There are now three more days before the election hammer comes down to smite us all. I’m hoping that hammer won’t be wearing the mangy pelt of a roadkilled ocelot on its head, but we’ll just have to wait and see. (Speaking of roadkill, my running list of Trump epithets has just been updated with some great new ones, including a list of names just for his hair. Check it out, it’s therapeutic!)
Anyway, I haven’t written anything since those amazing debates, and now I feel the need to vent a bit before November 8th, a.k.a. Shitmageddon.
Remember back in May I blathered on and on about how stressful and anxiety-inducing this election is, and how I’ve been cutting back on my news and social media exposure just to keep from spiraling into a state of utter despair?
Well, that didn’t last long.
When the debates began, I felt that same sense of dread and the need for avoidance. But I knew that they were going to be different from past debates, and that somehow they’d go down in history for…something. We’ve never seen something quite like this in our elections before, after all. I figured I could either ignore them and read the highlights later, or just dig in and watch them closely to absorb every bit of detail and context I could. So that’s what I did. And it was fascinating. It was like watching a car crash make sweet, tender love to a train wreck whilst hurtling over a cliff.
I’m not going to rehash all the weird shit that happened in the debates because it’s documented in painful detail in a bajillion other places. But it somehow sucked me back into wanting to keep up on everything that’s happening, because this election will be historic in various ways and I don’t want to be one of those people who says, “Yeah, I just tuned it all out. I knew who I was voting for, I don’t need to hear all that other stuff.” That’s fine for those who still feel that way, I’m intensely interested in watching this from all angles because so much is at stake here. I’m not following the news 24/7, but much more than when I was on my news fast.
I’m still anxious and dreading the final outcome, of course, but I want to be fully present for it…because no matter who wins, there’s going to be some ugly fallout. A Trump win will have repercussions for America we can only begin to fathom. We were in Germany in September, and several times we were asked (not only by Germans) about what we think of the election. The world is watching us very closely, and from what I can tell, the majority of them correctly see Trump as the human embodiment of American ignorance and aggression. If he wins, I think there will be major protests and financial damage, and hopefully there will be a challenge by Clinton due to Trump’s connections with Russia and his efforts to mislead and intimidate Clinton voters with obvious scams. Hey, if Trump is allowed to ignore his promise to accept the outcome, why can’t she?
A Clinton win, however, will be better for America in various ways, including our standing in the world, but I predict there will be a lot of violence. Many Trump voters are rabidly unstable — from everything I’ve been seeing and reading, we’re likely to see riots, bombings, and lynchings by Trump’s discouraged, lemming-like minions who think the election was “rigged.” Right-wing militia/terrorist groups have already burned down black churches and mosques thanks to his hate-mongering, and others have been caught plotting to kill Muslim immigrants with bombs.
WASHINGTON ― Three Kansas men who were allegedly part of a domestic terrorist group called “the Crusaders” were arrested by the FBI on Friday, charged with plotting to carry out an attack on Muslims living in the state.
According to the Department of Justice, the trio allegedly stockpiled firearms, ammunition and explosive materials, and discussed parking four vehicles filled with explosives at the four corners of the apartment complex in order to set off a massive explosion.
Add this to all the armed thugs that Trump has been instructing to show up at polling stations to scare away voters — in the guise of protecting against “voter fraud”, naturally — and you’ve got a recipe for widespread gun violence. Clinton got a lot of hate for her “basket of deplorables” remark, but if the shoe fits… (Side note: of course these guys called themselves The Crusaders. Extremist religious nutjobs like this love pretending they’re valiant destroyers of evil, and Christians especially love military imagery: they’re “soldiers for Christ” using their “swords of God’s light” to fight the “great war against Satan” and all that eyeroll-inducing nonsense.)
Anyway, these are just my predictions and I hope I’m wrong, but I think a lot of people are hyper-polarized enough to cause some real damage out there.
Naturally, much of this polarization is directly related to our reliance on social media for news. After diving back into that cesspool of misinformation and knee-jerk outrage, from what I can see it’s business as usual: Facebook and Twitter continue to be the main vehicles of our intense division, with lying memes and distorted facts blindly accepted as the truth with no critical thinking or basic fact-checking whatsoever.
More people in the United States are now turning to social media instead of traditional media for news. According to Pew Research Center, which surveyed over 4,500 people with various backgrounds, an increasingly number of Americans — 62% to be exact — are getting their news from social media platforms such as Facebook, and Instagram. Of the 62% people, 66% of them get their news from Facebook, 23% from Instagram, 21% from YouTube, and 19% from LinkedIn.
62% is bad enough, but…Instagram? LinkedIn? For fuck’s sake…you may as well get your “facts” from MySpace or Walmart.com. (Another side note: what’s with this sudden trend of using commas to separate only two items? You don’t need to write “Facebook, and Instagram”, just “Facebook and Instagram.” I’ve been seeing this a lot these past few months in articles by people who actually write for a living. #stopthatshitrightnow)
Even when meme-ified lies are utterly debunked, how many people actually do any follow-up or otherwise hear about it? Once you state something on Facebook as a fact, it immediately becomes a truth to certain people who believe everything they’re told, and no amount of retraction or correction will matter to them. Their outrage is instantaneous and disproportionately vicious, and these willfully misinformed morons presumably vote.
It’s goddamn disheartening and depressing to think about, and I’ll likely be taking another holiday from Facebook when all this shit is finally over with.
Let’s face it: social media is addictive. If you won’t/can’t cut back on social media, what to do about your pro-Trump friends who are shitting bigotry and crackpot conspiracies all over your newsfeed? Look at it this way: rational and informed people know that a vote for Trump is a vote against basic humanity. It’s not a matter of Republican vs. Democrat anymore — Trump’s vileness runs so much deeper than that. Ask yourself why you’d want to stay in contact with people who support his perverted “values” and destructive vision for America, then ask yourself what it says about their values and view of the world. You don’t have to cut them out of your life entirely (though in some cases it’s recommended), but why allow them to continue projectile-vomiting their pro-Trump diarrhea in your face on Facebook? Mute or unfriend these people. You don’t deserve their verbal and intellectual abuse. Here’s a great piece about why it’s important to clean house:
…This has absolutely nothing to do with politics (which, quite frankly, is something you should have been able to glean yourself, based on the agreement of a vast number of Republicans). This has to do with a man who is not only unfit for the presidency, but unfit for this country, as he seems to possess an alarming lack of regard for the principles upon which it was founded. And I will not be made to remain friends with people who see his continued attempts at oppression and discrimination as an “inconvenient consequence” of ensuring that their party remain in power.
Because ultimately, if discriminatory practices aren’t a deal-breaker for you, if they don’t inspire in you a pain and an anger so heartbreaking that it leaves you aching for your less-privileged neighbor, then I don’t want to know you. And I shouldn’t have to simply because we shared the same floor freshman year of college.
Luckily I haven’t had to boot anyone from Facebook, which is the one I use the most. The one person I would have had to boot already booted me months ago, and suddenly Facebook seemed like a slightly less awful place to deal with. I do know some people who are likely to vote Trump, including family members, but luckily they don’t discuss it with me. I think they know better. 🙂
Three more days, folks! If I were the religious type I’d be praying like crazy. But since I’m not, I’ll just pour another goblet of wine and hope for the best. Cheers!