People started hitting me up last night long before the concession. Messages came through all night while I slept and this morning.
One friend suggested that perhaps I was culpable in some small way for this – me and people like me – for not just getting onboard the Clinton train unreservedly and unambiguously and putting my reservations and ambiguity aside until after the election. And today I am haunted by the idea that he might be right, that I could have done more.
But as I told him: “Have I ever given you the impression, in all the years you’ve known me, that this would be the way I’d handle that?”
Perhaps I could have done more, but I’m not sure I could have done any different. The only way I really matter in the world is that I tell the truth as I understand it. I might be wrong, my conclusions may be erroneous, but I never lie about them. That’s all I have.
And let’s face it, would anybody have really believed me if I’d done an about face after the primary and told you I had no doubts about Hillary Clinton? You would have known I was full of shit.
But that’s not what people were mostly asking me about in those messages. They were asking me variations on the same question: what do we do now?
I was not in any way exaggerating the consequences I believe this election will have on America. I think that unless something completely unforeseeable happens, this country is going to fall, or begin to fall, under this president. The only way I see around that is if Donald Trump completely reverses every position he claimed to hold during the election.
The fact that this is not entirely out of the realm of possibility is almost as unnerving as the likelihood that he won’t.
I think that the political reality is that progressives and liberals are going to be in a body cast for the next two years at least and probably the next four. With a majority Congress and a President and at least one Supreme Court nominee, the Republicans are ascendant. This election was a revolution, it turns out – just not the one that people like me were hoping for.
I’m gonna be really blunt here: I’m writing most of you political folks off now. Political activism only works if you can effect change, and the government is going to ignore you entirely now, because they know they can.
The dominant American voter base today are triumphant regressives who hate you. They do. They hate you. They did not elect Trump because they love you and simply think your ideas were well-intentioned but misguided. They want to punish you. They could not have made that any clearer. Do you really think they’re going to call their leaders to intervene at Standing Rock? Or be outraged when the next black boy ends up on the street face down? They are indifferent to the Natives and they hate and fear the black boys, and they will not stand in the way when these people are shoved face down into the mud. They might even get a boot on your back.
(The Libertarians probably won’t, but they won’t lend a hand, either. The Libertarians are pointless selfish shitheads whose only value to society is dealing weed and making DC Comics rich off licensed Guy Fawkes mask sales. You a Libertarian? Yeah, I’m looking right at you when I speak. Your candidate was a fucking carnival geek and so were you for voting for him. Go build a floating pirate island somewhere out of remaindered paperback copies of The Wealth Of Nations, and don’t forget to go fuck yourself as you climb aboard the SS Galtcock. Wankers.)
Ahem. Where was I?
So where does that leave us? Armed insurrection? Sheeeeeeeeeit. Most of you people throw a temper tantrum if the olive in your bacon martini isn’t free trade. Six hours in the mud in a secret camp out in the woods and you’d give the revolution’s position away by calling an Uber to roll bounce the fuck out. You’d go full Weathermen and let Tyler the unemployed MFA grad student try to wire up the bombs because his mixtape was lit af. (Spoiler alert: explosion and splattering noises.) You could use the Black Bloc as your footsoldiers, but that would only net you a decisive victory against Starbucks picture windows and anybody who happened to be downwind of them.
(Public service announcement, Black Bloc: it’s hard to effectively smash the state when the state knows you’re coming from a mile away by the reek of dirt weed and stank ass coming off your Crass hoodie. You know what Bakunin liked as much as collective choice? Bathing.)
But that’s a good thing, because violence begets violence, and hipster jihad would end very badly not just for Them but for Us. Robespierre’s severed head could have told you that with its last breath as it lay in the guillotine basket.
Where does this leave us then, if we’re politically neutered and we’re leaving those Blue Dawn fantasies abandoned at the Crazytown bus station?
It turns out that there’s a lot you can do to sabotage people by moving money around… or not moving it. It also turns out that most of the people who voted for Trump live in economically precarious places whose lifeline relies upon consumption of their goods by people in urban areas. Very few of them make anything anymore. They grow food and they sell each other Arby’s sandwiches. They’re angry because they feel like we’ve ignored them for a long time.
