09 Nov

Well, fuck, America. I don’t even know what to say. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have to write about THIS. FUCK.

As I begin to write this, the results aren’t quite in yet – mainstream news networks are holding off on calling the result but a Clinton victory is looking more and more impossible. Including in Pennsylvania, where I am from, and where I honestly was shocked to see the level of Trump support but still was not expecting him to win the state (right now they’re still saying it’s too close to call, but Trump is leading).

Never mind that, Hillary Clinton has apparently conceded. Goddamn it. We’re officially in Brexit Mark Two.

(By the time the post was finished he’d won outright anyway. Fuck.)

I’ve been refraining from writing about politics for a long time, despite being somewhat tempted, because I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I started trying to draft a piece on what watching the Trump phenomenon was like, as a male person who has been sexually assaulted (I don’t call myself ‘survivor’ because it was comparatively minor and I was never in danger), but couldn’t finish it. I am also ethnically Jewish – which doesn’t often mean a lot to me, as I’m an atheist, but is starting to feel more and more like it is going to matter (and not in a good way) thanks to all of the anti-Semitic dogwhistling that Trump has been promoting and voicing himself. Let us not forget that of the very few newspaper endorsements Trump received, one was from the Crusader, the official paper of the Ku Klux Klan (because apparently that is still a real thing that exists). This man is a fucking terror. He is a racist, misogynist bully and has already established himself as the sort of person who enjoys taking advantage of his (perceived? actual?) power as a celebrity to do things he would not otherwise get away with. He is also demonstrably a pathological liar. America has just decided to give that person a hell of a lot more power.

Plus the power to make Supreme Court appointments, given to a man who has already promised to find “another Scalia” and claimed he knows of 20 such people (which is almost certainly an exaggeration and a lie, but still, that is the intent he expressed). This is a sad day for anyone who has any kind of marginalised identity whatsoever, and for any white person with the barest modicum of self-awareness. And let’s not forget that the entire Republican party made that happen, by declaring by fiat that President Obama’s final year in office didn’t really count and that therefore they could block him from making any such appointment at all.

Now it’s true that the presidency is not a dictatorship. All the evidence you need for that is to look at President Obama, who was rendered ineffectual by Republican stonewalling in the House and in the Senate. But again, Americans have fucked ourselves, because both legislative houses are also under Republican majority control. I will acknowledge this: it is true that many Republicans claim not to have wanted Trump, and came out publicly to repudiate him, but it is also true that many of those who did also turned around and voted for him because EMAILS!!!! or something similarly stupid. I have no confidence in House or Senate Republicans’ not being on board with a Trump administration, because these are the people who created him, were unable to stop him, and eventually just went belly-up like the dogs they are (all due apologies to our actual canine friends). We have given this man power, and we are going to feel the effects of it.

Let’s look at some other scenarios – if any of the upcoming trials against Trump (including the child rape case, and the Trump University scam – don’t forget about these, America!) don’t go his way, and this somehow leads to an impeachment, we’ll be left with Mike Pence. A Christian fundamentalist theocrat who, in Indiana, has had women thrown in prison for having miscarriages. I am genuinely unsure whether a Pence presidency would be any improvement; as some people have already pointed out, he is less likely to start a nuclear war, but that’s about the only thing that can be said in his favour. Trump is stupid, self-serving and evil; Pence is just self-serving and evil, and has the skills to actually enact policy.

Is this what the Romans felt like, when they elected Caesar? The Germans, Hitler? How long does it take before it is obvious whether the democratic system will survive the election of a would-be tyrant? And will we like the answer once we know? It will probably be too late by then.

So let’s also remember who is to blame for this. People are going to blame Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for various reasons, and I suppose in a technical sense there are ways in which, had they acted a bit differently, some numbers might have tilted a little and the outcome could have been changed (because let’s face it, this is one of the closest elections we have ever had). People might blame the Electoral College, and there might be a bit of something to that too. But let’s not forget that half of voting America VOTED FOR TRUMP. Even if Trump had lost, that would still be true. I saw a lot of think pieces in the run-up to this election of people musing about how we’re going to deal with the angry mob Trump fomented once Trump lost, because once the explicit bigotry is out from under the rock it’s very hard to shove it back under again, and yes, that was something I worried about. I didn’t quite manage to worry about what would happen if there were just enough of them to tip the scales the other way; none of the polling data made it seem like that was at all likely, and I suspect it could be interesting to see the statisticians try to work out what it was they overlooked. But we have a bigger problem, because there are a lot of these people and they are angry AND THEY ARE IN POWER.

