WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Are you like me?

Are you like me? Is political anxiety giving you GFS? Gelatinous fecal syndrome?

Have you reached the point where waking up in a cold sweat is actually worse than just not waking up at all?

Do you find yourself wondering if the Democratic presidential candidates are really just lifeless avatars programmed to instill a sense of doom?

Are you beginning to imagine what life would be like in an internment camp for progressives, or for anyone who wears glasses for that matter?

And would it be so bad, really?

Does a ball of caustic nausea form deep in your gut when you hear conservative commentators refer to Donald Trump Jr. as “46”?

Are you like me? Do you think it’s not only possible that we’re living in a computer simulation from the future but it’s actually preferable?

When you walk by a home with a “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” flag flying over the front door, do you imagine that home engulfed in flames?

Just because your county failed to send you the postcard that would allow you to request a Democratic ballot instead of the “no party affiliation” ballot (with no presidential candidates on it), does your brain whisper on a repeating loop, conspiracy conspiracy conspiracy conspiracy?

Do you find that it suddenly makes sense to step up your search for a “really great drug” that would help you get through these cataclysmic times without demolishing your liver?

Does the phrase “at least we have each other” sound like the most optimistic idea you can come up with most days?

When you look at children, do you feel like weeping out of incontrovertible guilt?

Are you like me? Do the next nine months feel like they’re going to do huge harm to your psyche? And that the next four years might well kill you, depending?

And are you like me? Do you want to believe in the wisdom of the founding fathers, in the galvanized strength of democracy, in the core of empathy inside all your fellow humans, in the idea that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, in the ability of our political institutions to withstand further withering attacks and even rebound, and in the remote possibility that people in the key battleground states will turn off Fox News for one goddamn minute and listen to reason but you just can’t make the leap toward such madcap improbabilities?

Hey. Join the club.

8 comments on “Are you like me?

  1. Sha'Tara
    February 11, 2020

    If Trump does his job properly and brings down “America” around his ears, I’ll be here… celebrating. Let’s have the next sheriff’s sign on the White House door: Trump’s America – Bankrupt.

  2. Adrienne Morris
    February 12, 2020

    I sometimes think political news is no different from the bread and circus stuff of the past. Villains abound on all sides but the men and women pulling the strings just continue to make money. But this has been the way of the world forever. I think our children will have their own chances to be heroes or villains in their communities just like we still have.

    I lived through the fears of nuclear holocaust and “The Late Great Planet Earth” and the guilt driven stuff of the early 70s as a kid. All it did was convince me there was no reason to live. I think the best thing we can do for our kids is show them how to love even the neighbors we disagree with — but I’m a Pollyanna. 😉

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 12, 2020

      I think you’re right, Adrienne. All eras are bogged down with their own struggles. And part of the problem is that we just have this one life to make our marks, so leaders often behave like there’s no tomorrow.

      Kids are innocent about a lot of things, but especially sex and politics. *sigh*

  3. Ilona Elliott
    February 14, 2020

    Yes. I feel like Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street: I believe. I believe. It’s stupid I know, but I believe.

  4. Marie A Bailey
    February 15, 2020

    I’m like you, but I try to fight it 🙂 Greg and I were talking this morning (well, I was talking, he was listening) about whether Trump has revealed our fellow Americans to be nothing more than a bunch of mean-spirited, selfish, xenophobic people or if we’re mostly good people with a moral compass, but that the powers that be have managed to erode our democracy by a thousand tiny cuts, notably with election interference, misrepresentation, and the ubiquity of conspiracy talk radio and fake TV news. Recently I read about someone who had traveled cross-country by car and who noted that while he couldn’t always get NPR on his car radio, he could always get Rush Limbaugh. Trump is making changes through our federal agencies that the general public isn’t aware of but that are designed to ensure Republican control for a long, long time. It’s insidious, this effort by Mitch McConnell and his ilk, to take over the country, to put the interests of a few billionaires ahead of the interests of the vast majority of Americans. Reagan and his “government is the enemy of the people.” Chief Justice Roberts and Citizen’s United. Elite Democrats like Nancy Pelosi (with all due respect) and the Clintons either asleep at the wheel or at least complacent because they were comfortable and in control for awhile. What the average American is left with is the vote. While I believe that voting is a civic duty, think of all the ways that elections and voter registration are designed to discourage people from making the effort. I’m lucky to be living in a county (in Florida, no less) that sends me my mail-in ballot at least a month ahead of time, that offers roughly two weeks of early voting, and that has fought whole-sale purging of voter rolls. I’m not optimistic, especially since we might be seeing a repeat of 2016 in that the Democratic leadership wants to play it safe by promoting an established, more conservative Democrat. With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, she didn’t listen to the majority of Democrats who by elevating Sanders were sending a message that the status quo wasn’t working for the average American. That Biden “performed” poorly in Iowa and NH means nothing to me; nor does the fact that Sanders came out on top in those states. We still have 48 to go and many of them are bigger and much more diverse demographically. Why should we know at this early stage who is likely to get the nomination? Why should Iowa and NH determine anything? I’m kinda thinking that the way we hold these primaries is as problematic as the Electoral College.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 15, 2020

      You should post this comment on your own blog! So spot on. And when I heard today that Bloomberg is thinking of Hillary as a running mate, I just went *barf*!!

      I think it boils down to a sense of helplessness that no amount of activism can soothe, since half the country’s citizens have a completely different reality. How can they be reached? How can they be helped without losing democracy?

      So yes. Voting. This will be the most important election in our lifetimes.

      • Marie A Bailey
        February 15, 2020

        Oh, I was actually a bit embarrassed when I saw how long my comment was … lol. That’s what happens after Greg and I have talked for awhile. I didn’t know Bloomberg was thinking of Hillary as a running mate. I hope she’s thinking, “Fuck you, Bloomie.” Seriously, why, after two attempts at the presidency, would she be willing to play second fiddle to a billionaire who bought his way into the White House (if he gets there, that is)? I hope she has more self-respect than that. Voting is key, but you’ve nailed it with that sense of helplessness that some people feel. There’s plenty of people who would like to see Trump shown the way out the door, but our system has done a good job of making them feel their vote doesn’t count. Especially in Florida where a (relatively) young and fairly well-known African-American man lost the governor’s race by a very slim margin to a little-known Trump sycophant.

  5. TamrahJo
    February 16, 2020

    There have been 3, verified, saw for myself, vetted through numerous fact checking sources, recently, that made me feel, too, as if living in a virtual reality/surreal life – as in – EVEN journalism that appears to TRY HARD to do fact based, non-partisan reporting, didn’t even mention the FIRST things my mind shouted to me, re: IS EVERYONE okay with the fact that ‘this’ is just accepted as either the status quo, or ‘how it is’?!? Really?!? When did THAT happen and how much lower can we sink as a culture and in the way we choose to hold discourse on topics that, in the end, affect ALL of us?” – – Sigh – – I was okay with believing I had finally reached official ‘ole fart’ status – but it’s not that – for those willing to have the conversation in person or on-line in public forums, there is much shock and dismay over various topics that seem to not be covered in trending news fodder – on all sides of political fences – – My only hope/yearning is that the numbers are piling up for citizens to once more put their feet down and say, “Um, yeah – guess what? I’ve talked with my neighbors who don’t even share most of my ideaology on many topics, nor do we agree on the full solution for this issue – but we are ALL tired of those who run to serve, get paid to ‘serve’ running around and acting like they represent ‘us’ – cuz they don’t – 😀

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This entry was posted on February 11, 2020 by in Et alia and tagged , .
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