There has been a lot of talk about being respectful and civil this election cycle, because, the narrative goes, respect and civility are lacking from the public discourse; most prominently, for liberals, in Trump’s refusal to accept defeat at the polls, or, for conservatives, safe spaces, argumentative lefties and Black Lives Matter. “This is a shame. We ought to be able to function in the face of disagreement,” the civil and respectable on both sides of the matter intone.
I’m here to tell you to forget that noise. This being a democracy, there will be a peaceful transfer of power, and whoever wins more votes will be President (don’t be a sore loser), but that doesn’t mean the fight ends. No, if anything, this is how it starts. If anything, this is all out war.
Anyone who says different is a liar, because it’s all out war if Clinton is elected, and it’s all out war if Trump is elected. The opponents are not Republicans versus Democrats, liberals versus conservatives, north versus south, west versus east. It’s the sensible and kindhearted versus the selfish and paranoid, the well read versus the ignorant and ideological, the activists versus the anarchists.
If Clinton wins I’m not wasting my breath by exhaling, nah, I’m calling the Senators and Congressmen of my state and telling them all about clean water, income inequality, structural racism, the minimum wage, police brutality, corporate welfare, the cost of higher education and a million other issues. Or I’ll take to the page, like I’m doing right now, and try to set the agenda. She is not the mandated President. She is the lucky President – she ran against the most outrageous, deplorable character any candidate has ever had the pleasure of taking on, and she barely won. Time to hold her accountable. No more private emails. No more questionable ties to overseas regimes. No more capitulating her way into policy positions because they poll well.
And if Trump…oh, if Trump wins – I’m not wasting my time by crying about how I’m moving to another country, by bemoaning the death of American democracy, by composing a Shakespearean soliloquy about life, death and white nationalism or erecting an elegy about false equivalency and the widespread repudiation of facts. I’m turning the TV off, sitting down, apologizing to President Obama (he held elected office for our sins, now look what we’ve done) and taking a shot of bourbon straight to the face before embarking on a tour of outside pressure. Time to hold him accountable. No more racism toward brown and black people. No more hiding tax returns. No more ignoring rape allegations. No more anti-Semitism. No more misogyny. No more KKK dogwhistles. No more threats to free speech, or of violence, or to jail his political opponent. No more mocking of every single group of people in this country, excepting straight white men. No more Twitter rants. No more shady business dealings. Get to work, President Trump. The façade cracks under the scrutiny of the presidency. We get to judge whether everything is as great as you said it’d be. We get to see you squirm like a student looking at a test full of questions they didn’t study for. And if you don’t like us now – the media, moderate Republicans, protesters, minorities, independents, Democrats, Saturday Night Live, etc. – just you wait until you’re sitting in the Oval Office. That’s when the fun begins. That’s when the war starts.
This, all this, was just a battle. The battle of 2014-2016, jockeying for position, hurling insults, calling Bernie Sanders naïve, Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, and thank God all that business is over with. But the battle matters little compared to the war. The war is what happens when the battle ends, the war is for the politically-minded who aren’t afraid of disagreement, who hunger for decent, moral politics, who want the government to do its job and nominate a ninth Supreme Court Justice, who look for knowledge through education and research, who seek out objective truths, who don’t discriminate and don’t shy away from the topics of gender, race and religion, who hope to eradicate corporate money from politics and let individuals have as much free speech as any profitable organization, who hate all of Trump and a select few parts of Clinton.
This war, unfortunately, is not for everyone. Some will shy from it. Some, even though they know the right thing, will elect to veil their cowardice with talk of “opinions, opinions, opinions,” “they’re all the same,” “what does that have to do with me,” “everyone’s thoughts are valid” and whatnot. They disgust me. They agree that climate change is real. They’re able to see a problem in the criminal justice system – over-imprisonment, specifically in regards to black men. But the former is the future, and the latter is for bad guys; neither are for them. They just want to be reasonably happy, watch their little movies, listen to their little songs, have their little kids and raise them happily in a little house. Yes, this war is big. Too big for some.
This war is not violent. It began long before the concept of the United States of America was born. It began the first time a leader abused their power, the first time social codes were called into question, the first time a group of people was oppressed – way before the first female was elected President of the U.S.A. We can act like it isn’t real, because we can’t see it, or physically grasp it, but that’ll only make it worse for both the pretenders and the fighters. We can act like it’s over now, but it’s happening in your home, on your street, in your town, on the ballot, in your district, on TV, in the country, on, and on, and on.
It’s called The Good Fight, and it doesn’t stop.