I Don’t Know What’s Going On And You Don’t Know Either

Nobody knows what the fuck is happening. Or how it happened or didn’t happen or why it’s happening or isn’t happening or anything. Nobody knows shit. Is Biden winning? Maybe. Is Trump winning? I dunno, it’s 2020, any fucked up shit is possible. I’ve had four hours of sleep and each of those four hours was fraught with night sweats and fuckery, so, at this point I’m expecting the walls to melt. I’m not even sure I’m writing in a human tongue right now — it might just be beetle clicks and bird chirps. Who the fuck knows?

What I do know is this: I’m seeing a lot of newly baptized experts this morning, people who are SURE they know why Biden lost (or won) or why Trump lost (or won) or wasn’t buried in a landslide of votes or why PA did this or why this House race or that Senate race went sideways. This person didn’t go left enough. Not enough ground game. They went too far left. Masks, no masks. They didn’t sacrifice the right goat. They did this bullshit or that bullshit or, or, or.

I dunno.

Nobody knows what’s going on.

Or why it’s going on.

Exit polls are nonsense in this pandemic election.

The electoral college is wildly, inanely mis-representative.

It’s chaos! CHAOS.

This shit? The shit all around us? It’s going to take months, years to unpack — that, of course, coming after the mighty work of counting votes and holding off dictatorial legal challenges from our Menace-in-Chief. And that unpacking isn’t worth the 1s and 0s if it doesn’t first reckon with an unholy host of challenges that have long been stacking the deck. We have to grapple with conservative news media (Sinclair, OANN, Fox, radio) that plugs right into people’s brains and pumps them full of informational sewage and fear; with social media like Facebook; with active, malevolent racism that has a throughline all the way back to slavery; with gerrymandering; with voter suppression and disenfranchisement and intimidation; with USPS bullshit; and with all of the hobbling and harm and heavy anchors around our waists that makes it harder and harder to swim up to the light. Certainly the Democratic party has a lot of reckoning to do, then and now and going forward, but that reckoning isn’t on its own, and cannot be considered without all these other factors. Without the deck stacking — let’s remember there’s no more Voter Rights Act, for fuck’s sake — who knows where we’d be? If we got to run a race at the starting line instead of ten feet back, could you imagine? A lot of red states wouldn’t be red, for one. (And here it’s worth reminding that those red states are even now full of progressive voters busting their ass to change the temperature of their home states, just like what happened in Virginia, Arizona, and more.) Democrats wouldn’t be constantly facing the “won the popular vote, lost the electoral college” problem. We’re a messy, fucked-up country but one side has gamed the system to their advantage, and it’s really difficult to reckon with the weaknesses of the Democrats without first addressing the inequities spawned by those on the right, full stop. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is. Of course they swim faster and reach the surface more often — they’re not wearing the same cement shoes. Shoes they made for us and forced us to wear!

I’ve no idea what happens now or next or in five days or five weeks. Biden may pull this out and I’m sure we’ll endure challenges from that other motherfucker, because, of course he will. Beyond that, the how and what and why are chaos. I don’t know the answers and you don’t, either. Beware anybody who falls for the fallacy of the single cause here, as if ALL WOULD’VE BEEN WELL IF WE JUST DID THAT ONE THING DIFFERENTLY. Yes, different choices can lead to different outcomes good and bad, but until we build a time machine, we’ve no way of testing that. Be slow with accepting narratives right now. Be cautious with sharing information. Be sure-footed about your research. It’s difficult, and I feel it too, because you just wanna share share share all the things that feel like answers. But we must be better than that. We can’t just pretend gut-checks are gonna save us. We have a lot of reckoning to do but that reckoning isn’t coming overnight. And it must happen even if Biden wins at the end of this. The fight goes on. The fight for the soul of not just one party or the other, but the whole country —

This whole, messy, broken, busted-ass atlas of fiefdoms we call a nation.

What we do next is what must happen next regardless of who is in the Oval Office: we must aid our communities and lift them up, offering a hand especially to those who are most vulnerable; we must practice radical self-care; we must be ever-vigilant about changing this country in a game of inches and not necessarily of miles; we must push back against misinformation and disinformation; we must do what we can do to untangle the aforementioned deck-stacking limitations that plague free voting in the first place. I’m not alone, you’re not alone. Even if it feels like it.

You’re great.

We’ll get through this, whatever this shall be.

Even if we don’t know why it’s all happening yet or what the hell happened at all.

Stay frosty.

Be kind.

Be smart.

Sorry about the bird chirps and beetle clicks.

Chirp chirp. Click click.

24 responses to “I Don’t Know What’s Going On And You Don’t Know Either”

  1. I think I may have gotten about 4 hours total. couldn’t turn my brain off. Couldn’t turn off the dread I feel for the country that this wasn’t a blue tsunami. Talking about clicks and chirps…clipping. started this tape and will be playing it until an outcome has been determined https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0Znd8M1iWU

  2. Wut?
    You’re writing like there is something going on in the world?
    I’ve been sitting in my bubble wrap (straws poked through the wrap and inserted up my nose for air supply, duh! … but with tiny masks covering each of the tiny openings) with no news on, no social media, no…
    I still have that strange full body involuntary muscle contraction thing going on.

    Cvrkut cvrkut. Kliknite klik.

    I am disheartened now and will be. That one state “went” for Trump is one too many. What is wrong with people? I agree we must carry on, but with the current mess just getting messier, with social programs being gutted… depending upon which way this dying fish flops it becomes more impossible to do so.

    Cvrkut cvrkut. Kliknite klik.

    Existential Cvrkut cvrkut. Kliknite klik. Angst.

  3. Even if Biden pulls out a win (and I *think* he will), we still lose. This shouldn’t have been close. But somehow, after four years of racism, misogyny, outright fascism, corruption and incompetence that has literally killed a quarter-million Americans (and counting), not only did millions of voters say “that’s OK with me,” Trump actually INCREASED his support.

    I don’t think that can be fixed.

    This nation is dead. We just haven’t stopped moving yet.

    • “I don’t think that can be fixed.

      This nation is dead. We just haven’t stopped moving yet.”

      Sadly I agree. The western states have already started banding together to do things like clean energy, mask wearing, and mass buying of PPE. I see the western states doing more and more regardless of what the President does.

    • Agree with you, Chuck – and with Gareth.

      I am beyond disappointed with my fellow Americans. I honest to crap thought most of us were smarter than this. How many lies, scandals, friendships with dictators, f#%k-ups dealing with the pandemic, railing against science, profaning the Bible by holding it up (as if he ever read any of it, or even knows what it is), violating people’s civil rights, defaming service people who are putting their lives on the line for us, and just general godawful behavior can one human being exhibit without half the people in the US not even caring??!!! Really? Holy shit… do all these people just watch crappy reality TV and think that’s “something”? It’s all an effing GAME, people – “reality TV” is a misnomer – a JOKE – and the joke is on anyone who thinks it IS something. It’s garbage for the mind. Flush it, and people on it, like the orange clown in OUR white house.

      Dear Lord, these people need to pick up some goddamn books and READ something – something REAL and TRUE. Ugh….

      Meanwhile I’m from Texas and we almost went blue, but not. Maybe Austin (5th Generation here – that’s me) will finally become “contagious” and the other cities in Texas will “catch” what we have and finally grow some real brain cells… and learn how to vote for someone who’s an actual human being. UGH squared!

    • This is where I’m at right now. If Biden wins, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. 30% of this country actively wants a white supremacist, authoritarian theocracy, and another 20% of it is okay with that outcome as long as their retirement portfolio doesn’t suffer. And I’m just not sure there’s any way back from that.

    • It may well be that the most constructive thing we can do in the next four years is start seriously talking about whether the United States of America is still a viable federal republic. Nations are constructs. If some states truly want to go back to the days of the Confederacy, maybe it’s time to let them.

  4. In “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson, she observes that Trump represents the last gasp of a White, Christian electorat that fears Blacks moving out of their assigned lowest caste level. That is why so many Whites, Hispanics, and Asians are voting for him. Whites are voting for him because they want to remain at the top. Hispanics and Asians are voting for him because they do not want to be dropped down to a lower rung on our caste ladder.

    Of course some Blacks are voting for Trump, too, but, in my opinion, not Wilkerson’s, they have been brainwashed into thinking this the natural order of life. Unless education improves, this brainwashing will prevail.

    As for Jews who vote for or support Trump, and this includes Kushner, they are no better than the Jews who worked for the Nazis, they are opportunists who think that by attaching themselves to Trump they will benefit. Of course, look what happened to the Jews who supported Hitler. The Jews who support Trump are going to find themselves in similar dire straights once it becomes obvious that Trump is as antisemitic as he is anti-Black, anti-Hispanic, and anti-Asian.

  5. Thanks so much- I’ve been up all night, too, feeling like my head will explode. Think it’s worse because I let a little hope creep in the last few days…ugh. Guess we all just have to tie a rope in that old knot —and hang on for dear life.

  6. I’m so glad I read your post today. Thank you. It’s true, everything you said, and you made me laugh, which is so hard to do today, so thank you. Chirp click click.

  7. Every time I reach for despair, I have to stop and tell myself that I am privileged to only feel this way right now. I try to imagine what it is like for generations of black people who have had these election slaps in their faces for years and years and have still managed to fight for equity. So then I swallow the anger and grief about our country, and try to target that energy for positive change. But it REALLY hurts my heart to think that so many fellow Americans can choose That Orange Creature.

  8. This is not unknowable. It’s exactly what they said would happen. These states that are left counting-it was expected. The votes left are leaning Biden because they voted by mail more consistently than the GOP. If they had counted them earlier, We would have known, like Fla. just count the votes and Biden will win, by a greater margin than Drump did in 2016. THIS IS THE WAY.

  9. Thank you. As a therapist, I have to deal with this on the hour, lots of hours. I’m exhausted. But so is everyone else. I think about my mother and what she lived through in the Holocaust, and my heart is a little broken. But I’ll go to work, and somehow, we will hold each other through this time.

  10. When the counting is done, something like 75 million people will have voted for Trump. No amount of Electoral College caviling changes that. You recite the usual litany of liberal excuses, which but for, those people would have voted the way you want them to. That simply is not the case. The Trump voters value a host of things that liberals either do not value or actively mock and hate. Liberals have so internalized their contempt for these values that they cannot even see that the people who hold them are sincere, not brainwashed.

    Take the Cuban community in Florida. Given their background, and seeing the behavior of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments, they despise socialist government, and are on the lookout for crypto-socialist candidates. In the best no true Scotsman fashion, Nikole Hannah-Jones of the 1619 project has started tweeting that Cubans are white and should be excluded from the Latino community.

    Or take the people who have been watching rioters, looters, arsonists, and vandals rampage (in Portland for months already) while liberals call for defunding the police and some actively argue that looting and rioting are valid responses to systemic racism. Hundreds of rioters looted Center City and burned police cars and injured police officers in Philadelphia the week before the election. Arsonists burned down swaths of Minneapolis businesses including Uncle Hugo’s sf bookstore. Both of those are in swing states. Do you think voters who listen and respond to law-and-order messages are insincere or brainwashed?

    Many Americans very much love this country, its ideals, and its founders. When they see vandals tear down and deface a statue of Abraham Lincoln, of all people, in Portland, do you think that they are insincere or brainwashed when they think that liberals hate America?

    When Colorado attempts to force a baker to provide services for a same-sex wedding, do you think that Trump voters are insincere or brainwashed when they decide that liberals disdain religious freedom and belief?

    You can argue that those people are wrong, or attempt to convince them that your priorities are more important than theirs, but if you keep believing that the only reason they vote against you is because they have been lied to, you are never going to make inroads into their ranks.

