In case it happens; or what to do with the rest of your life.
Remember “Resist to Exist?” Four years ago after the “Could Never Happen” happened? Can’t blame you for memory lapse. So sure that Hillary would win (she did win the actual votes by more than 3 million) the election on that glorious night, so confident that a con man clown would never accede to the Oval Office, that I staged a Hillary Victory party in my trendy Chicago loft in River North, a converted Montgomery Ward warehouse overhanging Goose Island, a man-made “island” created by digging a canal along the Chicago River. The dredged silt, river bed, rocks and bones of unnamed corpses formed what’s now Goose Island, which today is undergoing major retail and housing re-development.
That evening, now forever seared in infamy in the karma-lized area of my brain, we prepared to celebrate America’s first woman President-elect. No, Hillary wasn’t perfect; but damn she was perfectly qualified to be a Commander in Chief, a President for all Americans, even those “deplorables” she so unfortunately (accurately?) and regrettably described. I’d even made a goofy YouTube ad for her with the help and urging of a California niece. As guests arrived and settled I began serving hors d’oeuvres of apricot ricotta honey basil bites, goat cheese stuffed peppadews and clam toasts with pancetta. Wine poured from amusing bottles of Chateau D’Yquem 2015 Premier Grand Cru Sauternes and for our beer lovers chilled pints of Brewdog’s End of History, a blond Belgian ale mixed with nettles and juniper berries from the Scottish highlands and then freeze-distilled multiple times. (This is how Libs nosh (snack) & sip (drink), right, tRumpers? Chicken wings, chips and onion dip? Not really.)
Polls closed. Early returns dribbling in. Trump leads in predictable southern strongholds. Hillary slightly behind in some swing states like Wisconsin. Hmmm, turnout slightly under expected in Dem strongholds like Detroit and Milwaukee. Refills all around; pass the foie gras. Not for worry. Returns now cascading across the networks. Uh, Trump picking up states and electoral votes. Hillary loses Ohio..still ok..wait..Florida called for Trump? And Pennsylvania, no, no, Michigan too? Not Wisconsin! Yup. The silence of shock is palpable. What the fcuk? The Grand Cru Sauterne is surprisingly warm, sour. Suddenly the stuffed peppadews and clam toasts taste dangerous. It’s only 10 pm damnit. Trump declared winner. Party over. (Damn you Jill Stein!)
Four years. Four long years.. of the pussy grabber separating and caging immigrant children from their parents, spewing daily mouthfuls of orange-faced lies, ridiculous exaggerations, theft, nepotism, xenophobia, cheating, misogyny, bullying, paying off a porn star, denial of collusion with Russia to win the election, kiss-assing the planet’s worst dictators, climate change denial, right wing judicial appointments, blasphemous treatment of the Bible for political and violent gain, racist encouragement of white supremacy terrorists, shredding the fabric of our democratic institutions and threatening the democracy that is our national foundation and heritage. And nearly a year of mismanagement and denial of a pandemic which so far has killed more than 220,000 Americans.
That’s a lot of damage in just under four years. And we could be looking at another four years.
Now, one day before the voting stops. No victory party this time. In fact we’ve left Chicago for Michigan, where our votes have a chance of being meaningful. Polls are positive today, one day before the election. Nervous as a Trump appointee raising his hand to swear (sweat) to tell the truth before a congressional investigative hearing. Will be pacing in front of the TV. No guests. Some good weed. Bud LIght. Cheap wine (Trump?) Bag of chips and 7-11 onion dip.
One day to go. A calm sense of serenity and perverse acceptance. Like a condemned innocent in the hours before the walk to the gallows.
If it happens again, if the tyrant is given a reprieve and returned to rule another four years, where do we go from this day on. Preparing myself for the worst. He sneaks by legitimately or foments a civil war to prop himself up as Despot for Life.
How long can the Resistance carry on? America is tired and weary. Many will just give in, accept the horror and try to adjust. Others will keep the fires of the Resistance burning. Regardless of which coping mechanism one chooses here are some ideas to maintain a semblance of mental health, stability, composure, achievement and happiness. Assuming we don’t have a civil war.
• Learn a second (or another) language. Will come handy if you immigrate to another country.
• Immigrate to another country. And learn another language.
• Write a novel. Hell, if Trump can be president you can at least write a sucky novel.
• Learn to play a musical instrument. I recommend the ukulele if you have no musical ability. After a while you will.
• Fall in love. For the first time or again. With your already-loved one or someone new (if your already-loved one doesn’t love you).
• If you’re a parent with young children teach them about the real history of America (buy a copy of The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn), the Constitution, democracy. Before we forget it all.
• Travel across the U.S. by yourself or with your family. Maybe take off a year if you can afford it and see as much of America you can.
• And lastly: do all or some of the above no matter who wins.