I see the post-RNC convention poll bounce, I read the miles of raging, patently insane comments on the Facebook pages of radical right Senate candidates, I shudder under the deluge of relentless propaganda, I watch protesters and innocent black civilians get murdered at the hands of fascist racist cops, I hear Trump supporters talk about COVID in the past tense even while another 3,000 Americans die to it during his convention, and I think, I can’t. It’s too much. It’s too much. There is too much madness, too much hate, too much pure insanity, I can’t, it’s too much.
And I have a day of weakness, a day where I’m beaten. I retreat into games and books and the loving arms of my family. I have a chance conversation with someone else in the fight, who’s scared like I am, and somehow it reinvigorates me. I have a conversation with my niece who has suddenly become politically aware, who doesn’t buy this BS for a minute and is talking to her other high school friends, and it stirs hope. I see two baseball teams refuse to play their game, leaving the field empty but for a Black Lives Matter flag laid across home plate, and I find courage.
I remember what it means to speak out.
I remember what it means to be an AMERICAN.
I find a wellspring of rage.
This gibbering, fanatical horde, this subscriber base of madness–they’re terrifying. They’re powerful. They’re cheating. They’ll do anything to win.
But we don’t have to let them.
They use COVID to their own ends, knocking doors when decency holds us back, holding massive rallies to whip up frenzy when our common decency for our fellow human beings keeps us from even meeting 6 to a room. They gut the post office so our votes won’t be counted, expecting that our fear of COVID will keep us home on election day, and I realize –
Yes, I’m scared.
But I am also FURIOUS.
How dare they? How dare they take what was actually great about this country and pervert it? How dare they spit on us, gaslight us, lie about us, all while we keep stupidly trying to have a conversation?
I’m done talking with them. I’m done caring what they think.
We are in a war for the future of this country.
Yes, a war.
I hate to use that word. It carries awful implications. I don’t use it lightly. I’ve avoided it for three and a half years.
But you can’t win a war you won’t admit you’re fighting, and it’s time to admit we are in a war for the future of this nation. That’s not just some lofty ideal. That is a very real phenomenon with very real impacts. It will determine whether you are allowed to speak your mind without being attacked. Whether you can safely walk the streets with brown skin or a Democratic tote bag. Whether you can survive the global pandemic. Whether the planet we live on survives for our grandchildren or dies in fire.
THIS IS A WAR. And the stakes are the greatest they have ever been.
Are you making calls for a Democratic candidate? No? WHY THE HELL NOT?
Are you contributing as much as you can? No? WHY THE HELL NOT?
Are you scared, are you curled into the fetal position? I get it. Believe me, I do.
But you aren’t alone. WE ARE IN THE MAJORITY. But they are so good at lying, so good at making us feel like shit and at spreading terror, that they’ve tricked us into giving up.
We have to fight. We have to get out of our comfort zones. They are laughing at me as I type this – literally, I see their little mocking laughter emojis popping up on another post of mine where I dared to speak out, and every single one makes me angrier.
These people are destroying our country and destroying our lives.
Are we mice?
Or are we Americans?
An old man walks to a podium in a silent room. There are no crowds. There is no applause. The nation he loves has been reduced to this: lonely and distant, sickened, cut off from its allies and friends. He can speak to his countrymen only through the camera lens, and so he begins, fighting the feeling that he is speaking only to himself.
Imagine the fear. The vertigo. The disorientation of a 77-year-old who has spent his life in front of cheering crowds, forced now to speak to an empty chamber.
Yet he does it.
He rises to the moment, because he must.
Is he the right person? Did the voters who chose him make the right decision? The questions are academic now, consigned to the judgment of history. He is the nominee. There is no going back.
He speaks in this alien room, this macabre reflection of the country he loves. He addresses a nation that is nearly unrecognizable to itself, bleeding and burning and alone. And he extends compassion.
He extends empathy.
He extends hope.
He delivers them like he has found us in the desert, and we receive them as if he is dripping water into our parched mouths. As if we have forgotten the taste of moisture and sustenance. We lap them up and feel our strength slowly recover, our muscles slowly loosen. And when we are able, at last, to stand again, he reminds us that we are Americans.
And what that means.
He reminds us that we have beaten this particular enemy before. That we are a nation of immigrants, of diversity – that it is not our weakness, but our strength. He reminds us – this old man, this stuttering, feeble creature – how to stand in defiance.
He is weak and old, just like his country – yet the fire still burns. His love for his nation, for the dreams of its highest ideals. You can hear it in every word, see it in his eyes.
He is not done. Despite his age, despite his weakness, he will not quit the fight. Will not end his defiance. Will not simply allow the nation he loves to slip into oblivion.
And as our will floods back into us, as we realize with crushing relief that this man is equal to the challenge, we realize:
Neither will we.
I swear social media is some kind of malicious worldwide experiment to kill people’s ability to feel joy.
I experience the following several times a day: See an image or read a story or watch a video that makes me laugh. Lightens my day. Dispels a tiny part of the permanent cloud of darkness over my head. I scroll on, still smiling, riding the high, and am immediately accosted with death, agony, or hatred. Perhaps all 3. I freeze with this fucking grin on my face staring at the worst, most caustic shit the world can throw at me. Genocide, murder, rape. While I smile.
I am so, so tired of it. The emotional whiplash. The punishment for feeling an instant of happiness. Just the sheer trickery of it.
You want to talk about a social media algorithm? How about one that fucking *warns you*? How about one that puts the good shit together and the bad shit together, and is like, “Brace yourself, this next part is awful, but it’s important you know it,” instead of just an endless jack-in-the-box alternating between flippant stupidity and soul-rending awfulness? Logging on is just an exercise in psychotic emotional manipulation, from start to finish. I close that fucking window and feel like my mind has been raked with hot coals.
Impeachment is the right course of action, it is long overdue, and I’m happy to see it start. This guy literally walked into the office with impeachable offenses hanging around his neck in the form of businesses he refused to divest from, and it has only escalated from there.
The conduct unbecoming of the office is impeachable. The multiple obstruction of justice charges are impeachable. The collusion with Russia is impeachable. Stealing money from the military is impeachable. Ignoring multiple court orders is impeachable. Creating concentration camps for children is impeachable.
This latest thing is just that – the latest thing. Personally I hope the final articles are a mile long and list every infraction for which he deserves removal, but I understand that may not be the smartest move politically. I also understand the odds of the Senate voting to convict are slim to none… but it’s early days. Very early.
If nothing else, I hope every single minute of what is sure to be a long, painful impeachment investigation leaves him sick and sweating bullets.