    • “Given their background, and seeing the behavior of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments, they despise socialist government, and are on the lookout for crypto-socialist candidates”

      Calling Biden and Harris, two moderate conservatives with decades of documented support for moderate conservative policies, “crypto-socialists”, takes a whole new level of ignorant and trash-stupid. Definite kudos to the GOP for twisting the narrative to such an extreme degree. But some thought must be given to the people who bought into it. Either they are really THAT dumb, or support Trump for other reasons but would rather not say so.

      “Do you think voters who listen and respond to law-and-order messages are insincere or brainwashed?”

      No, they are racists who take the message of “people of color are invading YOUR suburbs” very seriously.

      There have been few deaths in the protests, the most notable ones being two protesters murdered by a right-wing terrorist. Meanwhile, close to 230K Americans have died as a result of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. Again, if you’re selling the narrative of “protests are dangerous” while ignoring a 9/11-scale death event taking place on US soil every 3 days, you are either a liar, or completely delusional.

      “When they see vandals tear down and deface a statue of Abraham Lincoln, of all people, in Portland, do you think that they are insincere or brainwashed when they think that liberals hate America?”

      This one is a bit harder, because even the vast majority of liberals are also uncomfortable with attacks on what they see are America’s foundations, or arguments that “America isn’t great”. But people being uncomfortable is not a valid reason not to have a discussion.

      America was built on slavery, land theft and genocide, and there’s no going back into the past to fix that. But we can dredge these smelly old evils out of the basement of the past, air them out in the sunlight, and come to a consensus about the way forward. Other countries, where genocide and oppression happened in the much more immediate past, have gone through this long and painful process and come out stronger for it. “Liberals hate America” is a knee-jerk reaction, a convenient excuse to avoid addressing real issues.

      “When Colorado attempts to force a baker to provide services for a same-sex wedding, do you think that Trump voters are insincere or brainwashed when they decide that liberals disdain religious freedom and belief?”

      Yes, because the baker is not being forced to enter a same-sex marriage. Merely to bake a cake for one. Places of public accommodation are prohibited from discriminating by the federal Civil Rights Act. Again, either insincere, or a fundamentalist piece of shit… you see the trend here.

      “you are never going to make inroads into their ranks”

      Based on these latest results, I believe that we can safely retire the “make inroads into their ranks” idea. How exactly does one appeal to entrenched racists? Do we get rid of secular laws and impose some sort of Christian Sharia? Force people of color into ghettos? Reinstitute feudalism? The only viable political alternative to the white-supremacist Party of Trump is already right-wing to a disturbing degree.

  11. I’m sorry to say it but you’re completely wrong. Not in your opinion of the situation but in what you’re looking at. What’s going on right now doesn’t matter. It’s distress causing clusterfuck of bipartisan absolutism signifying nothing.

    Honestly, I think we can easily determine what is happening and why.  People being influenced and manipulated by media outlets and politicians, righteous refusals by both sides to even hear the opposing viewpoints, turning politicians into symbols instead of the people they are, refusals to find common ground and work together for the benefit of all, etc.  It’s all right there to see if you honestly look.  The variable, the insecurity, lies in the question “Where are going from here?”  No matter who wins the election, that’s really all that matters.  And that’s up to us, the people.  Not any politician.  That is the one single inarguable fact that has always made America great.  The people have a voice. A LOT of time and money has been spent by both sides to control the conversation that voice is having and it has only created division.  When the people refuse to be controlled and take control then, and only then, democracy wins and America will be something we can all be proud of.  If we are doomed to learn only ONE thing from the surrealism that is 2020, let it be that.

  12. I shared this and linked to your blog because this really speaks to my heart today, “What we do next is what must happen next regardless of who is in the Oval Office: we must aid our communities and lift them up, offering a hand especially to those who are most vulnerable…”

    I love your heart, man. I do.

  13. You’re just fucking awesome, Chuck. Thanks for speaking truth (as you always do) but especially thanks ~ for making me laugh.

  14. I want you to know that reading your blog has helped keep me sane the last few months. Thank you and please keep it coming.

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