How to avoid politics: you can’t. So, to get this over with: the conservative viewpoint is a default perspective for those who lack imagination. There can be good conservatives, who take what’s left when you get rid of imagination which is called history, stuff that’s already happened, and they can look at failures in history and try to learn from and avoid similar failures in the future. Then we have the shitty conservative, who also lacks imagination and looks at history for guidance and doesn’t realize that history does not actually repeat itself. It is not cyclical. It is not even symmetric. The sunrise is not the same as the sunset. The second half of your life does not have a halcyonic second childhood waiting on you like a landing strip. The plane just keeps flying until it crashes and you fucking die and there is no way to prevent it because there’s only so much gasahol in the tank but if you don’t keep looking forward you’re going to end your journey a lot sooner than necessary.
Admittedly that metaphor ran away from me a bit. But here’s the point: I was very frightened back in 2000 by the prospect of a Bush presidency, and yes, we survived it, the world did not end, even our own country did not end, as I felt certain it would, although there were several promising attempts (remember that $300 tax rebate everybody got in like 2007? it was a very crazy time), but what I was afraid of was giving the keys to the Ferrari to the cool kid in high school who was only cool because of his reputation, his family name, that jean jacket with the flipped-up collar, who’d already wrecked two coupes and a sedan and would’ve failed all his driver’s ed classes except his dad knew a guy.
If Bush was the high school dumb jock, Trump is the fourth grade bully. No one actually likes him but the other kids who stand beside him, the ones who convince him they’re in his corner, that they’re “friends,” only do so not to get picked on. He’s one of the taller boys but shorter than several of the girls in his class and therefore has an actively developing inferiority complex, getting deeper by the day. His world is defined by social manipulation and power. It is a game he is obsessed with winning. It has nothing to do with school, with his teachers, with anything beyond the social hierarchy of ten- and eleven-year-olds. Because of his lack of an imagination, his tactics do not vary much beyond what has always worked: hitting the hardest and yelling the loudest.
Were we to follow this metaphor on into a high school scenario, we would see the bully turned loaner, sketching out plots for wealth and world domination on the back of his spiral-bound notebook while he sits alone in the lunch room. But that’s not where this goes. We still have the same Ferrari, and we need a new driver, and we’re actually on verge of handing the keys to this eleven-year-old with spiked hair who spends ten minutes every morning running water down the drain while he’s supposed to be brushing his teeth, admiring the peach fuzz on his upper lip. He cannot work the pedals with his short legs. He cannot operate the gear shift with his tiny hands. And we’re about to put him in the middle of the busiest highway, sitting on a stack of phone books, revving the engine to 10,000 RPM in first gear and no conception of the brake pedal much less the clutch and yeah he’s met some jerks in his time but this is rush hour, buddy, allow me to introduce you to a little thing we adults like to call road rage.
I think that metaphor stayed pretty well on course.
Would we survive a Trump presidency? I mean, yes, in the sense that time will continue forward and not everyone would die. But the damage he would inevitably cause will be irreparable for most and catastrophic for some. And if we do elect him, we will deserve every last scrap of metal and burning wreckage that comes flying through our windshields. Those with an imagination will be the best off, actually. Not saying it will be all sunshine and roses, but the progressives will duck and dodge and keep their heads low until the rebuilding process begins. But those who actually support this fucker will be the hardest hit. That’s the irony of it, but it’s also evolution, I guess.
Not proper evolution, though. Like, they’re not just going to drop dead or be sterilized or something. They will suffer the most, perhaps not immediately but increasingly as time goes on and we’ve scaped all the goats already, all the gays, the Muslims, maybe left-handed folk are next, when the dust settles and they can actually see what’s going on in their own town, in their own home. When they are hungrier. When their children are hungrier, shivering and cold. When they need a strong government that isn’t there, they will suffer, and they will be given another opportunity to learn from their suffering, or to turn on the ole faith nozzle, crank it up as high as it goes, George W. 2.0, with all the rhetoric and catch phrases and token gestures, like maybe a $1000 rebate this time, if they choose to ignore this latest and greatest, this totalitarian engine failure, they could and probably many will keep voting the same way, keep trying to vote us back into a past which they cannot properly contextualize, trying to rid themselves of problems by returning to a time before they knew about them. They will suffer, but they will survive. Free to continue driving down Mad Max Boulevard.
If we vote in Hillary, we’ll deserve her, too. Which is its own mess of eventualities and metaphors, to be sure, but at least if I were writing that out I’m pretty sure seatbelts would make an appearance, somewhere.