Last night I watched the penultimate episode of the latest season of Homeland. In this episode, we learn an army of fake social media bots are trying to take down a newly elected female president elect. We see a Bannon-like character spewing lies and vitriol, enraging a base to violent protest. For a moment, I could envision a world in which Hilary Clinton had won. Was she doomed? Would her presidency have enraged the alt-right base to such an extreme that protest and violence would characterize our nation and cripple congress?
I’m not a political scientists or even a descent pundit. But I know how I felt watching that episode. I had the same sense of doom and anxiety in my gut as election night in November.
In no sense am I saying that I wish Trump had won. SO FAR FROM IT. But I fear that our world is currently set up for political strife and contention. Social media is the law of the land. It’s how we stay in touch and communicate. And people (and nations) have figured out how to weaponize it. Gutting the filibusterer, the Senate is making it easier to ignore dual-party consensus and govern by fiat. Urban dwellers forget that many of us live hours from a large airport — not to mention an Ikea — fundamentally changing how people see their life’s prospects.
But an equally important component are complacent politicians, largely without morals or a backbone. From Nunes to McConnell, Republican Congressmen and Senators are blatantly ignoring evidence that Russia meddled in our election, perhaps with Trump campaign coordination. Beyond foreign interference, they are ignoring what a shitty human Trump is. I just finished reading a reflection by David Fahrenthold of his Pulitzer-prize winning year covering Trump. Trump was gross — claiming to give to charities when he never did; talking about assaulting women with Billy Bush; lying and pivoting and attacking the media at every turn to change the story. I tell my kids not to use the word, but I hate Trump. And Fahrenthold reminded me why. Trump drummed up the worst in people and relied on foreign powers for a win. He shamelessly trudges on with no vision or passion. He wanted supreme power. And he thinks he got it.
What keeps me going now is fury, passion, and a hope for something better. I am enraged daily by news reports. Bombing Syria and putting our nation at risk. School shootings. The opioid crisis. Gutting the social safety net. Attacking women and women’s rights. Ignoring the facts of climate change.
So I think of Clinton and the challenges she did and likely would have faced. I suffer with occasional pits in my stomach. I try to find the time and energy to keep fighting a manufactured agenda with a base much smaller than I think we all imagine.