The Can’t Even

Day 9 of I Can’t Even. Every day brings more horror.

Yesterday a Trump surrogate was on tv floating the idea of a muslim registry. When asked by Megyn Kelly about the legality of this idea, he said that there’s a legal precedent, what with the Japanese internment camps.

It’s coming fast and furious, folks. They’re not going to wait around before doing horrible things. They’re doing horrible things, right now.

What shocks me is not these guys. Well, ok, I’m a little shocked, but mostly they’re right on schedule with all the awful things they said before the election.

What shocks me is how quickly the majority gets in line. Trump hires a famously racist white nationalist? News media calls him a “firebrand.” Trump says crazy shit for a week? The New York Times leads with this brave headline:

Trump’s Biggest Test: Can He Build Something That Inspires Awe?

The right public works projects can send a message of inclusion and pride. If Mr. Trump is ready to take a cue from F.D.R., here are some places to start.

Really? Really, New York Times? The world is going to Hell in a handbasket and all you can do is open with this fawning, non-confrontational bullshit?

Meanwhile, 169 Democrats in Congress — and no Republicans — have soundly condemnded the hiring of crazy-ass Nazi Steven Bannon. Why no Republicans? What happens to “Family Values?” Isn’t not-being-a-Nazi part of “Family Values?”

I am overwhelmed by the weakness, cowardice, and go-along-to-get-along nature of these people. I guess I always thought that if you learned about this sort of thing — if you knew about Germany and the Japanese internment camps and so on and so forth — you wouldn’t, couldn’t, blithely support this sort of thing again.

I was wrong.



The First Month: Action

Here’s what I’ve been thinking: How can this get even worse? 

Worse?” you say. “What do you mean, ‘worse?’”  Isn’t the phrase “President-Elect Trump” bad enough?

Here’s what I mean. Imagine this scenario:

    1. A crisis occurs which the Trump administration claims is a terrorist attack, but we have no way of knowing because,
    2. As soon as the crisis occurs, Trump starts to push through horrific, punitive legislative. Those who question the narrative of events or the new legislation are bullied into submission, with cries of “unpatriotic,” “terrorist sympathizers,” and worse.
    3. Meanwhile, a Denial of Service Attack brings down most websites and puts a stranglehold on peer-to-peer communication.
    4. People are afraid, cut off from real information, and disconnected from social media and alternate forms of information and connection. And so, in fear,
    5. Acquiescence and capitulation happens…until we don’t recognize our country anymore.

Right now we have a terrible situation. Trump is insane, he’s adding Neo-Nazis to his staff, and we have no checks in Congress to provide forceful pushback. However, all of Congress is not insane.  There will be some pushback against xenophobia and racism. There will be some guidance given to the new administration. (How much is up to us, and how loudly we protest.)


But with a real (or exaggerated) crisis, all hope for any moderation goes out the window. As Naomi Klein discusses in Shock Doctrine, any crisis in our country will be used as an opportunity to push through the most draconian measures we have ever seen in our lifetimes.

So what are we to do?

I think we’ve got to start with some assumptions, and build on these:

    • Connecting with community is going to be very important. Use the internet for connection, but especially  use it as a tool to help create a real-life web of connection. Go to meetings, church services, concerts, whatever you can do to find and wherever you can go to serve and strengthen your tribe.
    • Setting up redundant forms of communication is also going to very important. If the internet went down for 48 hours, or all cell phone coverage went dark, how would you stay connected? How would learn true, verifiable facts about what’s actually going on? Let’s figure out these backup systems now and organize to set them up and keep them strong.
    • We need to have smart, well-equipped people on the ground with contingency plans, so when “Shock and Awe: Part II” starts, we’re ready.  Giving groups like the ACLU the funding they need will help them to start preparing now for legal worst-case scenarios.

Love to you all. Be careful out there.

The First Day: Advice

First things first. I think it’s important for people to know what to do. For me, it’s about communing with truth and reality, and actual people in actual communities.

The reality is that I am heartbroken, shattered. I’m angry and baffled and outraged. What I am not, absolutely not, is willing to engage in the trivia of the daily Facebook feed; I am not willing to listen to the little rationalizations and justifications. I am not willing to hear “Oh, it won’t be that bad” or “Hey, so-and-so, who is *not* a psychopath, is in the running for the cabinet, so maybe it will all be ok.” I am not willing to engage with the denial that many people will start to create.

In order to feel better. In order to feel in control.

I do not feel in control.

This election is a death. Even if the worst never comes to pass — even if we don’t get embroiled in a massive military escalation by a man who likes to pick fights (and who has terrifying views on nuclear weapons) — this election is still a death.

We have elected someone as president who mocks cripples, insults women, brags about committing felony assault, swindles small time businessmen, denigrates a large number of races and religions, and incites mob violence — and that’s not even saying anything about his policies. This is horrific. It is a catastrophe.

So my advice is to do whatever you would do if a close family member died. Retreat a little bit from the world. Read books that give you comfort, or stoke your fires, or give you truth. Watch old movies if you like, but don’t watch the news. Remember how awful it felt watching the news after 9/11, and how little actionable knowledge you gained? This is like that, only what’s crumbling and falling apart is happening, this time, from the inside out.

Don’t watch the news.

Don’t listen to NPR, don’t spend lots of time of Facebook. Every Apocalypse has its silver lining, and this one is reducing the amount of pleasant distractions that keep you from getting actual shit done.

Today’s media list:

– Comforting and inspiring: “On Being: The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi

– Very much not-comforting: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood