This is a thing I started writing a while ago that never got finished. It felt less important, or less urgent, or too depressing. Instead I’ve been writing West Wing fan fiction and existential hockey dread and the start of a weird romance novel about fake Nate Silver. Yeah, that last thing was a weird life choice, I don’t even know, I’ll probably be embarrassed about telling you that tomorrow, but there will be a lot things to worry about tomorrow. I’m taking the GRE on Thursday. I’m going to have to ask for letters of recommendation really soon. When I get anxious I physically make myself sick. The goal is to get to the end of the week without throwing up. I’m crying while I write this because I talked to my best friend on the phone and she was so kind to me, and I wish the rest of the world could be that kind.
So here is our big thesis, the thing I’m holding onto right now, the part I wrote last month:
A Trump presidency would not be the end of the world. It would be terrible, but we would have to keep going. No matter what happens, we will have to keep struggling.
As the election cycle has dragged on there has been an increase in apocalyptic rhetoric coming from liberals. The horror of a Trump presidency has been built into a final defeat, the end of everything. There’s been a pervasive sense that it would be the worst thing to ever happen, and nothing we could ever recover from.
Bullshit. This sort of catastrophizing doesn’t do anyone any good.
I grew up under the Bush regime, and have felt disenfranchised from politics as long as I can remember. I grew up in a radical progressive community. Everyone i knew was always protesting something. The war, road construction that cut down old trees, there was always something wrong with the world, with the government. I remember being very young and going along, agreeing with this as much as i could. I was raised a part of the legacy of radicalism.
I still feel disenfranchised with a liberal democrat in office. Better, because Obama seems like a cool dude, and Hillary is certainly a better choice than an actual fascist. but we still need to protest. We still need to move politicians towards really caring about people instead of politics. There was an interview on Politically Reactive, I think it was with Shaun King talking about Black Lives Matter and how in Obama’s second term activism did more to move him, that there needs to be people in office who listen, and people in the streets shouting about what’s happening.
Even electing a competent mostly benevolent commander in chief doesn’t mean we could shut up, or trust the government.
Imagine the activism that comes from a Trump presidency. Imagine the protests. Imagine the punk rock albums. American Idiot changed my whole life. Like, think about The Great Depression by Defiance, Ohio. Fucking killer album. Imagine the liberal television fantasy administration. Imagine the Colbert clips. He’d kill it. I don’t want to live in that world, but I know that no matter the outcome of the election we will still make a world. It will be scary, and hard, but we can do it. We can keep going.
Beautiful things come out of struggle. Think of protest music, and punk rock, and god, Regan did terrible things for the country, but we have American Hardcore as a result. We have ACT UP, and A Normal Heart, and Angels in America. I would rather have my godfather to have lived, but those are some great plays. Whatever happens we will make noise, and make art, and do what we can to make the world a better place in any small way.
We can do all that with Hillary as president too, and it will probably be easier, because the arts will be at least slightly better funded. But we need to remember that a Trump presidency is not the end of the world.
It would not be an opportunity to give up. It would be a reason to get louder and bolder than ever. It isn’t an incitement I want to live through, but if it comes to that, I’ll be here, fighting back with words and art and everything I have.
I worry that Hillary were to win liberals would get comfortable. It would be easy to back away, say, “Thank god it’s a Democrat,” and not question how she handles surveillance and cyber warfare and drone warfare. Is the way Trump would handle this be worse? Absolutely, yes, but we’ll fight him on that.
That’s what I wrote last month. Now that doesn’t seem as serious of a concern. I would be happy to say, “Thank god it’s a Democrat,” because I would be happy to not be crying tonight.
When I talked to my best friend on the phone, appalled that Minnesota was too close to call, she reminded me that we have Keith Ellison, the first muslim in congress, was re-elected tonight. His son went to my high school, and I believe in him. Ilhan Omar was elected the first Somali-American legislator tonight, in the district next to mine, where my best friend lives. We have Al Franken, who used to write for SNL, then was inspired to carry on Paul Wellstone’s legacy by becoming a politician. We have Guante, who’s an activist and an inspiration, who came into the bookstore where I volunteer today and asked about consigning his book. I follow the former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak on twitter and sometimes he writes haikus.There are people I believe in who are going to continue to do good things.
I got sick of the MSNBC and switched over The Daily Show, and Trevor Noah and Keegan-Michael Key are talking about how they’re going to have to figure out how to satirize this. Right now it’s hard because it’s all very emotional, but they’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out, when we get over the shock.
I’ll take the GRE on Thursday, and I’ll do well on the useful parts and horrid on the math, and that should be good enough. I’ll find a way to ask for letters of recommendation. I’ll get in somewhere, I hope. Want to hear the backup life plan for if I don’t get into grad school, that so far only my girlfriend has heard? She doesn’t think it’s a great plan, and it isn’t, but I needed to have a fallback to have a direction in my life. If I don’t get into grad school I’m going to try stand up comedy. That’s a pretty good joke right there.
I’m not crying anymore, for a moment at least. Tomorrow is going to suck. Thursday is going to suck. I have to work Friday, and that will suck. The Wild play the Flyers on Saturday, and I expect that to suck. Lots of things are terrible all of the time. Lots of things are not terrible. There are books to read, and movies, and good tv shows. Living well is the best revenge. Do everything you can for people who are hurting. Do everything you can to make the world better. Be kind. Fight back. Survive.
This isn’t the end of the world if we don’t let it be the end of the world. Don’t accept the apocalypse. Keep going.
That’s all I have for tonight. Writing this made me feel better enough that I’ll be able to fall asleep as well as I ever can. That’s still pretty poorly, but that’s fine, I’ll still wake up in the morning.