August 01, 2016

Asteroid Trump

I tried very hard folks, I honestly did. My five years of writing in this space without resorting to talk about Trump come to an end today. (ok, ok. I kind of did before, but at least didn't use his name).

Considering that yours truly used to take silly pride in not having the need to wade into the slimy, polarizing, inebriating, shallow, pontificating, and (above all) utterly futile world of "Let-me-shout-to-the-socialmediaverse-my-political-leanings-while-attempting-to-persuade-my-opponents-that-my-political-views-are-the-right-ones", this post is kind of embarrassing.

The Author taking pride among friends about NOT talking about Trump

Even as entire ecosystems literally collapse decades before predictions (and devastate the communities linked to them) as I type this; even as the Russian permafrost thaws --unleashing into the atmosphere anthrax spores that had been frozen there for decades; even as there's a massive die off of starfish (a marine keystone species, mind you) going on right now from Alaska to Baja California, and this year being the hottest on record (yet again), nothing feels as apocalyptic as Asteroid Trump. The choke-hold that this moronically mesmerizing political campaign has had over the collective conscience of the U.S. --and over the world, really-- has been ruthless . Save for the equally painful short spell of Pokemon Go coverage that flooded the news cycle for one dull, agonizing week, the theatrics of this political reality media circus have dominated every waking hour of our lives to the point of nausea.

The horror of being ruled by a narcissistic megalomaniac has finally set in. First, they ignored him. Then, they (we!) laughed at him. Then, they attacked him. Now, they've (we've?) gone full chicken little. Evidently, they (me included) didn't see it coming. Just like they didn't see Brexit coming. It's not like no one warned about the festering problems in the world. The time bomb was ticking, but few were paying attention. Now, The Donald is the giant middle finger that a huge portion of the U.S. population is giving the "elites" (a.k.a. the "establishment") for failing them so miserably. And just like Brexit was a self-inflicted wound perpetrated by a frustrated electorate looking for revenge against a semi-abstract enemy (east-European "foreigners"), the angry mob this side of the pond is rooting for the orange asshole because they want the head of the political class on the proverbial stake. They want to napalm the crap out of Washington with a short-fingered, unloved millionaire Molotov cocktail of anger. Even if that means bringing a clueless sociopath to the oval office whose strategy is to default on U.S. debt to repurchase it at lower levels.

Now, the impending doom is palpable. Asteroid Trump is in collision trajectory and no amount of Democrat attacks, Republican rebukes, or cowardly lukewarm veiled criticisms seem to make his followers "understand" that this individual is a real danger. Ok. Maybe they do understand. But when you're blinded with rage, rationality goes out the window, which is precisely what mainstream (old and new) media has finally realized about The Donald's supporters at this point.

Irrational? You bet. Stupid? Perhaps. Unjustified? Not so sure. Bernie was definitely on to something when he made the U.S.' crushing inequality the single most important element of his campaign. The electorate's tantrum, fueled by their own personal economic depressions, is on course to drive us into the precipice of rule by a protofascist, racist, bigot, nativistmegalomaniac, hateful individual with the mere promise to "shake things up". Those disenfranchised people rooting for him must feel so damned dispossessed, lost and impotent (stripped of their manly identity, even) with their current economic situation that they're willing to let shit hit the fan with the hope of getting a regime change.

Guess some people react to instigators; others, to motivators.

And all I hear is "but hey, there's no reason to be angry about the economy, I mean, unemployment is at its lowest since the Great Recession, the price of gas is at its lowest in many, many years, criminality is going down, why are these people falling for that disgusting individual?"

Well, because that age-old adage is still true: all politics is local. 

One individual manufacturing worker will go to the streets to protest NAFTA because he lost his job due to a plant relocation to Monterrey, Mexico, but you won't see a bunch of people resort to activism to advocate for free trade because they're able to buy cheaper avocados in their neighborhood supermarket. I mean, don't get me wrong, avocados are awesome, but they're just not the stuff people is willing to block streets and be thrown in jail for. And when you're told that the national crime rate is going down, try to reconcile that with the fact that if you're a New Orleanian, you face the same odds of being killed as if you lived in Honduras. Or those of El Salvador if you live in Detroit (Seriously.)

So, when I see that spot in the firmament called Asteroid Trump in collision course towards earth, I fear. Not because this is the fault of fake-haired caricature who inhabits a world in which he gets to pick how much he's worth today based on the intangible value of his last name (US GAAP's allow you to accrue that --seriously) so he can brag about it; but because the conditions that produced him, Bernie Sanders, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the spike in the number of new KKK local chapters will linger well past the presidency of the first female POTUS -or, God forbid, President Donald Trump.