I've brought politics up quite frequently in my class, because I'm teaching critical thinking and constructive discourse and looking at multiple sides of issues instead of constructing an echo chamber, and the way politics are conducted in the United States of America offers plenty of examples of how not to be like that. I also told my students multiple times that it's their civic duty to vote, and that writing in a vote for Mickey Mouse is better than not voting at all. Of course I've been very careful not to push any particular views or candidates and to maintain an illusion of neutrality. In contrast, this week I've openly discussed with several of my colleagues the self-explanatory fact that we didn't want Trump to win. I conveniently neglected to mention that I didn't vote for Biden either. Things might get ugly if they ever find out that I'm not liberal enough for academia, let alone an English department.
Of course, knowing that my candidate didn't have a chance because something something stupid self-fulfilling prophecy, I spent most of the week rooting for Biden, watching the electoral map and silently begging states to turn blue. I rejoiced with one of my colleagues from Georgia as we watched Biden close the gap on Trump and then surpass him, and along with other colleagues I sincerely congratulated her for her small role in making that happen. This wasn't like 2016 when, although I didn't vote for Trump at that time either, I actually thought he was a sliiightly better option than Hillary and was relieved when she lost. I'm not sure how I would have reacted ten years ago if you had told me that someday I would be elated to see a Democrat win the presidency. Life is funny. Of course, I meant to un-register from the Republican Party and re-register as Independent four years ago after it flushed its few remaining principles down the toilet, but I was unable to do that because I was too lazy. Now I've finally rectified that since I had to update my registration address anyway.
I started paying attention to Trump in mid-2015 when he said that vaccines cause autism and I decided he was stupider than dog vomit. From that moment on I've opposed him less because of politics per se than because of the kind of person (I use the term loosely) that he is. For five years I've had to watch a substantial number of people delude themselves and try to gaslight me that he's some kind of humble, God-fearing man and selfless civic servant; that the things he says and does are normal and acceptable. These people know as well as I do that he's a stain on humanity, but their mindless devotion to a political party has required them to pretend otherwise. As relieved as I am to have him gone, he still got elected once, and he still got almost half of the votes this time around. He's set a very, very bad precedent. There are essentially no standards of character, integrity or morality left to which we can hold future presidential candidates. If I had a son who talked and acted like Donald J. Trump, I wouldn't let him live in my home, but in the White House anything goes.
Hence my response to a self-righteous Facebook post by one of my friends who, though generally a great guy, is also yet another cultist (they're very common in Utah) who thinks the Republican Party is ordained of God. He said, "God instituted government for the benefit of mankind. Sadly, the majority have chosen a government that is leading us away from God." So I said, "I don't think Mr. 'Grab them by the pussy' was getting us much closer to God either." He was not amused.
My bad. I don't know why I jumped to the silly conclusion that electing a president of character, integrity or morality would have any relevance to whether a government leads us toward or away from God. And I'm sorry that Trump's words that I quoted were highly inappropriate. Fun fact: as vulgar as I can get sometimes, the only time I ever use the misogynistic p-word is when I'm quoting or paraphrasing the president of the United States, at which point censoring it to soften the impact of his (not my) statement seems disingenuous. I actually don't think his boasting about grabbing women's genitals was as bad as his proposal for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", but the latter statement holds no shock value for most conservatives because they agree with it. Again, of course, I'm not saying Biden is the most stellar guy in the world, but I am calling out the hypocrisy of people who live in an alternate reality where Trump is second only to Jesus. (Or is it the other way around?)
I'm not the slightest bit concerned about Trump's legal challenges to the election results, even the minority that haven't been immediately dismissed. I don't think for a moment that this will be a repeat of the 2000 election where Al Gore won until Florida did a recount. For one thing, the race isn't nearly that close. It doesn't hinge on one swing state. Biden has 290 electoral votes to Trump's 214, and that's not even counting the 16 additional electoral votes that he'll probably get from Georgia after its mandatory recount. For another thing, Trump isn't making these accusations and lawsuits because he has actual evidence of widespread voter fraud. He's making them because he can't accept the fact that he lost, which everyone who knows anything about him at all saw coming a light-year away. He's desperately throwing out claims all over the place in hopes that something will stick, and his supporters are desperately trying to back them up. He's going full-on creationist here.
