Catch me if you can

So I started writing a short story a few months ago, but after four chapters and about 15,000 words I stopped. I think it was originally inspired by Donald Trump winning the presidential election, wondering what the world might look like in 30 or 40 years. The United States took on this super dystopian vibe where it was the haves versus the have-nots, and the protagonist was — quite cliché, I should add — a spoiled rich kid with a heart of gold.

In the end, though, it was just a love story. That was all. But it was so cliché. Like, I think it just felt really interesting to do — to invent this world that blended facts from the present with future speculation. It was fun while it lasted.

What I didn’t take enough into account was just how bad Trump was going to be at actually getting shit done in real life. I just conceded that we were heading to the worst case scenario possible, where the Republicans (who were inevitably rebranded as “The Party of God” in my story) ended up passing all the horrible policies they have always wanted to implement. I foresaw no other outcome.

As is, though, Republicans can’t even agree on how bad their policies should be, so they are infighting. Never forget, the reason Trumpcare didn’t pass the first time was not because people called their representatives and the politicians had a change of heart… which was always sort of the media narrative. No, it was that certain GOP members weren’t happy that the bill didn’t go far enough. That is, there weren’t enough tax breaks for the rich, too much money was still going into Medicaid, etc. It was a lot like Obamacare in that respect — which, remember, is a right-wing healthcare plan — and only a half-measure to members of the Freedom Caucus.

I will never go so far as to say I am happy that Donald Trump is the president, but I am also not sweating it. I mean, I’ll simply leave these as open questions: How much has your life changed since he took office? How different are things, really?

I butt heads about politics all the time with my bosses and coworkers because, basically with the exception of one person, I think everyone I work with is wrong. One side, that probably represents about 70% of the people who pay attention¹, thinks Trump is usually always right and believes the media is conspiring against him. The other side, which probably represents about 25% of the people who pay attention², can’t stand anything Trump says or does and believes in all the Russia conspiracy stuff.

Those are the two teams of people, and there is rarely any overlap. It is as simple as what I just described.

¹ This is a kind way of saying these people are misinformed. They probably watch Fox News, and have a higher tendency of posting crackpot articles on Facebook from tiny right-wing sites. Like, I informed one of my coworkers that Trump was giving a $52 billion tax break to the Walton family, and she tried to question me about where I was getting my information from. The burden of proof is on you for believing everything Trump says. It’s not on me.

² These get their news from the MSNBC’s and CNN’s and New York Times’ and Washington Post’s, the places that hold water for the Democratic (Clinton) machine. Everything revolves around Russia, even though there has been no hard evidence in over eight months of investigating. So I try to tell them that Trump is a blessing in disguise, and they turn it as if I am one of his supporters. This isn’t true in all cases, but it’s strange how often it seems to play out that way. 

There is only one person that sees eye-to-eye with me… about 98% of the time. His name is Spencer. Spencer is a 40 year-old black dude from Minnesota, a fellow craps dealer, and one of my best friends at work. Like me, Spencer voted for Jill Stein last November, even though we agreed that it wasn’t because she was a decent candidate; it was because Hillary Clinton was on one team, Donald Trump was on the other team, and California is a blue state regardless of what we do.

So, as nonpartisan independents of the bullshit everyone else seems to be focused on, Spencer and I can both (a) engage with others to talk about the issues and (b) not really have to give a fuck worrying about Donald Trump. We don’t have to be Republicans and defend him. We don’t have to be Democrats and despise him. We are really in the best possible position.

And yet, I seem to find more common ground with the Trump apologists than I do the supposed “liberals,” because we share a bond that is greater than Trump Is A Terrible President:

It’s that Democratic leadership is awful.

Without having to tell his supporters that Donald Trump is the worst — I think that’s just implied coming from me, a 27 year-old socialist — I can admit the truth and say that Democrats are corrupt and don’t give a damn about the American people. I can then make the connection that the Republicans are the same way, only worse, which make the two parties virtually no different. Most Democratic leaders are basically just Republicans who are cool with gay people and abortions.

With most of the Democrats I work with, it’s like there’s a total shutdown of logic. They believe Donald Trump is the worst thing in the history of ever, and that everything was going just swell up until the day he became the guy. They don’t seem to care that the Party screwed over Bernie Sanders in the primary. They don’t seem to care that Hillary Clinton had no message and nothing to offer in her campaign. They seem fixated on Trump being the root of all evil and working backwards from there.

Don’t get me sideways, I am not drinking the Kool Aid in thinking Trump is a good guy or has my best interests in mind. He was what many people thought he was all along, which is just your run of the mill con-man. But I can also say that all the Russian fear mongering and war mongering being spewed by the corporate left is accomplishing absolutely nothing productive. If anything it’s turning Donald Trump into a sympathetic figure, further entrenching loyalty from his supporters. And it does that without having to address any of the real issues that cost Clinton the election last November.

Which, essentially, is why I have been writing the same thing over and over again for the last six months.

You can reach most Republicans when you talk about issues. You can’t really reach Democrats when you tell them that Trump isn’t the problem — he’s only a symptom of the problem. He didn’t arrive and upset the system; the system was already upset, which is what created him and put us in this predicament.

I had a great idea for a story. It was going really well. But then, for whatever reason, I wrote myself into a corner and couldn’t get out, and then when I looked back on it I realized I had fallen for the same fear tactics that I can now see through. It wasn’t my fault. I just didn’t know any better.

The world is not coming to an end now that Trump is running the country. It could, and it wouldn’t be all that shocking, but we seem so much further from that point now than it seemed like six months ago. I underestimated just how incompetent he could be, even with the might of all three chambers of congress at this disposal.

So I leave you now with what I have been grappling with over the last few months. Is it better that we have Trump, a total clown that is sloppy with almost every move he makes, a guy that has finally made America woke, who is the best recruiting tool for the Progressive Left in the history of the country? Or would it have been better to have Hillary in there to continue with the status quo that has left so many millions of people disenfranchised and poor and helpless?

These are just questions.