If you voted for Trump, I have no sympathy for you. I don’t care why you voted for him, nor how distasteful you thought Hillary Clinton was or for what reasons. This is on you. If you don’t like what he does to this country, BLAME YOURSELF BECAUSE IT IS YOUR FAULT. If you were watching mainstream media go on about EMAILS and supposed Clinton scandals that were (certainly comparatively and, I would argue, absolutely) of a severity level comparable to a tempest in a teapot, and parroting and promoting these narratives, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. If you were one of those reporters who thought Trump made such good TV it was okay to promote him over other candidates, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. If you, at any point, justified the false equivalency narratives between Clinton and Trump, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. FUCK YOU. As far as we’re concerned, if you voted for him you are also a sexist racist piece of shit.

If you didn’t vote, I have to seriously wonder what’s wrong with your priorities (obviously excluding people who were disenfranchised by ‘voter ID’ laws, ran afoul of voter intimidation, and the like; if that’s the case you have my sincerest sympathies). Could you not tell the difference? Do you just not care? I honestly think ignorance cannot be an excuse here, despite the absurd levels of ignorance I’ve found myself confronted by when talking to people about this election. THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN HARD.

And then there’s the FBI, whose baseless and partisan intervention the week before the election may well have thrown it to Trump. FUCK YOU. I don’t know what is even happening any more, but that does not bode well for the future either.

I live in Pennsylvania, which is one of the more difficult states to do early voting in (the only early voting in PA is by absentee ballot, and they don’t send the ballots in time to vote early) and in which absentee ballots are not guaranteed. I am currently in Wales, visiting Loten [hi guys; we expected our joint posts to be about wizards, not this shit]; we’d been planning this trip for a long time, and it was perhaps foolish of me not to factor election day in, but there was literally no other time we could make this work and it had been far too long since we’d seen each other. I applied for absentee ballot and – this was the mistake – because I expected it to arrive in time to vote early, I had it sent to my US address. It arrived an hour after my plane left, because the universe hates me and wants me to suffer.

So I didn’t get to vote. I didn’t get to vote for Hillary Clinton, who I enthusiastically supported and think would have made a fantastic president. I didn’t get to vote for Katie McGinty, either, who I thought looked quite promising (and now we are stuck with Pat Toomey). And Pennsylvania ended up being a very close race, one of the last states they called and, possibly, the state which pushed Trump over the 270 threshold. I’ll be wrestling with guilt over that for a while, I think. [Emotions are irrational and I’m not letting him explicitly blame himself.]

I can barely process this.

We’re all fucked.


Posted by on November 9, 2016 in mitchell


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. mystiquelady59

    November 9, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you for this post. I think that a Drumpf presidency (I just threw up in my mouth at that) will make Dubbya look progressive. The comparisons to Hitler are frieghtening. This shit is now real. 😣😥. P.S. Hope you had a wonderful time in Wales. Cymru am Byth!

    • mcbender

      November 11, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Thank you. I still have a bit over a week before I have to return to the States, and I’m genuinely apprehensive about what I will find when I get back.

  2. A.

    November 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I feel you. Good lord. I’m not even American, but I’m truly appaled (and, honestly, a bit scared) by these news. After all, America holds a lot of influence over the rest of the world, and, as you know, here in Europe we’re experiencing our own brand of extreme-right ascent, which I’m afraid is not a coincidence… what the hell is the world coming to?

    I don’t think all the people who voted for Trump are ultra-conservatives. At least I hope not, since I still have “some” faith in humanity left (… … …I think). Lots of them probably let themselves be manipulated by fear. Still, that justifies NOTHING. Goodness, I find it hard to imagine how ANYONE could vote for that fascist creep. Are people really that stupid? In the Internet era, how can it be possible to be so… ignorant, and vindictive? And they say our society is “advanced”… I agree with you: misguided or not, every single person who voted for him will in some way be responsible for his actions from now on.

