last 9-months? How was I blindsided by the election? It wasn’t hard to figure out. The echo chamber. The bubble. Which ever term you choose, I’d sequestered myself away, necessarily, to be fair (much more on this coming), and let my bubble dwelling congregation and their ideological evangelists convince me not to trust my own eyes, ears, and hard-earned organic observations. I’d trusted electronic eyes even though I knew better and despite the fact that, for years, I’d not only almost always been proven right but typically lightyears ahead of the curve. I sniffed the Tea Party in 2008, before it formed the following year. Then in 2009 I predicted a “conservative backlash that will make the Bush years seem like Camelot.”
"Idealism has its place, but when it's guided by those refusing to leave books, statistical studies, or think tanks; refusing to leave their Bubbles of Theoretical Abstraction, it's doomed. When its engine is driven by the economic elite or trust fund babies, who have little idea what it's like to struggle to feed a family and have never experienced poverty beyond documentaries or a sheltered charity adventure trip, it's doomed. When those who drive an ideology believe that a college indoctrination program alone has made them "wise," it's doomed and destined to fall prey to the aforementioned conservative backlash that I guarantee you is brewing just beneath the surface."Here it is. In all its Cheeto-tinted glory.
"It's easy to tout high ideals when you have a security blanket and nothing tangible to lose by telling others how they must live. There is a reason that most conservative minded people (nothing to do with Republicanism) come from the lower income brackets. When the job that could be lost due to activist or governmental influence is yours, and your children could go hungry as a result, you tend to care less about "birds fucking." History has shown that this makes even libertarian minded independents susceptible to the influence of whack jobs like Limbaugh & Palin because politicians are professional exploiters of emotion. And what's their alternative? There is no other alternative. Liberals seem to think that the sword with which they vanquished John McCain, disgust, cannot be turned on them. Get back to me in a few years; the next cycle is going to make the Bush years look like Camelot."-August, 2009
Yet despite all that, I’d still let the liberal bubble fanatics convince me that I was probably just being paranoid; maybe it was me who was delusional. Or, my favorite: that I was just cynical.
While that assessment's accurate, it’s also insufficient. Most of it was my fault. And mine alone. A quixotic part of me just simply wanted to “believe”. Sure, I knew better yet naively clung to the hope that, unlike a filthy mob (another earlier realization: the Internet and its echo chambers turning the nation into two antithetical couch-based mobs) frothing themselves into a fanatical lather in Nuremberg my countrymen couldn’t be conned, hypnotized, and manipulated by a dime store fascist demagogue and his scapegoating xenophobic, populist rhetoric. Again ignoring my own inclinations, I also clung to faith in our fundamental institutions. I still wanted to believe the system would ultimately correct itself and that truth and reason mattered.
Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? You won’t.
Rolling up the frost covered bivy and drinking Love's freaky flavored coffee, I wasn’t pondering electoral votes or Hated Hillary’s campaign missteps. I was tabulating a long list of long overdue fuck yous.
Hearing Shirer again, I instinctively knew that votes wasted on Jill "The Vulture" Stein and Bernie Sanders write-ins played a significant role in Trump's win. So, near the top of my "fuck you" list: “protest” voters. I mention this not only to lash out (again), although I confess: it still feels justified and pleasantly cathartic! More applicably, I was hitchhiking to North Dakota. “Protest voting” “water protectors” were bound to resemble an oblivious plague of granola chewing locust up at Standing Rock. I no longer wanted anything to do with them. Trump’s election absolutely doomed their “cause” and there was no way could I muster the tolerance required to politely listen to absurd attempts to square an “awareness raising’ circle while simultaneously rationalizing a wasted vote for Sanders or The She Vulture. Elections matter, dipshits. More than narcissistic “statements”. The only statements made on November 8th rhyme with “President Trump”.
In the interest of developing a sense of literary brevity, allow me the indulgence of a realtime practice edit: “fuck those protesters”. Looking at 4-years of Donald Trump with two years of a Republican controlled Congress, I was just as likely to beat one bloody and piss in his kale-eating “protest vote” rationalizing mouth as join in a self-loathing white apologist drum circle. No, Standing Rock would have to fade into Occupy oblivion without me. I’m sure they were devastated.
It would be a complicated, sporadic, and extended process but November 9 was the quiet beginning of a self-excommunication from The Church of Fart Sniffing American Liberalism. It began in earnest later. The more pressing issue: both my mind and soul were suddenly tattered and I needed to decide whether or not to immediately abort this suddenly polluted trip. One that was taking me directly into Trump territory; a part of Americana that was now almost certainly experiencing that metaphorical 4-hour redneck erection!