He'd have quite a time pulling together the support or infrastructure to carry out investigations in all these states, even if much of his own party looking at this and going "Ehhhh, dude, you should probably just get over it." On the grassroots level, though, his supporters have been circulating all kinds of stupid conspiracy theories and flat-out lies that can be debunked in less than a minute if you know how to use Google. If they had actual evidence, they wouldn't have to make up nonsense like "vOtInG mAcHiNeS cAn'T rEaD sHaRpIe." I certainly hope none of my students have any part in spreading these falsehoods, because I've taught them better than that. Trump is finished and he knows it. But I'm not even mad that the 74-year-old baby is throwing a temper tantrum. I hope he continues his temper tantrum up until the very end and has to be dragged from the White House kicking and screaming. Let him bring his four-year humiliation of this country to a spectacular finale.
Voting on state, county, and city officials is important too. I'm sorry to say that I left most of those blank on my ballot because who on Earth has time to research all those people? All the Republicans won anyway so it's fine. I did weigh in on most of the proposed constitutional amendments. All of them passed. Amendment A, which changes all mentions of "men" to gender-neutral language, seems at least fifty years overdue. Amendment C, which removes a clause that allowed "slavery or involuntary servitude" as punishment for a crime, seems at least one hundred fifty years overdue.
Some good news: the guys who flipped over a police car in Salt Lake City and set it on fire are now only facing community service and fines. They were previously facing life in prison, but after public backlash, the powers that be realized that punishing them worse than most rapists or murderers for destroying a generic, replaceable inanimate object isn't a good look. Of course some bootlicker on Facebook interpreted my statement that they shouldn't go to prison for life as saying that they shouldn't be punished at all, and said something stupid along the lines of "So your [sic] okay if we [who's "we?"] send you the bill for the car and the damage to the asphalt?" Not surprising, since these are the same people whose underdeveloped brains are incapable of making a distinction between "this person should be punished for breaking the law" and "this person deserves to be killed on the spot by police". And I was scared of what these people might feel emboldened to do if their president no longer had to worry about re-election.
I'm thinking back now to the Black Lives Matter protest I attended in early June. It was entirely peaceful except for a handful of conservatives (easily recognizable as the only people not wearing masks) who showed up to start arguments. And at one point a stereotypical redneck in a loud truck drove past, shook his fist out the window and yelled, "Four more years!" This despite the fact that our protest had nothing to do with Trump, which says a lot about the mindset of his supporters if they feel threatened by the radical leftist concept that police officers shouldn't be allowed to murder black people. I'm not going to go on gloating about this for a long time, especially since I didn't vote for Biden either, but I'm thinking of that guy now and I'm hoping that he's miserable.
Some bad news: As USU president Noelle Cockett mentioned in an email the other day, "Rising cases of COVID-19 in Utah are severely stressing health care systems, which is impacting the quality of care that sick individuals receive." In other words, the reckless behavior of selfish idiots who think science is a hoax is actively screwing other people over. I've already had to make the decision that if/when I get infected, I won't go to the hospital, even though I'll probably need to because I already have an inflamed throat that makes me cough for no reason when the temperature fluctuates. I won't go to the hospital because that will just burden them more and make it harder for someone else to get the treatment they need. I have to make this decision because a majority of the people in my state are selfish idiots, and I don't appreciate it. I'm sure it won't get better in the foreseeable future either, since I know thousands of Utah college students were out having Halloween parties with upwards of fifty people and few if any masks. Naturally our soon-to-be ex-governor hasn't done jack to actually enforce his public health mandates.
Yesterday was a very good day for me, the second happiest of this craptastic year from hell. But Trump is only the most obvious symptom of everything that's wrong with this country. We may have gotten rid of the bleeding, pus-filled lesion, but the cancer remains. And I only foresee it getting worse every four years. I'm seriously contemplating moving to another country after I graduate in 2022. I feel kind of drawn toward Germany. My German is steadily improving, and I've heard good things about Germany, like its election debates aren't painful and embarrassing to watch and it doesn't have the worst healthcare system in the developed world and it actually trains its police officers. The only issue is I'm not sure how many jobs would be available for me as a teacher of English composition and/or creative writing. Until I get that figured out, I will try to remain true to my eclectic views and be an equal opportunity offender by criticizing Biden. It's going to feel weird after so long and I'm sure he won't furnish me with as much material as Trump, but I'll see what I can do.
Also, I saw my neighbors' dog the other day and it turns out they didn't get rid of him after all, they just stopped leaving him in the backyard all day every day. I was happy to see him. I think he is a good dog at heart despite being really annoying when left in the backyard all day every day, and I worried that they might have just abandoned him somewhere. So that was nice.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.