I think it would be deeply funny if we devoted our strict attention to them for a while.
Imagine what would happen if you stopped buying produce from grocery stores and only bought it from farmer’s markets in your own city, from local producers. Even better: grow your own food. It’s not that hard to automate that process and you can do it anywhere, even in the desert. Can’t do it in your own backyard? There are community gardens everywhere. Let’s turn the cities into places not only of consumption but production. Let’s grow our own food on a massive scale. Let’s cripple the farmers who voted for Trump, and then batter the Republicans for trying to sneak white-people welfare through under the guise of “farm subsidies”.
What else? Well, a lot of people are looking at ways to do basic universal income, and some of them are looking at decentralized, non-state-based ways of doing that. Some of them are more realistic than others, but let’s put some effort into solving that problem. Let’s get it working over the next four years.
And then let’s cut them off. Because if it’s not government run it doesn’t have to be for everybody, any more than Mormons have to share their food stocks with hungry non-Mormons if they don’t want to. (And to be fair, they often do.) So let’s give money to people of color and homeless people and people we like, and let the rest of the country slowly realize that the vast majority of that welfare they despise so much, that Daddy Trump is going to get rid of, actually goes into their own communities, not to black welfare queens.
Let’s double down on automating jobs while we’re at it. Let’s spend our savings on solar panels for our houses rather than bling and artisanal food, so we can finally kill the Appalachian coal economy for good. Instead of getting rid of our cars completely, which is unfeasible, let’s downsize to scooters and motorcycles and create cheap ridesharing systems so that when we need to go to IKEA or Costco, we just rent a truck for fifty bucks once a month to do it, which is still cheaper. Let’s cripple the oil companies.
Let’s make a deliberate decision to support people who by choice or by necessity leave the wage economy and try to make a living creatively. Consider them beta testers for the new economy that’s coming. Stop telling them they’re unrealistic. Thinking that the traditional model of employment is going to endure is the actual unrealistic thing.
Most of all, let’s turn our back on the bullshit American Dream that we’re all going to live lives of luxury and prosperity any day now. Stop investing in corporations and start investing in people. Don’t buy real estate as an investment, because protecting that investment often leads you to unintentionally inflict a lot of horror on other people. Buy a house to live in it until you die. Invest in fixing it up not to flip it, but so that your children have a beautiful place to grow up in and live in and pass down to their children.
Stop buying new cars – you don’t need one and the five year warranty ends up costing you more in interest and full coverage insurance alone than if you bought a used car and paid a mechanic to get it into perfect condition. Hell, spend your weekends learning to fix your own car with a Chilton’s manual and YouTube sitting next to you.
Learn to build your own furniture. It’s cheaper and fun. Be okay with having cinderblock bookshelves and pine tables. Build makerspaces to share resources and knowledge. Cook your own food. Fix things that break instead of replacing them.
Stop giving a shit about looking prosperous. Stop acting like a temporarily embarrassed millionaire. It’s scary, but you’ll dig it after a while.
And let’s protect each other. If Trump outlaws abortions, let’s figure out ways to get women to safe places elsewhere they can have it done. Let’s start sending people across the border to buy medicine cheap for their friends and families. Let’s start building underground railroads to help queer kids get out of their hateful small towns and into places where they will be not only accepted but celebrated. Let’s volunteer to protect our Muslim friends and our black friends and our trans friends and their places of worship and community. Let’s abhor the fact that we might need to watch out for a lot of our lady friends and keep them safe from being grabbed by the pussies, but let’s do it anyway.
To paraphrase Batman: We’re not going to kill the people who last night chose the path our country is on now, but we don’t have to save them, either. We can save the people who need and deserve saving, though, now more than ever, and by doing so, we can save ourselves. Because they are us.
The time for dank memes and shitposting is done. The time for hearts and minds is done. We’ve lost those. The time for hitting the bricks and getting our hands dirty and organizing ourselves not to protest or petition but to just get shit done is at hand.
Start today. I am. Channel your fear into decision: I’m not going to wait until tomorrow to jump in the game anymore. It’s my turn to play.
You will ward the darkness off with your light. You will earn your place in history. You will be heroes, forever and ever.
Right now, it’s time to kick out the jams, motherfuckers.
Are you in?