In post-election America, we’re faced with adversity, changes that need to be made, and the opportunities ahead of us.
The prefix “sept” means seven, but September is the ninth month. “Oct” means eight, but it’s the tenth month. “Nov” is nine and “deca” is ten, but November and December are months 11 and 12. It amazes and frustrates me that I’m the only one who cares that for hundreds of years our clocks and calendars have been two months off. I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it.
On Election Day, and the weeks building up to it, I told myself that Trump had a chance of winning. I told everyone I spoke to that there was still a chance that this administration, as historically and ridiculously bad as it has been for four years, could win a second term. After all, the polls had been wrong in 2016, so there was no reason they’d get it right in 2020.
I was lying to myself. Despite the fact that Trump could have very well won, and despite the fact that I was speaking the words, inside I didn’t believe a second term for Trump was a possibility. In fact, I secretly believed, to my core, that it would be a blowout for Biden, a “Blue Wave.” There were rumours for weeks about Florida and Texas going blue. I readily believed these rumours. Those untrustworthy polls had Biden up by double digits across the country. While I was telling everyone who would listen to not be overly confident, I was overly confident. I thought Biden would be called early and the Dems would win a majority of the Senate. I was looking for that mandate, that mandate that never materialised.
So, when both Texas and Florida went red early, I poured myself a double of Oban fourteen-year, single-malt scotch and toasted to the end of the world. Yes, I spent a little money on the scotch. This would be one of the most important nights in history during my lifespan. I even wanted to memorialise the whole thing by doing a series of intelligent and hard-hitting discussions about modern politics on Facebook Live for The Big Smoke America, but the turn of events called for drinking, so, not wanting to make an ass of myself, I stopped the updates early. I didn’t know what to say anyway. The election was not going according to my plan. I was watching a true- and real-life Confederacy of Dunces. “Oh, Fortuna, you capricious sprite!”
As empathetic as I am, I cannot fathom how anyone of sound mind would cast their vote for Donald Trump a second time. Maybe I could forgive someone voting for him the first time; after all, as candidate Trump, he hadn’t used ripping children away from their parents as a disincentive for immigrants to seek a better life in America. He hadn’t dog whistled white supremacists every other television appearance. He hadn’t proven himself so horribly inept at his job that he caused the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans by politicising a pandemic. All he did was call Mexicans murderers and rapists, disrespect war heroes and Gold Star families, and admit to sexually assaulting women by grabbing “them by the pussy.” Back then, a MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporter could rationalise the racism and misogyny by saying that “he’s a Washington outsider and it’s so refreshing that he’s not politically correct.” But now that we’ve had years of seeing him in action … This time around, I thought.
As empathetic as I am, I cannot fathom how anyone of sound mind would cast their vote for Donald Trump a second time.
Despite the group of us finishing that bottle of scotch, finishing a bottle of High West Campfire Whiskey, and finishing more beers than I could count, I woke up early the next morning at 6:30 and turned on CNN. Not only had a winner not been picked, but it could also have gone either way, with Trump leading in many swing states. It was a long drive home listening to news stories telling me how I wasn’t alone. Many pundits, experts, and talking heads believed that our country would wake up and vote him out with a resounding victory for Biden.
Fast forward to today, the world has called the election for Biden, and we see that more people voted for him than any other president in US History. Of course, in true Trumpian style, he is ignoring reality while letting it be known that he will fire any person on his staff responsible for any information that he sees or hears that says he did not win by a landslide. This man, this orange menace in the Oval Office, is plugging his ears and closing his eyes to reality while telling everyone who will listen that he won, and that the election was rigged without any evidence, and somehow the GOP is going along with it, even now, weeks later. No doubt, their plan is to continue motivating their voters with outrage in order to win at least one Senate seat in Georgia.
The Secretary of Transportation’s spouse is upset that his wife will lose her position in the cabinet during President Biden’s tenure, and that would be almost understandable if that person wasn’t Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader and de facto leader of the Republican Party. Yes, Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the Secretary of Transportation, a historically unimportant cabinet position used to build political alliances, like Trump giving it to Chao in order to bring McConnell into the Trump fold. This act of political appointment is very similar to how the founder and CEO of a hotel chain, Gordon Sondland, found himself appointed as US Ambassador to the European Union without having a day of diplomatic experience. Or billionaire Betsy Devos being appointed Secretary of Education while never attending, teaching, or even sending her children to any public school. Or even Rick Perry being appointed to the Secretary of Energy, a department he famously said he’d cut all together when he was running for president. A department that he had no idea controlled the maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal, but I’m sure his degree in animal husbandry from Texas A&M helped. It’s pay-to-play politics and it’s just like September being the ninth month: everyone who realises what’s going on, knows in the back of their minds this is wrong, but they go along with it because that’s how it’s always been.