    I really, really hope he’s all bark and no bite, or at least that he’s kept in a leash, but I won’t be holding my breath. And yeah, you’re right, comparing any of this to dogs is insulting to the animals.

    So yeah. Fuck. Lots of fuck.

    Also, as a “minority person”, I understand all too well how you’re feeling, Mitchell. So you have all my support and my sympathy, whatever they’re worth.

    (also, I haven’t forgotten my promise to play Pokémon Uranium… life is pretty busy right now, but I’ll get to it. Eventualy. I hope).

    I hope you and Loten are having a good time together, despite all this. Take care, OK? My best wishes and a virtual hug!

    • mcbender

      November 11, 2016 at 9:30 am

      I certainly appreciate your sympathy; truthfully, I think most of the world feels awful right now (though as you say, there does seem to be a rising tide of right-wing extremists and those people have certainly been happy). Except Russia, apparently; there have been several reports of celebrations in Russia, which is also rather telling.

      I really don’t understand it, so I can’t cast much light on why anyone would vote for him. I’ve seen some people bandying about the phrase that this was a “post-fact election” and that certainly seems consistent with my observations. Not just the Trump supporters, who I found almost impossible to speak to because they seemed to inhabit their own reality, but ordinary Americans (including, sadly, my own family) who were deeply misled by mainstream news media to give far too much credence to nonsense and knew next to nothing about the issues that actually mattered. I don’t know if I could explain how bad American TV news is to people who haven’t experienced it; I’ve tried a few times

      We’ve been trying, with limited success, to enjoy ourselves in spite of knowing about the election results and seeing the horror stories pouring in. We will continue to try.

      (Pokemon as a distraction does help, a little. But only a little.)

  3. liminal fruitbat

    November 10, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    You have my commiserations, for whatever they’re worth. I don’t know how useful hope is right now, but if we have the spoons for it, I guess we can act as if it is? If that makes sense?


    • mcbender

      November 11, 2016 at 9:31 am

      That is something I’m wrestling with, too. How much hope is realistic to have, at this point? I’ll let you know if I manage to figure that out.

  4. Derived Absurdity

    November 11, 2016 at 9:35 am

    As a straight white male without a college degree, I would just like to say… I’m sorry.

    I mean, really. Jesus. What the fuck is wrong with my demographic?

    I keep thinking that this is all just some sort of extended dream. Like, I never actually thought this would really happen, and I am still having a seriously hard time processing it. As I was watching the results, it felt sort of surreal. Any moment now, some part of my brain genuinely thinks I’m going to wake up in a world in which Hillary won and the world is normal, and posts like this keep solidifying the fact that no… no, I’m awake. This actually happened. In the real world.

    Fuck. I have so much to say, and yet, not really anything to say at all.

    Look, we knew this election was going to be at least sort of close. Trump was going to get at least 40% of the vote. That was known. So even if he lost soundly, we would still have to deal with a reality in which 40% of America voted for him. So I wouldn’t have been happy either way. The fact that he actually scraped by changes my perception America… not really much at all. And he still lost the popular vote. So… at least there’s that. He lost the popular vote.

    I agree with having zero sympathy for Trump voters. All these people chastising people for not having empathy or understanding for the poor oppressed Trump voters… fuck them. There are no excuses. They’re white collar workers suffering from economic anxiety? Well, guess what, so am I, and I didn’t vote for fucking Trump, because I actually have empathy for people who are different from me and who are going to get royally fucked for the next four years because of my demographic. Maybe these people should save their precious empathy for the right people.

    I really hate people. Is there a way to fast forward through the next forty years until the technological Singularity hits and we’re all replaced by superintelligent AI? Or until we’re all wiped out by nanobots and/or nuclear war? Whichever one happens, I’m cool with at this point.

    • janach

      November 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Forty years? Florida, Bangladesh, and all the world’s atolls will be under water, the Saraha will have crossed the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf will be uninhabitable, the American West will be out of water, and methane will be bubbling out of the tundra in waves.