Last election, Trump lost by three million votes and this election Biden won by six million votes, yet they both won their elections by the same amount of Electoral College votes. How? The Electoral College is antiquated. It was created for the Thirteen Colonies, so, as we became a nation, every state would have a say in how we govern as a whole despite that state’s population. They didn’t want Virginia to have a louder voice than New Hampshire, Vermont, or Rhode Island combined, for example.
But now that we are a centuries-old country with fifty states and five inhabited territories with a population of around 330 million people, a system set up for 2.5 million people may not be the best system to govern. Yes, when the US Constitution was ratified, there were less than one percent of the population there is today, and, along those same lines, the Second Amendment was written when people were using muzzle-loaded long guns. Could the Founding Fathers foresee air-cooled, direct impingement, magazine-fed carbine semi-automatic rifles that have the capacity to kill 30 people in the time it used to take to reload a musket’s second shot? Do you believe that those colonials could have foreseen the M134 Minigun that can fire an incredible one hundred 7.62mm rounds per second? Yes, per second.
Could they have predicted school shootings for that matter? Again, to me, it’s insane that we’re even arguing over this. The word “amendment” means “change.” While the Founding Fathers couldn’t have seen new technology like the internet, or new civil issues like gender identity, they did know the country would grow and ideas would evolve. That is why the Constitution was created as a living document.
My point is that 2020 took a toll on all of us, from hundreds of thousands of pandemic deaths, to unprecedented wildland fire disasters, to a historic amount of hurricanes, to the worst economic crash in history, to murder hornets, and beyond. At this point, can’t we all just say, “Game over, man”? I’m not saying we should tap out completely, but maybe let’s just agree that 2020 ends one chapter in history, and now we can start another. Let’s fix all of those things we know are wrong but live with every day.
Let’s just agree that 2020 ends one chapter in history, and now we can start another. Let’s fix all of those things we know are wrong but live with every day.
Let’s move boldly into the future and get rid of the two-party system and go to rank voting. Let’s move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Let’s create a healthcare system, a prison system, and a higher education system that is not profit-based. Let’s all come together and tell our lawmakers that we won’t stand for pay-to-play politics. Hell, let’s move beyond capitalism and find an economic system that is not based on consuming finite resources and base it off of preserving resources. A huge part of our economy is based on people buying new houses and new cars. How many houses can we build? And just look at the millions of houses and condos left empty because of this and, at the same time, we’re breaking records for homelessness with a new tent city on every block.
Our current system is not a sustainable model, especially when it cripples our next generation with predatory student loans that will either destroy their credit or destroy their budgets making it impossible to buy a new house or a new car. What if we can reward a person making large purchases, like a house, cars, or appliances, for making these purchases last, the longer they are able to be repaired, the more they are rewarded? Let’s seriously look at the people we’re voting into office and start valuing ethics above wealth or fame. Just because things have always been this way, doesn’t mean we have to live with it.
Let’s take a serious and intelligent look at the Bill of Rights, all of them. If they work, keep them; if not, rewrite them. The First Amendment with freedom of speech and religion is great, although we may have to emphasize the freedom of religion part. The Second Amendment the whole country fights over, the Amendment the lobbyists on both sides have spent billions on, is one vague sentence twenty-seven words long. Maybe we should define “well-organized militia.” Or just come up with some commonsense rules about gun ownership. Are you really concerned about the Third Amendment? Do you believe the government will someday force you to house and feed a platoon of soldiers? Do you even know what the Seventh Amendment is? I can go on and on. We can go into the rest of the Constitutional Amendments if we’re on a roll. The Fourteenth Amendment isn’t even ratified in all states, and that one gives everyone equal rights to people of all races and both sexes.
The year 2020 AD has been an awe-inspiring shit show, but because of it we have an amazing opportunity to fix everything that’s wrong. I wouldn’t dare this level of optimism if we didn’t have such a horrendous year, but, as it is now, we have nothing left to lose. The pandemic has taken our health, our jobs, our ability to socialize, live music, eating out, et cetera. The falling economy has left us in debt, on the verge of losing our homes with too many of us couch surfing or homeless. The election has taken our faith in our political system, not to mention our respect for half the country’s population. So, now’s the time, man.
Let’s go crazy with it. After we’re done with our socio-political changes, let’s keep going and clean house. We can fix everything. Instead of a car carrying a shipment and a ship carrying cargo, let’s switch it around and fix that shit. Let’s get rid of “eigh,” “augh,” and “igh” in the English Language. I mean, what the hell is that? Eight, neighbour, night, sigh, aught, laugh, it’s not even consistent. Why the hell do we need silent letters? I say, the hell with it. Let’s pronounce the L in salmon and K in knuckle, and finally, for fuck’s sake, let’s make March 1st New Year’s Day so the months make sense and we’re not two months off anymore.