      Or something like that. Politics and economics run in cycles observable in a human lifespan; climate is another matter. Once the tipping point is past, there’s no turning back until the next ice age. We don’t have another eight years to spend fucking around.

      • Derived Absurdity

        November 14, 2016 at 3:57 am

        Unfortunately, we will, thanks to the stupidity of the American people, and, as usual, other countries will pay the major price for that, at least at first.

  5. maryj59

    November 12, 2016 at 5:09 am

    Derived Absurdity, I so agree with you. I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton’s, but she is at least sane. I can understand people voting for her. She would have been capable of being president. There is no excuse at all for voting for Trump, and I really think a lot of it is plain racism. It’s awful. I don’t recognize my country any more.

    But we’ve got to keep fighting as hard as we can, and throw as many legal obstacles at this crew as we can. The damage they will be able to in four years is just appalling.

    • Derived Absurdity

      November 14, 2016 at 3:59 am

      Yep. I think Hillary Clinton is pure filth, but Donald Trump is so incomprehensibly awful there are no words to properly describe him.

      • mcbender

        November 14, 2016 at 11:59 am

        While it’s probably a moot point now (far more important to work out how we and the country are going to survive this horrorshow), I do want to push back a bit at saying Clinton is “filth”. I won’t say she’s perfect and I do think some of her policies were troubling, but it’s far too easy to believe the worst of her after so many years of smear campaigns and, at best, hostile media eager to believe the worst of her. It was articles like this that convinced me to disregard almost all of that:

        Again, it’s moot and almost certainly not worth fighting about now. When push came to shove, she was still a politician. But I do think she was one of the better ones and not nearly the monster she’s been painted as in the common perception.

        And now we have Trump, whose levels of monstrosity are so far off the charts I find myself incapable of describing them.

      • janach

        November 16, 2016 at 3:12 am

        Hillary is not pure filth. She’s an ordinary politician, that’s all. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it, and there are a lot of politicians in the world dirtier than Hillary Clinton. As Otto von Bismarck put it, if you are fond of laws and sausages you should not watch either one being made.

  6. Derived Absurdity

    November 22, 2016 at 4:42 am

    Lol, I should have known to expect pushback on that.

    Not that I really want to fight about it either, but I just want to defend my assertion. I do think she’s filth, and I don’t use the word “filth” to describe people lightly.

    In 2009, her State Department willingly handed the nation of Honduras over to fascists and U.S.-trained death squads, all because the progressive then-leader antagonized American business interests. Shortly after that the murder rate in Honduras skyrocketed to the highest in the entire world.

    In 2011, she helped engineer the ruin of Libya, the most prosperous nation in Africa at the time, and gloated over the knife-rape murder of its pan-Africanist leader, all the while knowing that the “rebels” she helped turn the country over to would attempt to ethnically cleanse black Libyans.

    She also helped ruin Haiti by hand-picking a corrupt right-wing thug, Michel Martelly, who has aptly been described as Haiti’s Donald Trump, to run it, who subsequently spent his entire time in office extracting personal wealth from its misery. She and her husband also spent the entire earthquake “recovery” helping Haiti’s affluent business class rather than its impoverished majority population, investing millions of dollars in, for example, a luxury hotel while millions of Haitians were starving. Her State Department also worked to suppress Haiti’s minimum wage (which was already a starvation wage) at the behest of American garment manufacturers.

    The Clinton “foundation” has also been documented to have exploited poor indigenous people of other countries (particularly Colombia).

    She also did quite a lot to help impoverish multiple other countries, particularly Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, and South Sudan. She also strongly supported many of her husband’s crimes against humanity, including the mass imprisonment of African-Americans, the murder-through-sanctions of over half a million Iraqi children, the gutting of the social safety net, and the deregulation of Wall Street which helped lead to the 2008 crash, locking millions of people into poverty. Not to mention Bill’s serial raping and her interference running on his behalf.

    These are all things I have looked into very carefully and thoroughly, not things I casually picked up from a hostile media. They are why I came to the decision, a long time ago, that she is filth. But so is Donald Trump. So much so that I voted for her to stop him. For all the good it did.


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